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Thread: Poor Starting RT: Battery, Gasoline or Plugs?

  1. #1
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Poor Starting RT: Battery, Gasoline or Plugs?

    Late in April I put my ‘04 RT (dual plug) on “ice” for the summer in Naples and left it on its own to struggle through Hurricane Irma. I filled the tank with Premium, and put it on a non-AGM trickle charger (weekly 4 hour timer).

    When I got back 6 months later the first start was a bit sluggish but it ran pretty good (or so I thought at first) and so I mentally wrote off the slow start as cobwebs. Unfortunately the cobwebs got thicker and it also began to have a barely noticeable hesitation when I rolled on acceleration (surely I was imagining that). Then last week it took three presses of the starter button first thing in the morning to get it going.

    I finally got out the GS-911, LogWorks software for the LC-1 to record AFR, Harmonizer and pulled off all the plastic so I could work out what was going on. My motivation was low because I’m also seriously thinking about a low mileage 2015/16 R1200RTW. But since I’d have to fix the 04 to sell it and because I couldn’t stand not knowing, I got myself in gear, one cold start per day.

    Day 1
    My first look was at the GS-911 cold start data and log—no errors, data looks good. Next, I looked at the LC-1 cold start log of AFR—leaner than normal during the poor start period but nicely settled in at lambda=0.92 (13.5:1) once warmed up. From my experience measuring cold start AFR, the leanness at cold start is usually due to poor ignition. My stick coils are fairly new but the plugs were 2 1/2 years old so I put in new bottom plugs which I had lying around since they are problematic on the dual spark (all four plugs actually looked great but a little warn). New plugs did nothing. (Note: the hotter NGK DCPR6E lower plugs looked really good and I’ll stick with them.)

    Day 2
    Since I had the Harmonizer out and it had been a while since a TB balance I dialed out a small amount of l/r error and boosted the idle about 75 rpm—no effect on starting the next morning.

    Day 3
    Thinking about whether charging the battery for 6 months, once per week on a low voltage trickle affected the battery but set that idea aside as I’d put 150 miles on the bike since returning and my VR is modified for AGM—and since my good charger was up North. At this point that nagging idea that the gasoline sat through a Florida summer and is now about 7 months old reached the surface when the low fuel light came on. And I know at least half of you reading this have been thinking “drain the tank and put new fuel in”, since the first sentence.

    I filled the tank with Premium, added 6 ounces of Techron Concentrate and rode 100 miles into the Everglades and back at good speed on Rt 41.

    Day 4
    The bike started normally in about a second and idled smoothly. I’ll run a couple tanks of fuel laced with Techron and call it a day. Was it fresh fuel or Techron? I’ll never know for sure since I added both at the same time.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post

    Was it fresh fuel or Techron? I’ll never know for sure since I added both at the same time.
    I vote for "both".
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  3. #3
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    I’m for any “storage” to include Techron and Sta-bil. Never hurts.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  4. #4
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    I will also try to find ethanol free gas for next summer's storage. Store with a nearly empty tank and then fill up and add Techron at restart.

  5. #5
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    I will also try to find ethanol free gas for next summer's storage. Store with a nearly empty tank and then fill up and add Techron at restart.
    Might be the best thing you can do for it. I have to travel down near the Sekonk Speedway to purchase non-ethanol racing fuel- $10.00/gal.
    Expensive but worth it.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  6. #6
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    I put my money on bad gas too. There are plenty of gas stations in S.Fl that sell REC90 non ethanol gas because of the boating industry. Before your next storage period you may want to run a few tanks full on that gas before putting the bike away for a while. Add Stabil to your last tank, ride for 20 miles or so and you’ll be good to go.
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2017 R1200RT White
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA

  7. #7

    Outdoor Power Equipment Retailers

    I get my ethanol free gas from a local outdoor power equipment company. I think all of them carry it "in-a-can".
    My local guy has a storage tank and will dispense it into your own fuel container.

  8. #8
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    Roger I think your experience mirrors what I have seen with my 1100RT _many_ times in the spring after the bike has sat in my unheated shed over winter. I store the bikes with Chevron 94 octane non ethanol fuel and some years I've used Stabil; others not. I find it makes no discernable difference up here in Vancouver. So if the first starts and runs in the spring show a rough running machine I ignore it until that tank is all gone and a second or third tank has been used up. If the roughness and hard starting continues I get busy but that has only happened once in 5 or 6 years now.

    I think it happens due to moisture in the fuel and the fuel itself gets skunky sitting in the lines, injectors, pump... A good run with Techron on the _second_ tank in spring usually clears everything up just fine and she's good to go anywhere, anytime. I also do my best to stick to the BMW maintenance schedule.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

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