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Thread: Winterize the Airhead

  1. #1
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    Winterize the Airhead

    Itís the park the bike for the winter time of the year, should one drain all fuel out of tank and carbs? The other options fill tank as full as possible with stabilized gas, or fill as full as possible with non-ethanol stabilized gas . I also plan on changing all fluids before the next riding season so which is better fall change or spring?
    Short version what do you do to get the bike ready to set all winter in a unheated shop?
    Bike 1978 R100/7

  2. #2
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    I would fill the tank with non-ethanol gasoline and Stabil. Fill it as full as you can by hand.
    Change the oil and filter and run the engine for about 1 minute to get the new oil spread through-out the engine.
    Leave the other oils until the Spring and remember to flush the brake fluid in the Spring.
    Your battery will do better if you take it out of the bike and keep in in the house, instead of keeping a trickle charger on it all winter.
    If you can, keep the bike on the center stand and block it so both wheels are off the ground.

    Sam Creasman
    '81 R100RS
    '72 R75/5

  3. #3
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Good suggestions above. Snowbum has additional thoughts on pre-winter maintenance about half way down on this page:

    http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/maintsched.htm

    Using the tag cloud, I found this thread:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...-the-cylinders
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Gasoline Stabilizer

    Opinion on best gasoline stabilizer! I know this is almost a oil thread type question but

  5. #5
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Found this thread through the tag cloud on stabilizers:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...-Fuel-Additive
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  6. #6
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    I disagree on replacing the oils in the spring instead of in the fall. It's probably a minor difference, but I'd rather have clean oils sitting in there instead of dirty. Note that the transmission, drive shaft and final drive don't get all that warm and it any water has gotten in through a damaged speedo drive rubber or a stripped drive shaft filler it's likely to stay there until the oil gets changed.

    I didn't notice if anyone mentioned dropping the float bowls to dump the gas, but it's probably the most important single step to prevent gummed up carbs come spring.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  7. #7
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 179212 View Post
    Short version what do you do to get the bike ready to set all winter in a unheated shop?
    Bike 1978 R100/7
    Nothing. I stored an RS for 15 winters in unheated garages, up here in the Great White North.

    Well, I do drain the float bowls. The only potentially tricky part to storing an airhead, is the spring start. The electricals have to be perfect or it might not happen.

    My four stroke engines are not sensitive to degraded gas. My two strokes, on the other hand.....

    But there are guys here, and on the car sites, that love doing winterization procedures, so whatever makes you happy.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  8. #8
    Registered User Guenther's Avatar
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    For 28 winters I stored my 1989 R100GS in an unheated garage. I top the tank with E10, close the petcocks and let it run out of gas. Every 4 weeks I charge the battery with a 2Amps charger for 2 hours. Nothing else!

    Come spring it always started at the first attempt.

    /Guenther

    Correction: I use mid grade E10 and not E15.
    Last edited by Guenther; 11-10-2018 at 03:30 PM.
    1989 R100GS, 2017 F700GS

  9. #9
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 179212 View Post
    ... should one drain all fuel out of tank and carbs? ...
    That is the best choice for long-term but not necessary for winter storage. Really only necessary if you plan on not using your "fill tank and add stabilizer" option or plan on storing the bike for a year or more.

    Quote Originally Posted by 179212 View Post
    ... The other options fill tank as full as possible with stabilized gas, or fill as full as possible with non-ethanol stabilized gas ...
    This will give you everything you need and is the most easily done (aka most likely to be done).

    My process is:
    • Take the bike for a good ride. Minimum of 1-hour preferably 2-hours at a good brisk pace on secondary roads. This gets the oil hot enough to burn off most of the condensation and the tranny fluid warm enough to do some good (as has been mentioned, tranny oil doesn't get very hot).
    • Stop for gas about 5-10 minutes from where I'm going to be storing the bike and add stabilizer to the tank before filling with gas. Then fill with high-test (octane loos during storage will bring it down some by spring even with stabilizer). Adding the stabilizer (enough for a full tank) to the gas before filling up will help mix it with your gas when filling. The 5-10 minute ride from the gas station to storage will complete the mixing and will move the stabilizer to where it is mosr needed (your carbs).
    • Once back home then you change your fluids before putting it in storage.


    Quote Originally Posted by 179212 View Post
    ... I also plan on changing all fluids before the next riding season so which is better fall change or spring? ...
    My thinking here is just the opposite. Change fluids before storage.

    At the end of storage just ride the bike with no need to change the fliuds that were put in just prior to storage.
    As mentioned, there is condensation in used oil for an internal combustion engine. Even running it before won't always get rid of all the moisture and does little to rid the oil of the harmful acids that are a by-product of combustion. When you have an environment that is subject to significant temperature swings (unheated storage), you will get condensation if there is any moisture present. The moisture in the oil mixed with the acid in the oil will subject your internals to an acidic fog/condensation. Not good for bearings, etc., etc.

    Having your oil and other fluids hot and freshly agitated prior to the change does two things:
    1. Removes most of the moisture from the oil so that what little oil is left after draing the old oil (perhaps 1/8 liter) has the least amount of moisture in it possible.
    2. Suspends the particulate matter such as ash, etc., that is finer than the filter media, as much as possible and thereby ensures most of it is removed versus left sitting as sediment.


    This is where changing to fresh fluids prior to storage has the most benefit and using a quality stabilizer can help. I've used many good products over the past several decades like Sta-bil, Seafoam, etc. These are good products and they have versions that are specially formulated to work with ethanol if you can't avoid that meanace. This year I've switched over to Starbrite's "EZ Store EZ Start Gas Storage Additive" http://www.starbrite.com/item/ez-sto...ategory_id=569.
    This is what my marine mechanic recommended for witnerizing my 5.7L boat engine because he feels (doesn't know for sure) it does a better job of fogging the internals for storage. I also like the fact that it is formulated for 24 months as a few of my bikes don't get used very often so they get stabilizer put in at every refueling to try and keep the gas good.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - MOA Charter Club #097, BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: '14 R1200RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  10. #10
    John D'oh
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    I would suggest that the tank be stored dry. Fuel quality is so poor these days it wont really be any good after months of storage even with Stabil added. Today's pump gas is barely sufficient for a motor originally designed to run on 96 or better octane fuel anyway let alone after 5-6 months of storage. After your last ride of the season, change engine and transmission oil as described above and transfer the remaining fuel to your automobile. If you clean the tank and dry it out there wont be any water and dirt or alcohol to attack the coating and steel. Because the gas caps are vented, I replace them with a large tight fitting rubber stopper. AND, with the tank and float bowls empty, crank the engine with the throttle open a 1/4 turn to draw the last bit of fuel out of the various passages in the carbs. That helps to keep the idle circuit operational. I've seen batteries that froze and cracked open before. I believe that a fully charged battery won't freeze (and have lived in a place where winter temps reached 50 below zero so I can vouch for that) but I would still think it a good idea to remove the battery and store it in a climate controlled environment. There was a 'saying' in Diesel mechanics school: Store a diesel engine wet and a gasoline engine dry.
    John D'oh

  11. #11
    Registered User Subman's Avatar
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    Storage

    Last winter was my first with my /5. Based on recommendations from the older/wiser heads on the ABC site I fully drained the tank and removed the float bowls. Bike seemed to like it and fired right up this spring; I'll be doing the same procedure this winter.
    Dave K.
    1971 R75/5

  12. #12
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Steel tanks- marine engine fogger or occasional shot of WD-40 to keep the "flash rust" at bay.
    OM
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  13. #13
    Registered User tanker4me's Avatar
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    +1 on changing fluids before storage.
    Even if it’s only the engine oil that will have acidic qualities.
    I don’t have to winterize but have several bikes that I ride less than 3,000 miles a year.
    I figure between condensation and hard use when they’re ridden, a yearly fluid change is cheap insurance for continued bike health.
    Bill
    Last edited by tanker4me; 11-13-2018 at 01:02 PM.
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