Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?


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montgomery63
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Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby montgomery63 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:29 pm



Every fall, as part of my winterization process, I've added Stabil and Seafoam to my gas and run my carbs dry before I store my bike.
Last summer (2015), my carbs started leaking badly. The Honda dealer had to rebuild all four carbs. The dealer said that, in addition to running the carbs dry, I also should have been loosening the screws at the bottom of each float bowl and draining the rest of the gas from the bowl. Since I hadn't been doing that, he thought that's what probably gummed up my carbs and was why my carbs were leaking...though he added that an old bike like mine might have just had dried out seals. At any rate, the rebuild stopped the leaking for the rest of the riding season.
Last fall (2015), I added Stabil and Seafoam, ran the carbs dry, and drained the float bowls by loosening the screws...Just what the guy said to do.
This past spring, when I started the bike up for the first time, the carbs were leaking like crazy. I was sure I'd have to take it back in for another rebuild, but I decided to risk a crotch fireball and rode it for a mile or two. Well, the leaking stopped, and the carbs haven't leaked at all for the rest of this riding season.
That got me to thinking. Why would freshly rebuilt carbs leak so badly when first filled with gas again? It seems to me that perhaps the seals dry out when there is no gas in the carbs all winter. I know that's not the opinion of the Honda service manager at my dealership, but I can't think of any other explanation for what happened. So my question for other Wingers is, "Do you drain your carbs when you store your bike, or leave the float bowls full of gas?". Thanks for any input or advice.



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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby cbx4evr » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:04 pm

I do much the same as you with Sta-Bil and Sea Foam but I leave my carbs full. The other thing I do is only use a non-ethanol fuel for storage. I've never had an issue doing it this way. Used to own two Honda CBX's each with six carbs. Never had a problem with them and those were fussy carbs.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:37 pm

I'm with cbx. I fill the tank with fresh gas, dose my fuel heartily with Seafoam and Marine Sta-Bil, then run it until the mixture is well into the carbs. I then shut it down and just leave it. I've been doing this for so many years that I can't even remember. No leaks or clogged jets ever as a result.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby keithg64 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:58 pm

I add seafoam then ride to my local gas station and fill with unleaded no alcohol and ride home to put her away. This year I'm gonna use the marine sta-bil and do the same. I have not heard of using both seafoam and sta-bil.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby Solina Dave » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:47 pm

WingAdmin wrote:I'm with cbx. I fill the tank with fresh gas, dose my fuel heartily with Seafoam and Marine Sta-Bil, then run it until the mixture is well into the carbs. I then shut it down and just leave it. I've been doing this for so many years that I can't even remember. No leaks or clogged jets ever as a result.


I agree with that procedure, although I've never used Seafoam, and don't know anything about it. Can anyone tell me about its advantages, if any?
I also put in a double dose of Marine Sta-Bil, fill my tank right to the brim (to prevent my tank from rusting) with non-ethanol fuel, ride it 5 minutes home from the station, just to make sure the mix has circulated through the system, and park it for the winter. I've done it that way for years, and I've luckily not had any carb problems.
I've always left my fuel petcock open 100% of the time. Does anyone think it's advisable to turn it off while in storage, and why do you think that?
............Dave
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby ekvh » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:16 am

Take it from me, turn your petcock off every time you shut the bike off. One piece of gunk can hold a float valve slightly open and bend a rod. I never thought the starter motor would have enough power to that, but I think what happens is- the motor stops with the cylinder with the leaky float valve (or plenum seal or carb seal) intake valve closed and exhaust open or just beginning the exhaust stroke. The fuel can pool up above the intake valve, more than enough to entirely fill the compression chamber. When you go to start the bike, the motor can make 1-1/2 revolutions before that intake opens, the fuel rushes in, the piston comes up on compression stroke, one or maybe two of the other cylinders can have been ignited and you now have a lot of force working against that one rod that's coming to a dead stop.

I ruined a 1200 last year. I have hydrolocked it on other occasions, but this time, there was a definite"whack" sound when it stopped. The bike still ran surprisingly well before blowing a head gasket. Changing that and I noticed the one piston was staying down in the block maybe 0.040" from the others. Interested? I'll sell it to you.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:29 am

Solina Dave wrote:
WingAdmin wrote:I'm with cbx. I fill the tank with fresh gas, dose my fuel heartily with Seafoam and Marine Sta-Bil, then run it until the mixture is well into the carbs. I then shut it down and just leave it. I've been doing this for so many years that I can't even remember. No leaks or clogged jets ever as a result.


I agree with that procedure, although I've never used Seafoam, and don't know anything about it. Can anyone tell me about its advantages, if any?
I also put in a double dose of Marine Sta-Bil, fill my tank right to the brim (to prevent my tank from rusting) with non-ethanol fuel, ride it 5 minutes home from the station, just to make sure the mix has circulated through the system, and park it for the winter. I've done it that way for years, and I've luckily not had any carb problems.
I've always left my fuel petcock open 100% of the time. Does anyone think it's advisable to turn it off while in storage, and why do you think that?
............Dave


Seafoam works as a stabilizer as well, but its real claim to fame is removing gunk and deposits from narrow carb passages. Many times I have saved a bike from a pending carb rebuild by using Seafoam instead - it works as a solvent to fuel deposits.

Incidentally, the main benefit of the Marine (green) Sta-Bil over the regular (red) Sta-Bil is that it produces a vapor inside the tank that coats the portion of the tank that is not submerged in fuel, to keep it from rusting.

Lastly...it is advisable to close your petcock. For one, it doesn't leave your float valves under constant pressure all winter. Second, if your float valves do leak, you will end up with fuel dripping down into your cylinders, where it washes away the protective layer of oil, and ends up filling your crankcase with fuel. Third, a tiny leak of fuel over the winter will mean tiny amounts of deposits left through the fuel system. You could put a bike away with perfectly clean fuel components, have fuel drip through it all winter, then when you try to start it in spring, it refuses due to deposits being left through it all winter.

Oh, and if you do develop a fuel leak over the winter, a closed petcock prevents fuel from leaking out of your bike and evaporating into the air in your garage, subsequently being ignited by the spark of a light switch (or whatever) and blowing up your house. :)

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby Solina Dave » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:43 am

WingAdmin wrote:
Solina Dave wrote:
WingAdmin wrote:I'm with cbx. I fill the tank with fresh gas, dose my fuel heartily with Seafoam and Marine Sta-Bil, then run it until the mixture is well into the carbs. I then shut it down and just leave it. I've been doing this for so many years that I can't even remember. No leaks or clogged jets ever as a result.


I agree with that procedure, although I've never used Seafoam, and don't know anything about it. Can anyone tell me about its advantages, if any?
I also put in a double dose of Marine Sta-Bil, fill my tank right to the brim (to prevent my tank from rusting) with non-ethanol fuel, ride it 5 minutes home from the station, just to make sure the mix has circulated through the system, and park it for the winter. I've done it that way for years, and I've luckily not had any carb problems.
I've always left my fuel petcock open 100% of the time. Does anyone think it's advisable to turn it off while in storage, and why do you think that?
............Dave


Seafoam works as a stabilizer as well, but its real claim to fame is removing gunk and deposits from narrow carb passages. Many times I have saved a bike from a pending carb rebuild by using Seafoam instead - it works as a solvent to fuel deposits.

Incidentally, the main benefit of the Marine (green) Sta-Bil over the regular (red) Sta-Bil is that it produces a vapor inside the tank that coats the portion of the tank that is not submerged in fuel, to keep it from rusting.

Lastly...it is advisable to close your petcock. For one, it doesn't leave your float valves under constant pressure all winter. Second, if your float valves do leak, you will end up with fuel dripping down into your cylinders, where it washes away the protective layer of oil, and ends up filling your crankcase with fuel. Third, a tiny leak of fuel over the winter will mean tiny amounts of deposits left through the fuel system. You could put a bike away with perfectly clean fuel components, have fuel drip through it all winter, then when you try to start it in spring, it refuses due to deposits being left through it all winter.

Oh, and if you do develop a fuel leak over the winter, a closed petcock prevents fuel from leaking out of your bike and evaporating into the air in your garage, subsequently being ignited by the spark of a light switch (or whatever) and blowing up your house. :)


Thanks for the info. I'll have to start shutting off the petcock during storage. Also, the vapor feature of the Marine Sta-Bil is interesting in regards to its anti-rusting effect.
And also, my storage shed is 200 feet behind the house, and there's no power out there for a light switch. But I get your point!

Dave............PS...The smilies available are getting pretty stale!
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby offcenter » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:38 am

How does one close the petcock on a GL-1500.
As far as I can tell, there is no petcock.
I'd like to close it and run the carbs dry.

Also, the idea of filling with "no alcohol" fuel is a good one....
...if you live somewhere where you can buy it.
In New Jersey, ALL gas has alcohol.
I go to the local airport and buy a few gallons of
(very expensive) Avgas for mine. Avgas is still good
oldfashioned LEADED gasoline. No alcohol.
George in Jersey.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:31 pm

offcenter wrote:How does one close the petcock on a GL-1500.
As far as I can tell, there is no petcock.
I'd like to close it and run the carbs dry.

Also, the idea of filling with "no alcohol" fuel is a good one....
...if you live somewhere where you can buy it.
In New Jersey, ALL gas has alcohol.
I go to the local airport and buy a few gallons of
(very expensive) Avgas for mine. Avgas is still good
oldfashioned LEADED gasoline. No alcohol.


The GL1500 does have a petcock, but it is an automatic, vacuum-operated one. As soon as you turn off the engine, the petcock closes itself automatically.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby offcenter » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:07 pm

Ok, so how do I stop it from opening when I start the engine.
I want to run the carbs dry for winter.
I've had too many machines incur carb damage from sitting
with this damned gas in them. (most recently, my leaf blower)
George in Jersey.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:58 pm

offcenter wrote:Ok, so how do I stop it from opening when I start the engine.
I want to run the carbs dry for winter.
I've had too many machines incur carb damage from sitting
with this damned gas in them. (most recently, my leaf blower)


You have a couple of options:

- Drain the tank, run the engine until it runs out of gas, then re-fill the tank
- Disconnect the vacuum line from the petcock, run the engine until it quits

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby offcenter » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:05 pm

Ok, thanks Wingadmin!
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby Iaustin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:10 pm

I used to drain the gas from my equipment in the fall and start them up and run till dies but now I just add stabilizer(blue) and fill tanks run for awhile to make sure it's mixed well and thru the carb.i do this with the wing and mowers and trimmers ,blowers and saws I've never had no problems to me it makes more sense than running dry as then seals and gaskets dry up

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby leakyroof58 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:53 pm

My $.02 - At 61 YO, I USED to drain all my stuff (years
ago.) Often had problems, with carb gaskets and seals
drying out, and then leaking. Since I have taken to keeping
everything full (and wet), have had NO problems. Just
make sure you use the Sta-bil and Seafoam before and
during storage. Since I have done this, everything I have
owned (snowmobile, snow thrower, boat, chainsaw...)
has always started very easy the next season. I'm sold.
And I always use the highest octane gas I can find - in
ALL my small engines. 30 years is proof enough for me.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby chrisz » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:59 pm

For those folks who leave the carbs full over the winter, how long do you have to crank the starter to get the engine started the first time in the spring? I know if I leave my bike unused for about a month, it takes a bit of cranking to get enough fuel to the carbs to start the bike. (I have no leaks.) I would suspect that your carbs are drying out over the winter anyways whether you drain or not, but by draining before storage you may avoid any fuel residue from being left behind.??

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby keithg64 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:23 am

chrisz wrote:For those folks who leave the carbs full over the winter, how long do you have to crank the starter to get the engine started the first time in the spring? I know if I leave my bike unused for about a month, it takes a bit of cranking to get enough fuel to the carbs to start the bike. (I have no leaks.) I would suspect that your carbs are drying out over the winter anyways whether you drain or not, but by draining before storage you may avoid any fuel residue from being left behind.??



I do my maintenance during the winter and start the bike at least once a month or so. If you do this make sure you run her up to temp to burn off any condensation. Also keep a good battery tender hooked up if not running for a few weeks.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:56 am

keithg64 wrote:
chrisz wrote:For those folks who leave the carbs full over the winter, how long do you have to crank the starter to get the engine started the first time in the spring? I know if I leave my bike unused for about a month, it takes a bit of cranking to get enough fuel to the carbs to start the bike. (I have no leaks.) I would suspect that your carbs are drying out over the winter anyways whether you drain or not, but by draining before storage you may avoid any fuel residue from being left behind.??



I do my maintenance during the winter and start the bike at least once a month or so. If you do this make sure you run her up to temp to burn off any condensation. Also keep a good battery tender hooked up if not running for a few weeks.


Please don't advise people to do this.

From the How to Winterize your Motorcycle article:

Now, what do you do now that the bike is away for its winter slumber? Please, please, PLEASE resist the temptation to "start it up to keep the oil fresh" or whatever other reason you feel you need to regularly run the engine. Your engine does not benefit in any way from being started from dead cold for a short "warm-up." In fact, it's quite the opposite. Starting the engine puts lots of moisture into both the crankcase and the exhaust. If you are not going to go out for a good, hard half hour ride, neither the engine nor the exhaust are going to get up to full normal operating temperature - which means this moisture is not going to evaporate. Instead, it's going to sit in the bike and start corroding the insides of your engine, cylinders and exhaust system. Every time you start it, it is making it worse. The fact that it is cold outside makes it even worse - this means the moisture easily condenses on the cold surfaces, starting the rusting process.

"But I need to start it regularly to charge the battery." No you don't, hook up a $25 Battery Tender instead of ruining your $500 exhaust.

"It helps keep the seals lubricated and stops leaks." No, it doesn't. The seals do not magically lose their ability to seal because oil isn't regularly flowing over them. In fact, the continuous change of a very cold-soaked engine to warm engine and back can actually CAUSE leaks.

"It keeps the engine parts covered in oil to prevent wear." Actually, it does the exact opposite. The absolute hardest time on an engine, the time when it wears the most, is at start-up, before the engine-driven oil pumps get a chance to start pumping oil around. This is why some expensive aircraft and racing engines have special pumps to circulate oil before the engines are started. When the bike hasn't been started for a while, the lubricating film of oil is at its very minimum - which means massive amount of wear during start up. And this is what you are doing, over and over again all winter every time you start it up - causing wear to your engine when it is at its most vulnerable.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby CrystalPistol » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:34 am

WingAdmin wrote:
offcenter wrote:Ok, so how do I stop it from opening when I start the engine.
I want to run the carbs dry for winter.
... etc ...


You have a couple of options:

- Drain the tank, run the engine until it runs out of gas, then re-fill the tank
- Disconnect the vacuum line from the petcock, run the engine until it quits


I had considered adding a manual inline petcock for this purpose on the GL1500 trike .... but I had not considered this .... a small aquarium type valve in the vacuum hose to the petcock ..... or a simple disconnect with a temporary plug in the vacuum line .... Thanks! 8-)

Yes, on the '85 GL1200 I have gotten into the habit over the years of using the manual petcock to shut off anytime she's parked in the basement .... and here lately, I find it better to just always "do it" to maintain a habit I had developed on my first Norton and Triumph. There were a few times after work when I forgot to turn it on and found out about 2/10 mile down the road .... so I rigged a "reminder" that I took to laying in view when shut.

My 1200 gets run dry before long parking / storage with a good over dose of StaBil Marine Formula in a full tank .... but the 1500 Trike has the gas in the carbs still .... but now I think that I'll take care of that today.

My Trident always get's run dry, carbs drained, and fuel tank drained into a can that later ends up in a mower or PU truck, etc. It's tank was Kreemed long ago and the basement is dehumidified and so rust is not an issue.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby CrystalPistol » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:56 am

CrystalPistol wrote:
WingAdmin wrote:
- Disconnect the vacuum line from the petcock, run the engine until it quits


I had considered
... etc ...
but now I think that I'll take care of that today.
... etc ...


And so I did .... hooked battery up, started (easy start too) and warmed her up well, then after a few minutes riding .... pulled up to the doors .... slipped vacuum tube off and plugged it and soon .... carbs were dry and I put her up.
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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby minimac » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:47 am

offcenter wrote:Also, the idea of filling with "no alcohol" fuel is a good one....
I go to the local airport and buy a few gallons of
(very expensive) Avgas for mine. Avgas is still good
oldfashioned LEADED gasoline. No alcohol.

Not all Aviation gas is ethanol free. That being said, if you're using 100LL Av fuel , an additonal benefit is the total absence of ANY water in the fuel-something that the F.A.A. has stringent rules about.
Last edited by minimac on Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:57 am

minimac wrote:
offcenter wrote:Also, the idea of filling with "no alcohol" fuel is a good one....
I go to the local airport and buy a few gallons of
(very expensive) Avgas for mine. Avgas is still good
oldfashioned LEADED gasoline. No alcohol.

Av gas also contains ethanol. Not all aviation gas is created equal. Just because it has a higher octane rating doesn't mean it is ethanol free.


Totally untrue. Federal mandate requires that aviation fuel contain NO ethanol. In fact even when automobile fuel is used in airplanes, the FAA requires that it contains ZERO ethanol: https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/ne ... wsId=14754

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guida ... -07-06.pdf

There are experimental bio-derived jet fuels and some unleaded piston fuels being tested on aircraft, and some of these experimental fuels contain some ethanol, but the standard 100LL avgas or Jet-A that you buy at the airport and that normal, unmodified aircraft run on, must contain absolutely no ethanol.

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby minimac » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:09 am

The FAA has mandated banning of leaded fuel by 2018. Wing Admin is correct,as of now. The small airport here does in fact sell a lower octane fuel that I mistakenly thought contains ethanol. I stand corrected and chastised! New York also mandates ethanol gas, but more and more stations are carrying a non ethanol regular and/or premium, in addition to the 10% ethanol gas. I even found one in New Jersey!
http://pure-gas.org/station?station_id=15525

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby dnehasert » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:56 am

I always fept tank and carbs filled with gas and Seafoam. One year I drained it and in the spring had several leaks until the gaskets absorbed gas. After that I always kept it wet. Now I live in the Phoenix area and don't have that problem ! :D

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Re: Drain carbs for winter storage, or just add Stabil and keep carbs full?

Postby goldwing8754 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:39 pm

I have been using stabil for years, full tank of premium, double dose of stabil. Run for at least 10 minutes. park for the season. Never get a clogged jet, except on snowmobiles, yamahas in particular. they have a tiny tiny hole in the Idle jet. My guess is your leaking problem is because the bowls were dry, therefore the needles and seats were dry. once they get wet and slide(close and open) easily then the flooding stops. not sure about goldwings because I never had to mess with my carbs. but most needles have rubber tips on the end that get hard and don't seal when the bowls are dry.




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