The good ol octane discussion


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
  • Sponsored Links
Goldenroad66
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:52 pm
Location: Dallas, Texas
Motorcycle: 1979 GL1000

The good ol octane discussion

Postby Goldenroad66 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:02 pm



The infamous octane discussions are running through my head as I've been researching various forums on what type of gasoline I should put into my 79 GL1000. Previous owner was EXTREMELY clear that I should only put Premium into the tank but the manual says 86 or higher, or a research octane number of 91 or higher. So I'll ask the question that has been asked many times, what type of gasoline do you put into your GL1000 and why? I live in a flat area if that has anything to do with it..
Any info would really help me cause I'll really be breaking the bank over time with 93 oct :oops:



User avatar
portugeezer
Posts: 424
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:44 pm
Location: Mchenry, Illinois
Motorcycle: 1976 gl1000
1982 Gl500
1984 Honda Magna V30

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby portugeezer » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:56 pm

I use 87 octane. I only buy it from Shell unless I have to. I live in the Chicago Metro area. You can't find gasoline here without ethanol. I run seafoam in my gas about once a month.

User avatar
dingdong
Posts: 2863
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:35 am
Location: Oklahoma City
Motorcycle: 1976 gl1000
1993 gl1500
2004 NRX1800 Rune

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby dingdong » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:18 am

I use regular grade. Whatever octane it happens to be. The bike was designed to run on regular because of the compression ratio. Anything else is probably a waste of money. I also can't tell any difference whether I use ethanol or 100% gas. I suggest that if the bike runs better with premium that there might be a problem somewhere.
Tom

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

User avatar
Placerville
Posts: 423
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:58 pm
Location: Placerville, CA
Motorcycle: 1976 Naked Yellow

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby Placerville » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:33 pm

Agree with the above. The PO's insistence that you use premium fuel in your GL was misplaced and uninformed. Simply put, they don't need it and you'd be wasting your money if you used it. As mentioned above, an issue up much greater concern is Ethanol. If you live in an area where Ethanol is prevalent, consider using STA-BIL Marine in every tank to combat it's affects.
Placerville- 1976 Yellow
Image

User avatar
foots
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:55 pm
Location: Port Barre, LA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - current
1998 Valkyrie - current
2008 GSX650F - current
1986 V65 Magna - gone
1980 CB750C - sold
1981 XS850 - sold

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby foots » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:04 pm

My old wing isn't on the road yet, but I have always run 87 octane in all of my bikes as do my friends. I do prefer 100% gas though. I find that the 100% stuff does make my Valkyrie run a bit more smoothly.

User avatar
portugeezer
Posts: 424
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:44 pm
Location: Mchenry, Illinois
Motorcycle: 1976 gl1000
1982 Gl500
1984 Honda Magna V30

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby portugeezer » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:52 pm

What does ethanol do to an engine? I never hear anything about damage from it aside from on this forum. Maybe I should start using that stable marine stuff?

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17046
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:14 am

portugeezer wrote:What does ethanol do to an engine? I never hear anything about damage from it aside from on this forum. Maybe I should start using that stable marine stuff?


Ethanol itself doesn't do anything physically to an engine. It can cause detonation at a lower pressure than would otherwise happen with straight gasoline. It can cause rubber seals to fail, causing fuel leaks. But most importantly, it sucks moisture up out of the air and then phase separates into a water/ethanol layer, which when fed into the carbs, can cause severe damage to an engine.

Have a read through How to make your own ethanol-free gasoline for more info.

User avatar
suvcw04
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:26 pm
Location: NE Iowa
Motorcycle: 2005 GL1800 Lehman Trike

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby suvcw04 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:26 am

Actually, ethanol RAISES the octane number, so it makes an engine LESS likely to detonate. That is the one and only good thing about it.
It will slowly eat at rubber, plastic and aluminum. The only thing it doesn't degrade is stainless steel. Have much stainless steel in the fuel system of anything that you own?

sfruechte
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:53 pm
Location: La Crosse, WI
Motorcycle: 1977 GL1000

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby sfruechte » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:49 pm

Stick with straight gasoline and buy premium if that is the only way to avoid ethanol. Straight gasoline costs about 10% more than ethanol but it is worth it as ethanol will degrade your mileage by more than 10%. Avoid ethanol in any engine, it is a well intentioned but inferior and environmentally unsound fuel.

buztz
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:07 pm
Location: Las Vegas
Motorcycle: 2013 GOLDWING GL1800L

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby buztz » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:41 pm

I have owned several year model Gold Wings and currently own a 2013 GL1800 and have always ran 91 octane in all my bikes. I have worked in a Honda motorcycle shop and we always recommended the use of 91 octane to all of our customers.

harvey01
Posts: 628
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:14 pm
Location: Henrico, Virginia
Motorcycle: 2004 GL1800

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby harvey01 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:57 pm

I would urge all owners to consult their owners manual and use the gasoline recommended there. The engineers who designed the fuel system and engine know what their bike needs.

Obviously the use of gas with ethanol can be a problem but as long as you use only gas with 10% or less ethanol you bike will run fine. And as long as you are running it constantly, a tank or so a week or like on a trip when you might do 3 or 4 tanks a day all is well. But if the bike sits with ethanol gas it the gas can begin to deteriorate and start causing problems.

Motorcycle techs love the spring because a lot of folks fail to add some form of fuel stabilizer in the fall and the carbs get gummed up. Cleaning the carbs gets expensive real fast. Fuel stabilizer is much cheaper.

Normally, around the end of October, as I do a fill up I add the first stabilizer of the year and then over winter when I get the chance to take the bike out for at least a 40 minute spin(don't start unless I can ride for about 40 min) then add more stabilizer following a top off to the tank. Don't over doo the quantity of Stabilizer added. Some springs I do add some Sea Foam or Star Tron to the first couple of gas tanks.

I also have a 81 CBX and I basically keep the stabilizer level up all the time as it usually does not get the situation where I may run two tankfuls through in a day. So far I have not experienced any fuel related problems.
harvey
Ride Safe and Ride Often

User avatar
HawkeyeGL1200
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:53 am
Location: Courtland, Va.
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate
1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:22 pm

Everything I've ever read tells me "regular" gas is fine for my motorcycles. I don't like ethanol in my gas, but the closest place I can buy gas without it is a 45 minute ride away.... which kind of defeats the point of buying gas there.

I have run mid grade gas a few times, and on at least one trip, it appeared I got better mileage, but it could have been me. I don't see any reason to pay for premium gas when the engine was designed to burn regular. Maybe someone can enlighten me.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

User avatar
Solina Dave
Posts: 414
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:38 pm
Location: Solina, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 1978 Honda Goldwing GL1000 (bought in fall of '77)
!977 Honda CB550F (my 1st motorcycle)

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby Solina Dave » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:48 pm

I've owned my '78 GL1000 since it was new, and I've always used regular 87 octane fuel as stipulated in the users manual. I thought that they probably knew what was best, at least at the time. I've always use Shell fuel unless it was absolutely necessary to do otherwise. I fill the tank, and add stabilizer every winter before storage. In all of those years, and over 650,000 kms. I can say that my engine performance has been, and still is, very good, although I will say that the carbs were given the gold-plated treatment at about 450,000 kms. The rings and valves were also done at about the same time, but that was simply taking advantage of the opportunity to do so, when the engine was removed for stator replacement.
Like I was saying, I feel that if regular fuel has been working fine all these years, why mess with things now?

Come on spring..............Dave
"Assume Nothing"

User avatar
SteveB123
Posts: 842
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:29 am
Location: Winchester, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 1982 1100I, 60A Poorboy, MSD coil

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby SteveB123 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:57 pm

suvcw04 wrote:It will slowly eat at rubber, plastic and aluminum. The only thing it doesn't degrade is stainless steel. Have much stainless steel in the fuel system of anything that you own?


About the same that is in the underground tanks (FRP, or uncoated steel), underground lines (FRP, plastic, or uncoated steel), pumps (steel with aluminum risers), hoses (rubber), or dispensers (steel, aluminum, zinc, plastic).

No noticeable increase in deterioration of components.
Current:82 GL1100 Interstate, 60 Amp Poorboy, MSD coil
Previous: 93 GSX1100F Katana
82 GL500 Silverwing

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17046
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:59 am

When a bike (particularly one that does not have a computer with knock sensors to adjust timing) that is designed for 87 fuel is run on higher octane fuel, the only thing it does is drain the owner's wallet faster.

Contrary to what the marketing division of oil companies would have you believe, higher octane fuel is not "high powered" and does not give you more engine power. In fact, the potential energy contained in high octane fuel is actually LESS than low octane fuel - so you actually get WORSE mileage and LESS power.

The only time you get better power on high octane is when your engine is designed for high octane fuel. If you put low octane fuel in this type of engine, the engine computer will detect the knocking/pre-ignition caused by the lower octane, and will retard the ignition to stop it. This lowers the power output of the engine - so in this situation, your engine will in fact make more power with higher octane fuel. However, that's only the case when your engine requires it in the first place - as is the case with high compression ratio engines.

Our bikes do not have these types of engines. Using high octane fuel in them is a waste of money.

There is one situation however where higher octane fuel is recommended: for people who are riding in high altitudes, and whose bikes have not been re-jetted for those altitudes. If you live in Denver, chances are you've had your carbs re-jetted to run properly at that altitude. If you live in Chicago, and you're taking a trip to Denver, it's worthwhile putting a tank of high-octane fuel in to burn while you're going to be riding in the mountains. This will prevent detonation and pre-ignition.

f1xrupr
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:13 am
Location: Triplet Va
Motorcycle: 1980 gl 1100 Std. Vetter

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby f1xrupr » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:24 pm

I have a 1980 gl 1100 with a fresh rebuild (3000 miles ?). It has vary good compression. There is a brown factory tag on the bottom right tube of the frame that reads, "minimum 91 RON (research octane number). I can see a tremendous difference it low rpm performance (I believe it's referred to by most as "low rpm growl"). However, it makes good sense that using a low octane fuel in a "well broke in engine" :roll: may not seem to matter...
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

SnoBrdr
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:01 am
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Motorcycle: 1978 GL 1000

129K Original Owner

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby SnoBrdr » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:10 am

Solina Dave wrote:I've owned my '78 GL1000 since it was new, and I've always used regular 87 octane fuel as stipulated in the users manual. I thought that they probably knew what was best, at least at the time. I've always use Shell fuel unless it was absolutely necessary to do otherwise. I fill the tank, and add stabilizer every winter before storage. In all of those years, and over 650,000 kms. I can say that my engine performance has been, and still is, very good, although I will say that the carbs were given the gold-plated treatment at about 450,000 kms. The rings and valves were also done at about the same time, but that was simply taking advantage of the opportunity to do so, when the engine was removed for stator replacement.
Like I was saying, I feel that if regular fuel has been working fine all these years, why mess with things now?

Come on spring..............Dave


You have over 400k miles on your 78?

Is the engine all original?

Thought I was doing good at 130k miles.

SnoBrdr
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:01 am
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Motorcycle: 1978 GL 1000

129K Original Owner

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby SnoBrdr » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:12 am

f1xrupr wrote:I have a 1980 gl 1100 with a fresh rebuild (3000 miles ?). It has vary good compression. There is a brown factory tag on the bottom right tube of the frame that reads, "minimum 91 RON (research octane number). I can see a tremendous difference it low rpm performance (I believe it's referred to by most as "low rpm growl"). However, it makes good sense that using a low octane fuel in a "well broke in engine" :roll: may not seem to matter...


91 research octane = 87 pump octane.

f1xrupr
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:13 am
Location: Triplet Va
Motorcycle: 1980 gl 1100 Std. Vetter

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby f1xrupr » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:32 am

Yeah...that's a thought. I was reading a "Bob the oil guy octane forum", it's interesting and kinda confusing....it seems that it depends on what country you are in, and/or, fuel ingredients....???...During my rebuild, I resurfaced my heads which raised my compression ratio, and, I also lightened my pistons a few grams (I know..had to complicate things :roll: ). Lightening the pistons wasn't planned-I chipped one of the skirts, and, my pistons were vary nice, so, I improvised. Bliping the throttle on this bike is kinda like bliping a sport bike (vary responsive), and it'll smoke a tire at half~ throttle. Those modifications probably make the "personality" of this particular engine differ more than usual.....yes, but that octane rating is a "minimum", thereby indirectly implying that a higher octane rating is optional (ie in regards to uniqueness of...). I run 93 octane non-ethanol, and, it really makes a difference! Thanks.
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

User avatar
Solina Dave
Posts: 414
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:38 pm
Location: Solina, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 1978 Honda Goldwing GL1000 (bought in fall of '77)
!977 Honda CB550F (my 1st motorcycle)

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby Solina Dave » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:03 am

SnoBrdr wrote:
Solina Dave wrote:I've owned my '78 GL1000 since it was new, and I've always used regular 87 octane fuel as stipulated in the users manual. I thought that they probably knew what was best, at least at the time. I've always use Shell fuel unless it was absolutely necessary to do otherwise. I fill the tank, and add stabilizer every winter before storage. In all of those years, and over 650,000 kms. I can say that my engine performance has been, and still is, very good, although I will say that the carbs were given the gold-plated treatment at about 450,000 kms. The rings and valves were also done at about the same time, but that was simply taking advantage of the opportunity to do so, when the engine was removed for stator replacement.
Like I was saying, I feel that if regular fuel has been working fine all these years, why mess with things now?

Come on spring..............Dave


You have over 400k miles on your 78?

Is the engine all original?

Thought I was doing good at 130k miles.



I only ever do relatively light maintenance myself. Over the years, if it broke I fixed it, or had it fixed. I'm sure that I don't need to tell you that it's been an expensive trip. I could have probably bought a new one with the cash I've parted with, but I like the relatively primitive nature of this old relic, compared to the new ones. New ones have too much stuff on them that would get in my way.
Having said that, there has been many replacements of worn out parts such as a fuel pump, water pump, exhaust parts, gaskets, switches, calipers, and on and on. But, like I said, the carbs were done once and the engine was given a thorough going over when it was removed to do stator work, although I don't remember specifically what components were addressed. Engine work, at that level isn't for me. Just fix it so I can ride it! I ride it a lot, and I don't mind spending a few bucks taking care of it. I never ride it too hard, but I feel the machine seems to run better, if the machine is allowed to do what it was designed to do. Also, it's been doing well running on regular gas.
One last thing. I need, once again, to replace my timing belts, preferably with the best ones available. It seems that all I'm seeing is a lot of conflicting ideas in regards to profiles, part numbers, brands, a different part number on the belt to that of the number on the box, Gates, Honda OEM etc. etc. The belt that's in there now seems to have lasted well, but I'd consider buying ahead of time, rather than remove the existing belts to see what they are, and then having to purchase, and wait for delivery. Any ideas?
"Assume Nothing"

SnoBrdr
Posts: 325
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:01 am
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Motorcycle: 1978 GL 1000

129K Original Owner

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby SnoBrdr » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:34 am

Solina Dave wrote:
SnoBrdr wrote:
Solina Dave wrote:I've owned my '78 GL1000 since it was new, and I've always used regular 87 octane fuel as stipulated in the users manual. I thought that they probably knew what was best, at least at the time. I've always use Shell fuel unless it was absolutely necessary to do otherwise. I fill the tank, and add stabilizer every winter before storage. In all of those years, and over 650,000 kms. I can say that my engine performance has been, and still is, very good, although I will say that the carbs were given the gold-plated treatment at about 450,000 kms. The rings and valves were also done at about the same time, but that was simply taking advantage of the opportunity to do so, when the engine was removed for stator replacement.
Like I was saying, I feel that if regular fuel has been working fine all these years, why mess with things now?

Come on spring..............Dave


You have over 400k miles on your 78?

Is the engine all original?

Thought I was doing good at 130k miles.



I only ever do relatively light maintenance myself. Over the years, if it broke I fixed it, or had it fixed. I'm sure that I don't need to tell you that it's been an expensive trip. I could have probably bought a new one with the cash I've parted with, but I like the relatively primitive nature of this old relic, compared to the new ones. New ones have too much stuff on them that would get in my way.
Having said that, there has been many replacements of worn out parts such as a fuel pump, water pump, exhaust parts, gaskets, switches, calipers, and on and on. But, like I said, the carbs were done once and the engine was given a thorough going over when it was removed to do stator work, although I don't remember specifically what components were addressed. Engine work, at that level isn't for me. Just fix it so I can ride it! I ride it a lot, and I don't mind spending a few bucks taking care of it. I never ride it too hard, but I feel the machine seems to run better, if the machine is allowed to do what it was designed to do. Also, it's been doing well running on regular gas.
One last thing. I need, once again, to replace my timing belts, preferably with the best ones available. It seems that all I'm seeing is a lot of conflicting ideas in regards to profiles, part numbers, brands, a different part number on the belt to that of the number on the box, Gates, Honda OEM etc. etc. The belt that's in there now seems to have lasted well, but I'd consider buying ahead of time, rather than remove the existing belts to see what they are, and then having to purchase, and wait for delivery. Any ideas?


Most seem to use Gates or Napa belts as they are great quality and you can get them just about anywhere for cheap.

T-Rat
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:37 am
Location: knoxville tn
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100a & 2000 Sportster 1200

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby T-Rat » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:52 pm

OK here goes........I was told that the higher the octane rating the harder the gas is to ignite! I did not believe it until I did some research....IT'S TRUE! I had a 1996 Yamaha Royal Star V4 4 Carbs and I was putting 91 octane fuel in it and thought I was doing a good thing. Then I started having performance problems, after a ride where I would just run for awhile at a steady throttle setting (example, on cruise control) then try to accelerate to pass a car it would stumble, shutter, backfire ect. I tried everything I knew to try up to and including rebuilding the carbs. To make a long story short the problem turned out to be the 93 octane fuel. What seemed to be happening was incomplete fuel burn caused by the higher octane fuel being harder to ignite so it was fouling my plugs. When a member of the Royal Star Forum suggested this, A person I found out later was a petroleum engineer, I didn't believe it until I did the research. I switched to 87 octane and the problem went away and never returned.

f1xrupr
Posts: 396
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:13 am
Location: Triplet Va
Motorcycle: 1980 gl 1100 Std. Vetter

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby f1xrupr » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:29 am

Yep T-rat, you are right...the poorest fuel cost us more...go figure! It does however help prevent pre-ignition in high compression engines.
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

User avatar
suvcw04
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:26 pm
Location: NE Iowa
Motorcycle: 2005 GL1800 Lehman Trike

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby suvcw04 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:04 pm

T-rat and f1xrupr, now there are THREE of us on the planet that know this. Not good, but it's a start.

T-Rat
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:37 am
Location: knoxville tn
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100a & 2000 Sportster 1200

Re: The good ol octane discussion

Postby T-Rat » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:51 am

f1xrupr wrote:Yep T-rat, you are right...the poorest fuel cost us more...go figure! It does however help prevent pre-ignition in high compression engines.


Well it's fine where it is needed but can cause a problem in a lower compression lower heat engine as I found out!




Return to “GL1000 Information & Questions”




Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests