Carb float problem cured


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virgilmobile
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Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:19 pm



In the past,when working on OLD carbs,I found that the composite floats (not plastic or brass)would soak up gas and sink increasing fuel level.This happened on a Honda carb.At first fuel up,it seemed OK,but would actually flood out after several hours.I verified this by soaking the floats in gas overnight.I found the floats dropped in the fuel 30%.When I dried out the floats they set up normal again.To cure this,I dried the floats,dipped them in a can of polyurethane.2 coats were enough.Let them dry a couple of days then re-tested.This sealed the floats from the fuel and has restored a stable fuel level.It has lasted for 4 years so far.This may be a shade tree mechanic repair,but if it works,what's the difference ?A $3 dollar can of polyurethane verses $200 and a 3 week parts wait.Virgil.
I have also learned that ONLY the rocks live forever.



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thrasherg
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby thrasherg » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:28 pm

My only concern would be that the floats are now heavier (because of the 2 coats of polyurethane) than Honda intended and will float at a lower level, causing the fuel level to be higher in the float bowl. This will cause a rich condition (definately better to be rich than lean) but could cause some fueling issues.
On my RG500 I have an adaptor that screws into the float bowl drain screw and connects to a clear plastic pipe that you hold alongside the float bowl. When you turn on the gas, the fuel flows into the float bowl and down the clear tube, as you hold the tube next to the carb it will indicate what level the fuel is at inside the float bowl. I would suggest drying your floats, adjust them as indicated in the service manual and then use a similar adapter to find out the actual fuel level inside the carb. Then dismantle the carb, coat the floats and when everything is dry, try this test again with the coated floats. You will then be able to see if the fuel level changed and could correct it by bending the metal tag on the floats to get back to the original fuel level..

Just an idea, quite a lot of work, but once the carbs are off the bike and on the work bench this test is easy to perform..

Gary

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MJSantos
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby MJSantos » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:27 pm

Gary has a point with the float level being off. Another way I can see would be to have the float suspended in a container of fluid where it coulld pivot on it's mount. Take a measurement of the height then do the coating trick and refloat them amd see what the difference would be. Like the 1100 floats, a longer pivot pin then float them in one of the bowls having the long pin( straight piece of coat hanger) taped to the bowl gasket edge. Fill the bowl till the float rises even with the gasket edge. Then do the coating and see where the floats sits then.

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:40 pm

Brass floats aren't impermeable, either. My old (94) Ford Explorer used a brass float on the sender in the fuel tank, and it's a well-known fault on those trucks for the gas to get through the solder sealing the brass floats and eventually sink the float, so that your tank shows perpetually empty. Now THAT was a nightmare to replace.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:25 pm

The added weight of a few microns of polyurethane is negligible(I don't coat them like clear coat)It restored fuel level within a cc or so.much better than flooding out.Yes,brass floats can sink,re-solderable(there's a trick to that too)This post is to explain how to restore a old composite float to usable condition.any fuel levels can be adjusted for.

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby littlebeaver » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:38 pm

Is there a aftermarket float that can be custom fitted ? Cheap..I'm going to take my carb's off just to test this,, Thanks for the info..Cool..
Last edited by littlebeaver on Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:28 pm

Sorry,I don't understand.Aftermarket float, or bowl?I don't know of a generic float blank that can be trimed to fit.As long as the correct fuel level can be maintained,it's gonna fly.This was my fix rather than getting gouged for OEM replaements.It just happened to work rather well.

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby littlebeaver » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:47 pm

Really smart idea too, where was it leaking in or could you tell? Float not bowl ha ha sorry, guy's come up with the strangest fixes for stuff...I was wondering if someone has figured out a replacement for the float's, cheaper..

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virgilmobile
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:13 pm

It didn't seem to be leaking in as much as it was absorbing fuel like a sponge.I dried the floats for a day in the sun then poly coated.Found no cheap generic replacement because of the mount.

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby littlebeaver » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:21 pm

Brilliant Idea...You dreamed up there Virilmobile..

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby goldwing 1 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:46 pm

Virgilmobile have you ever inspected you floats to see if the polyurethane ever stayed on-I have tried this in the past,and all it did was bubble up and fell off the floats-if you have not checked out you floats,it bubbler up and fell off your floats,and finely passed through your carbs. :?:

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virgilmobile
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:59 am

Hmm.ill check that out.With the "new"gas,I'm not positive on if there's a reaction.
The car and bike I did that to ran fine for the years I owned them.
This was back in 2000.Maybe the quality of polyurethane changed or its formula.
When cured,the stuff I used could withstand any gas.

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby RBGERSON » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:20 am

Question sort of related..as some of you may have read I had issues with a carb rebuild..and I tried to check the float level by Screwing some 1/4" clear plastic tubing into the float bowl drain opening..well that wasn't going to happen..tubing bent, creased, etc, etc. any one have a solution that works for "screwing " in a tube to the drain ports???? I thought about drilling out some old drain screws or a bolt to fit a tube but it would nice to have something long enough to do it on the bike..like those long brass synch tubes that I could attach a clear tube to or ????
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby littlebeaver » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:02 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Hmm.ill check that out.With the "new"gas,I'm not positive on if there's a reaction.
The car and bike I did that to ran fine for the years I owned them.
This was back in 2000.Maybe the quality of polyurethane changed or its formula.
When cured,the stuff I used could withstand any gas.

I wonder if anyone has ever used wood for their floats. I bet it WOOD work.. :lol:

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby patbrandon1 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:18 am

virgilmobile wrote:In the past,when working on OLD carbs,I found that the composite floats (not plastic or brass)would soak up gas and sink increasing fuel level.This happened on a Honda carb.At first fuel up,it seemed OK,but would actually flood out after several hours.I verified this by soaking the floats in gas overnight.I found the floats dropped in the fuel 30%.When I dried out the floats they set up normal again.To cure this,I dried the floats,dipped them in a can of polyurethane.2 coats were enough.Let them dry a couple of days then re-tested.This sealed the floats from the fuel and has restored a stable fuel level.It has lasted for 4 years so far.This may be a shade tree mechanic repair,but if it works,what's the difference ?A $3 dollar can of polyurethane verses $200 and a 3 week parts wait.Virgil.
I have also learned that ONLY the rocks live forever.


I'll take the $197 savings and no wait with this fix, everyday! Thanks Virgil. I read the other replies, and there is also some nice info. But correct me if I'm wrong...as long as it floats, whether it's made from brass, copper, tin, cork, plastic, rubber, or whatever else floats, it would do the designed task it was made for? I suppose the size could make a difference, but two coats of the polyurethane aren't going to increase the volume of the float enough to make any difference, correct?

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virgilmobile
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:21 pm

[quote=" but two coats of the polyurethane aren't going to increase the volume of the float enough to make any difference, correct?[/quote]

It was speculated that 2 coats would increase the weight and surface....
It probably did.....a few microns....I didn't measure any difference between a dried float fuel level and the ones I dipped.

My old composite floats,the black ones,simply absorbed some fuel and dropped in the fuel...constantly increasing the fuel level.....
I've sense sold the bike but the "treatment" held for the 4 additional years I drove it...

Now,that was before our 10% ethanol gas and now I don't have anything to test with using it.
It's possible the "new formulated" Polyurethane won't hold up in the "new formulated" gas....I haven't tried that scenario.
My old can of the stuff,when cured,was impervious to gas....for years...

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby goldwing 1 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:19 pm

Well,it may be a good idea to post are research on this subject,because floats are hard to come by now,and they are going to get harder to come by in the future.I put two coats of minwax fast-drying polyurthane on my floats,follower the directions on can-then waiter 4 day to completely dry-put them in-ran the bike off and on for about 15 min-removed the floats and found the polyurethane had bubbled up-it rubbed of very easy,it felt like very thin onion paper-so thin,I felt it would dissolve and go through the carbs. :o

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virgilmobile
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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:58 am

Good testing.
The stuff I used was not fast dry.It took at least 24 hours to cure hard.
I left them in a jar of gas for days after with no bubbling.
It must have been a different formulated Polyurathane.

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Re: Carb float problem cured

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:17 pm

I had an old 1994 Explorer with that same problem on the fuel level float in the tank - and it's a common problem. The solder holding the two halves of the brass float together would deteriorate, the float would fill with gas and sink to the bottom, and your fuel gauge now permanently read "E". Simple fix of draining the float and reapplying new solder. However, a very NOT simple fix of getting TO the float. I ended up just cutting a hole in the floor of the truck to get to the top of the tank, and pulling it out that way.




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