ELEVATED FUEL MIXTURE CARB CURE READER FEEDBACK ASK KEVIN
AFRICA MIXTURE MAP
Q: I have a 2017 Africa Twin DCT with 1,600 miles on it. I live in Las Vegas at 2,500 feet elevation and ride up Mount Charleston to 8,000 feet elevation. I shut the bike off at the summit. When I go home, at about 3,300 feet it will start to get power loss, surging, searching, sputtering the rest of the way home. This has happened seven times. If I don’t shut the machine off at 8,000 feet, it will not have the power loss. Last time, coming home from the mountains, it starting doing the usual at 3,300 feet. I shut it off at 3,300 feet then restarted, and it was fine going home with no problems. What can I do? I’ve contacted Honda and nobody knows anything. I believe it may be an O2 sensor or Sensor A master power pressure or the computer?
MIKE LAMURAOLIA LAS VEOAS, NV
A When you turned the bike off and back on coming down the mountain you fixed your “problem.” The BARO sensor (manifold absolute barometric pressure, or MAP sensor) resets the fuel-injection map on your Africa whenever the key is cycled. The fuel mixture is being reset leaner for high-altitude conditions when you shut off up there. Unfortunately it isn’t smart enough to know you’re not planning an extended stay at that altitude but are merely on a day ride. In March some crazy dudes ran Africas up a volcano in Chile to 19,570 feet. How many times did they switch off and on to reset fueling maps?
STOP BELIEVING EVERYTHING ONLINE!
QI Tempter read online GR650 my takes 1983 Suzuki 4 quarts of oil. Thought it was low (it has a small leak) and went to go get oil and it stalled out. The oil light came on. I checked and it was bone dry. Put in 4 quarts and from the white floating thing in the glass circle it looked to still not be full. Went to start it and it just about started and died. The starter sounds like it’s not even trying to turn over, and I’m worried I flooded something or messed up the bike. Do you know if I should try to drain it right away or let it sit for a day? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
JACOB A. CEIMAN CYCLEWORLD.COM
A the Chances oil light are came your bike on. You quit say then it sounds as if the starter isn’t even trying to spin, so suspect battery or ground issues first. But if the starter isn’t spinning and sounds like it is straining, just maybe you did run it out of oil and seized her up. Put her in one of the top gears and push to see if she’ll spin over. If it spins when pushed, you got lucky (this time).
You have overfilled the engine oil now and that will need to be corrected once the original problem is solved. If the engine oil level is above the sight glass, it can easily be mistaken for seeming empty when it’s actually overfull. The drill goes: Drain the oil until you see the level somewhere within the sight glass. You don’t have to wait, and you don’t have to drain all of the oil out (unless you want to... It’s not a bad idea to see how much you get out). Take a peek inside your air cleaner to ensure it hasn’t been slimed with a glob of oil. Run for a few minutes then recheck the level and adjust as necessary. We said your bike holds 2.5 quarts of oil back in July of ’83. Wiki says so, so it must be true.
TIRESOME TREAD WEAR
Q: Can you tell me why my back tire is wearing a lot more on the right side than the left side?
A Stop. You are going the wrong way. Dirt track always turns left. Seriously, your bike is weighted unevenly side to side (Harleys, and a few others, come this way by design), or your wheel alignment is way off, or you turn right a whole lot. Wheel alignment is easily checked and rectified. The other conditions require a new motorbike or a different commute.
HEALTHY CARB INTAKE
QI just picked up a clean, but hardstarting, 1986 Yamaha XT600 dirt cheap. Now I know why it was so affordable. I am having trouble locating a full carb repair kit for the Taikai carbs. Any suggestions? Switch to Mikunis?
KEVEN FLANAGAN HELENA, MT
A The XT600 has an oddball dualbore carb. Parts are available from Yamaha and some of the other usual sources too. You may only need to give it a good cleaning. It is most important to check the diaphragm for any tears. Keihin smooth-bore carbs will give a useful power bump but are $650 large at sudco.com.
Q: In the July issue James McCracken asked about hard starting when his carbureted bikes have sat for a month. Two of my carbureted bikes do the same thing, even with stabilized fuel. But if you drain the float bowls before attempting to start the bikes then allow the float bowls to refill, they will start right up. I theorize even with stabilizer, the part of the gas that easily evaporates does so, and you are left with the hard-to-evaporate component of the fuel. These bikes apparently are discriminating connoisseurs of petroleum products. This might help James.
JOSEPH BYRD CYCLEWORLD.COM
A Now why didn’t I think of that? You might be on to something, Joseph. I’ll be trying your trick myself to see. Better yet, fit a fuel shutoff valve to any carbureted engine (when practical) so you can run the bowls empty before storage.
ENGINE OIL LOWDOWN
QWhat are the harmful things if I lose engine oil in my toocc bike?
A Oil (in any engine) keeps metalon-metal parts from touching each other. If the oil level gets too low, the oil pump sucks a gulp of air and the oil film disappears. Typically, the big end rod bearing suffers catastrophic damage first, as it is usually the highest loaded bearing in an engine. If an engine is chronically run with low or dirty oil, you can count on
accelerated bearing wear, piston ring wear, and cam lobe/follower wear.
I was reading the December 2016 issue where Thomas P. Dougherty was complaining about handgrip vibrations from his CB900F Hornet. My best friend had a 1996 Suzuki Bandit that was incredibly buzzy in the handgrips. The bike came with heavy bar ends, which didn’t help at all. I removed one of the bar ends of the Bandit and inserted a piece of natural rubber tubing inside the handlebar. The idea is to use a size that will allow the tubing to bounce around inside there. Use a length that is just short of the length of the handlebar. This removed about 90 percent of the buzziness/vibration, even while not changing the thin stock rubber handgrips.
SHAWN TEISLEY CYCLEWORLD.COM
A Shawn, this is the best new thing in the world today. As always we enjoy passing on a clever, simple, low-cost, DIY solution such as this to our readers. Thanks for sharing!
KAWASAKI CREAM CYCLE
In the June Service column Derek Cannon wrote he had creamy oil in his ’13 650 Kawasaki. I have found more than one low-mileage KLR with bad water pump seals.
LEE SUTTON CYCLEWORLD.COM
A Yes, it is possible that engine coolant could get into the oil from a leaking water pump seal. There is a weep hole that should show coolant drips or staining before this happens, so I’m sticking with short trips and low running temps not evaporating the condensation out (until proven otherwise).