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H2O in fuel? condensation?


roadhome

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Yesterday I took the bike out to stretch it's legs. It normaly lives in my shop but was stored in the shed for the last week or so. We've had some strange weather lately, high humidity, big temp fluctuations, rain. The fuel tank was near empty. When I cranked it up, the BC told me I had 4 miles left and by the time I made it 1/2 mile down the road, it read empty.

 

I made it to the station and filled up, ran my mouth to a friend for about 15 minutes and headed toward the mountains. About a hundered yards down the road, it started cutting in and out (obvious random loss of ignition).

 

I should have pumped it out and refilled, but I was already running very late. If I kept the RPM's up, the bike would run rough periodically but would keep going. Idling was not pretty, if at all. I rode 120mi at high speed and made my meeting. It ran better, but still not great. A friend noted an unusual residue at the tailpipe that smelled of fuel. Dumped some Sea Foam in the tank (a little over half tank left) and headed home.

 

The tank is almost empty now and it runs much better. I'm going to fill up elsewhere today.

 

After this long story the question is...Has anyone encountered tank condensation? Can that happen? I like my local country store and they have reported no other water related incidents. What is the fuel filter situation in my RT tank (05). Could it have gotten plugged? Seems unlikely. Has anyone else encountered anything like this?

Thanks in advance.

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.......The fuel tank was near empty...

 

Big no-no......but you know that NOW!

 

During the season where I don't ride too often, I always top off the tank just before putting the bike/car/truck in the garage. Nothing will get water in a fuel tank like a tank that has air in it. I use Stabil also if my plastic fuel containers, like the ones you use to refill a lawn mower, etc. That seems to keep the fuel okay for several months.

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you got gas that was contaminated, or very old. There have been spells of this before. You need drain tank and change the fuel filter, oil and oil filter now. I had it happen on my van, one tank turned the oil black, gunked up the intake, made the throttle stick and I had to take it apart and clean everything. Cut open filter and it was full of rusty crap, and my fuel tank is plastic.

 

Think of the profit if you dump a barrel of industrial waste in a gas tanker. It happens.

 

rod

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UPDATE: Ran it out to 10 miles remaining according to the BC. Filled it full (6.3 gal.) from a new construction service station that just opened last week. Bike is completely smooth again.

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Full Tank + Stabil for any lengthy storage. With wide temperature swing, you never want a tank left more than half empty on any vehicle.

 

As a general rule, long trips are the only time I run any vehicle less than half empty. I the winter, I'll refuel sooner on long trips. Never tempt fate, that you could end up stranded in winter conditons and not have fuel to stay warm with hte national guard digs you out. (CA residents can mostly ignore the last part).

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I think he's full of it.

 

Why? The link seemed reasonably sensible and thoughtful based upon my quick read through it. Is his math funky?

 

Jay

 

He isn't even considering the right processes. His physics is way off target, and he doesn't consider repeated daily cycles. There is so much BS in there I hardly know where to start.

 

Example, he only considers cases in which tanks may sweat, e.g. cold tanks in warm moist air. I believe the bigger problem is when warm moist air cools inside a tank, as occurs during each daily temperature cycle.

 

Then the idea that you have to see a sweat or dew isn't really right at all. Partitioning between a vapor phase and a solvent is governed by Henry's Law, which is a different matter altogether. Then he never even considers solubility of water in the various fuel products. I mean what we are interested in is how much water is in the fuel and what it does there.

 

Then this whole business about the relative rates of various materials heating and cooling... he isn't even thinking about water entering the fuel from the vapor phase, he thinks it has to condense on the tank and then drip in. Surely this is the most minor and fairly rare scenario.

 

Then somehow he is into the underside of valve covers.

 

I'm no expert on the matter, but this man is obviously totally out to lunch.

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aggieengineer

Talk to anyone who flies airplanes. We regularly drain small amounts of water from the fuel tank sumps. However, when dealing with the small volume of fuel in a motorcycle tank, I would first suspect contamination from the fuel seller. Just a guess, however.

 

One other thing to consider is that if your gasoline is diluted with ethanol (ethyl alcohol), it will readily absorb moisture from the air, and the alcohol will then separate from the gasoline and settle to the bottom of the tank. Alcohol will mix with water much more readily than it will mix with petroleum.

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Talk to anyone who flies airplanes. We regularly drain small amounts of water from the fuel tank sumps.

Yes, but that’s usually cause by rain water, dew, etc, getting past the flush mounted top of wing cap. Not condensation within tank.

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Yesterday I took the bike out to stretch it's legs. It normaly lives in my shop but was stored in the shed for the last week or so. We've had some strange weather lately, high humidity, big temp fluctuations, rain. The fuel tank was near empty. When I cranked it up, the BC told me I had 4 miles left and by the time I made it 1/2 mile down the road, it read empty.

 

I made it to the station and filled up, ran my mouth to a friend for about 15 minutes and headed toward the mountains. About a hundered yards down the road, it started cutting in and out (obvious random loss of ignition).

 

I should have pumped it out and refilled, but I was already running very late. If I kept the RPM's up, the bike would run rough periodically but would keep going. Idling was not pretty, if at all. I rode 120mi at high speed and made my meeting. It ran better, but still not great. A friend noted an unusual residue at the tailpipe that smelled of fuel. Dumped some Sea Foam in the tank (a little over half tank left) and headed home.

 

The tank is almost empty now and it runs much better. I'm going to fill up elsewhere today.

 

After this long story the question is...Has anyone encountered tank condensation? Can that happen? I like my local country store and they have reported no other water related incidents. What is the fuel filter situation in my RT tank (05). Could it have gotten plugged? Seems unlikely. Has anyone else encountered anything like this?

Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

R.H. on older motorcycles with open tank vents you could get a little moisture in the bottom of the fuel tank during extended storage in a moist area or if the temperature of the tank kept changing through the dew point.. It wouldn’t happen in a short time though..

 

On modern motorcycles & cars & light trucks moisture in the fuel system from storage is mostly gone due to the emission vapor recovery canister.. Those things not only trap fuel vapors but do a decent job of trapping moisture that tries to enter with the tank vent air..

 

Even then if your gasoline contains some alcohol it will absorb what little moisture enters..

 

My guess is as others above have said above that you got a load of contaminated gasoline.. As long as you didn’t get any dirt or crud into the fuel tank to partially plug the fuel pump intake strainer you are probably OK now that the contaminated fuel has worked it’s way through the system..

 

Twisty

 

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