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Charcoal Canister Maintenance


No_Twilight

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No_Twilight

Hmmmm. I just picked up a 97 R850R with 85k miles on it and it may be the only R-bike of this vintage with a canister still. I guess I'll do the canisterectomy but right now the bike isn't running well so I think I'll wait until I get the other variables nailed down. Is there any problems that an old canister can cause? --Jerry

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Is there any problems that an old canister can cause?
It would have to be pretty dramatic before it could cause any performance issues. If the charcoal has broken down to the point where it is being sucked into the intake, that's about the only possibility. And evidence of that in the TBs would be dead obvious.

 

I supposed if it was totally pugged there could be the potential for vacuum lock in the tank. But that would also be obvious by a sucking sound when you opened the filler door.

 

Beyond that, the "canisterectomy" thing is just tinkering at the expense of the environment.

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Jerry, pull that sucker off and throw it in the garbage. A canister that old is bound to be causing some kind of problem.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Jerry, pull that sucker off and throw it in the garbage. A canister that old is bound to be causing some kind of problem.

 

confused.gif

 

Not sure I follow your logic. Mine has 110K on it, no problems. If the tank isn't vacuum-locked as Ken states (easily checked), and there's no carbon getting into the throttle bodies (also easily checked), then there's no problem.

 

As drharveys suggests: put a NOS sticker on it and be done with it. I did. crazy.gifgrin.gif

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No_Twilight

I've read somewhere of one plugging up or filing with gas or something like that. The mixed responses here seem to indicate it isn't very common. drharveys must have a similar sense of humor to mine. I just need to find where to get an NOS sticker....Thanks, Jerry

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A tipover can fill the canister with fuel, causing some rough running. It is unlikely that you have aspirated carbon into the engine but, as stated, that is simple to confirm.

 

You may want to remove and plug the rubber hoses that attach to the TBs and plug the stubs and determine if the bike runs better with the canister disconnected.

 

It is doubtful that your cannister is causing engine problems.

 

I would look for other things to be causing your engine problems. Also, I would keep the cannister.

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The charcoal canister is unlikely to have anything to do with your rough running problem. All it is, is a can of activated charcoal that absorbs fumes from the gas tank when the motor is off.

 

When the motor is running, a small amount of air is sucked through the charcoal to purge it of accummulated gas vapours (so it is ready for use the next time the engine is stopped). The amount of air (and residual fumes) is so small that it is irrelivant to the operation of the motor.

 

If there is any problem with this system at all, it won't be the charcoal! After all, what can go wrong with a can of this charcoal? If there IS anything wrong here, it could be a leak in the hoses of a defective bleed valve (if there is one) that allows excess air to be sucked into the engine intake.

 

Removing the can will probably be pointless.

 

Bob.

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No_Twilight

Bob,

That's the kind of logic I was looking for. I just hadn't ever seen one before so I wasn't used to troubleshooting with it in place. Thanks, Jerry

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Jerry, pull that sucker off and throw it in the garbage. A canister that old is bound to be causing some kind of problem.
Oh baloney. Age of a part has nothing to do with, "bound to be causing some kind of problem."
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Paul Mihalka

Oh, I know how Ken feels about emission controls. He feels about the same as he feels about loud mufflers thumbsup.gif

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Jerry, pull that sucker off and throw it in the garbage. A canister that old is bound to be causing some kind of problem.
Oh baloney. Age of a part has nothing to do with, "bound to be causing some kind of problem."

 

It's a two-fer, folks. grin.gif

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And after further thought, as much fun as it is getting a rise out of Ken tongue.gif, there really is no compelling reason to keep the canister on the bike.

 

Until it is properly tested, it is entirely possible that the canister is causing a problem because of being plugged, failed purge valve, hose leak, etc. Removing the canister will remove the possibility that it could cause any trouble at all.

 

To my knowledge, no other country in the world requires the canister. The fact that it's installed with high quality (read easily removable) clamps to the frame adds to the afterthought nature of it's inclusion on the bike.

 

I wonder if these things even prevent as much pollution as was created to produce them in the first place? confused.gif

 

I still say, take it off.

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there really is no compelling reason to keep the canister on the bike.
Except - Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...

 

Repeat until dead. wink.gif

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Congratulation on your purchase of a R850R. I also have a 97' R850R with only 29k miles on it.

 

A few years ago I had an accident with my bike, and took it to the dealer to have them fix it since it was fully insured.

They gave me a huge repair bill. Looking closely at it, the charcoal canister costs $1000 to replace!!

All that was wrong with it was a small dent to its side.

After doing some research, I decided to remove it since it interfered with the mounting hardware for a backrest I had installed.

I have ridden 15k miles now with the charcoal canister removed without any problems.

 

I found a good write up on another BMW web site explaining how to remove it. The link is below.

Instructions here

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No_Twilight

Dave,

Thanks. I've only ridden it a few miles but found it quite peppy. It seems to be geared a little lower than my R1100RS so you don't really notice the difference until you get to 110 and don't have any more gears. I'm really planning to keep the canister and put an NOS sticker on it. My R1100RS had it's canister removed many thousands of miles ago and I think 3/4 of the members here have chucked theirs. So I was sure it was ok to take it off. Now I'm pretty sure it's ok to leave it on. Cheers, Jerry

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Dave

 

I'd really wonder about your dealer. A&S lists the cost of a new canister for my R1100S at about $38!. How much per hour do they charge to install it?

 

Stan

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there really is no compelling reason to keep the canister on the bike.
Except - Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...

 

Repeat until dead. wink.gif

 

 

I emphatically disagree......canister removal can constitute an unsafe condition that could cause fire, explosion, injury or death. Do not remove it. Doing so could leave you liable in case somebody was injured as the result of a fire and the eventual discovery of an illegal modification you made to your motor vehicle.

 

Modifying or disabling the emission control systems on a motor vehicle is illegal.

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there really is no compelling reason to keep the canister on the bike.
Except - Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...

 

Repeat until dead. wink.gif

 

 

I emphatically disagree......canister removal can constitute an unsafe condition that could cause fire, explosion, injury or death. Do not remove it. Doing so could leave you liable in case somebody was injured as the result of a fire and the eventual discovery of an illegal modification you made to your motor vehicle.

 

Modifying or disabling the emission control systems on a motor vehicle is illegal.

 

Sorry, you are wrong. If your statement were correct, it would mean every BMW sold outside of the USA is dangerous, which they are not. The evaporative emissions cannister is ADDED to the fuel system used in the rest of the world, by removing it you are making the bike conform to the design used everywhere else. The legal issues are another matter but are down to environmental constraints, not safety.

 

Andy

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the charcoal canister costs $1000 to replace
Oh spare me the melodrama.

 

The canister for an '97 R850R is part # 16131342265 with a suggest retail price of $89.00. $71.20 from Chicago BMW today.

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there really is no compelling reason to keep the canister on the bike.
Except - Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...

 

Repeat until dead. wink.gif

 

 

I emphatically disagree......canister removal can constitute an unsafe condition that could cause fire, explosion, injury or death. Do not remove it. Doing so could leave you liable in case somebody was injured as the result of a fire and the eventual discovery of an illegal modification you made to your motor vehicle.

 

Modifying or disabling the emission control systems on a motor vehicle is illegal.

 

Sorry, you are wrong. If your statement were correct, it would mean every BMW sold outside of the USA is dangerous, which they are not. The evaporative emissions cannister is ADDED to the fuel system used in the rest of the world, by removing it you are making the bike conform to the design used everywhere else. The legal issues are another matter but are down to environmental constraints, not safety.

 

Andy

 

Andy,

 

I do not have the emmisions layout for BMWs sold in other countries. It is likely that tank venting layout and TBs are a bit different on those models. Also, the TB vacuum ports are stubbed off, if not eliminated.

 

Also, there is another poster at a different site who has experienced fuel leaks attributed to the canister malfunctioning.

 

I deem anything that has to do with the fuel system, tires and brakes that is not to specification constitutes a potential danger for injury or loss of life, the canister included.

 

Also, removing the canister does nothing for performance and may detract from engine driveability. The CAT plug used in US bikes incorporates the canister into the fuel delivery maps.

 

As a result, removing the canister may slightly detract from engine performance and certainly WILL void your warranty. Leave the canister alone...replace your air filter, adjust your valve lash or sync your TBs if you want more performance.

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Andy,

 

I do not have the emmisions layout for BMWs sold in other countries. It is likely that tank venting layout and TBs are a bit different on those models. Also, the TB vacuum ports are stubbed off, if not eliminated.

 

Also, there is another poster at a different site who has experienced fuel leaks attributed to the canister malfunctioning.

 

I deem anything that has to do with the fuel system, tires and brakes that is not to specification constitutes a potential danger for injury or loss of life, the canister included.

 

Also, removing the canister does nothing for performance and may detract from engine driveability. The CAT plug used in US bikes incorporates the canister into the fuel delivery maps.

 

As a result, removing the canister may slightly detract from engine performance and certainly WILL void your warranty. Leave the canister alone...replace your air filter, adjust your valve lash or sync your TBs if you want more performance.

 

The difference in layout is simple. The tank, and the filler surround vents on the tank are identical and come out below the tank as per the US spec bikes. Instead of being routed to the tank vent valve and cannister, they vent via a rubber hose to atmosphere behind the riders right-hand footrest. There is no difference in the TBs, the TB vents are covered with rubber caps (removed for TBS). Replicating this arrangement does not cause a dangerous condition.

 

The fuel mapping may or may not be different, certainly no one has ever reported poor running from canister removal.

 

You points regarding warrnaty and environmental law are fine. I also understand your disquiet about carrying out the modification yourself. I just felt that the statement you made could cause unnecessary worry for some people who have has the canisterectomy performed.

 

Incidentaly, I have discovered the tin my bottle of 10yr old Jura came in fits just nicely in the space where the canister goes on the US spec bikes. Could make a nice stowage container grin.gif

 

Andy

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Andy,

 

Based on your info, you are correct, there seems to be no apparent danger in removal of the canister.

 

However, here in the US, filling the tank using some of the mysterious fuel pump nozzles now in service can cause overfill and possible spillage of fuel during refueling. The canister acts as a reservoir to hold this fuel with the resulting vapours (note my politically correct spelling of vapors) being drawn off and incinerated in the engine. Also, if a slightly overfilled tank (damn those fuel nozzles) sits in the sun, raw fuel can be vented with the associated dangers of fire (Note the caution used when F1 cars are fueled during a race where one of the crew hoses the fuel filling area as the car is topped off).

 

I do not like raw fuel anywhere but in the tank where it is safe and cannot mix with enough air to combust, hence my safety concern.

 

I have heard of motorcycles catching fire during refueling…and while very infrequent, the canister may reduce the chance of fire when refueling.

 

It is rather easy to stuff the tank (in cars as well as motorcycles) a potentially hazardous condition, especially if the tank now sits in bright sunlight after an inadvertent overfill.

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We get overfills as well - in fact I seem to remember that there was a recent thread where a fire was eventually traced to an overfilling episode, so you have a valid point.

 

Andy thumbsup.gif

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Andy,

 

Based on your info, you are correct, there seems to be no apparent danger in removal of the canister.

 

However, here in the US, filling the tank using some of the mysterious fuel pump nozzles now in service can cause overfill and possible spillage of fuel during refueling. The canister acts as a reservoir to hold this fuel with the resulting vapours (note my politically correct spelling of vapors) being drawn off and incinerated in the engine. Also, if a slightly overfilled tank (damn those fuel nozzles) sits in the sun, raw fuel can be vented with the associated dangers of fire (Note the caution used when F1 cars are fueled during a race where one of the crew hoses the fuel filling area as the car is topped off).

 

I do not like raw fuel anywhere but in the tank where it is safe and cannot mix with enough air to combust, hence my safety concern.

 

I have heard of motorcycles catching fire during refueling…and while very infrequent, the canister may reduce the chance of fire when refueling.

 

It is rather easy to stuff the tank (in cars as well as motorcycles) a potentially hazardous condition, especially if the tank now sits in bright sunlight after an inadvertent overfill.

 

The problem with this cautionary example is that the overflow vent (The one on the outside of the filler) goes directly to the atmosphere regardless of the presence of a canister or not. If one overfills their tank, the gas is going down this vent and out of the drain holes around the filler anyway, so having a canister doesn't help regarding these kinds of overfills.

 

Now, if one stuffs their tank and lets it sit in the warm sun, gasoline can be forced back into the canister. And this is where the problem with the canister occurs. Canisters are not intended to capture liquid gasoline, only gasoline vapors. Once filled with liquid gas, it can become plugged and can dissolve the active carbon inside, allowing this pasty mixture to be sucked through the left TB. This very senerio is what causes most canister-related problems.

 

The only issue regarding the removal of the canister is one of a legal nature, not a safety issue.

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ShovelStrokeEd

Where does this B.S. come from?

 

The charcol canister is not, in any way shape or form, incorporated into the fuel or ignition mapping on the motorcycle. It is merely an add on put there because it is required to meet fuel evaporation regulations in THIS country. The rest of the world gets along fine without it.

 

It does present a significant hazard to proper operation of the motorcycle should the owner be careless enough to overfill his tank. The liquid gasoline sucked into it breaks down the carbon matrix within and can allow particles of carbon to be sucked into the intake ports of the engine where they may foul the exhaust valves and cause a failure.

 

So long as the tank vent line is properly routed after the cannister is removed, the increase in danger is so small as to be insignificant. As to warranty, show me. I have removed the cannister on all of the BMW's I have owned in the last 12 years and never has a dealer told me that it would void my warranty.

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Where does this B.S. come from?

 

The charcol canister is not, in any way shape or form, incorporated into the fuel or ignition mapping on the motorcycle. It is merely an add on put there because it is required to meet fuel evaporation regulations in THIS country. The rest of the world gets along fine without it.

 

It does present a significant hazard to proper operation of the motorcycle should the owner be careless enough to overfill his tank. The liquid gasoline sucked into it breaks down the carbon matrix within and can allow particles of carbon to be sucked into the intake ports of the engine where they may foul the exhaust valves and cause a failure.

 

So long as the tank vent line is properly routed after the cannister is removed, the increase in danger is so small as to be insignificant. As to warranty, show me. I have removed the cannister on all of the BMW's I have owned in the last 12 years and never has a dealer told me that it would void my warranty.

 

Fed law prohibits modification of the emissions control systems on your vehicle.

 

Oh, and by the way, I hope you or your motorcycle do not catch fire.

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ShovelStrokeEd

No fires since 1959 when I started riding and long before there was anything like this evaporative cannister type stuff. My race bikes just had a hole in the filler cap with a hose running up through the center of the steering stem. I crashed plenty on those with the attendant sparks/spilled fuel.

 

As to the legal stuff, I'll take my chances. You imply immediate conflagration should the silly thing be removed. That, sir, is BS as is your ill informed comments regarding the function of the fuel system and the fact that the cat code plug has anything to do with fuel mapping in regards presence or absence of the charcol cannister.

 

Oh and further on the warranty/legal issue, the canister is not labeled as part of the emissions control system and I have never heard of BMW replacing one under warranty as they would be required to do, should they malfunction, under the same federal laws.

Care to 'splain that?

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Obviously we have some serious differences of opinion here! Just a note on my own experiences in this area. I noticed that when I removed my charcoal canister:

 

cg_ot_s185_195.jpg

 

and replaced it with

 

gg_q_ls.jpg

 

I definitely use more (propane) gas. Not sure how it affects the environment, but my meat cooks faster.

 

Just trying to help lighten things up… wink.gif

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It does appear that some remedial interpersonal skills training might be in order for a few of the poster on this topic now doesn't it! Every one of us hears some stuff that we might pass on in a questioning fashion only to be pounced upon. Certainly stimulates future posts. NOT!!

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I have irrefutable proof of the canister being a part of the emissions control system on a BMW.......I just don’t know how to attach a photo.....can you help?

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Bart Anderson

Did a canisterectomy five years ago. Have not gone up in flames. Have not been jailed. No warranty issues. Sleep well at night.

 

To paraphrase:

Dennis.......quit worrying about others' canisters....go ride!

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ShovelStrokeEd

Proof, no proof, who cares? It is basically like an appendix. We all start out with one and it serves no useful purpose. When it gives problems, we remove it. I choose to remove mine as a prohylaxis. I'm not gonna wait for it to give problems. I'm also familiar with the diagrams.

 

Making statements about the danger of your bike going up in flames or that it will impact the way the bike runs is where I have issues. You seem given to extreme positions with no basis in fact. Witness your comments on an improperly adjusted TPS causing engines to blow.

 

I am, BTW, in agreement with your sig line. Forget about the oil, go ride.

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Dave

 

I'd really wonder about your dealer. A&S lists the cost of a new canister for my R1100S at about $38!. How much per hour do they charge to install it?

 

Stan

 

I am very much surprised by this number. I had taken the bike to A&S cycles for the repair estimate. I do not think I have the estimate paperwork anymore, but my recollection (3 years old) was that they wanted to charge me $1000 for a new one. I was so shocked by the price that I remember it as being outrageous. tongue.gif

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It does appear that some remedial interpersonal skills training might be in order for a few of the poster on this topic now doesn't it! Every one of us hears some stuff that we might pass on in a questioning fashion only to be pounced upon. Certainly stimulates future posts. NOT!!

 

I agree. Our discussion benefits by being receptive to alternative points of view and having the social grace to disagree w/o rancor. (coincidentally, this behavior pattern, i.e., strident statements contrary to ongoing discussion, is evident in our nation's capitol). Somehow we need to learn how to express our opinions w/o ticking each other off. Funny, this social skill was common years ago; where did we go wrong ?

 

Wooster

 

fish mongers are stingy; their business makes them selfish

 

Oh yes, on topic, I removed my canister a few years back, yet I respect Ken's environmental concern. Perhaps it's shallow of me to say but Sunday's "Earth Day" (which should be more than once a year) reminds me of environmental issues.

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Oh yes, on topic, I removed my canister a few years back, yet I respect Ken's environmental concern. Perhaps it's shallow of me to say but Sunday's "Earth Day" (which should be more than once a year) reminds me of environmental issues.

 

Does this mean you will reinstall your canister? If so, I say "Well done and thank you".

 

If not, then you’re just a polluting hypocrite.

 

Leave your CATS and canisters in place...the environment and I will thank you...so will generations for years to come.

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Oh yes, on topic, I removed my canister a few years back, yet I respect Ken's environmental concern. Perhaps it's shallow of me to say but Sunday's "Earth Day" (which should be more than once a year) reminds me of environmental issues.

 

Does this mean you will reinstall your canister? If so, I say "Well done and thank you".

 

If not, then you’re just a polluting hypocrite.

 

Leave your CATS and canisters in place...the environment and I will thank you...so will generations for years to come.

 

674686-17062081-M.gif

674686-17062081-M.gif.3191477181a236469ca1656553357d8d.gif

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Proof, no proof, who cares? It is basically like an appendix. We all start out with one and it serves no useful purpose. When it gives problems, we remove it. I choose to remove mine as a prohylaxis. I'm not gonna wait for it to give problems. I'm also familiar with the diagrams.

 

Making statements about the danger of your bike going up in flames or that it will impact the way the bike runs is where I have issues. You seem given to extreme positions with no basis in fact. Witness your comments on an improperly adjusted TPS causing engines to blow.

 

I am, BTW, in agreement with your sig line. Forget about the oil, go ride.

 

Removing your appendix is not elective surgery. Most of us still have ours.

 

Removal of the canister and/or CAT from your motorcycle is elective and serves no purpose except to remove some weight from your bike. Also, it is illegal.

 

Would you remove your appendix to merely save some weight at the potential expense of your health? I think not.

 

Therefore, stop breaking the law by illegally modifying your emission control systems on your motorcycles.

 

It doesn’t help your bike and it harms the environment. This is my position and I’m sticking to it!

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Therefore, stop breaking the law by illegally modifying your emission control systems on your motorcycles.

 

It doesn’t help your bike and it harms the environment. This is my position and I’m sticking to it!

clap.gifthumbsup.gif
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Therefore, stop breaking the law by illegally modifying your emission control systems on your motorcycles.

 

Obviously, your hot-button issue is the environment. That's fine, everyone has their religion. But, harping on the lawfulness of removing the canister is a bit disingenuous. I have a hard time imagining that you are the ONE, the one who has not broken any laws. wink.gif

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Therefore, stop breaking the law by illegally modifying your emission control systems on your motorcycles.

 

Obviously, your hot-button issue is the environment. That's fine, everyone has their religion. But, harping on the lawfulness of removing the canister is a bit disingenuous. I have a hard time imagining that you are the ONE, the one who has not broken any laws. wink.gif

 

What's disingenuous about it? I am darn well sincere when I say, "If you have modified your emission control system, you have broken the law....PERIOD"!

 

My CAT and canister are still where BMW put them.

 

Also, I am not a hypocrite........how 'bout you?

 

The casual modification of motorcycles is often dangerous, can lead to injury or death and in many cases causes poor performance and may be illegal. Where do you fit in this list? Disingenuous, indeed.

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I'm changing out the old standard charcoal in mine to the new synthetic charcoal for the obvious performance benefits.

 

Get the new Supersyn charcoal with the added moly.........

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I am going to make EVERYONE happy thumbsup.gif I left my carbon canister on the bike and now use it to store my cargo net. I have found that cargo nets are VERY bad for the environment. They tend to get tangled up in anything that they get close to and can be harmful to children and small animals grin.gif I also no longer worry about that biological carbon gremlin infecting my fuel system. bncry.gif I must admit that I spent several sleepless nights contemplating the benefits vs possible problems caused by this lawless act. I can only hope that the environmental poisons emitted by my motorcycle do not bring an early demise to the human race smirk.gif

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The casual modification of motorcycles is often dangerous, can lead to injury or death and in many cases causes poor performance and may be illegal.

Now that is a real jewel in the pantheon of unsubstantiated statements!

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Bart Anderson
I'm changing out the old standard charcoal in mine to the new synthetic charcoal for the obvious performance benefits.

 

Warning--be sure to wait 'til after about 12k miles or so...the bike needs to be fully broken in before making this switch, or the throttle body butterflies will not seat properly!

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ShovelStrokeEd

Time and resources permitting, I intend to collect the emissions from my tank vent and run them through the mass spectrometer at work, comparing with air taken from a source near the bike. Time to find out just what is emitted and how much.

 

Any chemists out there willing to speculate? I'll run a flask with a two hole stopper, with one side connected to the tank vent, one to air. Collect sample for 8 hours in with the bike sitting in the sun. Flow pure helium through the mass spec and then inject 1.0cc of the tank effluvia into the flow and see what the mass spec has to say. Wait for return to norms and then do the same, using a fresh syringe loaded with 1.0cc of air. Mass spec is a Pfeiffer RGA analyzier with a filiment temp of 1400 deg C so it should be able to spot most of what is in there.

 

It would also be of some interest if someone has access to an EGA, to see what effect a saturated charcol cannister has on the tailpipe emissions at idle and maybe 3K RPM.

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