Winterising - drain tank?

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Good afternoon. It looks like the cold weather is in for good and I don’t want to be taking my new bike out on the salty roads. What do folks suggest then? having read threads about ethanol i’d like to get this right.

Is it best to drain the tank? If so, I read you can’t just unplug the pipe off the pump and turn the ignition on, i’m told there is a valve in the red elbow so it won’t pump the fuel out? Is that right? Seems to defy logic but i’m told onlyna small amount of fuel will be pumped out.

Alternatively, Is it better to put a gallon or two in with ethanol stabiliser? (Sta bil or similar?)

Or should I just go the whole hog and remove the tank and tip any fuel out the cap?

I’d rather have the bike together for those lovely dry January days when the suns out, but I also want to do the best for the bike.

I’m still learning and apologies if this is a ‘done to death’ subject.

Many thanks
 

BritTwit

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I leave the tank with fuel and stabilizer over the winter.
I like to get out and ride on that infrequent warm winter day too.
I use Marine Stabil in my tank.
 

Fast Eddie

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The advice I got from Norton was to keep the tank full when parked up.

Personally I’ve never tried stabiliser, I only use the highest ocatane fuel from BP or Shell as they’re what’s local to me.

These have less (some say zero) ethanol in them. I also believe that if you fill up with very high octane, then even if it degrades somewhat, you’re still left with decent fuel.

Whereas, if you fill up with low octane ethanol riddled super market fuel, when it degrades somewhat, and absorbs moisture due to the ethonal, you’re left with a barely combustible emulsion !
 
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marine stabil or startron for me in all my bikes the farm tractor the MG and the Camaro..also meant to say I use nonethanol gas in these machines
 
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I use an ethanol stabiliser called Ethanolmate in all bikes together with quality super unleaded 97 - after every ride, I fill the tank up so very little air is available to be absorbed by the ethanol if any is present - I leave all tanks like this over the winter & the bikes are always ready to go out if the weather perks up - Ethanolmate is 1 of 3 stabilisers recommended by the FBHVC who tested a range of these products several years ago and I have used it ever since with great success
 
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I use Marine Sta bil. Never had a problem. But like Fred, I get the occasional freak day over 45 and take a blast. Even if I only use a gallon, I'll top it off with fresh gas and another shot of Sta bil. I always leave a full tank. In the old days on the Bonnie, I drained and changed plugs every year. On a side note, put a few miles on yesterday. Went to 48F and a bit damp, but it was worth it.
 

KiwiNeill

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I,m with Fast Eddie on this, I,ve just put my (old) steel tank Commando and FJ1200 to bed filled with BP Ultimate 97 as I normally do, no stabilisers or drained carbs. Never had any type of problem and presume EFI bikes would be the same, like cars.
Fully expect either bike to fire up normally if a nice winter day presents itself.
Apparently BP Ultimate doesn,t contain ethanol in Southern England except in parts of Devon and Cornwall for some reason.

P.S.
just read your post below, didn,t know 961 models had plastic tanks which is a different proposition to steel, on bikes anyhow, with potential fitting problems.
I,m always on the lookout for corrosion in steel tanks, none is good, some is a problem but all good to date.
 
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Thanks. I read the issue for the plastic tanks to be swelling, distortion, or other issues resulting from the ethanol. Don’t get me wrong, i’ve Perhaps read a few instances of it occurring so this could just be a manufacturing defect that sneaked through. I’m working on the assumption the vast majority of 961’s are still running their original tanks.

And therefore i’d Just like to do the best, and it seemed like draining and removing would be the best. Although, if a high octane fuel like bp ultimate, combined with a stabiliser (it can’t hurt can it) then i’m Happier doing that. At least the bike will be ready to ride if I want it, plus no risk of me breaking anything or god forbid dropping the tank whilst i’m taking it off. Simple wins for me if that’s the consensus.
 

comet

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I read the issue for the plastic tanks to be swelling, distortion, or other issues resulting from the ethanol.
I believe it's water that causes the tanks to swell/distort. Ethanol in the petrol allows more water to be absorbed and exacerbates the problem.

When I was at the factory a couple of years ago I was shown some bikes in the service area where the tanks had expanded. I had asked why the nuts for the seat bolts couldn't be fixed in position (it's a pain trying to line them up when re-fitting the seat) and the explanation was that the tank expands and pushes back against the seat, so the nuts need to be able to move to compensate. The tanks I saw certainly had less clearance at the front (they sat much closer to the oil filler). I guess this isn't an issue unless there is distortion underneath that causes a leak.

I drain my tank(s) although that's just a personal preference as I don't like adding stuff to fuel. I probably wouldn't do it if I had to remove the tank though. I use a vacuum device which attaches to an air compressor and sucks the fuel out. The same thing can suck out car oil via the dipstick tube, which is the way some garages do it. You can get ones that don't require a compressor and the vacuum is created by hand pump.

Not saying that you should empty the tank, just that you can do it without removing it.
 

comet

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Apparently BP Ultimate doesn,t contain ethanol in Southern England except in parts of Devon and Cornwall for some reason.
I didn't know about BP Ultimate, but it sounds similar to the Esso position. The following is from the FAQs on the Esso web site:

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What is the ethanol content of your fuels?
The majority of unleaded 95 Octane petrol sold in the UK contains up to 5% ethanol as required under the Government’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO).

There is currently no requirement for renewable fuel (such as ethanol) to be present in super unleaded (97 grade petrol).

Esso super unleaded petrol (Synergy Supreme+ Unleaded 97) is ethanol free (except in Devon, Cornwall, the Teesside area and Scotland). We would therefore advise anyone who has concerns about the presence of ethanol in petrol to use Synergy Supreme+ – providing they do not fill up in Devon or Cornwall, the Teesside area or Scotland.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Probably something to do with the distribution depots that serve those parts of the country.
 
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[QUOTE="Probably something to do with the distribution depots that serve those parts of the country.[/QUOTE]

Apparently the ethanol is just added at the last minute when the tanker is about to leave - apparently all higher octane 97 from Immingham refinery comes ethanol free
 

comet

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Esso.JPG

I noticed that my local "ethanol free" pump has now been labelled as E5. I queried this with Esso and they said:

"Recent legislation requires E5 labels to be placed on pumps supplying unleaded fuel with 'up to 5% ethanol'. Since there is no lower limit, we are obliged to include the stickers on our Supreme Unleaded premium fuel pumps even though the fuel they dispense contains no ethanol."
 

BritTwit

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View attachment 14996

I noticed that my local "ethanol free" pump has now been labelled as E5. I queried this with Esso and they said:

"Recent legislation requires E5 labels to be placed on pumps supplying unleaded fuel with 'up to 5% ethanol'. Since there is no lower limit, we are obliged to include the stickers on our Supreme Unleaded premium fuel pumps even though the fuel they dispense contains no ethanol."
It's probably a bad sign of things to come.

Perhaps a future response from the oil company will be:

"... we are obliged to include the stickers on our Supreme Unleaded premium fuel pumps even though the fuel they dispense currently contains no ethanol."
 
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"up to 5%"...I assure you, there is 5%. Here in NY is 10%. Some say "up to" but most are honest enough to say "contains 10%"
 

comet

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There's no requirement in the UK to put ethanol in that grade of petrol so I'm happy to believe Esso when they say that their Supreme+ is ethanol free in much of the UK. On the other hand, I'm not overly concerned as I always drain the tank when the bike is not in regular use.
 
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I would drain the float bowls if bike is temporary laid up but also the whole tank if laid up for more than 3 months. I would remove petcocks leave top off and leave outside in sunshine to get all the fuel vapour out, when I'm satisfied it's dry, refit petcocks, and put two stroke oil in tank and swill it about. This will stop it rusting internally, I do this because I consider a petrol tank a fire risk. When I bring the bike out of its sleep, I flush tank out with petrol, which I keep for upper cylinder lubrication- I don't waste it.
 
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In Scotland and SW England there is no ethanol free petrol at all even Esso, so in these areas its better to drain than top up with hi octane fuel.
 
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