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Thread: Water in fuel

  1. #1
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    Water in fuel

    Well, I'm an idiot. I got my bike all back together and was so excited to fire it up I think I put bad gas in it. Bike was hard to start, sputtered, coughed and died. I didn't realize I used my old gas can until after, and realized some water had probably made it's way in there. I obviously need to drain the tank, but I'm wondering if it's necessary to remove the pump assembly all over again to replace the filter. I'm hoping not because I already had to pull the pump assembly twice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    There is a drain plug on the fuel pump housing. Then go get some “dry gas” and you should be ok. It may run crappy until the dry gas burns off so take it easy for the next tank.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    If you havent done this already... I typically will cut up an empty quart containter of oil to use as a makeshift funnel. Its a terrible funnel for anything else, but works OK for helping direct some of the drained gas into the catch pan. I've found that leaving part of the top connected and raised up helps to act as a backsplash. Dont worry the fuel draining out will outrun the funnel.

    Also, elevate the catch pan as high as possible under the bike. An 1" or 2 helps catch some of the spills that would have hit the ground.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Or if you bake cookies while in the garage like I do... you can use tinfoil to form a makeshift funnel in any shape you wish.

    If it's enough water to stall the engine, it is now in your fuel system and should be flushed or it will take a whole lot of cranking to clear it out.

    Now that the injectors have water in them, do NOT let it sit. Fix/flush it now.

    Add some Stabil to the new dry fuel to emulsify the small amount of water that will always be left in the tank. I JUST went through that last week after flushing the system 3 TIMES on a carbed bike.

    You can easily save that water based fuel for car or lawnmower duty by draining into a clear or opaque container and sucking out the water from the bottom. There will be a clear visible line (they don't mix ya'know). I use my brake vacuum pump to start the flow in the hose and avoid (another) mouthful of gas.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, guys. Drained tank, dropped off battery to charge and picked up some Heet to add to the fresh fuel. Hopefully everything's okay to sit a day till I can finish the job tomorrow.

    Cooter - when you mention flushing the system so I don't have to keep cranking. Are you talking about disconnecting the fuel line under the airbox base plate and running the pump to get rid of the old fuel in the lines? if you mean something else, I'd love some additional detail.

  6. #6
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    Alright, so I put a freshly charged battery in, added 2 gal of fresh fuel with Heet additive, and started cranking. Hard to start ,but eventually fired up and idled smoothly for about 3 seconds before quitting. Kept firing it back up and would idle then die shortly after. Sometimes it would not start after a couple seconds of cranking, but it seemed to work better if I clicked the ignitiion off then back on. It also seemed to work better if I gave it a couple pumps of throttle when off. Could not give any throttle when idling. I can hear the fuel pump priming nicely before and after start, and it turns off after running a second or two after the engine dies. Could this just be clearing out the old gas, or something else entirely? I drained the battery cranking it over so much, so will try again later today after a fresh charge. Battery tested good at the auto parts store.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Did you flush out the fuel line like Cooter recommended (remove the fuel line from the rail and cycle the pump a few times)?

    The fact that it ran for a few seconds indicates the residual gas in the fuel line wasnt that bad. Disconnect the fuel pump connector and see if it will run a little better by pouring gas directly down the TB. If that shows an improvement, then your problem is still likely in the fuel delivery. If it behaves the same, you have another issue.

    If you feel like swapping out the fuel pump (again) to eliminate that possibility, I should have another pump assembly you can borrow.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Adding a gallon of good gas to a gallon of bad gas... makes 2 gallons of bad gas

    Draining the tank is a good start, but unless the tank is DRY afterwards, all thats left in the bottom below the drain is now just water. Engines can run on a surprising amount of water in the gas and the Heet you add will emulsify the water (allowing it to be digested by the engine) BUT your fuel lines and injectors are now so full of the bad stuff, the bike won't even run, right?

    1) Lucky for you the fuel line and injector rail on an XB is pretty short. IMO, pull the fuel line at the rail and cycle the ignition a few times (run on) to purge the supply line, use compressed air to blow what you can out of the rail, re-assemble (the WHOLE bike), cycle the ignition a couple times again, and you have a shot of it starting relatively quickly. See #3

    OR
    2) At least drain the tank, add the Heet, then add a gallon of gas (less is more here), slosh the tank, put your charger on the highest setting, and crank away... Let the starter rest for a couple minutes for every 30 seconds of cranking.

    3) Once its running, leave it running, and go ride it a long way to a gas station, the movement helps it mix and you want that gas out. Even emulsified gas can rust internals.

    Bonus point for using the Ol' Gloomshadow trick and add an OZ (more is not more here) of 2 stroke oil to the tank at the gas station, just before filling it. Opinions vary, but I have personally seen the benefits in a very non-scientific and un-proven ways. IMO, it can't hurt anything in normal doses, it mixes with gas, and it should combat water damage.

    That should be all you need to have a fresh gas system. No need to replace pumps, filters, or socks from just a short bout with water intrusion. Once flushed, they should be fine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    I was typing while you guys were posting lol. Please read it. It applies to exactly why you now have a dead battery and still non-running bike. The gas rose to the top of the fuel line at the injectors (why it ran for 3 seconds) and then sucked in 100% water again, and died. It acting like you have a LOT of water in there.

    IMO, do #1 and take the 10 mins to pull off the airbox and disconnect the fuel line because it's cheaper than killing a new battery and frying a good starter

    "pumping the throttle" won't do anything, theres no accelerator pump action when cranking so you are adding air, not gas. Cycling the ignition (run switch) will pulse the injectors and is a very small version of that but would take forever to flush the lines that way. Don't touch the throttle when cranking.

    It sounds like you don't have a decent battery charger to boost it? Then #1 is the only way. Besides, it only takes ONE tool (T27) and it's faster than the time you've spent dicking around already, lol.
    Last edited by Cooter; 02-01-2022 at 05:19 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cooter View Post
    I was typing while you guys were posting lol.
    "Typing".... is that what you kids call it these days?

    At this point, water contamination/bad gas is a hypothesis. Luckily, its relatively cheap to eliminate the bad gas from the list of potential issues. My only real pause with the "bad gas" is that XB's will (usually) run on crap gas, and his gas shouldnt be that old.

    If you want to be lazy about it, you could just remove the nut from where the fuel hose attaches to the pump assembly and just let gravity let the residual gas/whatever flow out of the tube.



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