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How to Properly Store your Motorcycle

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by gentlemanjim, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    Most operational problems can be prevented by properly preparing your bike for off season storage. Whether over the winter or just a planned extended period of time it won’t be ridden. The procedure should take about 4 hours. While that seems like a lot of time it will save you tenfold in the time, expense and aggravation required diagnosing and remedying the problems that arise from an improperly stored bike when you are ready to return the bike to service.

    Fuel System
    - Change the fuel filter.
    - Add fuel stabilizer and top off the fuel tank.
    - Run the engine long enough to certain the stabilized fuel reaches the carburetors for fuel injectors. With a full tank moisture has no place to accumulate. This will get the engine warm enough to proceed with the oil change.

    - Lubricants: Warm the engine and thoroughly drain the oil replace the oil and filter. Pull the spark plugs and spray fogging oil or WD 40 in each cylinder or pour a teaspoon of engine oil. Crank the engine over slowly to distribute the oil on the cylinder walls.
    - Fog the engine: Remove the air cleaners and with the engine running at a fast idle spray fogging oil in the inlet of the carburetors. Fogging oil can be purchased marine outlets or WD 40 will work as well. This will coat the combustion chambers, displace moisture and prevent corrosion.
    - Coolant: Test your coolant for concentration assuring it will withstand the cold temperatures anticipated. Ideally drain the old coolant and put in a fresh 50/50 mixture of aluminum safe antifreeze with purified water (distilled, R/O or bottled drinking water).
    - Cover your exhaust tips with plastic bags or duct tape. This will provide additional protection from moisture and rodent nesting.

    Drive Line
    - Drive Chain: Thoroughly clean, inspect, adjust and lube your drive chain.
    - Shaft Drive: Check fluid level and top off as necessary. If it is near its service interval drain and refill with the appropriate grade and viscosity recommended.
    - Belt Drive: Clean and thoroughly inspect the belt for signs of wear or damage. Adjust or change as needed.

    - Clean battery cable terminals and lightly coat with dielectric grease.
    - Check electrolyte level and top off with purified water.
    - Connect a floating battery charger (Battery Tender or equivalent) not a trickle charger as it will boil out the electrolyte over an extended period of time.

    Controls and Cables
    - Clean and lubricate the throttle and clutch cable (if equipped)
    - Clean and lubricate tachometer and speedometer cables
    - Grease any suspension components that have Zerk fittings.

    - Inspect brake master cylinders and top off specified DOT brake fluid.
    - Flush brake system with fresh DOT brake fluid if near its service interval
    - Inspect brake pads and shoes. Replace if they have exceeded their wear limits.

    Shiny Stuff - Accessories
    - Body and frame: Give your bike a good wash and quality wax
    - Seat: Treat with a good vinyl leather and plastic conditioner.
    - Windscreen: Clean with a plastic safe cleaner and protectant (if equipped).
    - Luggage: Clean and treat with an appropriate cleaner and protectant.

    - Inflate the tires to specified pressure.
    - Do not apply a "tire shine" as it can cause loss of traction when put into service.
    - Be certain t recheck inflation pressures when returning bike to service as pressure will decrease over time.
    - Inspect tread depth and replace before riding season if needed.
    - Mount bike on center stand or ideally on paddock stands to keep both tires off the ground.

    - Cover your bike with a breathable cover designed and sized for your specific motorcycle. They allow the bike to stay protected from dirt and dust and prevent rust causing condensation - and this applies to both cold and warm storage.
    - Do not use a tarp to cover your bike for outside storage as it will not breathe and it will flap in the wind and cause scuffing of the finished surfaces.

    When riding season comes along
    - Inflate the tires
    - check your lights and turn indicators
    You should be good to go!
  2. Pandorasglocks

    Pandorasglocks XS650 Enthusiast

    Cool checklist! Will use this when winter comes around.
  3. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    Its obvious that this time of the year no one is thinking about putting their bike in storage. When you read all the posts about carb issues usually a result gummy fuel deposits and clogged jets. Preparing the fuel system for the big winter nap I'm hoping that come next riding season with less fueling issues to resolve.
  4. heckienawjoe

    heckienawjoe XS650 Enthusiast

    truly awesome list! dont forget to change your oil again in the spring...use a cheap oil in the winter since youre getting rid of it right away come spring.
  5. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Good list someday I am going to follow a list like that, every year I MEAN to do it.
    Especially in an unheated shed, but anywhere that is not bone dry put plywood or plastic on the ground then part the bike on it helps keep condensation from forming and rusting the bottom side.
  6. xjwmx

    xjwmx It's just the unknown. Top Contributor

    Why's a man in Florida put his bike away for winter? I ride all year, even up here. It's fun, in a figuring out how to keep warm kind of way.
  7. bdholsin

    bdholsin XS Enthusiast

    I've read that 2-cycle oil can be used in the cylinders to lubricate the sides and rings as it seems to "stick" better to the cylinder walls.

    I'm packing the 650 away today for hibernation. It's just getting too cold to ride much right now.
  8. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    Use a marine fogging storage product. Why trust "hear say" remedies. Use prducts that have been engineered and proven for the application - that applies to all applications.
  9. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Anything is better than nothing and nothing is probably fine if your winter storage is dry. I like to have something under the bike, plywood or a chunk of tarp, ground (concrete) moisture can be hard on the bottom side. I go around and tend the batteries a few times a winter on all my summer toys.
  10. bdholsin

    bdholsin XS Enthusiast

    It's in the garage. The plywood suggestion will work to avoid rust between the center stand and the concrete. I'm not planning to cover it as I'll be wrenching on it periodically through the winter. Going to pick up a battery tender soon as well.
  11. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    Oh, I'm not putting my bike away for the winter - we don't have winter. We also do not have interseting twisty roads, just boring flat and straight ones.

    It's 8:45 AM and 76 degrees F -11/30/2010 should get to mid 80's. But I do follow most of my storage procedures that apply - Not to worry.
  12. motor650b

    motor650b XS650 Member

    Thanks GentlemanJim,

    Three things:

    I find that one can either inject oil into the cylinder through the plug hole or fog the engine to sleep. I kind of like that metaphor (fog the engine to sleep).

    Once you change the oil, it is changed. You do not need to change the oil again in the spring, the oil is still fresh. No contaminants added, no running through the gears.

    I think that the importance of plastic or plywood under the bike (on a porous floor) is to prevent moisture from rising up and condensing on the metal bike parts.
  13. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    "Fog to sleep" Precisely and is the best method as it colats the intake tract, cylinders and some out the exhast. WHereas pouring in the spark plug hole onely cylinder walls.

    Changing the oil post and pre-season is preferred as condensation will accumulate from the crankcase breather, air cleaners and in from the exhaust system. I forsee no real harm if the oil is (only) changed at the end of the season as combustion acids and byproducts will attack the inerds and forgo the preseason oil change. I just tried to cover the best practices. From most of the techincial issues I see on these pages, most problems are a result of neglect and not properly putting a bike away for the off season.
  14. JB2048

    JB2048 JB, 1981 XS650SH, N.IL.

    More Wrenchin than Ridin: How to Properly Store your Motorcycle

    Your contributions here are appreciated, and extremely helpful to those of us needing reminders to do the right things with our bikes. You are definitely a "A Good Guy", which is a high compliment in my world ! Thanks !
  15. CheckMark

    CheckMark XS650 Member

  16. gentlemanjim

    gentlemanjim More Wrenchin than Ridin

    Plenty of options for protecting your bike, but my recommedations are always use a product designed for the application. Seafoam is a fuel additive for cleaning fuel systems, use it as such Stabil is a fuel additive for keeping the gasoline from breaking down and fresh for next season. I don't know what Marvel Mystery oil is A mystery to me. Fogging oil which coats and protects cylinder walls, rings, valves and pistons is to be sprayed through the intake wile the engine is running forcing it to stall and leave the proctective coating. All marine manufacturers have this product. My advice use them not worth experimenting when the wheel has already been invented roll with it.
  17. Winter in the southwest - what's that?

    Guys here leave their bikes parked in all kinds of weather - uncovered.
    Saw a Honda VT700 and a Sporty both just sitting out in the open.

    Good post. :bike:
  18. xsfanman

    xsfanman old wrencher

    Hi there, It makes sense to keep both wheels off the ground to preserve the tires.
    but is it OK to lift the front of the bike from the bottom and let the forks hang for the winter,or will it screw up the springs in the forks ????
  19. retiredgentleman

    retiredgentleman XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Just let the forks hang....................no problem at all. As a matter of fact, I have both my front and rear wheels off my bike right now, and will stay that way until next April.
  20. jd750ace

    jd750ace Front Toward Enemy

    My bikes are off the ground, and the tire pressure reduced by 50% while they are neutral.
    I have only used MMO as an added detergent in the oil, and a fuel additive for cleaning out the top end. I've never heard of using it as any form of preservative. I only use Stabil for that. MMO is awesome for stuck rings and sticky valves in aircraft piston engines! Good stuff for the things it does. I always have some around the garage.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012

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