By September 30, 2008

My BMW motorcycle Raider is a gas

I was headed into work on my 2004 BMW R1150R this morning and noticed that there was a HUGE traffic jam on the highway. I skittered off the highway, conveniently near the comic book shop where I play games from time to time. I filled Raider’s gas tank up, and went into a nearby Starbucks. I let my manager know I was going to be late due to the traffic jam, and enjoyed a tall Americano.

Twenty minutes later I was caffeinated and ready to brave the highway again. I mounted Raider, he started right up, and I motored to the intersection. My foot slipped a little as I came to a stop, which was kind of odd considering the road was bone dry a second before and the sky was clear. Then I smelled gas.

I looked down, and there was premium gasoline spraying ALL OVER my right calf. Gas was jetting out over the engine, and I started to freak out a little. I immediately shut the bike off and put on my hazards.

I was reluctant to start the bike again, but I didn’t think I could push the bike uphill back into the parking lot by myself. I decided to risk it, and fired (bad word choice?) Raider up again. I held my right leg out to avoid another gas bath and parked the bike in front of the comic book shop.

My friend Bond called as soon as my manager told him what was up (we’re working together again). We talking about fuel overflow — maybe I filled the gas tank up too much, and the bike was purging the extra fuel. Seemed like a dangerous way to do it, but maybe a tube was crimped some where, causing it to spray.

Donut called, and after some online digging and a phone call to the nice folks at Morton’s BMW informed me that the service techs were 98% sure that it was a faulty quick disconnect valve. Each bike has two, and they were made out of plastic. The plastic disconnects allowed one to remove the gas tank without draining it. Nice feature, as long as they don’t crack and spray your fucking bike with gasoline. BMW now has metal replacement parts, but I would have to get one from Morton’s in Fredericksburg, over an hour’s drive away.

My manager and Bond came to pick me up, I did a small amount of work, and then Starbuck rode in to the rescue. We hurried up to Morton’s and I bought two metal disconnects and four hose clamps to the tune of about $40. Yeah. $40. Welcome to BMW. We stopped by Lowe’s for some tools on the way back, and then headed back to Raider.

I crimped the fuel line with a vice grip wrapped in a paper towel. Using a thin, flat-head screwdriver I started to pry the factory hose clamp up. After about twenty minutes of wrangling the connector, I sprayed the hose with WD-40. The clamp slid up much more easily.

The next trick was to remove the faulty plastic disconnect. This turned out to be a bitch, too. I had Starbuck hold the vice grips while I wiggled the disconnect back and forth with another pair of grips. I asked The Kingpin for a knife, and while he was getting one out of the comic book store I split the hose with a flathead screw driver. Fuck.

I cut about 1/16″ of the hose’s underlying weave (what is that called?) with The Kingpin’s boxcutter and eventually worked the plastic disconnect free. I sprayed the new metal disconnect with WD40 and it slid easily in the hose. I tightened down the hose clamp provided by Morton’s, and started the bike up.

Gas started to drip, albeit slowly, from the hose. I tightened the clamp WAY down. The drip slowed even more, but there wasn’t a complete seal. I think I should have put the extra clamp on the hose, but I don’t know if that would have helped. I am worried that the split I caused in the hose is the problem, not the tightness or number of clamps.

The sun was setting and I was anxious to get home. I rode the ten miles back without any additional spray or catching on fire.

I’ll be taking the FZ6 into work tomorrow. I am going to try to install the other clamp on the primary hose, and pre-emptively replace the other plastic quick disconnect.

Sure, I spent most of my day getting ferried around by awesome people and picking up expensive parts. I wasn’t angry at all — I am just glad it happened in a parking lot instead of the highway.

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Posted in: motorcycling

2 Comments on "My BMW motorcycle Raider is a gas"

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  1. BMW Fan says:

    Don’t you just love how they use cheap plastic parts on things like that? I mean, it’s a BMW… It’s not you bought some cheap, japanese crotch rocket.

    Whatever, I guess, but still…

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