Thursday, April 03, 2008

ST3 status: old gas, antifreeze leak, no rear brake

It was finally time to wake up sleeping beauty from her long winter nap. We were going to tour this weekend and the ST3 needed to be prepared for the first ride of the season. All that I thought was needed was an oil change, but soon enough I found out that there was a list of things required to get this beast back on the road.

Last weeks shopping spree, oil filters for our bikes

5 month old gasoline

Out of all my bikes, the ST3 sat the longest over winter. The last time I rode the ST3 was on November 11 of last year. For 5 months the bike sat in the garage plugged in to the trickle charger. I don’t use STABIL in the gas because I usually get to ride each bike over winter at least one every two months or so and fill it up with fresh gas. But unlike some winters in the past, this last winter was not only cold, but one of the snowiest on record. The driveway was either covered in snow or ice most of the winter. The 954RR got out for a day ride in mid January and I got to fill it up with new gas and the XT225 got to get out in December and March and got fresh gas each time. I didn’t have the opportunity to take the ST3 out and now the gas in the tank was 5 months old and starting to smell a bit like varnish. Actually it wasn’t that bad, I expected it to be much worse. The old gas got siphoned out and was replaced with fresh gas. But there were more things still to do.

Antifreeze leaks due to inferior hose clamps

I noticed some antifreeze leaking over the previous winter while the bike sat for a few months in the garage. The antifreeze was topped before the first ride of the season and all was well until my ride to Arkansas last September when I noticed a sizable green puddle under the ST3.

Then no issues with antifreeze leaking until this winter. Weekly I was noticing the green puddle growing under the parked bike. There was no need to deal with the problem, the garage was too cold to work on the bike anyway. A small pile of kitty litter under the ST3 worked great all winter to soak up the dripping antifreeze.

Plastics off and looking for leaks

Old dried up leak

A fresh drop of antifreeze

More green stuff leaking

I’ve read about the hose clamps needing replacement on the ST3’s and sure enough that was the reason for the leak. Once the plastics came off, the green stuff was oozing practically out of every hose. The antifreeze got topped off again, the clamps got tightened and the next morning there was no green puddle underneath the bike. So far so good, not sure if the hose clamps still need to be replaced or if they just needed some tightening. There was still one more thing to do on the list.

The final test, the kitty litter was dry the next day, the leaks have been fixed

Non functioning rear brake

Not sure what happened to my rear brake but it’s not working at all. With approximately 22,000 miles on the odometer, it should be working fine. I haven’t even replaced the front brake pads yet, they feel fine. It’s a mystery that we’ll need to solve. Maybe they just need a good scrubbing.


Anonymous said...

ST3 is such a beautiful bike, can't wait to see it in some new photos. Found your blog thru ADVRider. Shame your winters are so long. Keep up the reports!
My g/f posts our ride reports (and other crap) here:

Anonymous said...

Gas, contrary to internet belief takes a very long time to go bad, over a year. What kills gas is air, so if you store a bike, for less than a year, just make sure the tank is full to over flow. Another thing I do is, before storing the bike for the off season, I dump an entire bottle of fuel injector cleaner, which basically is AVGAS 100 or jet fuel, the additional octane will make the bike easy to start at the beginning of the season.

As for the leaking anti-freeze, repeated heat cycles will loosen them, then when the weather cools off, they contract, causing them to weep. Part of your pre-season inspection should be inspecting the hoses and clamps.


Anna said...

Yep, the ST3 is one weepy bike, it cries all winter since it doesn't like to sit in the dark and cold garage so many months. My Honda never has any emotional issues like that, it just hibernates peacefully without lamenting LOL