Rider Education By Robin Koontz
Winterizing Tips for your Wing
Here are some tips I gathered from various sources (Nov ‘91 Wing World,
For Your Bike by Michael Kneebone, and the GL1500 Owners Manual).
1) Thoroughly wash the bike. This means every nook and cranny that road
grime can hide in.
Pay particular attention to the underside and behind removable panels. Rinse well, and wax.
2) Change the oil before storing. The oil will have moisture, acids, and
other pollutants that
accumulate. Leaving these in your engine over the winter will allow them to go to work
destroying critical engine parts. And to me, every engine part is critical. Change the oil after
warming up the engine (to suspend all the little nasties in the oil). Put in new oil and filter, then
run the bike a few minutes to coat internal parts.
3) Change final drive oil, for the same reason as engine oil.
4) Make sure your cooling system (radiator) has a mixture
(preferably 50/50) to withstand the cold,
especially if your garage is not heated. They are predicting a nasty, cold winter.
5) Fill the fuel tank with premium fuel. Avoid gasoline that
contains ethanol or alcohol for winter
storage. The alcohol "drops out" and, over time, mixes with moisture, which leads to rust. Don’t
leave fuel fill cap off. Drain the carburetors. That little bit of gas that you have in the carbs will
turn to varnish, and after that, the only cure to clear up those critical pinholes now blocked is an
expensive carb tear-down and rebuild. Or pour some fuel stabilizer into the gas tank, the
run the engine a bunch (making sure the stuff gets into the carbs), then refill the tank with gas.
6) Remove spark plugs and pour a tablespoon (15-20cc) of nice,
clean engine oil into each cylinder.
Crank engine several times to distribute oil. Reinstall spark plugs. (Caution: To avoid damage to
the ignition system, set the "kill" switch to off on the handlebar, remove all spark
plugs from their lead wires, and hold the leads away from any possible sources of grounding.)
7) Remove the battery. Refill all cells to the upper level with distilled
water. Clean any acid-caused
corrosion from the battery box or cables. A paste of baking soda and water works well, then
rinse with water and dry. Store the battery in a cool, dry place, though do not let it freeze. That
is not good. Recharge the battery every two weeks or so, using a trickle charger with a charging
rate of less than 10% of the battery’s ampere hour rating. One of those self-stopping smart
trickle chargers is ideal.
8) Inflate tires to recommended pressures. Place bike on blocks to
raise both tires off the ground
(tricky, but possible). This will keep flat spots from molding into your tires where it sits on the
ground. Though the flat spot is not permanent, it can make for an awfully weird first ride (bump-
a-bump- a-bump) at a time when you are still relearning the handling of your bike in the spring.
9) Put a light coat of oil over chrome to prevent rusting.
10) Put a piece of foam in each exhaust tube entrance. This will keep
moisture and small critters
from making a winter home in your exhaust pipe and possibly blocking it, making for a rude
awakening next spring.
11) If you are going to cover the bike, don’t use plastic or other
coated compounds. Shake the
dust out of your cover first. Secure well to minimize dust infiltration. Store in an unheated
area, free of dampness with a minimum of daily temperature variance. (This will keep down
the condensation factor). Do not store the bike in direct daylight.
12) It wouldn’t hurt to check your brake fluid levels, check &
tighten any nuts, bolts, etc.
Lube if necessary.
If you are planning to ride your Wing intermittently during the winter,
remember to keep the tank
filled to capacity. If you ride often enough, you do not need to mess with the fuel too much, just
keep putting in stabilizer as per the bottle’s instructions.
Robin Koontz, Chapter Educator
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