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I'm thinking of buying a vintage Japanese bike this fall (when prices drop to near sane levels...), but am concerned with the effect of modern gasoline on early 1970s bikes. Heard a lot of horror stories of modern gas eating gaskets, fuel lines, et cet. Anyone connected to the vintage scene got the straight dope on this ? Also can you reccomend a good forum for vintage Japanese bikes ? Thanks !
 

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I'm thinking of buying a vintage Japanese bike this fall (when prices drop to near sane levels...), but am concerned with the effect of modern gasoline on early 1970s bikes. Heard a lot of horror stories of modern gas eating gaskets, fuel lines, et cet. Anyone connected to the vintage scene got the straight dope on this ? Also can you reccomend a good forum for vintage Japanese bikes ? Thanks !

What bike's are you currently looking at?

I own a number of '70's rice burners (Kawasaki triples) and one 4-stroke (GS750). I put Stabil marine stabilizer in the tank and always run 93 octane to reduce the deto risk. Ethanol is probably OK but stay away from Methanol blends. I have yet to have a problem with seals or rubber breakdown. The rubber bits in the Mikuni and Keihin carbs are still available and easily replaced if there is a problem. The big concern I had was crank seals on the old two strokes as they are expensive and labor intensive to replace. Two of my triples have original cranks/seals and are still running strong after many years of pump gas. The other two have had the cranks rebuilt and I opted for labyrinth seals to get the rubber out of the crankcase. I would not worry too much about it, but be sure to run the engines regularly (get them warm at least every week), keep the gas fresh, and throttle on:)
 

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No worries just try to run without ethanol if at all possible. The fuel lines most likely have or will be replaced so no worries there. Just be sure to shut the fuel off after use if the tip of the needle valve sticks or swells the carbs will run over. I usually shut my fuel off a block before I get home and have no issues at all. You will love owning a vintage bike. I like Vjmog.com or hondatwins.net in my case.
 

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Still don't know whether you are looking at a 2 or 4 stroke vintage bike? In either case fuel lines should not be an issue. On my 2-strokes, I prefer to run clear polyethelyne lines which yellow and harden up in 2-3 months but at $.50/ft are cheap. Even on oil injected 2-strokes it is important to "see" that fuel is flowing to each cylinder otherwise a seizure could occur.

With respect to needle valves, most early jap bikes did not have viton tipped ones and the seats were always plain brass - so no worries. As recommended above, ALWAYS shut off the petcock. On a 2-stroke, if you have a needle valve leak, the crankcase will fill with gas and you will hydrolock the motor on the first kick:eek::eek::eek: Don't ask me how I know:mad:
 
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