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Winter Storage
Bathing your bike
Pre-Ride Checklist
Winter Storage

If you live in the land of the rising damp like I do, then doubtless you will be storing your pride and joy over the long winter months.

Cast your mind ahead - It's spring, you enter the garage, remove the old blanket, and there it is, rotting away, alloy covered in mildew, chrome peeling and it won't start 'cos the battery's broke! Maybe you should have done something about storing it properly over winter - but what?
Well, hopefully this short document should put you on the right track.Winter Storage - this is probably not the best way to do it!

  • Run motorcycle until engine is at normal operating temperature. You're going to wash it later, so don't worry about getting it dirty. Get the engine nice and hot so that any condensation is evaporated. While you're out fill up the fuel tank and add a fuel stabiliser. You can get stabiliser from good auto-parts or boat shops (search for 'Quicksilver Fuel Stabilizer' on the internet). Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the bottle. Do not miss out the stabiliser; it slows the fuel from evaporating and leaving tarry by-products to gum anything up.
  • Stop the engine. Drain the oil tank, while the oil is still hot (careful here!). Now's a good time to install a new oil filter. Check the primary and gearbox lubricant levels and adjust the primary chain if necessary. Grease the wheel bearings and consider replacing the seals. Lubricate throttle and clutch cables.
  • Refill oil tank with the proper grade oil. Don't use an expensive synthetic, use the cheapest you can find, you will be throwing it away next spring. Halfords do an own-brand oil at less than £6 ($10) a gallon. Start the engine and run for 2 or three minutes to get the fresh oil circulated through the system. Don't do this in a garage or poorly ventilated area!
  • Remove the spark plugs; inject a few squirts of engine oil or WD40 into each cylinder. Turn the engine over 5-6 revolutions, then reinstall spark plugs.
  • It's a good idea to plug the line leading from the bottom of the oil tank to the 90° fitting on the oil pump cover. This will eliminate the possibility of oil seeping past the pump and filling the bottom end. Put a big, very visible lable on it and accross the ignition switch!
  • Thoroughly wash the bike. Pay particular attention to the underside. If there was salt on the road when you took your last ride, rinse two or three times with cold water before washing with warm (hot salt water just loves alloy). Wax the paintwork.
  • Spray all the nooks and crannies, bare chrome and exposed metal (not the brakes though) with a protective coat. The very best is ACF50, which is available in aerosols (very expensive though). ACF50 is an Aerospace product - and it really works.You can find this mail order on the internet or some bike shops stock it.
  • Ensure that the engine and exhausts have cooled off enough to touch. Place a plastic bag over the air filter and fasten with a rubber band. This prevents moisture entering the top end. Spray WD40 into the exhaust pipe or silencer exits and block off with plastic bags and rubber bands. Also cover the coil and ignition module, and optionally, any breather pipes.
  • Check tyre pressures. As you're going to store the bike over winter, it is a good idea to securely support the motorcycle under the frame so that the weight is off the tyres.
  • Attach as many locks and chains, as you need in order to feel comfortable that your bike will stay where you put it. If you have a Pit-Bull, chain that to it as well.
  • Invest in a battery conditioner and leave it on charge over winter.
  • Cover motorcycle. Use a breathable cloth or canvas cover. If you have to store it outdoors, make sure that you performed step 7 very thoroughly. Check periodically to make sure damp has not got in.
  • If you store your helmet, clothes or boots in the garage you should protect them too. Thoroughly dry and warm indoors before sealing in plastic. Then you can put them in the garage.

The Harley-Davidson Riders Club Great Britain


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