When you hear hoofbeats in the street, look for horses, not zebras.
Endurance, my 2000 BMW R1150GS, has been sitting reproachfully under cover on the back patio for months now, waiting for me to get her back online. I’ve been taking more guilt trips than road trips, it seems.
I’ve been out on Terra Nova but the rest of our bike fleet has been down. We took Linda’s 300cc Vespa in for a tune-up and new tires and her Yamaha Vino 125cc scooter in for new tires and valve stems.
I saved the BMW for last. I bought yet another battery, washed off the dust and most of the cobwebs, and got to work.
Then I turned the key and pressed the start button. The engine fired up but idled rough. I shut it down and tried to think. It had been quite a while since I had it going but I’d put Sta-bil in the fuel tank before winter and I couldn’t recall any problems the last time I’d had it running.
My only answer was that the fuel had gone bad so I started making preparations to pull the tank and empty it. It’s a multi-step process; you have to unbolt the tank, disconnect various fuel lines, and the wires to the fuel pump (which is inside the tank).
This was going to take a while. I hadn’t fully removed the tank since installing the crash bars way back in 2000 at Starbase Reno.
Throttle cable, seated and unseated.
I was preparing to disconnect the fuel lines when I had a thought: the starboard throttle cable. It’s a quirk of the BMW fuel system — the cable can slip out of the knurled housing and desynchronize the engine.
So I looked and there it was, the cable was unseated. I moved it back into place, checked everything else, and tried the engine again.
She started up and purred like a kitten. A little thing like that. Another lesson learned.