Winter Starting - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 7:02 am Thread Starter
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Winter Starting

I RECENTLY MOVED MY LT TO PA. I WAS WONDERING WHY SOME MEMBERS TOLD ME NOT TO START THE BIKE OVER THE WINTER. THEY THOUGHT IT BEST TO LET IT BE THEN START IT IN THE SPRING. IT IS IN A GARAGE BUT IT IS NOT HEATED.I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT I SHOULD LET IT RUN EVERY WEEK OR O FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES?

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post #2 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 7:44 am
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Re: Winter Starting

I would be interested in the logic behind that as well. When I'm not riding which isn't often I start and warm the bike up every week. As well as keeping it on a tender


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty
I RECENTLY MOVED MY LT TO PA. I WAS WONDERING WHY SOME MEMBERS TOLD ME NOT TO START THE BIKE OVER THE WINTER. THEY THOUGHT IT BEST TO LET IT BE THEN START IT IN THE SPRING. IT IS IN A GARAGE BUT IT IS NOT HEATED.I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT I SHOULD LET IT RUN EVERY WEEK OR O FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES?

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post #3 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 8:41 am
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Re: Winter Starting

Lefty,

I agree with you on starting and running every so often over the winter. Keep the battery on a tender.

Some folks remove the battery and do not run the bike, but IMHO, I would start it and run it. Even on a cold (dry) day in the winter, I fire up the bike and ride to meet with my breakfast buds. Keeps the juices flowing. After all we have heated grips and seats, "ride baby ride"!

Bill
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post #4 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 9:17 am
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Re: Winter Starting

Being an "ex" Minnesotan, I have stored any number of motorcycles, boats, lawn mowers, etc over the winter. Here's the logic behind not starting the engine until spring:

If you do a proper job of winterizing - changing oil, putting stabilizer in the oil, putting stabilizer in the gas and running the engine, putting the battery on a battery tender, there is no need to start up the engine, and one can argue that you can do more harm by doing so.

By running the engine it would need to get up to an operating temp and held there for a long enough period of time to evaporate any moisture that may be created in the crankcase from running the engine. This takes more than just bringing it up to temp. The idea of storing is to change and stabilize the fluids which remove any contaminates that may be in the oil. As long as you use a good fuel stabilizer, filling the tank up to the top, there is little air (and thus condensation that can form) and it will start just fine in the spring.

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post #5 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 9:20 am
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Re: Winter Starting

There are two reasons to not feel guilty about leaving your bike cold when it is not in use.

1) Corrosion in the valve faces, cylinders and crankcase. This is minimized by keeping the temperature low. As a general rule, chemical reaction rates are cut in half every 18 deg F of temperature reduction. Car owners should remember this too.

The problem with cold weather (actually all) starts is they fill the crankcase with steam - a by product of the hydrocarbon combustion process, that leaks past the piston rings. That water initially condenses in the crankcase. When (if?) the engine finally warms up and the oil gets above ~190 deg F, the water gradually boils off and eventually leaves the crankcase, but not before it has left all the nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides to combine with some remaining water - to make acid. Those acids (nitric and sulfuric) are corrosive - and they have a much higher boiling point than water, so they don't leave the premises. They collect and condense in the cylinders, crankcase, and exhaust system when you shut it down.

2) You can avoid the short period of poor lubrication from cold starts. Bearings are not usually a problem because they get oil from an oil pump that will quickly prime assuming the oil is not too viscous. But, it takes a while for a fog of oil to develop in a crankcase that lubricates all the expensive parts - like cylinders and camshaft lobes etc.

The only reasons to start it are psychological and maybe to charge the battery. If you can control your urges, just use a smart battery charger & save the bike from other damage.
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post #6 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 9:25 am
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Re: Winter Starting

You guys make good points. I guess this ole southern boy should defer to the more knowledgable northerners on this one. Thanks for clearing that up

Bill
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post #7 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 9:30 am
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Re: Winter Starting

BTW - even the battery will last longer if it is kept cold, but only as long as it is kept sufficiently charged that it can't freeze. Again it is the internal corrosion of the battery that is minimized by the low temperature.

Another thought - Carburated engine should have the float bowls drained for winter storage so that fresh fuel can be reintroduced in the spring before startup. Otherwise the remaining fuel will be mostly heavy components that won't vaporize enough to get an engine going.

Fuel injection systems don't have this problem as the fuel is not generally exposed to the atmosphere. Of course some fuel stabilizer is always good for fuel in the tank. Again though, fuel will go "rotten" much more slowly when it is cold than when it is stored warm.
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post #8 of 8 Old Sep 20th, 2010, 9:43 pm
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Re: Winter Starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty
I RECENTLY MOVED MY LT TO PA. I WAS WONDERING WHY SOME MEMBERS TOLD ME NOT TO START THE BIKE OVER THE WINTER. THEY THOUGHT IT BEST TO LET IT BE THEN START IT IN THE SPRING. IT IS IN A GARAGE BUT IT IS NOT HEATED.I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT I SHOULD LET IT RUN EVERY WEEK OR O FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES?
I've lived in PA pretty much my entire life, so let me dispense some "stump jumper" wisdom - don't start your bike during the winter unless you plan to take it our and ride it for at least 30 minutes. Idling, even for 20 minutes, is unlikely to thoroughly warm the engine, exhaust system, etc. What it will do is introduce a lot of moisture to the cylinders, crankcase (blow-by), etc., which then condenses and causes corrosion. Much better to change the oil in the late fall, run the engine a few seconds to distribute the clean oil and draw some gasoline that has been treated with Stabil through the fuel lines and injectors. Place the battery on a good battery maintainer and leave things alone until spring!

However, if you get a nice day, which happens now and then, no problem unhooking the tender and going for a nice ride that is long enough to thoroughly heat things up. The main issue with winter riding in PA is that you can get a lot of road salt in the nooks and crannies of your bike which can cause all sorts of corrosion problems in the spring when you ride through a few rain showers. This is the main reason that I seldom ride by bike during the winter before the spring rains have flushed the salt residue from the roads. The exception is the occasional mid-winter warm and rainy spells that flush off the salt enough to allow a mid-winter ride.

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