Carburettors + freezing weather = fail

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Sune, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Sune

    Sune Been here awhile

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    Yes sir,

    You read the headline. I learned this lesson the hard (and embarassing) way today, to put it mildly.

    Before I start telling my story, let me give you a little background information. It's been snowing hard here lately, like it hasn't for years. It's absolutely freezing, I can't remember the last time it was this cold, but then again, I'm only 21, so I can't remember that many winters :lol3 Anyway, on to the story:

    I was gently walking over to my parked scooter after work, it had been sitting in the bicycle shed all day long. I put on my helmet and my gloves. I gently pushed the electric starter button, and I could hear the starter working, but the engine didn't come to life. I proceeded to try and kickstart the beast a couple of times until it coughed a bit and came to life. Now came the first warning which should have made some sort of bells go off in my mind: it was idling at much higher rpms than usually. "OK", I thought, "Its probably just because of the cold, it needs a little extra gas to stay alive, no worries". I straddled the beast and succeeded to maneuver it out of the bicycle shed in which it had been residing all day. I see my boss walk out of the building, across the parking lot, as I slowly start to give the beast a bit o' throttle. The first couple of feet it seemed rather hesitant in going, so I gave it a bit more of the good ole' throttle. Then hell began :lol3 Suddenly my scooter was going at full throttle, and I tried rolling off the throttle, but I felt no resistance in the throttle handle and nothing happened, it was as if the throttle cable had snapped while fully open, and there was no way to stop it. Then, of course, I really started to panic, because I was heading straight out on the road. I tried braking but could feel one of my wheels starting to slide, so I let off the brake. The scooter was still going at full throttle, and went straight across the road and into a big pile of snow, with me on it. And all this right in front of my boss :lol3

    Apparently the throttle cable got stuck in the carburettor because of the cold (I think... I'm no mechanic wizzard, but thats what my brother who is a mechanic said). I left my scooter there and got a coworker to give me a ride home.

    Me and my brother then proceeded out there to fix the scooter. We brought a thermic bottle with some hot water in it, to pour on the carburrettor (we were hoping it would help with the frozen cable), and suddenly while we're driving over there, I feel something hot on my ass. Like it's on fire or something. I reach down to touch it, and it feels wet. Turns out I sat on the bottle, and the hot water started leaking all over my ass. Just my luck! :lol3

    We poured a whole lot o' carburettor fluid in the gastank, and I rode the beast home. It's a bit funny, because the previous night I had been discussing with my father how amazing it was that I hadn't had to use any carburettor fluid this winter yet, and yet it still functioned flawlessly. Well... Guess I was wrong.

    Once I got home, I wanted to put my helmet on the table, and in the process I was clumsy enough to knock down a pot plant. Yep, you guessed it, the pot smashed into a thousand pieces. Luck just follows me around like that.

    Lesson for you guys is this: Don't forget to put carburettor fluid in your gastank if it's freezing and you have an old moped, or a scooter with a carburettor. You might not think it's necessary, I didn't either until now, but it can catch you by surprise. I was quite lucky I wasn't hurt, because the road I crossed when I left the parking lot had cars going at 50mph. I could've easily ended up as a hood ornament, but got off the hook with a hot, wet ass. Lesson learned :lol3
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  2. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    I'm thinking it's more likely an external problem with ice having formed inside or around the throttle cable that held the throttle open.
    As for the fual additives = too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
    I'd clean that tank of gas out and start over so nothing melts down from too volatile a mixture and you ruin the engine. (been there and done that!).

    The above being said = I love the F.I. on my girlfriends 2009 125 Zuma.
    Starts every time (coldest has been 19 degrees so far)
    #2
  3. Sune

    Sune Been here awhile

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    You might very well be right, unfortunately I'm not much of an expert on the subject, so I can't say for sure what the problem was. But it sure as hell caught me by surprise :lol3 I'll see if it starts playing up or anything, maybe that'll be a sign that we put too much in.
    #3
  4. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Funny story. Wonder if the throttle cable had gotten some water in it which froze and caused it to stick?

    A similar thing happened to a friend of mine on his ultralight aircraft. The tarp blew off it during the night when it was raining. Water got into the long throttle cable. It was near freezing on the ground when we took off in the morning but once we got a few hundred feet in the air it was below freezing. At a couple thousand feet I leveled off but he kept climbing, his throttle cable frozen at full throttle. He had to fly back to the airport, cut the engine, and glide to a landing. Missed a very nice flight that morning.

    Q
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  5. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    I can only think of one thing worse...
    I had my choke freeze once on my 91 DR650 (kick start only) in the off position. I was at work with no other way home and wound up walking it to a nearby hill about a mile and 1/2 away (make that one big long hill) and had to get it up to 30mph coasting down the hill just to get it to start.
    30 degrees and sweating in my snowmoble suit for the resat of that 15 mile ride home was no picnic.
    Thank Dog it was on a Friday and I had the whole weekend to take everything apart and lube the bike up. Sure made winter commuting a whole lot more enjoyable after that.:rofl \
    Best of luck!
    #5
  6. wanna bECO

    wanna bECO Been here awhile

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    i am so glad i live in phoenix... funny story tho!!:rofl
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  7. asphaltmueller

    asphaltmueller nomad acc. ยง 2(3)AVV

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    freezing cables are a regular problem for winter riders, and there are religious discussions going on which lube to put in the cables; i'm for antifreeze, concentrated one.

    The slide will not stick itself due to cold

    water in the bowl is an other thing ( don't know the word for "Schwimmerkammer")
    #7
  8. B02S4

    B02S4 Aye

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    I'll bet that had his full attention :D

    Maybe even a wet arse... :rofl
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  9. Sune

    Sune Been here awhile

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    :lol3
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  10. Woodsrat

    Woodsrat Gone ridin'

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    My Honda Elite did something similar after riding in a downpour one night and then a sudden twenty degree drop in temperature (and a cold garage) made my brake cables freeze up. I used Bel-Ray 6 in 1 as cable lube and it seemed to take care of the problem nicely, at least down to around ten degrees. Weird stuff happens once things get really cold and a lot of people say they ought to be run dry in extreme cold (contact cleaner should dry them out). I've always wondered about the dry teflon lubricants often used for firearm lubrication and you might try this if it gets really cold where you ride.

    Carbs and carb slides often frost when it gets really cold, too. Enclosing them to catch some engine heat helps solve this problem.
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  11. Roose Hurro

    Roose Hurro Adventurer

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    Don't forget where your engine kill switch is, and how to use it... :evil
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  12. Sune

    Sune Been here awhile

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    Yes, it would have been quite handy if my scooter had one. :thumb

    Unfortunately it doesn't, and I didn't think about turning the key until I was already in the big pile of snow :lol3 My immediate reaction after I found out the throttle wasn't working was pulling the brake lever, but I could feel the wheel sliding in the snow so I let off the brake.
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  13. Roose Hurro

    Roose Hurro Adventurer

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    Sune, might be a good idea to retrofit a kill switch... just in case? :D

    As for the ignition key, I guess hindsight is indeed 20/20. At least you walked away from this without losing anything more than your dignity. Thank goodness the cross-traffic was thin.........
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  14. Sune

    Sune Been here awhile

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    You are right. And yes, I was quite lucky I guess, I could've gotten seriously hurt if I was hit by a crossing car at 50mph. Worst-case-scenario I would've been dead, but that's too early at 21, so I was given another chance at life. :lol3

    I must say though, that I've been commuting on this scooter for close to two years in a row now (through all sorts of weather), and some of my family members used it to commute before me, and this is the first time we've ever experienced some sort of serious problem.. So even though I could have been hurt, I got off easy and haven't lost any confidence in the machine. After all - the fault lies with me and not the scooter, since I hadn't considered the extremely cold conditions, and how it would affect my scooter... In retrospect I should have thought about the whole freezing cables thing, and tried to prevent it. The shock of the whole thing was only momentary, and just a few moments after the whole thing was over I was calm again, so my joy in riding is unchanged :1drink
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  15. RebelMoby

    RebelMoby Born to be mild

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    You need a good quantity of ethanol in the premix if you ice easily. Also I place a piece of maliable copper tube along the exhause and tie it down with steel wire and a piece of hose from the tube to the airbox on my winter 'ped so the carb does not ice up in low temperature. The tube preheats the air the carb is sucking in.
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  16. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    sleds. Squeeze the throttle and verify a proper return. The frost (NOT carburetor icing) forms after a warm shut down in the slide area of the card. The resistance you felt was the slide jamming into that frost... just be glad it was a weenie assed scooter and not a 175 horsepower sled.
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  17. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    When you open the throttle there is an air pressure drop in the intake. Water vapor freezes at a lower temp when the pressure is lower. This frozen vapor ( looks like a slushee) blocks the slide. The more you open and close the throttle, the more likely you are to get ice in the carb.
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  18. Woodsrat

    Woodsrat Gone ridin'

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    Very, very clever...:clap
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  19. YamaGeek

    YamaGeek Ancient trailbike padwan

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    Yeah certain engines seem to be more prone to have carb icing than others. My old Mazda B2000 did this on occaision even with the exhaust preheat snorkel in place.

    I never had a bike ice up on me. I took the C102 out for a 10 mile trip into town last week with air temps at about 35 and ice on the road in places, it ran fine.
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  20. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Here's a pic I took several years ago of ice build up in one of the Bing carbs on my Rotax aircraft engine.

    Q

    [​IMG]
    #20