The issues of fuel injectors and "adventure" bikes

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Mambo Dave, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    My little dual sport bike doesn't even have a battery. Lights and everything run off the alternator. The CDI ignition module went out once but I carry a spare. My other dual sport has a battery to run the electric starter and power the turn signals, but it also has a kick starter and will run and the rest of the lights will work without the battery. I carry a spare CDI on that one too.

    #41
  2. Tepi

    Tepi Been here awhile

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    Right, its running off the alternator. You could do that with any bike, just pushstart it, its not the first time someones started a fuel injected bike with a dead battery, can be done with cars too. Often the battery dies with sufficient voltage to drive the EFI system, but you wont have enough juice to use the starter.

    I'm just saying if you have a battery/alternator fault in the middle of nowhere, least of your worries is the EFI. Its not really the biggest concern for me. EFI has been around for over 20 years, suffice to say its pretty much reliable. Carbs can also break down and if you're in the middle of nowhere fueling up at a shoddy place or rain water seeps in through the cap, water can cause serious running problems on carbs, not so much with EFI. Floats can crack or ingest fuel which would cause issues, you can crack the diaphragm on constant velocity carbs, you can bend/wear out a needle, you can have an O-ring break. All of those would need spare parts.

    Even if your battery dies, your alternator will still work and if you arent an asshole, you can probably ask someone to jumpstart your EFI bike.
    #42
  3. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    I have bump started a DL 650 (FI) on the flat.

    I'll admit, the effort damn near killed me, but it did start and ran well once started. (Next stop "Battery World")

    Pete
    #43
  4. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    Good to know, the extent of my knowledge was there is only one hose going to the injector. As opposed to my truck that has hoses and wires and shit going everywhere. Out of sight out of mind :lol3
    #44
  5. Davidc83

    Davidc83 Been here awhile

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    This all depends on what bike and manufacturer. I had a 2006 Suzuki gz250 which had a carb. I left the key on (lights on) by hitting the kill switch once instead of turning bike off with the key. I was gone 1.5 hours, it drained the battery, and the bike would not start, even with a bump start (got the bike up to 25mph, 2nd gear down hill, and nothing); bike required a battery for ignition. Just because you got a carb, doesnt mean you can bump start with dead or no battery. I test all my bikes at what speed, which gear, would be best to bump start if the starter fails. I still have one carb bike (klx250sf-which also doesnt bump start with dead or 0 battery) and 2 FI bikes.

    My question, how is the sand supposedly getting into the FI; bad air filters? sand contaminated gas (my best guess would be this one, cause sand gets into everything).
    #45
  6. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Most modern bikes have a standalone ignition system.
    The cdi gets power and trigger from the stator, and always has spark, even without a battery.
    A spare cdi (small and light) would take care of 95% of likely issues.
    A lot of older bikes were set up that way also.
    #46
  7. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    running R80G/S ... everything is dead simple and reliable. yank BMW electronic ignition, replaced with point/condenser/high performance coil. do carry spare point/cond, rotor, volt reg, diode board, carb parts, tubes, manuals, full tool kit, etc.

    ALL mechanical systems can and will break down. Carb or EFI both can be trouble free or give problems.

    main difference is complexity ... carb can be serviced in the middle of no where vs EFI usually cannot be serviced without hard to find exotic parts.

    same for points/condenser VS electronic ignition... both can break down or be trouble free. difference is point/cond can be serviced on side of road vs electronic ignition cannot be serviced without hard to find exotic parts.

    hmmmmm.... are we seeing a pattern? :D
    #47
  8. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    I would be willing to debate the pros and cons of carbs v's FI. Suggesting that points are somehow more reliable (or easier to fix) that electronic ignition is inane, however. A decent electronic ignition system (and I'll concede that there have been some bad ones) is 10x more reliable than any points system, has no moving parts to wear out and screw up your ignition timing, possibly leading to a holed piston and you can carry spares just as easily as for points. Electronic systems give more consistent timing, there is also nothing to adjust (once it's set, it's set) and you have built-in over-rev protection.

    I have had only one failure related to an electronic ignition system in 35 years of riding, and that was the coil on my R80RT - a known weak point on that model and common to points bikes as well. I can't count the number of times points or condensors have failed on me. I've also had more than one bad condensor right out of the box, meaning that carrying a spare is no guarantee of reliability
    #48
  9. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    Yeah...if you can work on it on the side of the road, you most likely will be working on it on the side of the road:lol3
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  10. ericrat

    ericrat Long timer

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    I am not so familiar with true dirt bikes, but I know of zero modern streetbikes that work this way. Most bikes I have worked on use an excited field alternator and need battery power to excite the rotor. It doesn't take much to "prime the system", but if there is nothing there = no bump start.
    #50
  11. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Lessee... out of the six complete bikes I have right now:
    R1100GS (FI): Never touched ANY of the fueling system, EVER. Runs like new. Probably due for age-related PM but not because of performance issue or failure
    R80RT (Carbs): Full rebuild both carbs due to leaks, poor idling and split diaphragms, fuel filters & lines replaced (2x), MPG worse than 1100, have to drain carbs every time parked up
    GTS1000 (FI): 1 x bottle of injector cleaner is only fuel system maintenance, EVER. Runs like new
    DR350 (Carb): 2 different carbs, tank valves, numerous jets, seals, adjustments, fiddling about. Often hard to start, still doesn't run as well as it should, nor get the mileage it should
    DR125 (Carb): Full carb rebuild, tank valve rebuild, lots of cleaning and adjusting. Still needs work
    DT100 (Carb): Only minor carb & fuel valve cleaning & seals changed so far. Runs but not well.

    Granted the carbureted bikes are smaller capacity and mostly needed more TLC when they came to me. They are not necessarily older or suffering any other issues more than FI bikes, however.
    #51
  12. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    You're kidding, right? Replace a working electronic ignition with a points system, are you riding in Somalia or sub-Saharan Africa? This is so ridiculous that it's hardly worth commenting on. Remember in the old days when everyone got tired of Lucas electrics and put Boyer electronic ignitions on their Triumphs, Nortons or BSAs? Or Joe Hunt magnetos? I can't think of any reason to replace an electronic ignition with an inferior points setup. Other than living in the past and refusing to acknowledge any current technology.

    Well, the Dakar racers use carbs.......out of the (probably) pretty large number of members here on ADV, I bet less than 10 of them will ever ride the Dakar Rally. Maybe even half that, so that argument doesn't hold any water.

    You guys keep using your carbs. Or swapping out electronic ignitions for points. The rest of us will just ride. And not worry about it.
    #52
  13. ericrat

    ericrat Long timer

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    I could, and nearly have, put toghether a fuel injector mount that can be replaced in seconds with no tools. The injectors are barely bigger than a spark plug, you could carry spares easily.
    #53
  14. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    Both of my small street legal dual sport bikes have permanent magnet alternators so no battery power is needed to excite the stator. The ignition is in a normally on state and only turned off by shorting it out via the key switch or kill switch.

    #54
  15. EmpireExpeditions

    EmpireExpeditions n00b

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    In all the years of driving hundreds of thousands of miles in fuel injected vehicles of various brands mostly between 40,000 and 110,00 miles I've never had a single problem with electronic fuel injection. Personally I'm much happier with being able to troubleshoot electronic fuel injection than an older system which is a mystery to me. All about what you grew up tinkering with I guess?

    Everything has pro's and cons.
    Fuel economy is better on fuel injected bikes as the mixture is more accurate throughout the range so you get a better range on your fuel tank which helps.
    Fuel injection adjusts automatically for altitude. No messing with jets.
    Frankly I read a lot more on ride reports about people having dirt in the carb then I do about dirt in their injectors... (not sure why that is though).

    But there are more components on fuel injected bikes, failed sensors or injectors would have to be ordered (both are rare cases imho) but replacement is simply unplug old and plugin new after being directed to it by the test mode on the ecu. So a mechanic up a mountain in some 3rd world can't work on it, doesn't matter. The electrical part is simple anyway. The mechanical part any mech can work on.

    A modern electronic bike should be reliable (although it varies between brands and the usual stereotypes apply imho) however the less unnecessary gadgets (abs etc) on it the better imho. Although if the bike will let you ride with a failed unnecessary feature then it doesn't matter.

    In the unlikely event it breaks down and you're not carrying perhaps a sensor that is known on your model of bike to be less reliable than other bikes, you just get it FedEx'd to wherever you are. Not a big deal if you're living cost is $10 a day in the 3rd world, and if you're in the 1st world where your daily cost is I don't know, maybe $100 a day, you'll have the part same day or next anyway.

    I haven't heard of any more major disasters on RR on modern FI bikes vs carb bikes?
    #55
  16. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Carburetors and points ignition systems are not inherently unreliable. They depend on the intelligence and proficiency of the user. Basically, if the user doesn't have a clue about setup and periodic care, he's better off with EFI and electronic ignition, both of which are difficult to screw up because there are almost no user-repairable parts involved. They either work or they don't.

    Those who have problems with carbs and points ignitions haven't bothered to learn how to deal with them properly. There's nothing really wrong with Lucas components. People blame Lucas in order to cover up their own lack of knowledge. I use points ignition on all of my vintage machines, and expect and get 10K miles between services.

    Boyer ignitions have one big problem, and that's the fact that they won't fire if the battery voltage is under 10 volts. They also have to be timed with a strobe light, while a points system can be static timed without any special tools.
    #56
  17. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    I've had 3 EFI failures in 3 different vehicles that left me stranded, and zero in carbed vehicles. First one was a computer that went bad in my 93 Toyota pickup. Second was a fuel injector that failed on a 96 Geo. Third was a fuel injector power resistor that failed on a 93 Suzuki Swift. Still I prefer EFI on cars, not that there is any choice nowadays. I would also choose EFI on a road bike but not my dual sport.

    #57
  18. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    Carbureted dualsports (and a lot of older carbureted streetbikes, at least into the 90s) generally have a permanent magnet alternator and CDI. The CDI has its own windings on the stator as opposed to the "lighting" windings that power the bike's electrical system. Even with the battery removed or the main fuse blown, you still have spark.

    Once you get into fuel-injected bikes or carbed bikes with true electronic ignition, then you've got a single electrical system just like a cage because you need 12V to run the ignition controller. Having lost the need for the permanent magnet setup required by CDI, it makes sense to switch to an excited-field alternator.

    The Japanese 650s are like that as well, though you don't see too many battery eliminator kits for them for some reason :rofl

    All that said, carburetors are evil. Fuel injection may be more difficult to fix on the roadside, but it's so much less likely to give you trouble in the first place that I'll take it. There's something to be said for a bike that starts right up when it's below freezing at 8000' and continues to run well without adjustment when it's 100º at sea level :1drink
    #58
  19. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    LOTS of airheads have experienced electronic ignition failures. lots have had zero problems ... fact is points/condenser are fully serviceable in the middle of nowhere. vs electronic ignition failures, especially halls sensor on airheads are prone to failure. if that goes down you are walking! unless one is willing to spend $$$ on a beancan with field serviceable halls sensor.

    have replaced hundreds of points/condensers ... have never seen a bad condenser. not saying they don't exist, but it's exceedingly rare to see an actual failed condenser.

    we are talking adventure bikes .. right...

    good logic :D

    yup .. yanked it out and stuck in a beancan with points. R80G/S has never ran better.... easier to carry spare point/condenser vs spare electronic ignition parts. yes I know how to work on fuel injection ... same story, carbs can be serviced in the middle to no-where vs spare parts for fuel injection availability decides when it gets fixed... odds are someone's walking when fuel injection goes down

    [​IMG]
    #59
  20. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    You ludites are funny!:lol3

    Jim :brow
    #60