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. kyns

    kyns Long timer

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    I find this carb / EFI debate funny. Since there are other reasons to end up stranded, than just fuelling.
    Anything can happen.

    Lets put two guys on adventure bikes. The other bike with a carb and other with an EFI. They both ride 10 000 miles in same terrain... Then lets gamble...

    For the carb to break. 1 to 40 000 chance
    For the EFI to fail. 1 to 38 500
    To have a flat tire 1 to 500
    To bend touratech crap. 1 to 1
    To simply run out of fuel. 1 to 2000
    To crash and break a leg. 1 to 14 000
    For the drive chain to break and "weld" itself between front sprocket / engine case. 1 to 8 000
    For the rider himself to weigh more than his steed, resulting in frame crack. 1 to 2

    I have never had EFI fail on me, on my cars and bikes.

    Maybe time for the carb people to start eating all that can food, they piled for the 2012 end of the world thing....:lol3
  2. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    I love your list, but have to address what you wrote there at the end... I've had EFI fail plent enough on cars and trucks. usually it's just the fuel pump. Sometimes it's a sticky or bad injector.

    And then, for an estimated million of us (and numerous undocumented or not worth pursuing cases like my second vehicle) a few year ago, the shipments of Shell gasoline for southeast Florida had higher levels of sulfur in them then was recommended. Tons of us were left stranded, and I bet some may have been injured from wrecks (if what happened to me was any indication - everything was ghoing fine in my bumper-to-bumper 80 miles per hour commute - that's the way they do things on I-595 - and then... nothing. I was left coasting and praying i could get over to the shoulder at a decreasing speed and with no power).

    EFI is here to stay, I have no doubt. And for most situations that's probably OK. But if I ever go touring even just a few of the places I'd like to tour... if those countries ever become safe enough to ride a bike solo through... I would rather not have to be worried about the quality of the dirty fuels I'd be buying.

    Carbs also have this neat thing where even if they're messed up or out of adjustment, there are methods and modes of keeping a bike running and moving one way or another. I'm not sure EFI is as forgiving, but then the other side of the equation is if EFI has a lot more leeway to work within, or reliability built in, before some such not-quite-right scenario rears its head.

  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    Luddite huh :rofl

    simply count the number of components below. which for fuel injection are necessary to duplicate different functions of a plain ole carburetor.

    each adds an additional point of failure. ALL mechanical parts will fail at some point.

    this reasoning is for an adventure bike that I'm hopefully going to be riding RTW.

    OEM and dealerships LOVE complexity. which forces customers to bring their bikes back to dealership for service. when a design uses complex proprietary components like below. If/when bike breaks down ... expertise and high tech electronic testing gear are needed to diagnose actual root cause.

    you've not seen fun until you get intermittent problems ... replacing hugely expensive components wrong is not high on my list of fun. sometimes simplest way to diagnose is by replacing with a known to be good part.

    when/if your high tech machine breaks down in the middle of no where ... you are walking! vs low tech bike like R80G/S .. I'll be spreading out my tool kit with spares and be back up.

    [​IMG]
  4. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Hey! Now your talking,I use one of those cone things for coffee every morning. I dont know if gas would flow through one fast enough or what,have to try it at home.

    Having said that I bought a last year carbed 2011 EXCR530 and it works great,very snappy once the EPA jetting is long gone.
    The FI takes a lot of fooling around to get it to make the power it should,guys are for ever searching for just the right map and then keeping extra fuel filters always on hand is just more stuff to fiddle with. Then if an injector does clog or quit in the middle of BFE,........well, it quit,get off and find another means of transportation.

    Carbs make for a lively powerband and today's carbs really work well after many years of development. I can go from sea level to 10,000' and it seems to run darn well. Im no Luddite and would like FI on my streetbike,it doesnt go in the dirt.
  5. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Yup,my 03 1150R had a computer glitch which imposed a rev limit at 4000 RPM,it was on warranty and off it went to the BMW shop,the diagnostic tool couldnt pin it down,they replaced every electrical part till it worked again,somewhere in the neighborhood of 3400.00 in parts not counting labor if hadnt been on warranty.
    Its not always as cut and dried as a failed injector.

    But cars have had FI since maybe 1987,of course they dont have to fight their way up slow steep switchbacks on a summer day in Nevada,if fuel gets to the boiling point the fuel pump will quit,then it takes a while for that to come on again.
    Dirt bikes have different demands on fueling.
  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Yeah,that is happening all the time. If you can break a carb body,you can break a throttle body,both in the same place.
  7. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    The real question is which kind of oil works better in Carburetor bikes as opposed to EFI






    :hide
  8. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    :huh

    Therein lies your problem. You cannot simply count the number of components and draw any conclusion UNTIL you know the failure rates of the individual components. You also need to understand their failure characteristics. For example, with solid state electronics once you get past the infant mortality failure phase (typically a few dozen hours of operation) they have infinitesimally small random normal failure rates and they take a long, long time to reach the end-of-life mortality phase. Mechanical components feature much, much higher random mid-life failure rates and they reach the end-of-life failure phase much, much earlier than do electronics. Because they are subject to physical wear they simply wear out. They are also much more prone to vibration-induced spontaneous adjustment. That's fancy-talk for mechanical stuff (like springs, screws and bolts) working loose.

    Back to my original example. If we just counted components and applied an average mechanical by-component failure rate, as you believe is sufficient, then your computer with its tens of thousands of individual components (let's not even get into the number of individual semiconductors etched onto the CPU) could never work. Ever.

    If we just ASSUME equal component failure rates when comparing electronics to mechanical systems the electronic systems would NEVER work. This is the fundamental root of your error. You do not understand the very basics of reliability engineering, nor the failure rates of modern electronics components. Not one bit.
  9. frontiercat

    frontiercat on the wheel

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    I've had the same ignition module in my '77 Pontiac T/A (has GM HEI) for so many years I couldn't even tell you when it was put in...

    It still has a Quadrajet on it that requires constant messing with depending on how it "feels" that day.

    I have both FI and carb'd bikes...FI is the future, but my carb'd bikes are here to stay.
  10. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Uhm, you know what it's for? No? It's a tps to adjust the timing curve and it's not even needed for the bike to run, the ECU isn't "for" the carb. Try unplugging the tps on a FI bike and let me know how far you get.

    As we start into fly by wire systems it's gonna get worse for EFI vehicles until technology catches up, servos aren't reliable yet.
  11. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    When I was young, I worked fairly extensively with vacuum tube circuits and then progressed to solid state devices. Vacuum tubes, primitive as they are, will handle momentary overloads and voltage transients that will instantly smoke a solid state circuit. Solid state devices are very reliable as long as they're not operated close to their maximum ratings. One needs to hope that whoever designed the EFI/ignition system on their bike took this into account during design and development.

    Ford designed an ignition module at one time that they heat sinked to the side of the distributor. Unfortunately, it wouldn't dissipate enough heat at that location, and the failure rate went through the roof. They finally had to relocate the module to a remote heat sink off the engine to get enough cooling.

    I can live with either EFI or carburetors, makes no difference to me.
  12. gunny_usmc

    gunny_usmc Semper Fi

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    Won't be long and fuel injection will be mandatory due to emissions testing, carbs just can't pass the testing


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    :huh

    Reliability is a pretty big deal in the airline business. Fly by wire systems seem to do okay there.

    I am really, really glad that the anti-EFI people are not involved in the design or manufacturing of high reliability equipment. :eek1
  14. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    what horseshit!

    in the real world electronics can and does fail ... don't get me wrong. modern electronics are very reliable. but tell it to all the folks taking extended trips only to have their trip of a lifetime cut short by a very expensive repair bill. most folks either run out of $$$ and/or time. how would you like to be stuck somewhere for 3 weeks waiting for a high $$$ part that only is available from BMW to come in?

    this is after getting their super high tech bike towed a few hundred miles to the nearest BMW dealer. only to find out repair work that cost thousands $$$ on their almost new bike is not under warranty.

    don't believe me .. look up what a brain box costs for an R1200GS or fuel injection pump or what ever ... cheap and BMW fuel injection parts usually don't go together.

    here's my Luddite electronics lab :D, back when I was into micro circuit boards used for LED drivers. [​IMG]
  15. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Hard to believe, but I've replaced low mile Ford servo throttle plate assemblies. Shoot, just two weeks ago I had to replace a throttle actuator on a Cummins CNG engine, $6,000...yes, SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. I've got another truck that needs one too, it's pretty strange to give an engine throttle to get it to slow down. :eek1
  16. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Data is not the plural form of anecdote. Do you happen to have any actual data, like MTBF of PFD numbers to support your argument that carbs are superior to EFI? If not, you may be the victim of confirmation bias. In God we trust. All others bring data.

    EFI systems are replacing carbs because they are more reliable, more efficient, more flexible and more tuneable. The manufacturers have looked at real data based on decades of analysis. That is why all them are replacing carbs with EFI. It's not some conspiracy. It's progress based on cold hard scientific facts.
  17. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    False, completely false.


    Newbs bring beer, get me a beer.


    :freaky
  18. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    This is hilarious. You are arguing in favor of an all mechanical system (carbs) by pointing to mechanical failures in an electro-mechanical system. :lol3:lol3:lol3
  19. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Odd. A few years ago I worked for a company that built electronics for the automotive industry (among many, many others). While I cannot divulge specific data due to NDA issues, I can state with confidence that I actually know what I am talking about having seen the data. And I saw the data because my job was to teach the engineers how to analyze it in statistically valid ways.

    Funny, but there were 14.5 million new cars and trucks sold in America last year. And I am unaware of a single one that did not come with EFI. So the fact that there are SOME failures of EFI units should not come as a surprise. They constitute 100% of the new car and truck population.
  20. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    Let me guess...you also think it's a giant conspiracy to charge us more money by making everything more complex and unreliable. Yup, you figured it out...they figured out that carbs and points were too reliable, and figured out how to make it more complex so we would have to spend more :rolleyes

    My experience is that EFI is much easier to work on, is more reliable, easier to tune, less complex (especially in the automotive world...remember those miserable emissions laden carbs with miles of complex vacuum lines?)...every piece of shit I own with a carb gives me problems (especially if it sits for more than a couple of weeks) while all my fuel injected machines are problem free. Must be part of the complex conspiracy, to lull me into a false sense of security:puke1