posted on February 14, 2012 at 2358

Old gasoline

I pulled the carburetors off the motorcycle today to start cleaning them, and found that I couldn’t get the float bowls off. Opening the top covers revealed that the CV diaphragms were also frozen in place for some reason — not good. After some pounding with a plastic mallet and some spirited twisting, I managed to get the float bowls separated from the main housing:

That’s…not a good sign.

Well, there’s your problem! Somebody tried to fill this bike up with molasses.

I’ve seen varnish in gas tanks before, and this…isn’t it. Petrochemical varnish is just a nice translucent yellowish coating that scrubs right off. I suppose this is the result of a decent pool of liquid gasoline sitting, without stabilizers, for thirty-two years in a static environment? Some kind of very slow natural polymerization run to an extreme. I bet that given another few decades — or maybe much longer — it’d become something resembling amber.

As fascinating as it is, the goo has to go, or this bike won’t run. I assume this stuff is still chemically similar to gasoline, and the can of xylene-based carb cleaner I have dissolves gasoline deposits, so I soaked everything in an excessive amount of the stuff and left it to sit overnight.

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