If you are a motorcyclist you know the name BSA. But do you know what those initials stand for?
BSA was founded in 1861 as a arms manufacture. Birmingham Small Arms co. They produced Air guns and shotguns for the military and sporting market.
When the military contracts ended the company got into the motorcycle business. At their peak BSA was the largest motorcycle producer in the world.
These bike are highly prized by many vintage motorcycle riders and collectors.
A down turn in sales coupled with bad investments which included Triumph motorcycles brought the whole group down in 1973.
Just a quick note today about putting your bike up for the winter.
The gas tank is the source of many spring time bike problems. Everybody has heard about gas going stale in the tank and carbs. So add a fuel stabilizer such as sta-bil or sea foam. Next you will want to drain your carburetor float bowls. If your bike has a manual petcock just start the engine and shut the gas off at the petcock and let it run dry. If you have a vacuum operated petcock disconnect and plug the vacuum line, this will keep the petcock from opening.
If your bike is fuel injected sitting over the winter will not be a problem. (By this I mean there is nothing to drain.)
Don't forget to fill your tank up before you store the bike for the winter, empty space in the gas tank allows condensation and promotes rust in the tank.
One other thing. I shoot a quick spurt of WD 40 into the exhaust pipe to help displace any condensation that occures in there and then plug the exhaust pipe with a rag or place a piece of tape to prevent mice from using the muffler as their winter home.
One of the most common problems with buying used motorcycles and certainly ones that have been sitting for a while is rust in the gas tank.
If this rust is not removed or sealed it will continually clog your fuel filter and carbs. This will cause you to be unhappy and on foot.
Now, you can buy a sealer that coats the inside of the tank isolating the rust from the fuel. When done properly these work just dandy. The problem is that many times the coatings flake or peal and become as big a problem as the rust itself.
I prefer to remove the rust. It is a bit of a project but not that difficult to do. This is how I did it on my 1986 Kawasaki project.
First remove the tank from the bike. Then I removed the petcock and fuel sender. I sealed the resulting mounting holes by cutting out a gasket from an old inner tube and sandwiching it between the tank and a small piece plywood held in place by using the mounting bolts or sealing with duct tape. My seal was not perfect so I did the following steps involving liquid over a plastic muck bucket to contain any leakage.
Using acid is the most common method to clean a tank but I found a product called Vapo-rust that contains no acid or solvent so it is less hazardous and disposal is not an issue. This stuff is so effective that the Army uses it to remove rust from battle tanks.
Now with my fuel tank I had both rust and pealing sealer to deal with so I needed some way to clean off the loose sealer and rust. I did this by pouring 4000 BBs into the tank and shaking it for several minutes. This beat off all of the loose sealer and rust without damaging the tank. I have also heard of people using a few hundred small hex nuts to do the same thing but the BBs cost a lot less.
Most of the BBs will just pour out of the tank when you are finished however a magnet on a teliscoping handle is helpful for get the last stuborn few out.
At this point I rinsed the tank out with water, this removes the rust and sealer that you just knocked off with the BBs.
After draining the water pour in a 1/2 gallon of vapo-rust. Leave this in the tank for a couple of hours, turning the tank every 15 to 20 minutes so as to expose the entire interior of the tank to the chemical.
Next drain the tank and reassemble the parts that you removed and remount the tank. This would be a good time to put on a new fuel filter.
It is possable on a tank that was severly rusted that cleaning that out may open up small pin hole leaks. so put a small amount of fuel in and keep a sharp eye out for any signs of leaks. If all appears dry filler up.
I add a half of a can of Sea Foam to my first tank of gas (if you haven't heard of Sea Foam it's been around for about 60 years and is the best in my opinion for cleaning your fuel system including removing varnish and contaminates from carburetors ). That's really all there is to it.
Please be mindful you are working with a fuel tank here so don't do this around any open flames.