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  1. #1
    ripcuda's Avatar
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    How long between carb rebuilds?

    Rebuilding the carbs on a carb'ed Polaris is one of the most important thing a new owner can do.
    And I agree with the choir that the genuine Mikuni or Keihin carb rebuild kits are the ones to use.

    So how long can we safely expect them to go without another rebuild?


    I like to think I take good care of my engines. Use Seafoam in the gas every couple tanks or so to help keep things clean. Use Stabil in the fuel for winterizing and run it to make sure it's in the carbs. Fog my engines for winter storage. Keep all the metal engine parts sprayed and protected from corrosion. Check my plugs and piston wash a few times throughout the season. I consider all this basic preventive maintenance.

    So, when should I begin to worry again about the carbs?

    As I'm getting ready to pull my trusty ole' SLT 750 out of winter storage for it's 4th season of fun... I wonder about these things.


    Cheers!


  2. #2
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    I think the biggest factor is the use of ethanol vs. non ethanol gas. I go out of my way to get gas without ethanol for my 2 strokes.

  3. #3
    Fink's Avatar
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    http://www.pure-gas.org/ is a good reference to find pure gas.

    Ethanol was added to gas under the ploy of saving fossil fuels. "10% ethanol mixed with the gas uses 10% less fossil fuel and will save the earth" But, the reality is that adding 10% ethanol to gas can reduce the MPG of a vehicle by up to 25%. In the end, you burn more gas than what was saved in the first place.

  4. #4
    john zigler's Avatar
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    agreed, depends on gas used......

    With good gas, you can get many years / seasons on a set of carbs. In our area, I would say 10+ on a "properly" maintained machine. Of course in warmer climates, people can put more hours on in a season, and that can change things. Maybe 5 - 7 years?

  5. #5
    ripcuda's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice gang! I do have a few places I can get to for non-ethanol premium gas... thankfully. But not for regular octane... and boy is it pricey.

    Does ethanol in the gas cause problems just running it... or mostly when it sits?

    I guess I thought that if your burning through the gas pretty regularly/quick... that the ethanol shouldn't have much of an effect (other than the expected reduced power/mileage due to the ethanol). Like using it during prime of the season where a tank of gas doesn't get a chance to sit long.

    But ethanol in the tank for extended periods of sitting... like winter storage... would be when you could expect things to start to "gum up" in the system.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Cheers!

  6. #6
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    I would never store a machine with ethanol gas. The problem with ethanol, is that it absorbs water. When it can no longer absorb any water, the water drops out of solution in the form of liquid water in your fuel and lines. Water in the fuel system causes problems. I would think it would be OK to use if you are going to burn it up right away. Non ethanol is still preferred, since ethanol being a solvent, is still harder on rubber parts than straight gas.

  7. #7
    john zigler's Avatar
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    I see damage from ethanol here almost every day. It is corrosive, attracts moisture, melts rubber parts, diaphragms, etc. Even "if" you run it straight through, I would STRONGLY advise against using it.......

    The more expensive non-ethanol gas will be less expensive in the long run, trust me.

    "If" you use ethanol, I would guess you would need to do your carbs at best every season.
    Last edited by K447; 04-21-2013 at 09:51 AM. Reason: diaphragms

  8. #8
    casey67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripcuda View Post
    Rebuilding the carbs on a carb'ed Polaris is one of the most important thing a new owner can do.
    And I agree with the choir that the genuine Mikuni or Keihin carb rebuild kits are the ones to use.

    So how long can we safely expect them to go without another rebuild?


    I like to think I take good care of my engines. Use Seafoam in the gas every couple tanks or so to help keep things clean. Use Stabil in the fuel for winterizing and run it to make sure it's in the carbs. Fog my engines for winter storage. Keep all the metal engine parts sprayed and protected from corrosion. Check my plugs and piston wash a few times throughout the season. I consider all this basic preventive maintenance.

    So, when should I begin to worry again about the carbs?

    As I'm getting ready to pull my trusty ole' SLT 750 out of winter storage for it's 4th season of fun... I wonder about these things.


    Cheers!
    Looks like it depends on how "lucky" you are or how well you can notice small issues before they become big issues.

    Me and my friends live in the "Twilight zone". We have 2 97's that have been run on 10% ethanol since 97-both have original fuel lines-1 has never had carbs rebuilt (around 300 hours)The other has original '99 carbs. Stored out doors with Stabil and minimum gas.
    There are cheap rubber parts out there that have big issues with ethanol-but not all rubber parts-so watch what you buy
    Do I recommend it for everyone ? No
    Does it work for me ? Yes

  9. #9
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by casey67 View Post
    Looks like it depends on how "lucky" you are or how well you can notice small issues before they become big issues.

    Me and my friends live in the "Twilight zone".

    We have 2 97's that have been run on 10% ethanol since 97-both have original fuel lines-1 has never had carbs rebuilt (around 300 hours) The other has original '99 carbs.
    Perhaps this speaks, in part, to the quality of the original OEM carb internals.

    Stored out doors with Stabil and minimum gas.

    There are cheap rubber parts out there that have big issues with ethanol-but not all rubber parts-so watch what you buy
    Do I recommend it for everyone ? No
    Does it work for me ? Yes
    Are those original fuel lines and not-yet-rebuilt carburetors also going without internal inspections?

    The problems with the original Gray Tempo fuel lines seem well documented. Ethanol seems to be a component of the 'green goo' internal hose degradation, but not the only factor. Old fuel hoses also get more brittle with age, regardless of ethanol.

    I could only guess whether the issues John is reporting with regards to Ethanol blended gasoline are also, or in part, related to the use of non-OEM quality carb rebuild parts. Your experience with 15 years of continuous service from never rebuilt factory carburetors suggests the original factory parts are indeed of good quality.

    Not sure what lessons can be gleaned from such extended operation without fuel system maintenance.

    Certainly I cannot see changing the current recommendations for others regarding fuel hose replacement and carburetor rebuilds.

  10. #10
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    I know all my stuff has been recently re done. However, I plan to do internal inspections of the carbs at least once a year to check for degradation of rubber parts. I think Keith is right though regarding the quality of the OEM parts in the carbs. I have opened up carbs and found a few bad o rings that I just replaced individually.

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