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Not the Best Way to Store Your Motorcycle …

There are good ways to store your motorcycle and then there are bad ones to put your motorcycle into long-term cold storage. Our Tech Advisor brings home a beaut. 

picked up this 1997 Yamaha FZR 750 knowing it was salvage so its condition was not a big shock. Interesting are the effects of time and improper storage. Obviously, this is not the best way to store your motorcycle. The bike was leaned against a garage wall for a very long time. There was a tarp covering it … well, the tank was on, the carbs were in place BUT not secured. Somehow moisture got into the No. 1 cylinder. 

Of course I made an attempt to turn the engine over before exploring inside. A large pair of pliers on the output sprocket (with the bike in sixth gear and the rusty plugs out) resulted in some movement, maybe 20 to 30 degrees, then no more. 

Rocking the sprocket could not defeat that much rust. Too bad, because the other cylinders looked almost brand new. The head had a couple of valves rusted to the seats (seen here in the third photo on the right). Rust had also taken care of the gas tank. There were mysterious bubbles coming from under the paint. 

After drilling out the gas cap lots of rust was evident, along with some pretty smelly old gas. I had some leftover CLR that, for the heck of it, went in the tank. Next morning it was on the ground, rust was the only thing keeping the tank from leaking. 

After removing the oil pan lots of sludge (a mix of oil and water) appeared in all its ugliness. I was kind of hoping that very compact 125 rated horsepower engine could be part of a fun project (I had the carbs and electronics need to make it run), maybe an ATV or even a mobility scooter engine. But looking at it now it’s probably not worth rebuilding: machining, pistons, gaskets and labour add up quick. Anyway it’s a good example of what not to do. 

Sealed carbs, a little oil in the bores and that would have been an awesome engine to find. The tank should have been drained; I looked in an old (drained) Kawasaki tank that has been sitting in my unheated garden shed for about 20 years—not a spec of rust. 

The carbs will require a good clean but should be serviceable along with many other good parts. I actually kind of like taking stuff apart, so it was fun. Not as satisfying as getting a runner going but as the old saying goes, “a bad day’s fishing is better than a good day at work.”

by Rich Burgess Canadian Biker Issue #327


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