I’ve had my beloved Yamaha XT600 Ténéré for about 8 years and have deliberately kept it away from these pages as I’m always doing something to it. It could have its own website with the amount of time, not to mention money and effort I’ve spent on it.
This story is note-worthy as it’s a lesson for me and others who ride and maintain old bikes!
I don’t use the bike that much at the moment, but I always keep it ready for the road, just in case I get a chance to take it out. Whilst doing a few checks recently, I decided to fire it up and get the oil pumping around the engine, so that things don’t seize up.
The tank was pretty full (over 20 litres) and upon opening up the manual fuel valves, giving it a bit of choke, the engine fired-up on the second crank. It sounded quite sweet.
However, after about 30 seconds, I heard ‘running liquid’ before smelling the intense scent of super unleaded. Looking down, I was standing in about 2 pints of fuel, on the wooden shed floor with a hot exhaust casually burning the fuel that was dripping on to it. Nasty.
I won’t repeat what I said, but suffice to say, I hit the bikes’ kill switch virtually instantly. I shut the flowing fuel off and wheeled the bike out in to the open air.
After several cups of tea, I found the cause of the problem. The small fuel feed pipe which runs from the float chamber to the main jet on the carburettor had failed causing the leak.
When I bought the bike, I thought I’d changed all the fuel lines, but I’d missed one, quite an important one as it turned out. It goes to show that even enthusiastic mechanics make mistakes.
The cost of the repair was £1 for a new piece of fuel hose, but the point of this story is: If you have any petrol-powered things, especially old motorbikes; don’t run them in an enclosed wooden space. Always run them outside.