Tapping My Head: Elderly TDubs Fuel consumption, Smiley-Faced Gasket, Orings and things.
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Malkop's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Lion's River, South Africa
    Tapping My Head: Aged TDubs Fuel consumption, Smiley-Faced Gasket and o rings and things.

    Here comes a song of experience to add to the valuable vault on this site.

    I wrote in about my newly acquired 1997 Tdub that I got on a dept of Agriculture auction a while back. She’s done 22000 odd km/13 000 miles and her engine is in mint condition. She worked on a farm ridden by government employees. Being over a decade old I attribute her longevity to having worked at low revs in a fairly cool climate and being built solid in the body. I also think that the reliable electric start has her idle before reving unlike my old bikes that required a kick and a twist of the throttle which is not good for a cold engine.

    Also, having a government budget to do it she was obviously not spared service and expense since she sports an o-ring chain (in good nick but o rings beginning to perish from age) and a custom stainless steele exhaust with a baffle box that gives her a deep and authoritative but quiet voice.

    I wrote about finding the retired Yamaha mech who found an old Cdi (hers had been stolen) and got her running and pointed out and replaced the shrunk spacer between the carb. He pulled out the carb and cleaned it while he was at it.

    I have been noticing a whiff of fuel around the bike of late and had a look at saw dampness around the carb. It being winter here and me a fair weather rider, I have been using the bike intermittently and last time I filled she went onto reserve and I filled her up I can remember thinking that I’m sure I’ve not done many miles since the last fill up. Anyhow I took her to Andy to look at and he said that they will ooze a little on the stand but just turn off the fuel a little while before coming to a stop. But, he reckoned that this does not work if the tap is leaking. He pulled off the fuel pipe and lo and behold, it was leaking. Off I went to Yamaha for a new tap to see Raban the old Indian spares guru. He alone makes me glad to have said goodbye to Honda which is in a multi-brand franchise with all the other species of bike including the invasion of cheap chinese clones. Yamaha stocks only Yamaha, but will sell you an approved generic spare for half the price of any pirates the other dealers can offer. Also they have old Raban who has been selling spares there since I had my old XT 500 that was stolen 20 years ago and knows the micro details of the machines better than mechanics sometimes.

    Raban told me that Andy should know that the tap is serviceable and went and fetched what he called a little smiley-face gasket with an eye for open and reserve and a mouth for fuel. He said "No hold on, you also need an O-ring" buthe had no stock and could only get some in few weeks. He said that the kit costs half the price as a new tap complete with filters and everything if he gave me a fat discount which came to the equivalent of $17. I took the tap and went home. Before taking out the tap I opened it and took out the Smiley face and noticed that indeed it had lost a little chip under the one eye. I turned it around so it would only leak on reserve – it was leaking on open and would slowly drain till reserve. The o-ring is there to seal the tap and if it had failed then there would be fuel around the tap. So am off to change the tap for the smiley face not only to save some cash but some work since the tap involves getting the tank off and those nasty bolts under the seat while the gasket is two little screws.

    So, lessons:

    1. If your fuel consumption is high, check your tap.

    2. If your TDub whiffs of fuel, check your tap.

    3. If your TDub is a little elderly, put in a fuel filter or change that smiley face since it can fail with age and when it does the little bits if rubber gasket have nowhere to go but your carb and nothing left to do in life but wreak havoc in your jets and spoil your ride.

    This is not rocket science like getting into her brain with the black box, but a handy rule of thumb to add to the pleasure of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and to add a Yamaha specific smiley face to qwerty's list of common o ings to change. Anyone else had an elderly lady that uncontrollably leaked?


  2. #2
    Senior Member peruano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Lower Rio Grande, New Mexico
    Malcom, Great story. I too have rebuilt (rather than replace) the petcock on my TW 200. You don't say where you live, but since you speak about kilometers (not miles), taps (not petcocks) and seem to be tolerant of government activities rather than lamenting them), I'm going to guess that you are not from the USA. Welcome and yes having a petcock that will shut off will provide a backup for a slightly leaky float valve (that should shut off the fuel too when its not being used). BTW my TW is a 2002, but it sports a 1987 XT350 tank and petcock that did indeed need to have the smiley gasket replaced. Enjoy, Tom
    Tom - TW200 2002, Kawasaki VN 500 2006

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    Central New Mexico

  3. #3
    Senior Member Malkop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Lion's River, South Africa
    Hey Tom

    Am in South Africa where the government are the stealers with many an convicted criminal in parliament. I was talkign up the Yamaha dealers where motor agents are sometimes too quickly called the stealers. Filters and several other spares for my Mitsubishi truck (a bakkie it is called here) cost half at the agents and it might take a few minutes to come out of spares but you watch sport or read the paper with some good coffee while you save money.

    No insurance company will insure government vehicles (risk is too bad) which is why the crashed ones pile up until an auction. I bought my best horse on an auction on the same farm, untrained and undervalued. So the only thing to do is make the best of government incompetence. The TW I bought had her CDI stolen and all the locks broken. The CDi was there when I checked her before the auction for compression and found it good and saw the neutral light come on when I kicked her. That she had been violated and neglected brought the price down. That she is mechanically so sound is a testament to the near invincibility of the TDub. She now runs on switches and has a strong lock and chain to try and curb her wandering. Both my other bikes that were lasting me forever were stolen in the end and I was looking for something good and cheap since it is way cheaper to get those than pay ridiculous premiums.

    Funny that about taps and petcocks. Shall I tell you about how my petcock crows in the morning? Maybe not. Having returned from the dealer (not stealer), I see the thing is called a valve packing. So maybe we were both wrong. The spares guy called it a smiley face but looking at it seems more dismayed than happy.

    The part # is 3AC-24523-00 for anyone wanting to give their old girl some preventative medicine against incontinence.


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  5. #4
    Senior Member Malkop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Lion's River, South Africa
    BTW Tom nice country you live in. Crime is a common story in South Africa but not snow. Right now the biggest route from the port city Durban to Johannesburg is closed due to snow and ice the second time in few weeks.


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