Water in air filter box
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Thread: Water in air filter box

  1. #1
    Junior Member Vertiflight's Avatar
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    Water in air filter box

    First I really wanna say you guys are awesome! I have really loved reading so much about the TW and all of your wisdom has been so helpful! I have recently purchased my 2nd TW but this one is to fix up and sell. It has a lot of surface rust & I am trying to do a restoration & save this bike. Its a 2014 with 5K miles. A kid had the bike and was trying to transform it into a very sloppy bob style bike. he ran out of money and left the bike outside for "a while" I purchased the bike and when removing the air filter to do some routine maintenance I had a lot of water in the air box. I have not tried to start the bike at this time but was told it ran good before my purchase. The seat was off of the bike and i suspect rain had filled the box. There is no rust on the screen. I am obviously no mechanic however I do love working on the bike and learning about this machine.
    my question is what if anything should I do to this bike before trying to start it since so much water was inside the air box?
    Thank you for all your help in advance!!
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Theres a short plastic drain pipe at the bottom of the box – make sure it’s clear – other than that, new foam filter, and don’t forget to oil it ……..
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  3. #3
    Senior Member SportsterDoc's Avatar
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    I'd drain and replace engine oil, check/replace spark plug, check combustion chamber thru spark plug hole, before starting

    Before going any distance, suggest

    a. removing both ends of both battery cables, clean and reinstall
    b. service chain
    c. check condition of tires
    d. lube clutch and throttle cables
    Last edited by SportsterDoc; 02-19-2018 at 10:10 AM.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Tweaker's Avatar
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    Drain and replace gas too.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    While all the above is good general maintenance advice the simple answer to the OP's stated question : "my question is what if anything should I do to this bike before trying to start it since so much water was inside the air box?" is simply remove as much water from the airbox and filter as convenient and then try to start it.
    Sure, you can and should eventually do all the above, but lacking changing the oil, servicing the chain, lubing cables or installing a new air filter will have no affect on startinghis bike after water was noted in the airbox. People try to be overly helpful here sometimes at the expense of addressing the specific question asked.
    Good luck.
    Ken likes this.
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  7. #6
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Well, if you’re going to take it to extremes, we first need to look at “why” all that water has got into the air box – and just what the consequences of this can be

    Firstly, let me explain where I’m coming from – I used to have a Suzy GT550 triple two stroke – and all was well until I stuck a Piper three into one exhaust system on it. Because the expansion box on that particular pipe was under the engine, this meant the removal of the centre stand. No room for both, so I simply rolled with the side stand only – no biggie – or so I thought

    But having the bike parked up for just over a year at an angle (with no cover), had somehow allowed water to get into the air filter, and subsequently, the carbs (all three of them)

    Being in my early twenties at the time, I found it mildly amusing to try to start it on the electric at first, but accepted that I’d eventually have to kick it over. At which point, the cylinder head would lift, she’d spew the water out from between the head gaskets, and grumble into life – albeit on two cylinders at first, but after a couple of hundred yards she’d be up on all three

    The GT550 triple was a brutal engine – both by nature and by design …….

    Eventually, I dropped the engine, replaced the rings and the small ends – but that was about it

    But she suffered from the odd glitch after that, when she’d drop back down to two – and I’d go chasing the HT trying to find it (three sets of points, three condensers, you know the routine)

    After about 6 months of this, I gave up and chucked it at the shop – they cleaned out all the gunk from the carbs, and she was fine after that. Funny old game …..

    The point of all this, is that Fred is largely right – if your bike has been left in the rain for long enough, all of the above applies

    If you want to take it to extremes, drop and change the oil, the air filter, clean the carb, squirt some oil down the plug hole before attempting to turn the engine over – and yes, still clear that air filter drain pipe – then run it through with sea foam

    Reading back over what I have just written – it makes a lot of sense – or you risk only doing half a job – just like I did when I was young ………
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Why was there water in airbox you ask. No seat and left out in the rain "for awhile" seems a good clue.
    No reason for the new buyer not to try turning engine over for the first time before significant improvements are implemented as part of initial evaluation of the restoration needed. This assumes oil level and quality (no water) has been inspected. After all if engine is seized or otherwise needs dissassembly having changed the oil as a first step will not do any good. Remember, this is the beginning of the owners state restoration process.
    Ken likes this.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member SportsterDoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    Why was there water in airbox you ask. No seat and left out in the rain "for awhile" seems a good clue.
    No reason for the new buyer not to try turning engine over for the first time before significant improvements are implemented as part of initial evaluation of the restoration needed. This assumes oil level and quality (no water) has been inspected. After all if engine is seized or otherwise needs dissassembly having changed the oil as a first step will not do any good. Remember, this is the beginning of the owners state restoration process.
    OK, then change this advice from "I'd drain and replace engine oil, check/replace spark plug, check combustion chamber thru spark plug hole, before starting"
    ...to:
    1. Pull spark plug and look for fluids in the combustion chamber
    2. With spark plug grounded, crank engine to determine if it freely rotates
    3. Check engine oil for contaminants/water
    4. If spark plug fired during #2, and if oil is ugly, change it before firing
    5. And, as Teaker suggested, use fresh fuel.

    What if "parked in the rain, seat off" really was drowned in a river?
    Fred likes this.
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  10. #9
    Junior Member Vertiflight's Avatar
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    You guys are awesome and I cannot thank you enough for being so helpful!!! I will be looking through the clues that you provided tomorrow and let you know what the bike does. Again ....... thank you so much!!!

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