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Starting Fluid
May be a silly question, but is it safe to use starting fluid? The cooler the temperature, the harder the bike is to start. Around 40 degrees or so, the bike doesn't want to start. With all the work done to the bike this year and since it's running perfectly, I would like to fire it up every week to 10 days and run it until it reaches operating temps. I'd like to start it tomorrow, but I know that I'll have to crank and crank and I'll be lucky to get it started. I'm thinking a small shot of starting fluid would help things along for a much quicker start.

Does anybody see anything wrong with doing this?


#1 12-12-2009, 05:52 PM,
I don't see any reason not to use it, but I think you are doing more harm than good in starting it & only running it til it comes up to operating temp. It will build up moisture in the exhaust & engine unless you run it long enough that the exhaust gets hot enough to evaporate all moisture out of it. You would be better off putting some Staybil or Seafoam in the gas, run it til it gets in the carbs, pull the plugs, oil the cylinders, reinstall the plugs, disconnect the battery & leave until spring.

#2 12-12-2009, 06:35 PM,
Most of the articles I've read advise against intermittent starting. If the bike is stored, just let it sit until you're ready to go next spring. As Poorboy noted, moisture sitting in the engine is not good.
Remember, it's the journey, not the destination, that matters.
#3 12-12-2009, 07:35 PM,
My mechanic informed me this summer after having so much work done to the bike that the best thing for it is use/running. He told me that if it was his bike, he would start it and run it at least once a week throughout the winter for a minimum of 20 minutes, (on top of the gas treatment, battery tender etc..) I was thinking more like twice a month. There are times when the temps will rise and I like to get on the bike and putt through town just to "scratch the itch" so to speak. In January, February when we reach 30-40 degrees once in a while, it's the perfect opportunity to start the old gal up and ride for a while, but it's just so darn hart to start. I thought maybe just a small dose of starting fluid would help the starting process and would help prevent the drainage of the battery as well as all the wear and tear on the starter.

Thanks for all the input.

#4 12-13-2009, 07:47 AM,
P.S. Just a quick FYI, for some reason, this topic does not show up in the active topics listings, nor did it show up in the view unanswered posts listings before receiving any replies. I also did not get one email stating that there were replies to the posting, even though that box was checked. I don't necessarily care, I'm just wanting to let someone know in case there are bugs that should be reported since the change.

#5 12-13-2009, 07:51 AM,
I've noticed that and I think that Marty's looking into it! Also your mechanic is right! The best maintenance for these bikes is to run them, however,,,,,,, winter DOES tend to get in the way!!!!! :lol: :lol:
1985 Limited Edition
#6 12-13-2009, 08:40 AM,
Myself, when cold starting a bike I find it best and safest to use propane because it is a dry gas and it won't wash out the plugs. I just unscrew the nozzle from the end of my propane torch, aim the tube into the plenum and turn on the torch valve and crank the engine. Even if it backfires it just burns off quickly in the air if ignited. Using a wet chemical can foul the plugs and if the wet gas ignites it can splash onto your clothes or the bike. Starting fluid if used to excess can make its way down past the rings and into the crankcase where it can be ignited and then blow seals on your engine. As a safety precaution always wear safety glasses when starting a bike with chemicals and make certain that there is a lot of ventilation around the bike to dissipate any unburnt fuels.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#7 12-13-2009, 02:36 PM,
I have heard that WD-40 works well too for gas engines. It's main benefit is that it does not "wash down" the cylinders like starting fluid. I have used WD-40 to start small sailboat diesel engines in the fall and early spring.

I like the propane idea. Thanks for the tip Vic.
#8 12-14-2009, 11:44 AM,
bob NE In. Wrote:Starting an engine with the choke on would also wash down the cylinders....

That's exactly why I use propane gas to start a cold engine. It richens the mixture without flooding it with liquid fuel. I've been using it for years and it has always done the job for me. I was once a licensed propane conversion installer holding a valid S6A and a P3 license so I have a lot of experience with propane as a motor vehicle fuel and in my opinion I found it to be a much safer fuel than gasoline although it is not idiot proof as proper safety care must be taken with any flammable item.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#9 12-14-2009, 07:13 PM,

What ever happened to your work on a fuel injection system modification for our beloved 1200 motors?
#10 12-16-2009, 04:05 PM,

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