Unbelievable Day!!! MUST READ!!!
Today, I had the craziest day of motorcycling ever, and I didn't get more then 2 miles from my house.
The day started with a plan to meet up with a good friend to ride to Canyon early in the morning. 7:30 am, I am in my full leathers, heading out, the birds are chirping, the air is cool. Looks like a great day for a ride. One and a half miles from my house, the bike starves out, and dies. I turn, and coast down a side street, and stop. It cranks over, but there is not a sputter from the engine. "Great." I pull the cell phone out, leave a message for my riding partner that the ride is off, and start hoofing it home.
Picture this.... Bright green sportbike, full leathers and race boots, middle of rush hour, pushing the bike down the sidewalk. Just a little embarrasing. The worst was the guy on the harley that rode by and laughed at me... "Yea, Laugh it up." I though. "The ONE time you see a broke down sportbike, might as well enjoy it, buddy." Half a mile later, this bike is HEAVY. The sun is beating down, where did the wind go? Could someone shut up these damn birds? Crap these leathers are hot.
After I had pushed the bike 3/4 of a mile, an attractive blonde stopped and asked me if I needed a ride. I said, no, I was okay. She insisted, so I accepted the ride. I left my bike on the sidewalk, and she dropped me off at home. She seemed interested in hanging out and chatting, but I don't think my girlfriend would be okay with that, so I politely thanked her for the ride, and got out. I changed, grabbed the truck, and went back for the bike.
Once the bike was safely back in the garage, it became apparent that the battery was quite dead. This was only after looking for clogged jets, or a bad fuel pump. After a quick trip to the store for a battery, the bike was back in business. Just to be safe, we threw some B-12 Chemtool in the tank, to clean the carbs.
Put the bike back together, topped her up with gas, and we decided to continue with our ride. The plan was to follow Josh (my riding partner) to his house, so he could don his leathers, and jump on his bike. The bike idled for a while in the garage, and reved smoothly, so we headed out. Turning onto the freeway, 2 miles from home, I was stuck behind a minivan. When the car in the inside line passed the minivan, I dropped into that lane and cracked the throttle. It was at this point that it happened but I didn't become aware for a moment. As I clicked third, all of a sudden, I felt intense heat through my leathers on my left leg. I looked down, expecting to see spraying coolant or oil.
I was NOT prepared for what I did see.
Bright orange flames spewed from under my seat, enveloping my leg, and continuing out for another foot or so.
I instantly hit the kill switch and jumped up onto the tank to get clear of the flames. I swung over the shoulder and stopped, jumped off the tank (managed to get it on the kickstand) and began tearing off my gloves and helmet. Josh had pulled over behind me. Apparently, he saw the flames long before I did, and had been honking trying to get my attention. I was yelling.. asking if he had a fire extinguisher in his jeep. no, but he had already thought this process through (he'd had a little more time then me), and reminded me of the water bottle I had packed in my trunk. I recoverd the key from the ignition, and removed the seats while trying not to get burned. The water doused the flames.
I walked around aimlessly for a few moments in total shock. We assumed that when we had removed the tank earlier, and checked the fuel bowls for fuel, the small dribbles of gas that had dropped onto the block had ignited. We washed it down with the rest of the water and assumed that it was okay to continue.
I climbed back aboard the bike, to ride it carefully home and do a full inspection. I accelerated slowly and carefully. This time, when I clicked 4th (only going 40 mph) the heat returned. According to Josh, this fireball was much bigger then the first. I repeated the process of pulling quickly over, and removing the seats quickly to gain access to the fire.
There was only a tiny bit of water left. It wasn't enough. THERE WAS FIRE COMING OUT OF THE VENT TUBE FROM THE TANK. A handfull of dirt finished the job. This time we left the bike, drove home in the jeep, and got the truck.
My tank is from a california model bike, my bike is a 49 state model. I had jumpered the inlet and outlet for the charcol canister on the back of the tank. This jumper vanished some months ago, and when the tank was SUPER full, some fuel would splash out of these vents. Remember that I had filled the tank before heading back out. In the past, this fuel was not flammable enough to be a problem. Turns out that B-12 is nothing but the MOST flammable petroleum distillates (xylene, toluene, etc..). This caused the fuel that dripped out to be explosive.
Lesson: Fix your leaks, and DO NOT USE B-12 Chemtool unless you are building a Rocket!!!