House smells like gas, petcock left on. - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 02-17-2011, 08:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default House smells like gas, petcock left on.

Hey everybody, I'm Jen, a total newbie here. Both to the board and to motorcycles in general. So I took the class, got the license, bought the bike (a lovely '99 Shadow Aero VT1100). It was delivered yesterday and is GORGEOUS!! However, my new helmet wasn't here yet - so only my boyfriend could take her for a spin. I noticed last night that something smelled funny when I got home, but shrugged it off. Tonight when I got home it was definitely a gas smell. When I opened the garage door - wow. So I found a flashlight and checked out the petcock and sure enough, it was still 'On'. So I turned it to off and opened the garage door halfway. Now - is everything ok? Should I let it sit overnight to air out and start it tomorrow? Should I start it now? Will it start? Thanks a bunch!

Jen
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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just light a match...it wont smell like gas anymore

oh yeah, welcome to the board and enjoy your new bike!
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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just light a match...it wont smell like gas anymore

oh yeah, welcome to the board and enjoy your new bike!
LOL - I did get a little nervous about making dinner.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Okay, now I'm the newbie with the question. But I leave the petcock in the "on" position all the time and I've never smelled gas. Do people really turn it off every time, and is leaving it on a risk?
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Mine is always on.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum.

You should not smell gas with the petcock in the on position. Look under the petcock and check for dripping gas. The VLX Shadows had a recall for this. Maybe your bike has a similar issue.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm going to answer this question, because even though it's in the tech section it's general motorcycle knowledge (or it should be) and if you do the wrong thing in this situation you can cause serious damage to your motor.

If your petcock is seeping gas out onto the exterior of your bike that is one thing and needs to be fixed. But if you get a strong gas smell and you don't see any obvious fuel anywhere around the petcock you need to look further.

Lots of riders leave their bikes petcock on all of the time with no ill effect. Some bikes even have a vacume operated petcock that only opens when the engine is spinning.

The problem with leaving the gas tank valve open occurs if/when the fuel inlet needle stays open for some reason (debris in the seat area or a failed float) allowing gas to pass thru the carbs and into the engine, perhaps filling it completely with liquid gasoline. If you try to start the engine with the cylinder even partially filled with liquid there is a very good chance that you WILL bend/break a piston or connecting rod. Both of these are bad things. Air in your engine will compress into a smaller space. Liquid will not.

If that doesn't happen and the excess gas makes its way into the crankcase it can dilute the oil in the engine so far that bearing surfaces no longer have any oil protection, destroying your motor in that manner. ( I have wrecked an engine this way )
An overfull crankcase due to gas contamination can also bend/break things when the engine is started.

Lots of people seem to think that the vents hoses on the carbs are there as overflows in case this happens. Not so. The vents are there as vents, period. The carb won't function properly without them.

If you suspect this has happened to your scooter, and there isn't a big lake of gas on the ground around your bike....check the oil. If the level is high or the oil seems thinner than it should be or it smells like gas DO NOT TRY TO START YOUR ENGINE. You have some work to do. The oil has to be drained as does any fuel in the cylinders, plus you need to find out why the inlet needle leaked.

Because of the design of most motorcycles not turning off your petcock is always a risk. Most people will never have an incident like this occur, so they always leave the gas on. I used to never turn mine off either, but I've had 5 or 6 rides fill themselves up with fuel due to a hung up inlet needle and it a pain in the azz to clean up. Even now I only turn mine off when I'm done with the bike for the day.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by reno1051 View Post
just light a match...it wont smell like gas anymore
Yup, I think your gonna fit in here just fine.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Carb needs a low end rebuild

Time to pull it and rip off the bowl, buy a rebuild kit

Float, needle, o-ring, gasket kit

Replace

No more fuel leak
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gat803 View Post
I'm going to answer this question, because even though it's in the tech section it's general motorcycle knowledge (or it should be) and if you do the wrong thing in this situation you can cause serious damage to your motor.

If your petcock is seeping gas out onto the exterior of your bike that is one thing and needs to be fixed. But if you get a strong gas smell and you don't see any obvious fuel anywhere around the petcock you need to look further.

Lots of riders leave their bikes petcock on all of the time with no ill effect. Some bikes even have a vacume operated petcock that only opens when the engine is spinning.

The problem with leaving the gas tank valve open occurs if/when the fuel inlet needle stays open for some reason (debris in the seat area or a failed float) allowing gas to pass thru the carbs and into the engine, perhaps filling it completely with liquid gasoline. If you try to start the engine with the cylinder even partially filled with liquid there is a very good chance that you WILL bend/break a piston or connecting rod. Both of these are bad things. Air in your engine will compress into a smaller space. Liquid will not.

If that doesn't happen and the excess gas makes its way into the crankcase it can dilute the oil in the engine so far that bearing surfaces no longer have any oil protection, destroying your motor in that manner. ( I have wrecked an engine this way )
An overfull crankcase due to gas contamination can also bend/break things when the engine is started.

Lots of people seem to think that the vents hoses on the carbs are there as overflows in case this happens. Not so. The vents are there as vents, period. The carb won't function properly without them.

If you suspect this has happened to your scooter, and there isn't a big lake of gas on the ground around your bike....check the oil. If the level is high or the oil seems thinner than it should be or it smells like gas DO NOT TRY TO START YOUR ENGINE. You have some work to do. The oil has to be drained as does any fuel in the cylinders, plus you need to find out why the inlet needle leaked.

Because of the design of most motorcycles not turning off your petcock is always a risk. Most people will never have an incident like this occur, so they always leave the gas on. I used to never turn mine off either, but I've had 5 or 6 rides fill themselves up with fuel due to a hung up inlet needle and it a pain in the azz to clean up. Even now I only turn mine off when I'm done with the bike for the day.
Couldn't said it better myself. Do check it out. This is not normal from my experiece. Welcome to "Asylum".
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