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Old 12-04-2012, 09:11 AM   #1
AirGsPd OP
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Ideling an engine too long without use of fan

I have read a lot that you should not let your engine idle longer than a few minutes without the use of a fan. I do understand the concept and thought behind that advice , but here comes my question. Have the engines not been designed to withstand ideling for a longer period of time like it may occur in a traffic jam? What are you guys doing if you come to a standstill somewhere on the highway?
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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Lane splitting is legal in some states, but if it looks like the traffic won't be moving for a long time I make like a moped and use the shoulder.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:22 AM   #3
disston
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When I am working on the bike and need to have it idle I'm careful of this issue. It gets hot, I don't have a fan available, but it seems to do just fine. I probably don't idle the bike more than 4 mins in these situations.

I've had a couple of times in traffic though that were disconcerting. In the city I have been able to take a different route but several times stuck on some Highway the bike did seem to be too hot. I've adopted the attitude more recently that I have to use the breakdown lane and I either go to the nearest exit or if I know what roads are around I select an exit near by.

The bike runs very poorly when it gets this hot but apparently it's not been a lasting issue as it seems to recover. There have been recent threads about riders that have warped heads or valve covers and these could be from such over heating episodes.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:57 AM   #4
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Depends on the various circumstances.

Has the bike just been started from cold.
Is the engine already hot from slow driving in traffic/trail work.
How long do you expect to be stopped for.

If I catch a red light at a known slow changing intersection on a hot day, I switch off. Why sit there for 90 seconds idling an already hot motor.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:36 AM   #5
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I've idled them longer than four minutes, sometimes when there's been trouble adjusting carbs. And then the hotter it gets, the more likely you'll have to go back and tweak things when it's at normal running temp.

It depends a lot on how hot it is that day. But the thing to be concerned about the most is the cylinder heads. They're the hottest part of the engine.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:58 PM   #6
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I too have found it almost amusing that airhead riders don't think they can idle these engines for more than a few minutes without assistance from fans. Do you really think that in all the time BMW spent developing and building these engines they considered that sometimes the traffic stops moving. When you compare other air cooled configurations such as the UJM 4 cylinders the airhead is a much better design for cooling itself. I never shut any of my bikes off on the highway when stopped at construction or traffic delays without any problems. These things are not fragile, they can handle idling just fine. On tuneups and settings I can see where holding the cylinder head temperature stable would be important but outside of that I don't see it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limeymike View Post
i too have found it almost amusing that airhead riders don't think they can idle these engines for more than a few minutes without assistance from fans. Do you really think that in all the time bmw spent developing and building these engines they considered that sometimes the traffic stops moving. When you compare other air cooled configurations such as the ujm 4 cylinders the airhead is a much better design for cooling itself. I never shut any of my bikes off on the highway when stopped at construction or traffic delays without any problems. These things are not fragile, they can handle idling just fine. On tuneups and settings i can see where holding the cylinder head temperature stable would be important but outside of that i don't see it.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limeymike View Post
I too have found it almost amusing that airhead riders don't think they can idle these engines for more than a few minutes without assistance from fans.

...

These things are not fragile, they can handle idling just fine.
Try idling up a mountain waiting in line to enter Yosemite during construction of the main road, on a beautiful weekend.

I'd say that was excessive idling, and definitely the hottest my bike has ever run.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude View Post
Try idling up a mountain waiting in line to enter Yosemite during construction of the main road, on a beautiful weekend.

I'd say that was excessive idling, and definitely the hottest my bike has ever run.
Yeah, that's exactly what scares me. Traffic and road construction on hot days. No lane sharing in this state, and you get a ticket if you drive the shoulder. Even if you don't care about tickets, other drivers will actually pull there vehicles in front of you to block you from getting "ahead".
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:42 PM   #10
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Remember guys and gals. These bikes competed in the ISDT (ISDE). I cant think of any thing harder than pulling high rpms to get through/over obstacles, then going slow over technical sections for long periods. Riding enduros on 4 stroke aircooled dirt bikes has often left me in awe of what an aircooled engine can withstand and happily fire up and do it again.



Being an ex Californian living in "progressive" WA state. Don't get me going on lane splitting. These people will kill you to prove a point. Be careful if you're not used to the retaliation that comes with it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:55 AM   #11
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My thought process could be way off track here, But I'd imagine that BMW really put these engines through the paces while testing. Wouldn't surprise me if these engines idled for hours if not days during testing. How could they sell bikes if the engine would cook itself after a short time. Would I sit my bike out to idle for an hour or so, absolutely not. 10 minutes would be too long. But there are areas where massive traffic jams are normal. I lived in Houston for 11 yrs & down there the sun sure does shine. I did ride an old '74 Yamadog 750 down there & it never fried.

I know these engines are decades old now & certainly not as durable as when new taking that kind of abuse.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:16 PM   #12
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You see, that is just the issue. People go looking for a cure to a problem that really does not exist.

I sometimes wonder if people that live in hot parts of the world install box fans and long extension cords on their lawn mowers. Not all of them actually have fans built in. Ot, how about their compressors sitting in the garage?
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:56 AM   #13
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These motors will obviously take alot of abuse. But wouldn't you rather be having some fun when you perform all the stress tests? It's not that hard to point a fan at your motorcycle in the garage. And it sucks working around a bike that's hotter than 40 hells anyway. In traffic...... well, sometimes you just gotta do the best that you can.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:19 PM   #14
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The only things I can add are that (1) I live in Floriduh where it can get hot. (80F this afternoon and more of the same for the past week and the upcoming week). (2) Because its warm here most of the time I use a shop fan in front of the bike when doing tuneups. And (3) On a ADV road trip a couple of years ago I got stuck in Friday afternoon downtown Atlanta I-75 stop and go traffic - due to my own poor timing. At the time I was doing an experiment to quantify oil loss and blowby on long highway trips, which my ST doesn't like in warm weather. I had routed the central breather hose out through the side of the airbox and into a catch bottle. Over about a 600 mile run both at speed and the stop and go, the engine blew out about 8 oz of oil, but only about 2 cc collected in the bottle. At the hottest and worst of the stop & go in ATL I could see the blowby vapors literally shooting back out of the catch can. Strictly as hot oil smelling vapors.

Oh yeah, the motor did and still does pull 150 psi/146 psi when fully warmed up. Somewhere in the mid 40K mileage range on the bike/motor.

I was amazed at the increase in blowby at high temps and all rpms from idle on up, and the fact that most oil seemed to be lost as vapor. Doesn't do it much at all under less strenuous riding conditions.

But like many airheads, it does tend to oil the left carb a bit.

Nothing earth shattering in these observations, but interesting to me.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #15
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I have a question on how you would cool the jugs if more than a couple minutes. Would you use 2 fans, 1 on each cylinder? Just wondering.
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