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Hi all,

Noticing some sort of funky performance issues in my bike after it sat for the winter. I realized after I forgot to stabilize the fuel in the tank, though I did run at least 1-2 tanks throughout the winter, on warm/dry days. First long ride this spring (1-2 hours), there were one or two instances of momentary loss of power, then a "lurch" -- as if there was a bubble of lean mixture or something running through the engine. Just a blip, once or twice.

I ran a can of sea foam through the gas, and that stopped.

Now it just feels a little "off" or sluggish, it's really hard to explain. Also has a strange rattling sound sometimes as I'm accelerating at low speeds. Today I squatted down to examine the carbs, and noticed the left side was all gunked up with what looked like motor oil?? There is a black gunky residue covering that carb side and drain vent. Could this just be dried up gas with dirt stuck in it?

I am wondering if my left side carb is leaking from somewhere. I have not noticed any major performance problems, just these very subtle ones. Grateful for any thoughts!

It's a 2006 EN500LTD.
 

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My guess, is that the carb float bowl gasket has a small leak and the black grime is gas mixed with dirt. As for the bike feeling off and little sluggish, I would remove the carb and clean it inside and out. A tiny spec of dirt or dry bad gas can cause the tiny holes in the carb to plug and not run quite right. I had the same problem with my vulcan classic and once I went threw the carb and cleaned everything it ran perfect. Hope that helps and you get back to ridding soon
 

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Wait lets try something easy first before you tear everything apart.
You said that Seafoam did help, so use it for each of the next 5 to 10 fillups and see how the bike performs.

Clean off the side of the carb and check it after every ride to see how much is maybe leaking.
Gas usually doesnt leave a large residue, but oil does.

After this you can decide if you want to tear the carbs apart.
I just believe way more things are blamed on something wrong with the carbs when its something else.
I've had my bike for over 8 years now, store it every winter, so it sits for 6 months and have zero carb/running issues, and have not had to clean the inside of the carbs
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wait lets try something easy first before you tear everything apart.
You said that Seafoam did help, so use it for each of the next 5 to 10 fillups and see how the bike performs.

Clean off the side of the carb and check it after every ride to see how much is maybe leaking.
Gas usually doesnt leave a large residue, but oil does.

After this you can decide if you want to tear the carbs apart.
I just believe way more things are blamed on something wrong with the carbs when its something else.
I've had my bike for over 8 years now, store it every winter, so it sits for 6 months and have zero carb/running issues, and have not had to clean the inside of the carbs
Thanks everyone for the replies. That's a really good idea vulcandoc -- I will probably do that first. However, I am also really curious to take this carb apart and clean it, just to learn more about how to do it, so I will probably do that too eventually B)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
BTW, here are some photos of what the carb looks like. First one is before I cleaned it off. This is how it looked.

Second photo is after cleaning.

Third photo is the R hand side, so you can see the difference. I didn't clean that one at all. Almost looks like there's a little gas leak there, too, on the airbox side? But this one isn't dirty and gunky like the other one...
 

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Seems common, bike leans left on the kick stand, fuel leans left in the tank. Dirt settles in the left side and clogs the needle seat from the float. I have a '96 en500 that does that too. I bought the kit to replace the bowl to carb gasket but have been messing with a xs1100 I have, double the cylinders, double the carbs and double the trouble with that one. Vulcandoc has a point, try the Seafoam first and try to tighten the bowl screw just a bit. The seafoam will work on varnish but if you ended up with rust from the ethanol attracting moisture without a gas treatment, it'll block the main they run lean and pop and stutter. The slow leak will cause the gas to varnish brownish gold color as it evaporates. Try a clear fuel filter inline between the petcock and carb. Install backwards so you can see what it's catching about 4 bucks at any parts store.
 
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