That Funny Smell Of Gasoline


I’ve wondered about that smell of gas for a long time.

Don’t you love it when you solve a mystery that has puzzled you for ages?

I’ve had my 650 V-Strom for what, three years now? And from about as far back as I can remember I have noticed this smell of gasoline when starting off on a ride. It has gone away after awhile and there has never been a problem so I’ve just lived with it.

Now, I did ask Ron Coleman to check it out once when he was doing some other work on the bike for me, but he couldn’t find any problems. And of course because by the time he was looking at it it had been ridden awhile, he couldn’t even detect the odor of gas.

So Judy and I were just about to take off on this four-day ride with Willie and Jungle and friends a couple weeks ago and I decided to do something that, frankly, I don’t do often enough: check the oil. First I had to figure out how to check the oil. That’s how negligent I am.

I pulled out the owner’s manual and it said to rock the bike up on the center stand, start it up and let it warm up, then shut it down, wait about three minutes, and then check the sight glass on the side. So I rocked it up, fired it up, and then started looking around to find the sight glass. Not on the left side so I moved around to the right side.

The engine was still running, still warming up, as I crouched down to look for the sight glass. That was when I spotted a rapid drip of what was clearly gasoline coming from directly underneath the gas tank. Whoa, golly! I shut it off and told Judy we had a sudden change of plans and she needed to shift her gear from the V-Strom bag to the Concours bag. And off we went on the Concours.

Now it occurred to me that it would probably have been OK to ride the V-Strom, considering I’ve been riding it for years with this odor of gas, but I didn’t want to take any chances. So this past Tuesday I took it over to Joel at Mountain Thunder Motorsports and gave him the low-down. I explained that he needed to let it sit and then fire it up and look for the drip.

He called me a couple days later to say he had found the problem, a gasket getting old that would allow gas to pass out when dry, but would then soak up fuel and seal better. The bad news was that the gasket is an integral part of a larger part and that part is only available from Suzuki for $230. With labor the fix will cost me $500. Oh well, it’s only money, right?

Biker Quote for Today

Just bought bike parts . . . let’s see if I have enough money to eat.


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