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Sportster Motorcycle Air intake, Carburetor, EFI, Fuel, and Exhaust Problems, advice and/or how tos for Sporster and Buell motorcycle carburators, Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), Air Intake, Fuel and Exhaust.

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View Poll Results: What grade gasoline do you use?
Premium Gas 91+ octane 3,661 81.94%
Mid-Grade Gas 89-90 octane 307 6.87%
Regular 87 octane 377 8.44%
I mix it up, don't care, etc. 104 2.33%
Change based on the weather 19 0.43%
Voters: 4468. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1671  
Old 21st June 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfirechopper View Post
the gas here in New Zealand sucks
I know what ya mean bro. This ethanol they provide us out here is some bad ju ju on my scooters.
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  #1672  
Old 21st June 2018
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Mine runs just fine on regular. It's just a big ol' overgrown Briggs & Stratton, but that's what I love about my Sporty!!
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  #1673  
Old 22nd June 2018
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It may interest some of you to know that running a higher octane that your engine requires or calls for has absolutely no benefit. In fact, you will get worse mpg.
Just high enough to not ping is where you want to be.
I also don't run any ethanol. Pure gas only here and I deliver anhydrous ammonia to ethanol plants in the area. It's also way cheaper here cuz Iowa doesn't have to pay tax on ethanol.
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  #1674  
Old 22nd June 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60Gunner View Post
It may interest some of you to know that running a higher octane that your engine requires or calls for has absolutely no benefit. In fact, you will get worse mpg.
Just high enough to not ping is where you want to be.
Some of us have been trying to tell folks that for years (12 now) in this thread. I'm afraid that a lot of people just don't want to believe it.
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  #1675  
Old 22nd June 2018
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I finally got my 883 to behave on 89 octane but she'll still diesel on shutdown so I have more tuning to do until she'll finally shut up when I want her to on 87.
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  #1676  
Old 22nd June 2018
shanneba shanneba is offline
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What HD reccomends for the octane of the Sportser gas has varied over the years.

Looking back at owners manuals-

2007 + all models call for Premium 91 R+M/2 or 95 RON
2003-2006 883s were regular 87 R+M/2 91 RON, all 1200 were Premium 91 R+M/2 95 RON
(I didn't check 2000-2002 manuals)
1999 both 883/1200 were regular 87 R+M/2 91 RON except the 1200 S model, it was Premuim 91 R+M/2 95 RON

Notes from the SportsterPedia -

1971-
Notices on September 27 and August 2 of 1971: In regard to low leaded or unleaded gas, in HD 2 & 4 cycle engines, the octane rating is lower than regular or premium leaded gasoline, therefore not recommended for use. The new fuels contain additives such as phosphorous which replaces tetra-ethyl-lead and test results reveal that these additives may not provide the same type of performance and engine protection received from leaded gas. Extensive use of low or non leaded gas may cause piston damage in 2 or 4 cycle and accelerated wear and scuffing of the valves in 4 cycle engines.

1975-
All current HD motorcycles require the use of “Premium Grade” leaded gasoline of 98 octane or higher research grade (this is usually equivalent to 95 Road Octane which is usually posted on service station pumps).
Regular leaded may be used as temporary until premium can be located in case certain stations are out at the time.

1979-
HD makes recommendation for corrective measures regarding carburetion and the new (breaker-less) Prestolite electronic ignition system on (1100, 1200 and 1340cc) models and emissions control design changes. They operate with leaner air/fuel mixtures and are more sensitive to carburetor mixture settings / ignition spark.
In May of 1980, the MoCo issued a Service Bulletin in response to having some owners of 1000cc and 1340cc engines, built since January 1, 1978, experience a knocking and / or pinging due to the unavailability of fuels with high enough octane ratings. It was recommended to try retarding the timing (up to 10°) on both the Prestolite (1979) and Magnavox (1980) ignition systems.
HD still cautions against the use of low or no leaded gas

1982-
Sportster fuels requirements have changed. A lower compression ratio was achieved by the addition of a thicker head gasket. This allowed for the use of regular grade unleaded fuel (89 octane) as opposed to the unleaded premium stated in the current service and owner's manuals. Testing has shown that prolonged use of unleaded fuel is bad on the valve train. Dealers were advised to relay this information to their customers.

1986-
Sportster Fuel Requirements: 89 Octane or higher (leaded or unleaded)

1991-
Sportster fuel requirements changed: 87 Octane or higher (unleaded)
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Last edited by shanneba; 22nd June 2018 at 14:28..
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  #1677  
Old 22nd June 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60Gunner View Post
It may interest some of you to know that running a higher octane that your engine requires or calls for has absolutely no benefit. In fact, you will get worse mpg.
Just high enough to not ping is where you want to be.
EXACTLY!!!
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  #1678  
Old 23rd June 2018
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If I had an 883 I'd run the recommended 87 octane, 'cause what 60Gunner posted is true. What a lot of people don't realize is that what it says on the pump may not always be the case. I run 91 octane in my 1200 but if I fill at a pump with only 1 hose, I realized I was getting at least a cupfull or more( I talked to a Service Spec. a few years ago who was servicing a single hose pump) of 87 or 87 w/ethanol mixed in with the 91 octane. On warm days, I get pinging under load. If I fill on a pump with a dedicated 91 octane hose, usually I get no pinging, but that hasn't always been the case. I have found that when I go down to the Sturgis Rally that they have several gas stations that sell 94 octane during the Rally. I can't believe how smoooth my 1200 runs on it and the gas mileage is great, too......I've had mixed results with Octane Boost.
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  #1679  
Old 24th June 2018
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I think you totally misunderstood what I said because running 94 is No better than running the recommended 91 and mpg would be worse if anything. Certainly not better. Waste of $$$ at the pump and you'll be goinng back sooner. Double whammy.
There's also some who say it can actually hurt your engine with prolonged use.
It burns slower and is harder to ignite tho.
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  #1680  
Old 15th July 2018
CharlieMac CharlieMac is offline
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When I fill up, I look for non-ethanol gas. Most of the time in Western North Carolina, non-ethanol is only available in premium grade.
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