Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scoot returns with stabilizer, holding tank

There are still a few dozen of you grazing here from the “Sarah’s glasses” stampede.

Posts since you have arrived have diverged wildly from Sarah’s specs.

I mean how far off course can you get than the rim of Mount St. Helens?

This one should send the rest of you back from whence you came. Then again, you are welcomed to browse, just note that you’ve been warned.

The scooter is back and running again. I explained last week how it suddenly died on me, how I wheeled it several city blocks to my mechanic, the sweltering, bandana-ed Kevin. On his cigarette break, he informed me that the ethanol required in the gas throughout the city (and, it turns out, the state) is killing off two-stroke engines.

Actually, when I went to pick up the scoot, he said ALL small engines are going through death throes from E10 gas.

Kevin, who is co-owner of Scooter Street with his wife, Paula, still had work to do on the scoot — flushing the gas tank, replacing two fuel filters and cleaning the fuel line.

I wandered up to the County Elections Office to pick up voter registration forms. Yes, I’m out to mint some new Oregonian voters in our typically Democratic Portland neighborhood.

The Elections Office was quiet and efficient. I still had time to kill so I wandered into Columbia Scooters, which is not far from the competing Scooter Street.

“What do you know about how ethanol affects your scooter engines?” I asked the young guy on the sales floor.

“No problem,” he said. “We don’t even recommend premium gas.” He didn’t take the opportunity to sell me one of his seemingly care-free scooters. “Most of them are accounted for,” he said. These are good times for scooter dealers.

Back at Scooter Street, I didn’t share my Columbia Scooter story with Kevin and Paula. Kevin showed me specks of crude that he had found in the fuel line. He recommended storing newly bought gas in a separate tank to let impurities settle out. He also told me to get some “fuel stabilizer” for the stored gas. (See Scoot with new "accessories.")

Paula referred me to an on-line Oregonian story warning of the E10 problem. She and Kevin had linked to it from their site, but when I went to the story, it was no longer posted. Never mind. There were others. Here and here for starters.

Meanwhile, no one at the Oregon Scooter Club has responded to my question about the problem.

I’ve decided to take Kevin’s advice, just to be safe. When I went to Fred Meyer, I found not just a stabilizer, but a stabilizer additive that directly claimed to deal with ethanol issues.

I don’t know what to believe at this point, but I do know that pushing the scoot along the sidewalks of Portland is not my idea of scooting.

Here’s to stability.

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