De-water or Fix a Drowned Bike

So, there you are, sitting in the middle of the river with water up to the petrol tank, bike drowned and you wet up to the waist. Next thing to do is to get the bike to dry land so we can de-water and un-drown it.

Never try to start a four stroke without taking steps to ensure that all the water has been removed, water does not compress like air so if there is water where there should be air you could get bent valves and other things breaking.

Steps to un-drown a bike:

  • Turn the petrol off.
  • Remove seat and check air filter (see clean and replace air filter "How To", in a pinch you can use petrol to clean the air filter)
  • Remove spark plug and kick the engine over until nothing comes out of the top of the cylinder.
  • Tip the bike to the left and right and drain as much water as you can, if possible turn the bike upside down.
  • Remove the exhaust pipe and muffler, drain the water out of each.
  • Lift bike vertically on front wheel with the rear wheel facing shyward, shake it around a bit and wait till all the water stops coming out. Once drained shake it abit more to be sure.
  • Do the same thing on the back wheel, this makes sure that both front and back have been de-watered as much as possible.
  • Turn the bike upside dowm, kick or turn over the engine to make sure no water is still in the engine cylinder
  • Drain the carby to endure any residual water is removed (turn petrol on first).
  • Check the oil, if its milky and not black then its contaminated with water. If you can Change oil do it immediately otherwise change it as soon as you get home, in either case drain the oil, then do a secondary flush and finally fill a third time and check all the levels and indicators as mentioned in your bike service manual. Engine components will go rusty if kept in contact with contaminated engine oil.
  • After all that, reassemble your bike and it should start up. otherwise go back and work through all the points discussed here, you could also check that your electricals are not shorted out in the contacts and switches.