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Thread: Safest Fuel for Indian Fours.

  1. #1
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    Default Safest Fuel for Indian Fours.

    Has anyone have a prefference on fuel grade for these old Indian Fours, 89 Octane or should a lower Octane be more suitable to prevent overheat? It seems the higher the Octane, the slower the burn. Just tryibg to run the engine in the coolest conditions. Ant preferences anyone?...Joe
    Joe AMCA# 3435

  2. #2
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    S.E.N.Y. State American side of Hudson River
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    I usually use mid-grade 89. I try to ride something else if it is over 75-80 degrees out
    D. A. Bagin #3166 AKA Panheadzz 440 48chief W/sidecar 57fl 57flh 58fl 66m-50 68flh 70xlh

  3. #3
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    I run low grade regular for 13 years now in my Henderson, seem's good. Never could tell a difference if I payed more for premium, it runs fine with either/ about the same temps too I believe, good luck with yours.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, Just askin, burnt a big hole in #4 piston, carb possibly went lean the last ten or twenty miles, No manifold leaks found. Its a 29 Four, troubleshooting cause is all..last fill up was 89 Octane, shoulda maybe stayed with regular fuel possibly.......Joe
    Joe AMCA# 3435

  5. #5
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    High in the B.C. Rockies....
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    Joe!!! Sorry to hear about your '29. Here's hoping you have it back on the road soon. The weather is just getting good!!!
    Cory Othen
    Membership#10953

  6. #6
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    Well Cory, you know what they say, "want some grief, buy a Chief, want more? Get a Four". She blew her guts on the freeway in four lanes of traffic, could not pull over and I think all those cars in the mirror wanted to run over me when the bike lost speed and slowed er down a bit on three cylinders. It blew out the dipstick due to combustion in the crankcase, raw fuel from number 4 cylinder lighting up downstairs below. About four explosions and lost about 1/2 my oil before I got er stopped. To think, it ran so sweet, no warning sign. The engine is apart on the bench and there is still oil dripping off the chasis. Its well splattered with oil. I have a piston coming in the mail and some other tid bits.....sucks, disapointing but ya gotta go on...Joe
    Joe AMCA# 3435

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Hi Joe,

    Sorry to hear about your problem. I've been riding Indian fours for almost 40 years. Read your original manuals and do not set your carb too lean. That's the biggest problem that most people do on Indian fours. They will run good even when they are too lean and then you burn a whole in the piston. The 87 octane will work fine. Remember, back then those bikes were new, they didn't have high octane.

    Robin Markey
    Bob's Indian Sales & Service

  8. #8
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    Not a mechanic at all, but that's what I have always been told. Just like Bob said, they well run fine to lean and I have been told. When not pushed things and or problems don't show themself's, but push the speed up and hold it at all and the problems well show itself quickly. With the serious issues you showed, sure sorry to hear it though. Better to blow alittle black smoke than to lean. Just git it where you see alittle black smoke when hit the gas hard, but not back firing. That's what I have done with good results, best of luck.

  9. #9
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    Hey Joe, if I was you and had that experience - I would still be shaking, let alone would of wet myself :-) I have had my Henderson on the freeway here in L.A twice for only a couple miles, it ran like the wind and felt fine. But I thought if I did this very often, both my Deluxe and I would not live long. I stay off the freeway and just cruise along, it feels like it will last forever when running that way :-)

  10. #10
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    Tom and Robin:- I surely heed your advise in all aspects. I had thought the settings on the carb were pretty close to what they should be, however, I will keep a keener eye on it for a richer mix next time out. . And like you say, a little black smoke would possibly saved my butt. I never was comfortable on the freeway with it. seems to be sceaming too hi a rev. Its running 18 and 40 tooth sprockets and 400 X 18 wheels. Sounds close to right to me but I dont know the RPM at 55 MPH. Can anyone calculate or estimate what the revs might be at 55 or 60 MPH?...Joe
    Joe AMCA# 3435

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