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Hey Gents!

Had the VStar 950 for 3 years now and did the whole Cobra Slip On - Cobra Air Intake w/ K&N - Fi2000 FMS upgrade. Have been running her on Unleaded Octane 91 (I'm in Canada), but recently saw a pic on another yamaha forum of someone's vstar engine full of carbon residue after using Octane 91-93. So, I decided to play it safe and filled in the 87 but it definitely affected the performance:

- The bike is suddenly running REALLY HOT in the city (Light to Light) riding. Since the FMS is manually set, maybe there's an issue with running lean.
- The bike had stopped backfiring on downshifts. I guess a good thing.
- Not sure if the acceleration is any different now, and can't say that it is sluggish or not, but that overheating caught me completely off guard.

Did anyone have a similar experience or perhaps know what could be the issue?
 

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not sure how the fuel is different in Canada, but the 950 manual recommends 87 octane which is in line with the compression ratio for this motor. did anything else change besides just switching fuel? do you have the FMS on the same settings now as you had when running the higher octane?
 

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Could be a couple things.

I ran 87 ethanol free gas in my 650 a few times, the bike seemed cooler when I stopped for a light, The heat coming up off the engine. At many gas stations the hi octane gas is ethanol free, and the rest are 10% ethanol. Without a temp gauge its all subjective.

Are you having a heat wave this week. When it's 90F the bike will feel hotter.

Normally a bike will run leaner on hi octane. It has less energy for more money, which most people do not expect.
 

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... you will have to tune the ECM map for one octane or the other. Your bike does not need 91 or higher, so that's up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
not sure how the fuel is different in Canada, but the 950 manual recommends 87 octane which is in line with the compression ratio for this motor. did anything else change besides just switching fuel? do you have the FMS on the same settings now as you had when running the higher octane?
That's exactly it - I didn't! The mixture was running too lean with the FMS setting at 2.5/3/2 and, I guess, that's exactly what was causing the bike to overheat. Once I set the pots to the suggested 2.5/6/3 the bike got it's power back and seems to feel overall balanced. But, I'll keep monitoring.

I ran 87 ethanol free gas in my 650 a few times, the bike seemed cooler when I stopped for a light, The heat coming up off the engine. At many gas stations the hi octane gas is ethanol free, and the rest are 10% ethanol. Without a temp gauge its all subjective.
Are you having a heat wave this week. When it's 90F the bike will feel hotter.
It was definitely a warm night last night, but nothing out of the ordinary in comparison to the summer rides I've had. I think it was just a bad FMS pot setting causing a lean mixture.
We don't have a lot of ethanol-free gas stations in Canada. But, if we do they are mostly at 91 octane. I'll give this option a try in the near future for sure.

I guess, my biggest dilemma was the carbon build up in the engine and how that could be avoided.
 

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A little carbon buildup is not bad - running a little rich.

Running a little lean will overheat your heads, burn your valves till they leak, and burn holes right thru your pistons.

You will never get it perfect like a stock bike from the factory, so be a bit on the rich side.
 

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"...recently saw a pic on another yamaha forum of someone's vstar engine full of carbon residue after using Octane 91-93. ..."

that does not add up

maybe the poster on the other forum is not telling the whole story.

EgoRich has been describing a lean situation on his bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"...recently saw a pic on another yamaha forum of someone's vstar engine full of carbon residue after using Octane 91-93. ..."

that does not add up

maybe the poster on the other forum is not telling the whole story.

EgoRich has been describing a lean situation on his bike.
Agreed. Ran a tank of 87 and the bike felt great! Went back to Ethanol free 91 and she started acting up. Loss of power, overheats. Based on what you've mentioned, I hope I have not done much damage to the engine running the higher octane.
 

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based on what others have posted, if you run a bike setup for regular gas on hi octane fuel, it both runs lean (because the higher octane has less energy) and the fuel does not burn completely, leaving carbon on the piston and plugs, unless you change the timing so that it fires the plugs sooner.

A car or bike that has a full feature fuel injection would be doing all those adjustment things, based on what the O2 sensor is telling the ECM, but most bikes (including yamaha) have a simplified fuel injection system, or carbs - so if you are not running the right fuel things will be off.

If you do your own maintenance and change the spark plugs every 8000 miles, or at least pull them out and look at them, they will tell you if the engine is running right.

The thing with running hi octane though, if its making the plugs carbon up, that is the normal indication of running too rich.

Its best to go by the owners manual recommendations for a stock bike for fuel octane, and then if you modify the engine there is a lot you have to know to get it right.
 

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I have run the same setup until this year when I got Ivan's tune.
Your Cobra Fi2000R, is it an O2 model, the one that plugs into the oxygen sensor down on the pipe by your right foot? If it isn't then you have the wrong Cobra tuner and I don't know how you would be able to get it tuned right.
If you have the O2 model of the Fi2000R then 2.5,6,3 should be perfect tuning. Maybe middle pot at 5 if you want to lean a bit in the middle for economy.
Never a problem on mine with heat, always 2.5 for pot 1,always 3 for pot 3. Middle pot anywhere 4 to 7 based on performance desired. 6 is pretty much the answer for best clean performance.
I ran both 87 and 91,and 10% ethanol to 0% ethanol. Very little change between them all. 100% gasoline with 0% ethanol should be slightly richer and cooler than ethanol blends.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
based on what others have posted, if you run a bike setup for regular gas on hi octane fuel, it both runs lean (because the higher octane has less energy) and the fuel does not burn completely, leaving carbon on the piston and plugs, unless you change the timing so that it fires the plugs sooner.
A car or bike that has a full feature fuel injection would be doing all those adjustment things, based on what the O2 sensor is telling the ECM, but most bikes (including yamaha) have a simplified fuel injection system, or carbs - so if you are not running the right fuel things will be off.
If you do your own maintenance and change the spark plugs every 8000 miles, or at least pull them out and look at them, they will tell you if the engine is running right.
The thing with running hi octane though, if its making the plugs carbon up, that is the normal indication of running too rich.
Its best to go by the owners manual recommendations for a stock bike for fuel octane, and then if you modify the engine there is a lot you have to know to get it right.
Got it. Thanks for the break down!

I have run the same setup until this year when I got Ivan's tune.
Your Cobra Fi2000R, is it an O2 model, the one that plugs into the oxygen sensor down on the pipe by your right foot? If it isn't then you have the wrong Cobra tuner and I don't know how you would be able to get it tuned right.
If you have the O2 model of the Fi2000R then 2.5,6,3 should be perfect tuning. Maybe middle pot at 5 if you want to lean a bit in the middle for economy.
Never a problem on mine with heat, always 2.5 for pot 1,always 3 for pot 3. Middle pot anywhere 4 to 7 based on performance desired. 6 is pretty much the answer for best clean performance.
I ran both 87 and 91,and 10% ethanol to 0% ethanol. Very little change between them all. 100% gasoline with 0% ethanol should be slightly richer and cooler than ethanol blends.
Definitely an O2. Still felt that Oct. 91-0% Ethanol runs lean - heat, slow throttle response, loss of power. Poured 87 in - feels great. Having to try that with proper pot settings seems to bring the best performance. I don't really drag race the bike light to light, but it's nice to get away from cars at the light.
I appreciate the feedback!
 

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If you have the O2 model of the Fi2000R then 2.5,6,3 should be perfect tuning. Maybe middle pot at 5 if you want to lean a bit in the middle for economy.
what does your fuel economy look like? what kind of riding do you mostly do? how much would your difference in climate and elevation affect where you put your settings at as opposed to here in Austin? i have my settings around 1.5/3/3. i get about 38mpg and do about half city riding and half highway and always ride it like i stole it.
 

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what does your fuel economy look like? what kind of riding do you mostly do? how much would your difference in climate and elevation affect where you put your settings at as opposed to here in Austin? i have my settings around 1.5/3/3. i get about 38mpg and do about half city riding and half highway and always ride it like i stole it.
Remember I'm Canadian so please reduce mpg results by 20%.(multiply by 0.8)
Modified air box, k&n filter, Cobra slip on. Cobra Fi2000R O2 (2.5,6,3)Tourer model, big windshield. All speeds done by GPS.
Highway at 100 kph (62mph) - 70 mpg repeatedly
City average 58 mpg.
Those are numbers that are for very nice driving at speed limit, no horseplay or highway passing.
Driving 110 kph (69mph) highway,with mild passing, I average 62 mpg.
Always 91 octane, mostly with ethanol depending on the station.
Plugs and motor are always perfect. Light brown exhaust exit after driving long distance.

Now: disconnected the Fi2000R and 02 sensor and have Ivan's tune.
Same test, highway dropped to 60 mpg.
City is almost the same, within 1 or 2 mpg depending on the particular riding conditions.
Reason:low speed (think pot 1 for a Fi2000R) Ivan's tune is far richer and it is hard to hypermile an engine that has fuel cut off disabled and is rich enough to eliminate all backfiring from lean conditions.(Now have soot black exhaust exit) On the plus side once you move past the low speed range of the throttle the fueling evens up with the previous setup. Result is Ivan's tune is very similar in economy when driven faster or more aggressive, and in city driving. It also is a more refined driving experience and has more top end power and revs.
The previous Fi2000R O2 setup was equal in power low and midrange, close in top speed. It had superior economy due to leaner low end mixture (set only to reduce decel popping) and retaining the factory fueling characteristics like fuel decel shutoff.
I love both setups, but would not have spent more money on Ivan's if I had known how good I had already improved. With freight to Canada I'm out a lot of coin, and I always liked the option to revert to stock in minutes with the Fi2000R and slip on.
I've never ever had any instance of 91 octane fouling an engine tuned for 87. It can be a waste of money unless you want the extra detergent provided by some in the higher grade gasoline. Ethanol amounts do affect mixture and should be noted in your tuning.
I mostly use my bike for commuting, pleasure cruising around town and a few highway trips a year (think 2000 km).
2013 950 now with 18,000 kms, bought new (0 kms) in 2016.
My altitude here varies 1200 to 3000 ft and the EFI compensates for any changes to keep it tuned as you have it set. (other than you will lose power at higher elevations) With a Fi2000R you may have to dial back a setting or two if you run really high elevations. Maybe someone living over 5000 ft could provide some input on that.
I do ride pretty hard at times and you could reduce my mpgs by another 20% when in jackass mode.
An FYI: on my private test track facility (wink wink) top speeds (GPS) this year with the Ivan's tune:
Full dress with big windshield, fork lowers and bags - 159 kph/99mph
Changed to stock windshield - 166kph/103mph
Removed windshield and lowers, bags still on- 172kph/107mph
You can see the more comfort I install the bigger the parachute.
Ivan's tune definitely pulls harder in the higher rpms, gives about a 1000 more usable revs when accelerating.
Because your are in the strong part of the power band when doing top speed Ivan's only added a couple mph on top. But getting there seems quicker and smoother as you go through gears 1 - 4, revving out higher with more power. Top speed arrives noticeably quicker.
But using midrange and most passing driving there is not a significant difference.
Think of it this way, how much V Star 950 driving do you do from 5500 to 7000 rpm?
That's where the meat of the power increase is by upgrading from the Fi2000R O2 to Ivan's. (speaking about power levels only and not any of the other benefits riders get out of Ivan's)
Sorry for the long winded slightly off topic answer, just want you to have the full picture of what I've been doing with the bike.
P. S. - I always have my Fi2000R O2 set to 2.5 on pot 1 because reducing to 2 it starts popping on decel. (translate I'm getting lots of air)
I always run the recommended 3 on pot 3,as that is for full throttle and my plugs and exhaust are perfect after long wide open runs. Reducing third pot kills the top speed power and runs hotter wide open.
I finally set and forget pot 2 at 6. This is the most important one for me, affects most of your daily riding. The recommended 7 was slightly too rich for the unnoticeable power gain, it got blubber around town. 5 is decent and I ran it a lot, good power, crisp performance. Setting 6 has only a slightly stronger midrange pull but suffers no economy loss over 5.
I ran 3 & 4 but it has noticeable power loss and I felt it was running hotter.
I have tried adjusting all pots to gain economy but came to realize that when you have the bike tuned right the only thing saving economy is the throttle setting.
When my bike has more power, I have to turn the throttle less to make it go the same velocity. Just don't use the extra power and your economy is still there.
Here is something for Fi2000R owners to try: for your middle (#2) pot, go to a nice quiet highway back road with your handy small screw driver, (and reading glasses if required) and drive a long stretch while slowly pulling the throttle into the mid range, use gears 3 to 5 and make sure you get a good feel for how far you have to twist the throttle to hit a strong mid range pull from the engine. Try various rpms and gears to confirm.
Then stop and turn your Fi2000R up one setting and repeat turning up and down to confirm which setting pulls the hardest and at the lowest amount of throttle twist.
You have now dialed in your strongest fueling setting for the midrange. You can run that setting or reduce by one if you like a touch leaner.
You really can't do this for the other two pots, wide open will get you in trouble or worse.
Pot one simply increase until decel popping mostly gone. A little richer on pot one is okay as this helps keep the engine cooler at idle and low throttle cruising.
I hope someone can take away something from this post as I'm exhausted now....
 

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@Dcfluid ....Awesome and informative!! thanks for taking the time to share what you have experimented with. We all have our tinkering (as my wife calls it) that we do to get the results we are looking for!
Well done!
 
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