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  • gasoline tank material

    I want to add to the fuel capacity on my motorcycle. I'm playing with the idea of removing the existing storage bags and building an entire one-piece rear section in fiberglass which would include the rear passenger back rest. I want to include a small gas tank on each side, probably on the inside closest to the tire for the best protection that's possible. My storage for gloves, rainsuit, etc, would be in sort of a half-donut shape surrounding the tanks and going around the back. I'm not worried about the lights as that can all be re-done. Where the mufflers pass under the structure, I would include a stainless steel heat deflector to keep as much of the heat as possible from wafting up into the fiberglass.

    Anyway, this is not so much about how I design and build this- it's more about what can I use for the tanks. I don't want anything wide or long, as that gives rise to fuel sloshing around. I'm thinking that four two-litre plastic juice bottles would be enough capacity- that would be two per side, and each would be plumbed in and vented from the top. No holes made in the bottoms- fuel flow would be gravity fed and require priming of the tubing. It looks like I can have the bottoms of the tanks a little above the carbs when the bike is level, so it should all work out.

    I'm planning to encapsulate the juice bottles in spray foam so they are protected from impact all around, and the upper area where the caps are would be formed so that any spilled fuel would be channeled away.

    I'm mostly concerned about the tanks- what material SHOULD they be made from? Obviously I want well-fitted caps, not the leak-prone ones that seem to be common on those plastic gas cans. The caps on these juice bottles always seal well, and are large enough for a filler nozzle to go into (I think- I will have to make sure of this). Also, the juice bottle being clear it gives a way to see how full it's getting as you fill it.

    I could have the tanks custom made, but unless they are properly done they would be prone to developing leaks over time. This is still an option though. Another option is to find some 1 gal plastic gas cans and make a molded-in area for them to fit into. They would then be removed to be filled, and would not be plumbed in at all. They would be removed to pour the contents into the existing tank.

    Ideas?
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    Gas cans sound like a much better idea. Gas cans have the advantage that in the unmodified condition, they are considered by authorities as appropriate for transporting gasoline.

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    • #3
      That's a good point. There does seem to be some confusion (in my mind anyway) about DOT approved containers. There was mention on at least one site I went to that plastic gas cans are not DOT approved- what would that mean- that you can't transport them to a filling station?

      DOT approval is one thing- 'considered by authorities' is another, incontroversial by insurance agents would be another.

      Obviously any container which I make or have made is not going to have the DOT stamp of approval, though it might pass the specifications test.

      In any event, I'm thinking my best bet would be to use a 'regulation' container and make a nest for it in my construction. At least it has the other advantage of being able to refuel another bike as well as my own.
      Last edited by darryl; 06-07-2012, 07:24 PM.
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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      • #4
        Darryl, you have a good idea there, but as stated, i'd think using regulation fuel cans would be much better , and certainly would eliminate any hassles with insurance etc.
        In Ontario it is illegal for a station attendant to fill anything with gasoline other than a regulation can. I think they sell those red plastic gas cans @ 2 gallon size, don't think i've seen any smaller.

        Hmmm, if you do want something else, what about some of the plastic lawn mower tanks, think the cap also has a gauge on some i've seen?
        I was thinking of a nice say 4-6inch dia. brass tube soldered up ends and a nice soldered in gas cap?
        Interesting project anyway.

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        • #5
          The project will be interesting. This is for my 400 Honda. I want to still be able to ride it while the fabrication is going on, so I'll have to strip it just enough to get the information to build the mold from. That's basically for mounting points, width of the fender over the tire, etc. I'll be changing the tail lights to leds, and those could be incorporated within the fabrication.

          If I can mold the inner part right on the bike frame, that will get me a really good fit for this fabrication. I'll add some mold parts which will get stripped away later- these would be for the inner walls. With an edge added all around this, I should have a fabrication which can be removed from the bike and finished up separately. I know I'll have to do lots of smoothing before the color gel coat, but that's just how it goes if you don't make a full female mold first. Lots of fun.
          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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          • #6
            Don't remember on what but I've seen the frame itself or major portions used as a fuel tank. Beats holding air. I had a Rokon 2WD motorcycle that had 2-4.5 gallon wheels to store fuel.
            Would the main backbone of the frame work?
            "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
            world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
            country, in easy stages."
            ~ James Madison

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            • #7
              I saw one of those Rokon bikes in the back of a pickup a few years ago. Looked like someone had restored it. I was amazed when i researched that name and found out about the fuel in the rims!!

              They gotta be worth a few bucks??

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              • #8
                Fuel in the rims? I can see the frame being used to store fuel, or even built with large diameter tubing for the purpose-
                I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                • #9
                  I'm mostly concerned about the tanks- what material SHOULD they be made from?
                  What material ARE street motorcycle gas tanks made of? I haven't paid much attention to bikes since I sold my old Triumph back in '80, but aren't most, if not all, street bike tanks made of metal (steel?). Being a crash survivor, I would not want to hit the ground with a plastic tank anywhere on board. Sounds like an opportunity to hone your welding skills. You could build a custom, even removable, tank that fits your bike.

                  Tom
                  Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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                  • #10
                    Well, if I was looking for fuel capacity, my first choice would be:

                    http://www.amazon.com/Reda-Portable-.../dp/B003WHBVDI


                    If I was looking for fuel capacity and a project, I would make a new gas tank that is larger than the stock tank. Takes care of all the plumbing and venting issues. Plus you get to pound on sheet metal with a hammer!! Plus your bike is fully operational while you make the new tank once you get the mounting measurements off the existing tank.

                    Steve

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                    • #11
                      Is this going to be for re-fueling the stock tank or do you plan on drawing fuel from the tank(s)? If it's below the carb, you'll need a low-pre$$ure fuel pump. Also consider the extra weight. You might be better off adapting a stock tank from a larger bike or expanding the existing tank. You could always keep riding while another tank is being modified.

                      I rode my Honda Gold Wing Interstate from Ohio to Texas (round trip) on several occasions. Toward the end of the trip, I was pretty much looking forward to the gas stops. I drove straight through on each trip and even with the stops, I averaged about 60mph over the 1400 mile legs. Don't know if I could handle that now being 30 years older.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CCWKen
                        You might be better off adapting a stock tank from a larger bike or expanding the existing tank. You could always keep riding while another tank is being modified.
                        There's an idea. Darryl - how big is the existing tank?

                        Steve

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                        • #13
                          A bigger main tank- it would have to be wider or taller. I wouldn't want wider, but taller could be an option. I don't really think I'd want to change the existing tank, though. Plus, I don't think it's in me to 'pound up' a new sheet metal tank.

                          My existing tank is 3.7 gallons which gives me up to about 300 miles- I have run out on trips, and that's no fun. To have some extra fuel on board is just good insurance, since if I happen to be on reserve already and forgotten about it- well that has happened more than once. Besides that, I don't like the feeling of riding while hoping I make it to the next station- been there too many times too.

                          I could go either way with the fuel feed- plumb it in or just pour the fuel from the spare can into the tank when I'm getting low. I'm leaning towards the latter since then I can fuel my riding partner if need be, and they can avoid the same 'hope I make it' syndrome too. Two gallons would give me an extra 150 miles, or two of us about 60 miles.
                          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Soldered copper makes good gas tanks. A friend of mine got a very nice replica made by an artisan in Katmandu.
                            "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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                            • #15
                              Long distance riders

                              You know, the guys who do 1,000 miles a day. Check out what they do:

                              http://www.ldriders.com/fuel-cells.html

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