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Smithers 05-12-2008 09:51 PM

Thanks a million to RFM for shooting out a near perfect composite tank to me. This was the major casualty in my wreck for sure.

**Update- I weighed each tank to compare them and I'm pretty sure that the plastic tank was not more than 3 lbs lighter than the steel tank. Steel was 14.5 lbs and the plastic/ composite tank weighed in at 12. All in all I would rather have the steel tank as it is MUCH stronger in a crash and magnetic tank bags rule.

Now all I gotta do is make my fuel tank from my steel fuel tank work in the composite one and I'm money. Here is the bottom of the metal tank before I removed the fuel pump.

And here is what it looks like on the inside with the pump removed.

Smithers 05-12-2008 09:55 PM

So if you want to see some nasty debris just clinging on a fuel pump have a look at mine:

I didn't have time to analyze what the hell all this crap is but it's flakey. The tank did get pretty hammered in the accident so maybe the coating flaked off and settled down around the fuel pump base? I dunno. I'll look at this later on. There IS a lot of that crap clinging to the inside walls of the tank...

After a few seconds brushing that junk off the pump looked acceptable. I'll have to see how the base seals against the composite tank tomorrow after a good sleep. Things look promising from this point though. I might actually have the tank on so I can fire it up!

More to come as I assemble the pieces together finally.

Smithers 05-18-2008 09:31 PM

Ok today was "work on the fuel tank day". I had to get this stuff done so I could put the tank on and not worry about kicking it around the garage. The first thing I noticed is that the tank was not fitting all that well when I bolted it up. The front mounting tab was hitting the rubber cover that protects the steering stem assembly. See the picture below:

I could tell that this was also a problem on the bike that the tank came from. There were obvious rubbing marks. So I took out the ol Dremel tool and did a little shaving.

**UPDATE 10/19/2008
DON'T EVERY DO THIS. =] Looking back this was a mistake and cause a crack in the material where I cut into the tank. I was in a hurry and didn't think this through! ALWAYS make the adjustments to the rear bracket on the tank. It can be machined to give the fuel tank more room to move backwards.

As you can see in this next photo I just shaved enough from the bottom of the mounting tab so that the rubber cover on the frame would be covered by the plastic tab. It's kinda hard to explain so have a close look at the next picture. You will also see that I expanded the holes on the rear mounting plate so that the tank would slide back 3/16 of an inch. These mods allowed the tank to finally sit comfortably on the frame.

Now the front of the tank will seat nicely down against the frame.

Also the rubber tank isolators in the middle of the tank were able to rest on the frame. Here a shot of how high the tank would sit before I made the changes.

Alright the tank sits nice and snug now.

Smithers 05-18-2008 09:41 PM

It's been hard to get some answers on just what the differences are between the two tanks that were available between the Mille RSV and the Mille RSVR. Inside the composite tank there are two drain lines built into the fuel tank so that water caught in the fuel cap can drain down and out below the tank. The RSV uses two separate hoses that are attached to the inside nipples from the underside of the fuel fill hole and they connect to 2 nipples that are molded into the fuel pump flange or sending unit. Then the nipples exit under the fuel pump flange and two drain hoses connect to it. These hoses that run inside the steel fuel tank break ALL THE TIME on the older Arilia Mille RSV's and will cause you headaches. When you fill up your tank at the pump you will notice fuel running out of one of your drain hoses. It drove me mad!!

Anyway here are the two tanks. Steel on the left, composite on the right. With the steel tank the fuel cap simply bolts on top and will seal on the recessed ring that is molded into the tank. On the composite tank a whole fuel cap assembly needs to be used that has it's own bottom plate for the fuel cap to latch and seal against.

Smithers 05-18-2008 09:43 PM

Here is what you get when you put a steel fuel tank style cap on a composite tank! Yeah you would have a problem there if you rode like that. So my bike is on hold while the bottom plate and fuel cap for the composite tank come in.

Here is a parts breakdown and part numbers from AF1 Racing.

Smithers 10-10-2008 09:00 AM

Weeeelllll for some reason this black plastic tank doesn't want to fit on my Aprilia correctly. The shaving I did to make it fit around the hardware on the front end was a bad idea! The plastic was shaved too thin and it developed a crack. I used some 2 part epoxy which is made to bond to plastic bodywork and is sandable. This stuff worked awesome for a month but it began to break down. I applied some more just so I could ride a couple more weeks and now it's time to try a different compound.

A friend of mine that works building prototype vehicles recommended some amazing stuff that he said he has put to the test. I forgot to take a picture of the packaging but I'll be adding that very soon.

As you can see the brown area on the right is where the fuel was working it's way out from under the last plastic bonding agent I used. This is a pretty dangerous area to do this kind of repair since the extra stress from the front bolts are adding stress to this part of the fuel tank. But there was just to much plastic interfering with the front hardware to make it fit without trimming. I have done some more extensive work on the back fuel tank bracket to make it fit but it is at the limit. I would almost have to fabricate some extending mounting brackets for the rear to really get a comfortable mounting position.

My backup plan is a red fuel tank that I have purchased recently in case I can't make the repair work. My last resort is to abandon the black fuel tank as I like the color and it would be a waste. :(

**Update - Here is the Goop that I tried

Smithers 10-19-2008 10:33 AM

**UPDATE - JB Weld Applied

The GOOP just couldn't hold back the fuel!

The Goop simply dissolved after I put 2.5 gallons in the tank and rode around for a half hour. Not fun but at least I didn't fill it up so I could ride back once I started smelling fuel!

This GOOP didn't help at all and dissolved pretty quick. Oh well, it was fun trying it. My last resort is to try some JB weld and it's working! JB weld is resistant to fuel and all sorts of chemicals because it bonds together like a rock. The only drawback is that it isn't flexible so if the plastic tank flexes too much it will pull away and might leak. They have a product called Water Weld which is mfg'd by the same company. I'll try this if the JB weld doesn't hold up. But for now it seems to be working great. I might make some rubber mounts for the side of the tank to support it better. This would be to take some weight off of the front of the fuel tank where the repair work has been done. I would just like to decrease the risk of any flexing in the plastic. I just bought a tank bag and if I put more weight on the fuel tank it might promote a failure in the JB Weld repair.

I scuffed up the plastic area to be welded a little and then applied the JB Weld nice and easy like. =] And it's holding...

I wish I had a metal fuel tank now. Especially since I've seen evidence of plastic tanks breaking in crashed and releasing fuel all over the bikes. In some cases the fuel pumps have come apart from the tank as well, causing the bike to engulf in flames. I'm not just talking about some old wives tale either... I've seen the pictures and videos on Go look around for yourself if you need proof. But in the interest of having a safe and dependable motorcycle I would very much like to find a steel tank once again. That way I could also use a magnetic tank bag again.

Smithers 10-19-2008 09:39 PM

Here is a picture that I've always thought made a BIG point. If you wreck with a plastic tank this is what could happen to you very easily. On the other hand I flipped my bike and the tank was completely mangled but didn't leak a drop of fuel!! The fuel line connection did get pulled off and that wasn't a problem.

Smithers 10-29-2008 09:55 PM

So the JB Weld is really holding. I gave is an 80% chance in my mind that the JB Weld would actually hold up to some hard riding. Well last Sunday was the test. We hit some back roads pretty hard for a good day of riding. The road had so many elevation changes in some sections that I got punched in the stomach a few times by the fuel tank. If the JB Weld can hold that well to the plastic right next to the front of the fuel tank mounting area... that's pretty good!

I might take some extra precautions when I put the big ol OGIO tank bag on but that's down the road a little ways. I'll probably make sure I don't put too much weight in the tank bag as well. No wheelies with weight on the tank for sure.

There are some people here and there that have mentioned that they have used JB Weld on their dirtbike fuel tanks and some have said that it eventually failed and of course this can be attributed to the massive vibrations and probably crashing of the dirtbike. Well I think the JB will hold on the Aprilia fuel tank. I kinda cringe when I fill up but I make sure not to fill up right to the top, that's not too smart anyhow. I'm also very thankful that the Aprilia gets some of the best MPG out of all the bikes that I ride with. I don't even sweat going 20 miles when my fuel light pops on. I was stuck out in the middle of nowhere when I left for a test run and I made it back running on the fuel light for about 25 minutes! The other day the low fuel indicator came on and I just kept going another 20 miles to my favorite fuel stop in the next town down the coast without a problem. The Aprilia is really good on fuel. :lol:

Smithers 12-30-2008 09:25 AM

About using JB Weld to repair plastic fuel tanks:

Well it's worth a try and it's been holding for a few months on my tank and I've slapped it around on some wheelies and hard riding. It's right on the front mounts so I'm sure it's been flexed a little and still ok. It's all about the prep work on the area applied. Remove any plastic that isn't perfectly white, clean it with alcohol, rough it up some so there are plenty of tiny ridges for the JB weld compound to adhere to and it will provide maximum holding power. Make sure and get a good mix. You want it to be grey not light grey.

As you can see in this thread I tried a few different other sealers, adhesives and plastic glue. I thought I had it with some Sonic Bond (which is insanely awesome plastic glue) but it broke down under the gasoline in about a half hour of riding. I then resorted to the JB Weld and I've been impressed. It also claims that it's resistant to fuel on the packaging so that's comforting. I wanted to install some Stompgrip pads on the sides of the tanks but that would just put more pressure on the fuel tank and the repair. Just check that your rubber mounts are adequately supporting the fuel tank so that there is no unnecessary stress being placed on the mounts.

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