Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Tanker

 Back in 1999 for our 11th wedding anniversary my wonderful wife bought me a new motorcycle. Thanks Honey!  This would be the first bike I ever did an iron butt ride on. (1000 miles in 24 hours)

 I started getting into these long distance rides and decided I needed more range. The bike already had a 6.1 gallon tank under the seat but that was not gonna be enough. I've seen guys hang tanks off the back or place them on the passenger seat. I didn't want that. I wanted a permanent, hidden fuel tank.

 After a bit of head scratching I realized there was room to add a tank out back and keep the stock look of the bike. The first step was to put some hinges on the trunk so it would tilt back.

 The next step was to remove the rear fender and a few other bits. Then a cardboard template was made and carefully fitted and trimmed. The sheet metal used to form the tank is actually the sides of an old refrigerator. The tank itself is only two pieces of sheet metal. One piece is the outer sides and rear bent in a U shape. The other piece is the top, then bends down the inside above the wheel, then bends in and forms the bottom. I figured the less welding I had to do would lower my chances of a leak. A trip to the junk yard provided a filler neck and cap. I don't have a pic of the raw tank but it is marked here in yellow.

 This is a pic of a stock Voyager just for comparison. I got a little grief from some people about the possibility of getting hit from behind and puncturing the tank. Well first, I don't remember what gauge the steel was but try puncturing your refrigerator. Not easy. Second, there is an outer skin on the sides and back with a 3/4" gap left on the rear section. That gap is foam filled. Possible overkill but thats just the way I roll sometimes.
 You'll also notice that skin was dropped down a bit to conceal the trailer hitch and provide a spot for the trailer wiring connector.

 It looks almost like it was made that way but true Voyager fans can spot it quite easily.

To fill the tank the trunk must be lifted. The fill cap can be seen in the center of the tank. I also added a feature that got the bike the nickname "tanker". Because I was using an electric fuel pump to transfer fuel to the main tank, I could also use the pump to move fuel through a valve, down a hose and to another bikes tank.

This hose and brass fitting is the location where I drilled and tapped the 6.1 gallon main tank to allow transfer of fuel from auxiliary tank. Note the main tank is under the drivers seat.

This pic shows where I tee'd a vent line from the aux tank to the factory vent system.

 The yellow switch on the left dash controls the rear tank pump. When the low fuel light comes on for the main tank I would just flip the switch and pump the 2.9 gallons from the auxiliary tank to the main tank.
 I put 72,000 miles on this rig before selling it. I never heard back from the new owner so I have no idea how its holding up.
 I have a bike in the stable that needs more range. Stay tuned for another fuel tank feature.


  1. genuine clever !

  2. Excellent post, glad I got to hear the back-story on the aux tank.