Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gas Tank Repair: Take 2

Last night, I used the 3rd stage of the fuel tank restoration kit. This is a sealant, which is probably a fancy name for "paint that gasoline doesn't destroy". The POR-15 instructions says to use latex gloves when handling this stuff, and I would strongly recommend heeding that warning: my fingers are currently stained, and NOTHING takes it off once dry (the stains just laughed at mineral spirits and acetone).

So, you pour this 8 ounce can of silver paint-like stuff into your tank, and then slowly roll it around so that it covers all surfaces. And then after 30 minutes or so, you're supposed to drain whatever excess is still in the tank. Herein lies the problem: the Connie's tank is not really designed to allow fluid to easily pool around the petcock hole or the fuel sender hole, so I was not able to get ANYTHING to come out of the tank!

My solution, after giving up, was to keep rotating the tank so that the sealant didn't pool up in any one area (i.e., every 10 minutes, turn the tank to a new position). This worked until I fell asleep in my La-Z-Boy watching TV. So, one sidewall of the tank is going to have a thicker layer of POR-15 than the rest of the tank. ;-)

The sealant is now curing for the remainder of the week, and then I'm allowed to put gas into the tank.

But, while I had the petcock (or Tap Valve, as Kawasaki refers to it) removed, I opened it up to see why fuel wouldn't flow through it when on the Prime position. Wouldn't you know it, it was made of the same cast aluminum that the fuel cap was, and the gasoline had done a number to it. I should have taken a picture before trying to clean it out, but all of the internal ports were completely blocked by some kind of crystaline precipitate.

I tried cleaning away as much of this gunk as possible, but there's too much of that cast aluminum that is damaged. I don't think that a rebuild kit would do any good, so, I'm ordering a new Tap Assembly (51023-1388) for $65 shipped from Ron Ayers Motorsports.

Speaking of that, here's a neat exploded diagram of everything that I've had completely apart at one time or another (there's probably only 2 of you still reading to this point that might care):

While my Dad probably didn't anticipate that the bike would sit for so long, this definitely shows why you need to use a gasoline stabilizer when you overwinter a bike. Sometimes, that winter might last 8 years!