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Thread: Bike tank repair (dents)

  1. #1
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    Default Bike tank repair (dents)

    Looking for advice on how to get these dents out?

    Most people would just bondo and go but--- This is a personal challenge to getting it right. 70 years ago they “bumped” metal into shape, Bondo was not an option just lead and heat. Not wanting to use lead but "heat" is OK. I have used and made up custom PDR tools to do tanks like this but not with these “deeper” dents. I’m not sure I can really get to the back side of them with much force to PDR them out. (Maybe heat the area first?) This tank is from the 70’s and is quite stout. A dent puller seems like it would be ineffective?

    Who here has fixed or tried this kind of challenge and how did you fix it?


    Thanks.


    IMG_3425.jpgIMG_3431.jpgIMG_3429.jpgIMG_3428.jpgIMG_3432.jpg

  2. #2
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    We've done several of them with damage like that and we use a stud welder.


    Honda tanks are made of thin sheet metal so if you use a stud welder you just want to tack the stud on lightly so that you don't weaken the metal and possibly put a hole in the tank. We fill the tank with water prior to welding on the studs so that the gas fumes don't become a problem.

  3. #3
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    Thanks,
    I’m a expert TIG welder, so I may try hand welding a small stud. The metal on these older tanks is thicker than a standard car panel of today for sure. This tank has been empty for 30 years.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NitroShark View Post
    Thanks,
    I’m a expert TIG welder, so I may try hand welding a small stud. The metal on these older tanks is thicker than a standard car panel of today for sure. This tank has been empty for 30 years.
    I normally fasten a piece of 1X2" piece of wood about 2' long on the tank mount then attach it to my work bench so that the tank doesn't move while I'm pulling out the dent.

    You could prep each dent by grinding them clean then take it to a local shop and have them tack the pull pins to the dents. If tacked lightly the pull pins can be removed by placing dykes under the head then squeeze and twist. The pin should snap off without leaving any part of the pin on the metal.

    Last edited by Len; 09-12-2019 at 10:46 AM.

  5. #5
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    olympia,wa
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    some tank dents can be removed (at least partially removed) by filling the tank with water, sealing it up, and freezing it. sharper creases are tougher to do this way, but dish shaped dents come out pretty decent. if the tank has contours like knee indents i wouldn't go that route, i only did it with plain tanks. (many, many years ago...)
    b marler

  6. #6
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    lower Michigan
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    Default

    i have seen people say " use air pressure in the tank from an air hose/nozzle to push the dents out and I'm here to tell you DON'T DO IT. You will blow out the seams before the dents pop out. There is close to 100 years professional body work experience between Len and myself and I agree with everything Len said. A stud welder is absolutely the right tool for the job. I see some tiny dings in the pictures of the tank, I would just fill those tiny dings but pull the more serious ones. Like Len I made a jig out of wood 2 x 4/s That is usually use drywall screws with washers to attach the tank to the wood jig. I have a portable wood top work table and I screw the jig to the work table to keep the tank stable while I do the dent pulling and "bond", primer and paint on. I have an old 1969 Triumph T100C gas tank on my jig right now that I'm working on.

    If that tank has been sitting for 30 years then there should be copious amounts of rust inside the tank. What is your plan for "derusting" the inside of the tank ?

  7. #7
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    Chattanooga, TN
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    Do what you can with the metal work, but don't feel bad using some filler to finish up or get some of the smaller dimples. When used properly, modern filler is rock solid and shouldn't be thought of as somehow an inferior substrate.

  8. #8
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    I’m most concerned about the sharp small dents to pull them out correctly without filler.

    I’m an expert TIG welder so welding a piece a thick rod in the dented area and pulling it like a stud welder seems to be plausible. Or possibly cherry red heating the dent with my torch and trying to pound it from the inside. So far I like this idea best if warpage doesn’t kill it.

    As stated above, 35 years ago I tried to use air pressure on a tank and it was a disaster.

    This is an personal Honda Z50 Mini-trail restoration and I’m trying to keep everything original and just testing my skills. My fabrication skills are above average for sure but I’m not used to fixing sharp dented material like this. Mostly fab work and machine work is in my wheelhouse.


    All good suggestions and I appreciate everybody’s input. Keep them coming if you got any more ideas.

  9. #9
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    Len, more info on this Please. Looks to be the ticket after stud weld.....

    Can you re-position the puller after the first pull? or does it just work like a rivet gun with a plastic shield on it. Your thoughts.


    .
    sho5800.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NitroShark View Post
    Len, more info on this Please. Looks to be the ticket after stud weld.....

    Can you re-position the puller after the first pull? or does it just work like a rivet gun with a plastic shield on it. Your thoughts.


    .
    sho5800.jpg
    That works for some dents but a stud welder with a slide hammer works on all dents using it to pull the dent while tapping the surrounding metal with a small hammer. When you're finished pulling with ANY tool you'll need to tweak the leveling using some "good" filler then primer and paint.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NitroShark View Post
    Thanks,
    I’m a expert TIG welder, so I may try hand welding a small stud. The metal on these older tanks is thicker than a standard car panel of today for sure. This tank has been empty for 30 years.
    Since you already know how to weld, slice it open and metal work it properly.

    I sliced a sportster tank a while back.

    After cleaning out the rust and previous failed tank liner, welded it back and used Casell tank liner on it.

    It won’t take very long.

  12. #12
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    Default Yeah - Great!

    Quote Originally Posted by OldFatBald View Post
    Since you already know how to weld, slice it open and metal work it properly.

    I sliced a sportster tank a while back.

    After cleaning out the rust and previous failed tank liner, welded it back and used Casell tank liner on it.

    It won’t take very long.
    Very good advice! The ultimate right way to do it. And we get the inside new again as well.

    Problem with his damage is they appear like parking lot dings. I'd rather have to deal with larger dents. These look pretty tough for access even pulling the dents. I like your idea.

    Henry

  13. #13
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    Yeah, mine had both rust and failing liner. So it was a no lose situation for me. If I screwed it up, oh well it was garbage anyways.

    Funny, I look at this tank from when I first started painting and know that I can do so much better now. This tank will get repainted.

    00 Chop.jpg
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    IMG_20170902_131052.jpg
    Tank Chop (2).jpg
    #08 Chop.jpg

  14. #14
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    Default You?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldFatBald View Post
    Yeah, mine had both rust and failing liner. So it was a no lose situation for me. If I screwed it up, oh well it was garbage anyways.

    Funny, I look at this tank from when I first started painting and know that I can do so much better now. This tank will get repainted.

    00 Chop.jpg
    IMG_20170901_132554.jpg
    IMG_20170902_131052.jpg
    Tank Chop (2).jpg
    #08 Chop.jpg
    I hope NITRO can profit from your hard work. You did do a super job on that tank.

    You and members like you make me sit back and wonder just how many people walking the face of the earth that Len and this Auto Body Store.com site made a difference in their life? I'm like a skip in a record here for 21 years. Was rewarding to see people like you come aboard and stick around to turn out some nice stuff.

    Can't begin to tell you how many members here started here, first project and went on to turn those projects into award winning show cars. The CLASSROOM link from the HOME PAGE leads to but a few of them.

    Anyway, always good to hear from you and know your progress grows with each new day. Love it when a plan comes together!

    Henry

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    I hope NITRO can profit from your hard work. You did do a super job on that tank.

    You and members like you make me sit back and wonder just how many people walking the face of the earth that Len and this Auto Body Store.com site made a difference in their life? I'm like a skip in a record here for 21 years. Was rewarding to see people like you come aboard and stick around to turn out some nice stuff.

    Can't begin to tell you how many members here started here, first project and went on to turn those projects into award winning show cars. The CLASSROOM link from the HOME PAGE leads to but a few of them...

    Henry
    Apologies to the OP as I don't want to turn this into a back slapping thread, but I have said many times before how much you guys have helped me. It is pretty cool how the internet has allowed and changed how information is shared.


    Nitro Shark is so far ahead of me as I am not a welder, I own a welder and a grinder!

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