Plastic Gas Tank. (Thoughts?) - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Ok guys i have an idea here and i need some input from you guys. Ok so here we go.
I work in a factory that makes oil and fuel tanks among other bits and bobs out of high grade plastic. Its all done via rotational moulding. For those of you who dont know what that is, it is basically metal moulds filled with a specific weight of plastic powder cooked for a certain lenght of time to form the desired tank. So here is my thinking. Every fuel tank that is made from sheet metal battles with rust issues eventualy, this as some of you know causes pin holes which then causes the tank to be lined or brazed. My thinking is if i was to get the mould made of the 750 tank it could eliminate this problem. Here where i work my boss is easy going and wouldnt mind me doing it at all. Also as for the likes of the petcock and tank lid etc etc. We can also add brass inserts into the mould for screwing this stuff on. The inserts are formed into the plastic. What do you guys think. Would you use a plastic tank. Thickness is not an issue with it as i can make it as thick as i want so strenght is no issue.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 05:51 AM
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MY ten cents

I can remember when lightweight fiberglass tanks were used for racing bikes. They were eventually banned as they had little impact damage resistance and would burst when the bike was dropped. I am sure you have access to a material with better impact characteristics though. My bike has a dent in top of the tank from where it was dropped by the PO.

Rather than mold the existing tank how about one with an extra gallon in it?

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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I see where you coming from with the fiberglass. The plastic we use is weather resistant and also does not crack under load or if dropped. I have had 200kg tanks fall from the hoist at 16ft and never left as much as a mark on it. The thing with the moulding is that they can be made as big or small as i want. Extra gallon. No prob as long as the mould is big enough. The thicker the plastic the stronger it is. Most of our oil tanks are 5mm thick but some go as far as 16mm thick for the chemical tanks.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 10:03 AM
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Price would surely be one deciding factor, along with shipping. I sense you may be in the UK?

We've seen quite a few gnarly tanks, I bought a new OEM tank myself due to damage, so there is a demand from time to time.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 10:40 AM
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Well if you’re going to go, go big...make that 2 gallons larger

My only concern on plastic tanks would be paintability. Is the surface smooth enough and how well would paint last?

I had a plastic tank on a dirt bike and it looked OK for a dirt bike, but some might consider it ugly for a street bike. Wasn’t shiney and the plastic finish degraded over time from sun exposure.

It is however a good idea, especially since the supply of stock tanks are slowly dwindling.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 11:29 AM
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A few less gas station stops on days you plan to take a long ride would definitely pique my interest. I haven’t had to take my tank off yet, but you all on here make that sound fairly quick and easy. So I’d be interested. Of course would like to see it on another bike to see if the bigger tank looks good. Be curious to see how you’d maintain the handle bar clearance and what not.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Im in ireland. As for the cost. Well the plastic would be free to an extent as would the whole cooking process as it would just go in the oven with other moulds. So the only real cost would be the actual mould itself. . Im not sure on the paint adhering to the plastic but im sure if it was painted with a plastic primer base coat the top coats would hold to that. Im not thinking of the making money side of it altho it would be a good oppertunity for a small business. Im more thinking of it as a solution for a problem that i myself am sick of dealing with.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 12:58 PM
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I think it's a great idea, ESPECIALLY with the added fuel capacity. I think people would "upgrade" to plastic just for that.
Something else to consider, the gas caps for the vn750 seem to be in short supply. Making the orifice compatible with a more plentiful gas cap replacement part instead of the stock cap would ease that pain as well.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
I think it's a great idea, ESPECIALLY with the added fuel capacity. I think people would "upgrade" to plastic just for that.
Something else to consider, the gas caps for the vn750 seem to be in short supply. Making the orifice compatible with a more plentiful gas cap replacement part instead of the stock cap would ease that pain as well.
i no what you mean. Thats the beauty of the idea. Maybe a universal kid of gas cap. Nothing oem just reproduction kinda ones. I think i will look into this further. We have a team of Cad mould designers and i might be able to get one of them to draw up a sketch of the mould. That way i can get a rough estimate on tje price of it. We have a team of mould makers also but there always busy and cranky so if i go ahead with this i will get it made up elswhere.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-06-2019, 02:45 PM
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Even just 1 gallon larger would be an improvement. That should get you a 165 mile range, versus 122 miles, as long as it doesn't ruin the looks.

I like the gas cap idea. Could design it to use more readily available caps, and caps that have varied styles available in the aftermarket, so everyone can find what they like. Could maybe see what styles are available in threaded caps, which would eliminate the need for threaded inserts. Not sure what's out there with the threaded type, besides the dirt bike market. Bayonet types are usually not interchangeable between makes, so you may have to pick just one, unless molds aren't a huge cost factor. I'd say Harley is going to be the widest selection in the aftermarket.

Painting plastic is no problem. Plastic can be wet sanded easily, and there's all sorts of plastic paints, even a chrome process, real looking chrome not just silver. Can probably prep a plastic tank quicker than metal, and plastic rarely has dents.

There's also hydrodip, available in more colors/patterns than a person can imagine. For the most part it's very inexpensive, quick, and easy. Cost increases when you have parts needing a larger dip tank, like atv bodies, which I'm about to try. I'm on the lookout for a 12' EZ-Up swimming pool.

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