Commando Fuel Tank Huge Problem.

BritTwit

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
2,321
Country flag
961Story said:
It is not Norton's job to supply a bike that holds fuel ?
Plastic gas tanks: They put the sizzle back in biking!
Can someone remind me please - what was problem with steel tanks?
Plastic tanks seem like a solution searching for a problem.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
24
BritTwit said:
Plastic gas tanks: They put the sizzle back in biking!
Can someone remind me please - what was problem with steel tanks?
Plastic tanks seem like a solution searching for a problem.
The problem is fuel injected bikes need a deep sump to mount the fuel pump. My vintage Commando tank, made from steel, was relatively easy/cheap for the Wolverhampton boys to produce. Stamp out a one piece rounded top and a one piece mostly flat bottom with a tunnel stamped in then weld them together. The bottom of my Duc tank looks like a topographic map of the Himalayas in order to make space for the huge air box and a deep "udder" that holds the fuel pump. Very difficult and time consuming and expensive to make from metal. The plastic tanks are quickly, easily and cheaply molded in any shape necessary. I have not seen the bottom of a 961 tank (I have to date actually only seen ONE 961 bike in the flesh...and I think it is the only one here in the small town of Chicago where I live. It was magnificent BTW) but I would wager it too is far from a flat bottom with a tunnel for the frame backbone... hence the plastic tank. At least those of you who want a metal tank have the (admittedly expensive) factory option to buy one. I had to buy the aftermarket, not quite standardized as far as shape and size goes, Teknorace alloy tank for my Duc rather than a proper factory designed and built one from Bologna. I love my Duc and I don't plan on selling it anytime soon so the high price of the tank can be amorized over many years of use so it doesn't hurt quite as much. If you like your 961 and aren't going to sell it and you are worried by the ethanol that we will never ever be able to escape then call up Stu and buy a metal tank. Problem solved. But you might want to take that option while it still exists...just in case.
 

BritTwit

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
2,321
Country flag
The bottom of the 961 tank is not pretty. There are several voids to accomodate various protrusions along the frame backbone. The two biggest are the battery that sits up against the right side of the backbone, and the injection pump assembly. True, a metal tank would certainly cost more to fabricate, but it's not like the 961 is a budget design to begin with. At $22,000 US, I would hope the bike would be delivered with a gas tank that can actually, safely contain the fuel it was designed to use. Norton do offer an aluminum tank like the one on the Dominator, but for $3,200 US. Ouch!

I will keep an eye on the tank for leaks, and also keep looking for alternatives.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
24
BritTwit said:
... At $22,000 US, I would hope the bike would be delivered with a gas tank that can actually, safely contain the fuel it was designed to use...
My Duc was a bit more than 1/2 that amount and I am still outraged and bitter that it didn't come "with a gas tank that can actually, safely contain the fuel it was designed to use". How presumptuous of us to expect such an amenity on our bikes. Then again I have been riding since 1965 and my Duc is one of the top five fun bikes I have ever had the pleasure of riding. It is currently sitting in the family room right behind me and although I am still pissed at Bologna I really enjoy just looking at it all winter too. Some things are just worth the headaches. Hope you have a similar pleasant place for admiring the 961 until we actually have to start worrying about the ethanol again next spring. And so no one accuses me of Commando discrimination, it is currently warm and toasty in the dining room awaiting it's new wiring harness. I have a very understanding wife...
 

BritTwit

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
2,321
Country flag
flyboy49 said:
BritTwit said:
... At $22,000 US, I would hope the bike would be delivered with a gas tank that can actually, safely contain the fuel it was designed to use...
My Duc was a bit more than 1/2 that amount and I am still outraged and bitter that it didn't come "with a gas tank that can actually, safely contain the fuel it was designed to use". How presumptuous of us to expect such an amenity on our bikes. Then again I have been riding since 1965 and my Duc is one of the top five fun bikes I have ever had the pleasure of riding. It is currently sitting in the family room right behind me and although I am still pissed at Bologna I really enjoy just looking at it all winter too. Some things are just worth the headaches. Hope you have a similar pleasant place for admiring the 961 until we actually have to start worrying about the ethanol again next spring. And so no one accuses me of Commando discrimination, it is currently warm and toasty in the dining room awaiting it's new wiring harness. I have a very understanding wife...
For sure.
It is true that the pleasures of cycling are worth the headaches. My Ducati 999 is torture on the body after 80 or 90 miles, but it is so good at what it does it's worth the price in pain I pay. The 961 has its issues as well, but it too always puts a smile on my face.
Not too many wives will allow a bike to be place on exhibit in any room of the house, let alone a dining room. She's a keeper.
My MK3 is getting a bit of work this winter too. However, it will happen in an unheated, freezing garage.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
2,456
Country flag
My friends Duc 848 never had a problem with the ethanol and we do not have ethanol free gas here in NY. Are they using a better plastic these days? (wishful thinking)
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2014
Messages
118
alum tanks from a major japaneese fabrication shop run approx 1,800. am sure they could do one for the norton for well under 2K . only way to run non ethanol fuel in calif is if you buy it at the pump , into a gas can; as directly fueling a car or bike with race fuel is technically against the law. and you will never find any stations along your route to where ever you are riding.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
24
Britfan60 said:
Are they using a better plastic these days? (wishful thinking)
HaHaHaHa!!! Wishful thinking indeed. Pretty much every manufacturer of every product in every industry these days is only interested in the least expensive option of getting the product to last 1 day past the warranty period. I guarantee the only way Bologna is using "better" plastic is if it is less expensive... not that I'm bitter or anything.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
24
I should also add for the guys having 961 tank issues something I have learned with my plastic Duc tank headaches. Maybe it will be of some help for you. I drain my tank every winter, pull out the fuel pump and leave the tank sitting with the fuel cap open so air can circulate thru the tank while the bike is hibernating... about 5 months here in Chicago. The tank swelling caused by the ethanol fuel reverses itself (the tank shrinks back to "normal" shape) over this period and my tank fits tightly on the mounts again in the spring. Then every June or July I have to pull the tank off again and shim up the rubber mounts about 1/4 inch on either side to make it tight for the rest of the riding season. And I use Norton Commando tank mount rubbers to do this!! I'm not sure if this airing out method will help the issues with your 961's but thought I would throw it out there. Some of my Ducati brothers have fared much worse than I because the ethanol has caused their tanks to ripple and dimple. A cosmetic nightmare resembling a 15 year old kid with severe acne. Mine only swells out wider so it doesn't fit tightly on the mounts (without cosmetic damage) and I have found a way to deal with that problem. Good luck!
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Messages
798
Country flag
Starbrite or Marine Stabil are recommended by Ducati. I use Marine Stabil in my '06 Sport Classic Ducati which still has the stock tank. I also use it in my 961 at every tankful.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2014
Messages
118
draining the tank during winter might work for those back east with a limited riding season, but out west, it is 12 months out of the year for us to get out on the road.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
135
I bought a new Multistrada in 06 and sold it in 2010. In that time Ducati replaced 3 fuel tanks under warranty. The guy I sold it to has had the tank replaced twice to date for the same reason, warping or leakage.

It seems to me that making the tanks from some sort of metal would pale compared to the warranty costs of replacing all of the damaged plastic ones.

Acerabis has been the maker for many of the plastic fuel tanks used on European motorcycles. One would think that they would know what plastic would be compatible with ethanol in the fuel.

The boating industry has suffered a great deal from fuel tanks made from fiberglass or plastic. Same with lawn and garden equipment.

I hope the new Norton company figures out something as it's cost Ducati and some of the other makers a great deal.

I'd never buy another motorcycle with a plastic fuel tank unless it had a lifetime warranty.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Messages
23
Having owned a Ducati GT 1000 Sport Classic, I completely understand why gas tank material is a major concern when purchasing a new motorcycle. The difference between Ducati and Norton, is at least the latter provides an aluminum alternative, albeit at a hefty price. I hope my Norton tank was manufactured using an ethanol resistant material, otherwise I'll be shelling out for the aluminum one.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
2,585
Country flag
AcrossThePond said:
Having owned a Ducati GT 1000 Sport Classic, I completely understand why gas tank material is a major concern when purchasing a new motorcycle. The difference between Ducati and Norton, is at least the latter provides an aluminum alternative, albeit at a hefty price. I hope my Norton tank was manufactured using an ethanol resistant material, otherwise I'll be shelling out for the aluminum one.
Even aluminum and steel tanks are not immune from the ravages of ethanol. The ethanol in gas will absorb water (moisture) from the air and if left to sit too long will then let that water separate from the mixture which will sink to the bottom. The water will under the right conditions corrode any metal, granted it may take some time, but it may happen.

The best thing would be to let politicians know that food should not be turned to fuel, not only is it raising the price of many of the things we eat, it is bad for our vehicules.

Jean
 

BritTwit

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
2,321
Country flag
Jeandr said:
AcrossThePond said:
Having owned a Ducati GT 1000 Sport Classic, I completely understand why gas tank material is a major concern when purchasing a new motorcycle. The difference between Ducati and Norton, is at least the latter provides an aluminum alternative, albeit at a hefty price. I hope my Norton tank was manufactured using an ethanol resistant material, otherwise I'll be shelling out for the aluminum one.
Even aluminum and steel tanks are not immune from the ravages of ethanol. The ethanol in gas will absorb water (moisture) from the air and if left to sit too long will then let that water separate from the mixture which will sink to the bottom. The water will under the right conditions corrode any metal, granted it may take some time, but it may happen.

The best thing would be to let politicians know that food should not be turned to fuel, not only is it raising the price of many of the things we eat, it is bad for our vehicules.

Jean
True. Feeding the hungry woridwide is a far better use for grains.

With metal tanks either steel or aluminium, it's best to add fuel stabilizer to prevent the breakdown of the volitiles. The marine version of Stabile also prevents separation of the fuel and supended H20. However, there is nothing that I know of in any stabilizer that prevents ethanol from attacking the plastic tank interior. You can chemically protect metal tanks from rust with marine stabile, but as of now, no way to protect plastic tanks from ethanol damage.

An affordable metal replacement tank is the best solution.
 
Top