Need advice on Heinrich tank

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by TEXASYETI, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    So, I managed to score a g/s Heinrich tank from a fellow AdvRider and was looking for your thoughts.

    The tank was "customized" to clear aftermarket forks by putting big dents into the front lobes on either side.

    [​IMG]


    I am wondering about having the dents removed and restoring the tank back to its former glory. But there is also a part of me that likes the dents because they are a part of the life the tank has led.

    I have a reputable BMW airhead shop here in town quoting me 325 bucks for their body man to fix the tank. Not sure if he is proposing to try and push, pull, cut out, flip, and replace, cut out and replace with new metal, or just put new metal over the dents. I'll see what he says later today.

    So, leave it alone or fix it. I really am conflicted and your thoughts are welcomed!
    #1
  2. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Beware he doesn't want to just fill the dents with body putty.

    I'd be for fixing the dents if the end result will fit the future use better and it was done in a way that was considered permanent. Pulling would be the best I think but I certainly don't know if this can be pulled. If you do a lot of cutting and welding new material on it gets dangerous, IMHO.

    The way dents are repaired on older cars is to bang the metal out to the original shape as close as possible. This is a wrinkle sort of finish and then this is smoothed with a limited amount of body filler. If I just had to have the original shape I think this would be better than welding new metal.

    I'm not a welder tho, maybe one of them knows better than me.
    #2
  3. daveoneshot

    daveoneshot Been here awhile

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    Looks like a steel tank, right ? I would choose to see the metalworker's other projects and talk it over. I'm a beginning metalshaper and know only a few things about the craft, but this tank is a big job to do nicely. Go see the guy.
    #3
  4. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    Just paint it and ride... don't ruin the history and story of the tank.
    #4
  5. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    Man, that is a BIG ASS Heinrich tank.:eek1

    I'b be tempted to restore it to its' original shape / condition as long as you can find someone to do it correctly.
    If you bought it "right" it will only increase the value. ...but if you use it as is...and scratch it up, that will just add to the "patina".
    I have a smaller Heinrich tank with the top tool box.
    I found reproduction tool box covers but opted for a used, slightly beat up original.
    The dents / dings give the cover "patina" and character.
    #5
  6. Hiatt

    Hiatt Adventurer

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    If you are going to make it as it was, it looks to me like the rear end has been chopped off too. That part will be harder than the front.

    Do what you want. In the end, the only real value is what it means to you. If I were going to sell it, I'd probably restore it.

    JH
    #6
  7. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    The rear end does look funny but compared to this other one, I do not think the rear has been cut off.

    [​IMG]

    Talked to my guy today and he said the metal is too stretched to try and pop em out from the backside. He says he and his metal guy think that cutting the dents out just inside where the metal begins to curve inward and then fabricate new pieces to lay in the opening.
    #7
  8. Hiatt

    Hiatt Adventurer

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    I have one that looks just like that. When I stripped it to bare metal, it was easy to see that the back end had been cut off. I am no expert on these tanks by any means. I am just relaying my experience. I did not change mine as I prefer it not hanging over the nose of the seat like all the others I have seen.

    JH
    #8
  9. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Certainly there are people that know better than I know but the thing about cutting and welding new metal bothers me. Maybe this is not as hard to do as I think but metal is not all the same. Even if you call this metal Steel it is unique. Even if you have a general idea as in it is Mild Steel it is unique. Even if somebody says it has 0.2 Carbon in it is is still unique. Maybe I'm getting across what my concern is. Any new metal added to the tank will not be the same and then a process of electrolysis will be set up.

    Maybe this is not a big concern on motorcycle tanks? I used to work on boats and they talked about this stuff all the time. I don't understand it always but I think it's a concern.

    Good luck. I'd still want the tank as originally made. Unless you change the front forks of the bike and the dents have some purpose again.

    BTW, you are going to do something with it, why not strip the paint now so you can see what's ahead?
    #9
  10. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    Gotcha. I think mine might be original as it does hang over the seat a good bit. More than actually in the second pic I posted.
    #10
  11. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    Here's a shot of my old Heinrich... It actually sucked to ride with... splays your legs widley, holds the fuel really high up... while I love the look and would have another given the chance it wasn't the best choice (IMHO) for a G/S that gets ridden off-road.

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Boxer Metal

    Boxer Metal Mad Scientist

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    With these tanks getting harder and harder to find in any condition fix it and if you found someone to fix it that cheap and he will do it correctly for that price I say fix it. Just for reference I would charged someone $100.00 to boil the tank out, $720.00 in metal working labor and $400.00 for body work ready for paint. Again if he will do it correct for $325.00 do it.
    #12
  13. mark1305

    mark1305 Old Enough To Know Better

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    I'll be a contrarian and vote for keeping the dents - or bar reliefs if you want it to sound classier. If they need smoothing to be perfect, do that so it looks like higher quality while refinishing.

    My personal experience and opinion is that bar-tankinterference is a PITA. You have a case of compromise between form and function that may work to your advantage in real world use.

    And has been mentioned, its part of the history of the tank. Although the above paragraph would be my main guiding point if it were me deciding.
    #13
  14. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff

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    Correct. While not as common as the `over the seat` style, it is a style that was offered by Heinrich, I imported a new one into Australia for my 80/7 in around 1978.

    I had an inverted `V` (^ like this) welded from the tank to the rear mount to better handle the weight in that area.
    #14
  15. ontic

    ontic

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  16. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    That looks really nice. It lists as fitting a R80/100gs (I am assuming paralevers here, not the also mentioned g/s and ST monolevers) which I do not believe is correct. I have an R100gs and the Heinrich was not clearing all of the electrical stuff along the backbone of the frame. I guess you can relocate....
    #16
  17. tete

    tete clown shoes

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    india sell these reproductions ones for a pretty penny

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-1...22?pt=UK_Motorcycle_Parts&hash=item3a7b3a8f5a
    #17
  18. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    The "type 208" is the one for the R80G/S, and that number is stamped on the bttom of the tank. You can tell 208's buy the notch in the right front side to allow the lower triple to go to full lock.

    See it there?

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. TEXASYETI

    TEXASYETI Call me "thread killer!"

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    There is a little plate on the bottom. I'll check it out when I get back in town. Actully am starting to lean towards leaving it alone or getting the dents smoothed out. The look is growing on me!

    Oh, and I love your bike Solo!
    #19