Plastic tank: store empty or full?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by kbroderick, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    I've got a plastic tank (from an 1100) on my bike. I know that the conventional wisdom is to store the bike with a full tank of fuel to minimize air and thus condensation and rust, but plastic doesn't rust. I realize that there is a fuel pump assembly submersed in there somewhere, but that doesn't seem to indicate I need to keep it full.

    Leaving it more empty than full (probably 1/4 to 1/3 full at this point, and I'm probably only going to ride the three miles to the storage unit between now and when I put it up) has the benefits of less stale gas in the spring and a lot less weight (and risk of spillage) when I pull the tank for winter maintenance.

    I will be storing in a non-climate-controlled storage unit in Vermont, so the bike will probably see temperatures ranging from below zero up into the 60s (Fahrenheit), if not warmer and colder.

    Any other thoughts?
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  2. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

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    Id recommend filling the tank with good fresh NON ETHANOL gas, adding the proper amount of Stabil gas treatment, take the long way to the storage unit so you get the treated gas all through the system. Then kiss it goodnight for the winter. There are others with good advice about what to do with the battery, and if you should change the oil before or after storage.
    #2
  3. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    I would use the internal pump to power drain the tank, stopping the moment the pump starts to suck air. With the engine off apply 12 v power to the heavy green (+) and heavy brown (-) on the tank harness with the pump outlet hose feeding in to your auto tank. You will find that it is well worth the effort to make up a pigtail with a BMW accessory plug and two pins of a diameter that fit the tank harness firmly.

    Remove the tank then pull the fuel pump plate and store it all dry. I'll usually remove the fuel filter. Disconnect the fuel distributor at the injectors then blow out the fuel from the distributor inlet. Maybe add some Techron, Stoddard or a low volatile preservative with a syringe back in to the distributor and operate the injectors. /i\ Never apply air pressure over fuel or it will combust!!

    The manual says never to apply air pressure to the distributor inlet but I've done that briefly (after most of the fuel was out) with a small 12 compressor and crank the engine a few times. The air coupling conveniently snaps right on to the inlet.

    Some pp claim that the pump doesn't like to be left dry but that's the least of my worries. You could add a few drops of mineral oil to the inlet just don't operate the pump dry.

    Tip: If you manually power the pump up and there is a QD on the outlet hose the pump will squeal as it's relief valve opens. Try not to do that.

    The alternative is to add fuel preservative but you say the tank is coming off so I'd just pump all the fuel in to the auto. The last gallon or so will come out of the GS tank from the pump opening. You can wash the remaining fuel out with warm soapy water and you will have no fuel odors coming from the tank after a day or so.

    edit: Jim, he wants the tank off for serving over the winter. Not much sense to store a full tank off the mc.
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  4. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    No difference than any other bike with a plastic tank, the whole R1200GS line. Fresh gas with stabile and the other usual storage processes.

    Jim :brow
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  5. Girthy Knobkers

    Girthy Knobkers Running on reserve

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    What Jim said (per usual!)

    However, I've stored my plastic tank 95 1100 with low fuel for about a year (no fuel treatment + a cold Ohio winter...) Filled with a gallon or two of fresh gas and she fired right up.

    Years down the road no fuel pump issues. Did have a small crack in one of the vent lines recently though. To be expected on a 19 year old bike.
    #5
  6. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    You didn't give any history on how that 1100 tank got on your 1150. Does it have the cool early 1100 decal? If someone else set it up for you then it may have a recent filter, suction screen and hoses,,, or not. As I originally posted you could add preservative but that stuff has a short life. Consider where it will be stored. Moving a tank with fuel in it around the shop is a pain even its 2 gallons and increases the risk of damaging the paint. If your RID hasn't been reading full then that's another reason to open it up. If you are confident of the condition of the innards than no harm done leaving it alone. In that case you want as little fuel in it as possible since it will be going on and off the machine. If you are curious on what's inside I wouldn't have any anxiety on opening it. There are no tank studs to mess with. Just be sure to keep track of those short bolts. Very early pump plates had only one electrical bulkhead and an external ground wire was used. You should determine if the pump plate is one of those. Without that extra ground wire the pump will be under-powered so you would need to add it to the 1150. The plate is embossed with the date of manufacture as is the pump.
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  7. Twinz

    Twinz Been here awhile

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    kbroderick...Get your non-ethanol fuel at the Country Store in Waitsfield (you know that, right!)...I filled-up there last Saturday. Many non-ethanol stations are using up their stock and will not resupply as the temps dip. Today I'll add some Stabil and be prepared for the winter....or the occasional short ride this time of year.
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  8. mefly2

    mefly2 Long timer

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    Exactly...just what I've done.
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  9. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    You mean the VG? That's my usual plan, helps that they're on my way to work (and only a couple of miles from home).
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  10. Twinz

    Twinz Been here awhile

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    +1...Yeah, VG...I forgot the name!
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  11. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    Interesting. The first owner did a lot of work on the bike, including the tank swap. I had the impression that it was using the 1150 fuel pump, but I'm not sure. The fuel filter is external, but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have a look at the internals.

    And damaging paint is not a big worry, that's one of the reason the tank needs to come off—this past summer, the paint went from a little bubbling to a lot of bubbling and peeling. I'm planning to strip the rest of it and then decide whether to repaint or leave it unpainted.

    Thanks for all the feedback.
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  12. hyena

    hyena Been here awhile

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    I'm just wondering what kind of winter maintenance requires you to pull the gas tank?
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  13. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    For starters, my tank looks like this right now:

    [​IMG]

    I'm also planning to pull the battery and store it separately from the bike, as I don't have a power source for a trickle-charger at the storage unit.
    #13
  14. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    what about the seals in the fuel pump? I'm thinking that once they have been in service, they should probably stay wet... dunno. I haven't heard of any problems.... just thinkin.
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  15. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    Difficult to near impossible to get paint to stick to these. Maybe you can remove all of the paint and just run it natural. Anyway it will be well worth the few minutes it takes to pull the pump to see what the p.o. did. The presence of an external filter means little- original filter could still be there or not by-passed correctly. Other issues that are often present: loose electrical connections, damaged wire insulation, suction screen detached cracked or plugged, internal plumbing leaking or of the wrong type. /i\ If you remove the pump then be sure to cut off the old hose rater than pull on it or you will snap off the pump outlet.

    Post the external filter, mounting location, hose routing and p/n. Should be 10 micron f.i. but that is rare thanks to the old ibmb post. High probability that improper non-submersible fuel line was used or of old hardened or cracked hose or loose clamps. Very few auto parts house guys know about the Gates SAE J30R 10 even though they can usually get it in about a day. The one ft pkg is enough for several bikes.
    http://www.gates.com/brochure.cfm?brochure=3156&location_id=3006

    The BMW rubber U can be replaced by low cost corrugated polymer. Common to see someone try to use a long loop of hose which eventually causes fuel starvation.
    A long steel f.i.nipple can replace the filter but you can also use a short pre-formed flared steel brake line.
    wire harness maintenance, abs bleeding
    As I mentioned above, you can drop some mineral oil in there when you pull the suction screen to check the impellers and smoothness of the bearings. OEM pumps can last anywhere from 5k to 150k mi. Running the fuel low or "bench testing it" will kill it fast. You can't predict failure. I pack a Bosch replacement since they are compact, light and low cost.
    #15
  16. Girthy Knobkers

    Girthy Knobkers Running on reserve

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    Do this -

    [​IMG]

    There is also a "Rit Dye" process that may work if your into fancy colors 'n stuff :D
    #16