Growing tanks: ethanol?

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by Tangai, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Tangai

    Tangai Been here awhile

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    Recently I serviced two 990 Adventures, an 07 and 08. I had serviced both bikes before, but this time the fuel tanks, especially the left, seem to have grown, being more difficult to reinstall than before. Both bike were from up north were there is ethanol in the fuel. Are the KTM tanks growing like some of the Ducati tanks are due to ethanol?

    If so, is KTM replacing tanks like Ducati is?
    #1
  2. Roughidle

    Roughidle Slipping into darkness

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    I have been watching my tanks swell/grow/expand as well.

    I purchased my 950 new in the winter of 07' as a leftover 06'. Since then the tanks have swelled almost 1/4"-1/3" in some places.

    The problem seems worse toward the rear of the tank: There is no gap between the rear clamp for the KTM crash-bars and the tank, where there used to be a gap of at least 1/4".

    I have also noticed the tanks have become more difficult to put back on the bike, sometimes I need to use a floor jack to accomplish the task.

    Also my tanks no longer line up flush with the rear numberplate/ fairing.

    I would be very interested to know if KTM is doing anything about this, thanks for posting.
    #2
  3. AdvGa

    AdvGa Long timer

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    #3
  4. BillyD

    BillyD Been here awhile

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    I was at Scuderia earlier this week and we got on the subject of ethanol and how ethanol might cause the tanks to swell.

    They recently had a 950 from Europe in for service with 50 000 km on the clock, most of which was logged in Europe

    The mechanic commented that the tanks on the bike fit like a glove, compared to the crappy fit more typical of 950/990s here in California.
    #4
  5. kingrj

    kingrj Been here awhile

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    My left side tank has grown so much it is hard to get back on..:puke1
    #5
  6. KTMandu

    KTMandu Adventurer Wannabe Supporter

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    Ahem to all of the above. I've had trouble fitting my tanks as well, esp. the left tank. Used to be no big deal to remove the crash bars and tank to service the bike, i.e. change oil, etc. Now I avoid it as much as possible. Just changed my oil but did not remove left tank. I siphoned the oil out of the upper oil tank. And I've started filling my bike with ethanol-free gas that is available locally from several sources. And I don't know if KTM is changing tanks because of this problem. After all, is it KTM's fault or the fact that our gov't mandates or strongly encourages the use of this type of fuel? Has it been proven that the ethanol in gas causes the gas tanks to swell? As someone else stated earlier, it appears to be an unintended consequence of ethanol in gas.
    #6
  7. Killer Whale KTM

    Killer Whale KTM Life is the adventure!

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    Hey Guys,
    Could ethanol also be the root of our fueling (odd running issues ) and fuel pump replacement problems ???:huh :eek1
    Just wondering.........
    Killer Whale KTM
    #7
  8. StevenD

    StevenD Hmmmm, dirt!

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    you could be on to something there k-whale,
    In Holland, europe i've not come across the tanks swelling on any bike, exept those with a aqualine fitten, those just grow with a bit of sun alone.

    No idea if US bikes have more pumps failing then in the EU, but it does not seem to be a big problem here. Perhaps thats just us having really clean fuell here to?
    #8
  9. O.C.F.RIDER

    O.C.F.RIDER Loose nut behind h/bars

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    Same shit here! Last time I had my tanks off, I looked like this....
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Tarzan

    Tarzan King of the Jungle

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    A friend sent me a link recently to a petition from Boat US, apparently an increase in ethanol percent from 10-15% for the USA is in the works. Here's a link to that site with the petition, if you feel so inclined.

    http://www.boatus.com/gov/default.asp

    I switched to Shell fuel recently to see if that might help the issue, but haven't had the tanks off yet to see if it mattered. I've been told that even marinas may not be able to get ethanol free fuel in Michigan in the near future.

    2007 KTM Adventure
    1997 Kawasaki ZX-9R
    1984 Yamaha RZ350
    1981 Yamaha XV920RH
    1977 Yamaha RD400
    #10
  11. The Mariner

    The Mariner Matt of Finland

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    There's maximum of 5% ethanol content in our(northern EU) 95 octane fuel and does not cause any known problems with plastic tanks. From the start of next year they will increase the content to maximum of 10% and they don't even know exactly how will it affect the current cars and motorcycles. They interviewed the minister responsible for this and he said that "oh well we'll be all the wiser come january when the change comes to effect"!? What bullshit! It's a known fact that ethanol does NOT make the gas any friendlier to the environment.

    The KTM tank swelling is a known issue and I doubt that the ethanol in the gas has anything to do with it. If you remove a Super Duke tank you pretty much need power tools to fit it back in. Lucky ones can ply it in with a wrench. Some have made their own brackets. Some have no problems what-so-ever or maybe they have their bikes serviced and the shop takes care of the problem.

    It has something to do with the plastic material, which seems to elongate somehow when off the frame and with no bolts to hold it in it's place.

    Also a known fact is that ethanol dilutes the epoxy in carbon fibre tanks, many people had leaks in the UK. The carbon fibre tank is a official KTM accesory for the Super Duke in my understanding and costs in excess of a 1000 dollars. Good luck with getting your money back "hey I put some fuel in the tank and it melted!"
    :clap
    #11
  12. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    I had my left tank off for several weeks, and had to get inventive to get it back on.

    Here is what I did:

    I found a length of PVC the right diameter to fit into the frame relief groove that is toward the rear of the tank.

    [​IMG]

    I then put in the bottom front bolt, and the top front bolt. I had to use a longer top bolt to reach, because of the warpage. I tightened the top bolt just a little, enough to put a load on it, but not enough to strain the tank ear. Then with the PVC in the groove, I bungeed the rear of the tank, pulling it gently toward the frame (again, a little pull, but not too much.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I left it to set overnight, and the next day took it all off, changed back to the stock top bolt and reinstalled the tank.

    It went back on with almost no cussing. :D
    #12
  13. Tangai

    Tangai Been here awhile

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    “There's maximum of 5% ethanol content in our(northern EU) 95 octane fuel and does not cause any known problems with plastic tanks,” (The Mariner).
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I’m not saying you’re wrong, as I have no way of knowing what percentage of ethanol it takes to harm plastic fuel tanks or even if it does at all. But Ducati and Acerbis (maker of the tanks) say different. They say it’s the ethanol that’s causing the growing tanks. Ducati (Acerbis) is replacing the tanks on older Multistradas with new ones that are treated to protect them from ethanol.
    <o:p></o:p>
    I wonder if KTM owners up north—where ethanol is far more common than in the south—are experiencing this problem more than owners in the south.

    Thanks MortimerSickle, that's good advice.
    #13
  14. DrKayak

    DrKayak Retro Rider

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    I had my tanks off 4 times with initial mods and fixes when I bought it last year. On the second install it took twice as long to get the tanks and crash bars back on as it did for all the other work! On 3rd install I gave up on the crash bars. On the 4th install I extended the lower mount points which greatly helped.

    8 months later - Just did my second oil change and some other work - took both tanks off, drained all the gas and stored them on their side for 2 days. They went back on perfectly could not beleive how easy. No sure why I was expecting an ordeal.
    #14
  15. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    My tank line up is different every time. Same with the KTM crash bars. It's an art I guess.
    #15
  16. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    I saw a tip posted by Zuber that might help on the crash bars. He put studs in place of the bolts that go through the plate gizmo over the battery.

    He says it makes it much easier to line everything up. That sounds right, because with the bolts, it always almost fits, then leaves me swearing.

    I'm going to try this next time I have it apart.
    #16
  17. Bryon

    Bryon Adventurer

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    I'm in the UK and the tanks on my 04 don't fit any more. The back of the left hand tank rubs on the rear panel, the bottom bolts holes on both tanks sit too low and there's now no clearance between the the rear mount of the right hand crash bar and the bottom of the tank.
    #17
  18. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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    See post #12.
    #18
  19. Bryon

    Bryon Adventurer

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    Yeah, saw that. I'll give it a go next time I have the tanks off, thanks.
    #19
  20. The Mariner

    The Mariner Matt of Finland

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    Very strange kind of plastic because they store industrial ethanol, which is almost 100% pure, in plastic containers. Of course for cost reasons they might have used some other kind, which ethanol reacts with, which is their mistake as mixing ethanol with the fuel has been a common practice for quite a while now.

    Better to drain your tanks and let them breathe for a while before trying to force them back on, it seems. Anyone got any idea from what year on the tanks might be ethanol-proof?
    #20