Help, I cut a hole into my gas tank. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 8:40 am Thread Starter
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Help, I cut a hole into my gas tank.

I have obtained a hole in my gas tank. I wish I could say that this hole came about by some type poor design by BMW or some type of freakish accident, but it didn’t. I have nobody to blame but myself, in a stupid instance I cut a hole into the side of my glove box with a dremmal tool and proceeded to cut a 1/8” wide x ¾” long slit into my tank. I was doing this to run wires through. This has got to be one of the dumbest thing I ever did!

So now I need help, patching it, I tried a product that JB-Weld makes for gas tanks, it would not stick to the plastic tank. Does anyone know what type of plastic the tank is made of, or even better suggest what will fill the hole in it.

Thank‘s
Mickey
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post #2 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 9:38 am
 
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No big deal

I see no reason why you couldn't just make a simple patch, and use regular JB Weld. I would cut a 2" x 2" piece of plastic. Mix up the JB Weld. Put a pretty healthy bead around the hole and slap the plastic over-top, and let it set for at least 24 hours. You could scuff up the area around the hole for good measure. It's been my experience with JB Weld that the only time it didn't work for me is when I got too impatient.

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post #3 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 9:40 am
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I'm surprised JB-Weld wouldn't stick to bridge the gap.
Did you rough up the area around the damage.

I would next try to find some similiar material from a jug or old mower tank
And try making a test patch repair with possibly a plastic cement from
loctite or permatex.

http://www.loctiteproducts.com/glue.asp?PLID=661

Good Luck, Worst already happened just need to find the right stuff.

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post #4 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 9:50 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CARNEYM
I have obtained a hole in my gas tank. I wish I could say that this hole came about by some type poor design by BMW or some type of freakish accident, but it didn’t. I have nobody to blame but myself, in a stupid instance I cut a hole into the side of my glove box with a dremmal tool and proceeded to cut a 1/8” wide x ¾” long slit into my tank. I was doing this to run wires through. This has got to be one of the dumbest thing I ever did!

So now I need help, patching it, I tried a product that JB-Weld makes for gas tanks, it would not stick to the plastic tank. Does anyone know what type of plastic the tank is made of, or even better suggest what will fill the hole in it.

Thank‘s
Mickey
Hi, Mickey - checked your profile and didn't find where you are located, so this might not work. A friend has a gas tank that is kept at my storage unit and it looks in great shape. I don't know if the entire thang (fuel pump, filter, level sensor, etc) is available, nor if he wants to part the thang out, butt I'll be glad to investigate for ya. Distance/cost to ship might be a question, so if you wanna persue this, PM me, lemme know where you are, and I'll take it from there. Best.
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post #5 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 10:32 am
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If you can find someone in your area that has a plastic welder AND the correct repair plastic I think that is about your only option for a permanent repair... that particular type of repair should be easy to close with a simple bead.


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post #6 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 10:36 am
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First find out what the plastic is. It will be molded into the plastic somewhere on the tank, near or in the recycling triangle symbol. I THINK it is ABS, but check to see for sure. If it is ABS, patching will be pretty easy. You can buy a small can of pipe adhesive at Home Depot or such, get the one for ABS, NOT PVC. You can buy a small black ABS fitting or find a scrap of pipe at a plumbing dealer, cut a piece out, (flatten with a heat gun if necessary, and use the ABS adhesive to attach it over the slot.
ABS solvent bonds, meaning that the solvent in the adhesive actually desolves the surface of the plastics causing a good "weld" between them.

If the tank is PP or PPE, patching will be much harder, and should be plastic welded. You would have to find a plastics company locally to do this, it uses a special heat gun to melt the plastics and filler rod. If it is PP or PPE, patching it with an epoxy such as JB Weld will be risky, as the adhesive will only surface bond, and could very easily "spring a leak" later as the fuel seeps between the surfaces and de-bonds it. I would NOT recommend epoxy for the repair, either on ABS or PP/PPE. You need something that will fuse the surfaces together, not just "stick" them to one another with a surface bond.

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post #7 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 10:50 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CARNEYM
I have obtained a hole in my gas tank. I wish I could say that this hole came about by some type poor design by BMW or some type of freakish accident, but it didn’t. I have nobody to blame but myself, in a stupid instance I cut a hole into the side of my glove box with a dremmal tool and proceeded to cut a 1/8” wide x ¾” long slit into my tank. I was doing this to run wires through. This has got to be one of the dumbest thing I ever did!

So now I need help, patching it, I tried a product that JB-Weld makes for gas tanks, it would not stick to the plastic tank. Does anyone know what type of plastic the tank is made of, or even better suggest what will fill the hole in it.

Thank‘s
Mickey
Here's an unsolicited $0.02: Buy a used tank from one of the BMW salvage houses or e-bay. Why? Because if you patch you current tank, you will spend every day of the rest of your time with the bike wondering whether the patch is still good -- not to mention having to deal with the issue when you sell the bike. I wouldn't spend the big $$$ for a new tank from a dealer, but the cost of a used one would be worth every penny to me for the peace of mind.

Just another thought to consider.

Mark Neblett
Fairfax, VA
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post #8 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 11:25 am Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the info. I am going to try to figure out what type of plastic it is and see if I can patch it first. If I connot I will look into replaceing it. I found this on another site, where a person patched a plastic gas tank on a Audi, it is made by Napa and was wondering if it may work.




http://www.napaonline.com/MasterPage...ank+Repair+Kit
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post #9 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 12:49 pm
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I'm with Mark, replace it. The cost if the patch fails is too high. Check www.beemerboneyard.com, they have one listed for 175.00. Cheap insurance in my mind.
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post #10 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 1:19 pm
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I'm with the other guys in getting a replacement tank. However, if you are going to fix it, you need to find out what kind of plastic it is. Plastic welding is great if it can be done. I also kayak and I know to fix the plastic kayaks, the kayak shops use plastic welders.

Good luck!

Mike
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post #11 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 2:20 pm
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Consider also insurrance issues if something went wrong.
i wooul go for at least a salvaged complete unit.

Christos
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post #12 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 2:30 pm
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Each of the suggestions has merit. You are proceeding in the correct direction. My recommendations as a welding engineer of metals and thermoplastics follows:

Try to determine which thermoplastic the tank is made of. My guess is it is either ABS (acryylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) or high density polyethylene (HDPE). As David Shealey suggested, if it is ABS, you can purchase the appropriate solvent to effect fusion of a patch to the tank. You should probably try the ABS solvent with use of a Q-Tip on a high location above the liquid level on the tank. If the solvent doesn't solvate the ABS, it is likely the tank is PE.
The caveat associated with HDPE is the fact that there are all kinds of different PE, ranging in molecular weight, and additives to impart different physical properties such as resistance to solvents and flexlibility.

My best guess is it is HDPE. If you are going to repair this tank via welding, I recommend you remove the tank, drain it, clean it out thoroughly of residual gas fumes; you can use isopropyl alcohol as a final rinse followed by thorough air purging. Take the tank to a local thermoplastics manufacturer and have them attempt to place a short (approximately 3/4" to 1" bead on a high region of the tank. If the fusion is successful, the area of interest on the tank you opened up by error can be prepared into a 'Vee' groove, open root, using an appropriate cutting tool (NO, not a Dremel since the rotational speed of the cutter is too high...you don't want to smear the plastic). Wipe the area to be welded with isopropyl alcohol, allow five to ten minutes to dry, and have the welder apply a single pass or with two additional 'toe' stringers tied into the original weld pass as required.
The weld joint preparation may have introduced grindings into the tank so use isopropyl alcohol again to rinse out the tank.

The welding process is called Manual Hot Gas Welding. High Density Polyethylene is welded using a temperature range of 500 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. What the gun looks like is a welding gun with two orifices. The hot air exits out the main orifice and the weld rod exits out the second orifice angled to the air tube. The weld rod undergoes preheat via conduction in the gun and is poked into the hot air where it reaches its plasticizing temperature. The welding gun is used to initially 'wand' the area of interest on the tank to preheat it and then the filler rod is applied.
You are welcome to PM me for additional help.

Terry
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post #13 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 3:07 pm
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Gas tank with slot cut into tank

Mickey,

You have received some good advice. You appear to be proceeding in the correct direction. As a welding engineer of metals and thermoplastics, I submit the following:

Purchase ABS solvent, place some of it on a Q-Tip and try it out on a region up high on the tank. If the solvent doesn't solvate the area, there is a very good probability the tank is made from HDPE (high density polyethylene). Incidentally, ABS is acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene; as you are aware, it can readily be solvent welded.
My best guess is this tank is manufactured from HDPE (high density polyethylene). The caveat in attempting to weld this material is there are many chemical formulations resulting in different molecular weight, resisitance to chemicals, and flexibility differences imparted into the end result. Weldability is affected. The industry commonly manufactures the welding rod from the same batch of resin as the base material to enhance weldability. You can always contact BMW as a last resort and ask them what material they used...good luck on that one!
If you choose to attempt repair via welding, and the tank is HDPE, you should:

1) empty the tank and remove it
2) flush the tank out with isopropyl alcohol
3) generously flush the tank out with air to remove all residual fumes
4) take the tank to a local thermoplastics welding manufacturer who has Manual Hot Gas Welding capability
5) have the welder scrape the short region which will accept the test weld and have the welding facility apply a 3/4" to 1" weld bead on a region high up on the tank. Place the weld bead where it will not affect function of the tank when it is returned to the bike. The welder can test the weld bond by attempting to lift up the bead mechanically and also inspect the region visually...if all looks good, the tank can probably be welded with the welding rod used.
6) use a rotary tool to prepare the 'slot' you produced into a single 'Vee' groove, open root. Again, the immediate region surrounding the weld joint should be scraped to remove the 'glaze' you see on the tank surface.
7) The welder should apply one pass as a minimum and use two additional 'toe' passes tied into and adjacent to the initial weld pass
8) the weld joint preparation may have introduced grindings into the tank, if so, rinse out the tank with isopropyl alcohol when you get home and test the tank with gasoline in it for leaking overnight
9) if all is well, re-install the tank

Incidentally, Manual Hot Gas Welding used for HDPE uses hot air from 500 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. An internal electric heating coil within the gun heats the air which goes out an exit tube. Immediately angled and adjacent to the initial tube is a second tube through which the weld rod is placed. It receives pre-heat via conduction in the gun and is poked into the hot air stream where the rod is 'plasticized', not melted, as it is physically introduced to the weld area of interest. Before the welding begins, the welder wands the area of interest on the tank to pre-heat it.

You are welcome to contact me via PM for any further assistance...good luck!

Terry

Last edited by TSQUARED; Dec 12th, 2005 at 3:12 pm.
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post #14 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 3:45 pm
 
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I had a similar problem with my Goldwing overflow tank, it was pierced by a stone. I heated up a screwdriver tip and used it to shape and weld the material closed. I didn't heat it red hot, just enought that it smoled. Obviously emptying the tank and cleansing the fuel out is the safest, perhaps flushing it with argon gas might be an option. Pressure test to look for leaks with soap prior to declaring it fixed.
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post #15 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 5:48 pm
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Some time back PhillWard repaired a leak in his tank with a product from 3M IIRC. When he reads this thread I'm sure he can let you know the product name.
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post #16 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 6:25 pm
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repair or not

im really not sure i would want to take a chance on any repair, remember, we are not dealing with oil, or water, but GASOLINE. you get a leak and before you get stopped, poooof. i wouldnt want to ride a machine like that, how much fun can it be when foremost you will always be worried.
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post #17 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 7:42 pm
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Wink two part epoxy

Hi CARNEYM , I had a little hole in the gas tank of my 1995 R1100GS . It is one of the plastic tanks that were used that year . I just went to the auto parts store and got some two part epoxy that is like two sticks of play dough . You take a little peace of each one and mash them together for a couple on minutes . Then stick it where it is leaking . You have a bigger hole then I did , But you can give it a try with out taking too much apart . I have put some miles on that bike since then ,and it hasn't leaked . Hope this is of help ...Patric ...

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post #18 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 9:53 pm
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Plastic Welder

I have one of these airless welders. Works great, but cost is just over $200.
In my situation it paid for itself the first use....everything else at this point is gravy.....


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post #19 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 11:07 pm
 
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tank repair

This is a better source/price for the same kit:

http://www.acsource.com/index.asp?Pa...ROD&ProdID=652

There are a lot of excellent two part epoxy repair kits available. Go to your local NAPA store and ask them for gasoline resistant epoxy. Just make sure the area is thoroughly cleaned to insure a good bond.

May we never find the end of the road!

Perry Ridgway

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post #20 of 31 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 11:35 pm
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Epoxy is NOT a good thing to repair a plastic fuel tank with. The only GOOD way is with some type of plastic weld, either solvent if ABS, or heat welded if PP or PE.

Epoxy can only surface bond, and gasoline is notorious for being able to penetrate between the bond surfaces over time, and you almost invariably WILL end up with a new leak eventually.

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post #21 of 31 Old Dec 13th, 2005, 1:40 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
Epoxy is NOT a good thing to repair a plastic fuel tank with. The only GOOD way is with some type of plastic weld, either solvent if ABS, or heat welded if PP or PE.

Epoxy can only surface bond, and gasoline is notorious for being able to penetrate between the bond surfaces over time, and you almost invariably WILL end up with a new leak eventually.
You would want to use a commercial epoxy and do the necessary prep work. I had a hole in a XR 200 tank and used a Pro Form product that permanently repaired the hole. Prepping the surface is critical for a good bond.


Rigid Parts Epoxy Repair KitA two part epoxy adhesive filler and surfacer designed to repair and bond rigid and semi rigid materials in a few minutes. It adheres to metal, aluminum, fiberglass, plastics, glass and wood. Resists gasoline, acid and solvents. Excellent as a skim coat/final coat over Pro Form pliogrip adhesives.

PF 702, PF 710, PF 710-2, PF 720


To your point, plastic welding the hole is the best solution. Especially because not all plastic is a good candidate for epoxy. I am not sure what the LT tank is ABS, PVC etc.

May we never find the end of the road!

Perry Ridgway

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post #22 of 31 Old Dec 13th, 2005, 8:30 am Thread Starter
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I'm going to remove the tank, I have the tupperwear off the right side. Do I need to remove the left side and stingray to remove the gas tank.

Thanks
Mickey
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post #23 of 31 Old Dec 13th, 2005, 8:52 pm
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Not a lot can be done with repairing HDPE. This plastic is very 'slippery' (i.e. high surface energy) and not much in the way of adhesives will stick. Couple that with a strong, petroleum solvent like gasoline, and you have a recipie for failure. Even if you could get the adhesive to stick, it won't stay

As another gentleman explained, the only way to fix the tank is to have it welded.

Good Luck!

-Larry

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post #24 of 31 Old Dec 14th, 2005, 12:24 pm
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It gets even crazier...Here's a REAL plastic welder for $30 plus $5 for the sticks, just add a compressor!

You'll still need to find out what the exact plastic is, and hopefully get a stick from a local supplier that matches.

www.Harborfreight.com

enter keyword "plastic".


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post #25 of 31 Old Dec 14th, 2005, 2:19 pm
 
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I know that it is easy for me to spend your money, but the $175.00 tank on e-bay would be pretty cheap if you were on a trip in the middle of nowhere and sprung a leak. And everytime you smell fuel you would feel uneasy with a repaired tank. Good luck with your project, sorry you are having problems.
Leon
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post #26 of 31 Old Dec 14th, 2005, 2:25 pm
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I have to agree. I'd recommend replacing the tank for all the reasons stated.

I won't want the possibility of trouble hanging over my head on every drive.

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post #27 of 31 Old Dec 14th, 2005, 3:30 pm
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Repair of Tank

The gas tank is made of high density Polyethylene, and it can be repaired by hot air welding. The surface around the hole will need to be scraped to remove the surface oxidation prior to welding. The welding should be done using a hot air extrusion welding gun.

The welding gun heats the surface to approx. 300 deg. F. and fills the hole with extruded plastic material. The weld will be approximately 85 to 905 the strength of the original material, so it is a viable repair.

Plastic welding is normally done by firms specializing in fabrication of plastic manholes, drainage pipe, and concrete liners. These firms also usually install membrane liners in ponds and impoundments. If you send me a PM, I will try to find some one in your area of the country that fabricates plastic.

good luck with the fix!

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post #28 of 31 Old Apr 13th, 2006, 9:37 pm
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No problem

Cut a piece of plastic to cover it, rough up the edges and super glue it on.
Put an extra piece of the plastic and a tube of super glue with the tool kit.
Rock
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post #29 of 31 Old Apr 13th, 2006, 10:05 pm
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Call your local RV repair shops. They have sub contract shops that weld water,sewage and plastic gas tanks. If their guys have sonic welders it won't matter what plastic it is made out of and you won't have to remove the tank for the repair. Just my 2 cents good luck.
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post #30 of 31 Old Apr 14th, 2006, 10:17 am
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JB weld doesn't work with plastic - yea it may seem to work with some but it won't last.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CARNEYM
Thank you all for the info. I am going to try to figure out what type of plastic it is and see if I can patch it first. If I connot I will look into replaceing it. I found this on another site, where a person patched a plastic gas tank on a Audi, it is made by Napa and was wondering if it may work.




http://www.napaonline.com/MasterPage...ank+Repair+Kit

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post #31 of 31 Old Apr 14th, 2006, 12:02 pm
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patcing hole in tank

Ask a hundred people, get a hundred opinions. So here's mine. I have successfully patched two plastic tanks (neither were on the LT). One was on my TT500 dirt bike. The other was on a weed eater tank. I have a friend who does auto body work. He had some super epoxy that sticks to ANYTHING.

It is quite durable (has lasted for three years and a few good spills on the dirt bike). If you still don't have a solution, I'll get you the name of it. I know you'll be able to find it wherever you are.

Where are you?

Scott
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