Dented Gas Tank Repair
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Thread: Dented Gas Tank Repair

  1. #1
    Senior Member RobG's Avatar
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    Question Dented Gas Tank Repair

    I posted this on ADVrider too, but I figured I'd post here too, since there are many knowledgeable people who may not visit ADVrider that much.

    This is the gas tank from a 1981 Suzuki SP500 that I'm restoring:



    Can you see the dents? A nice crease along the top, and a small dent on the left side.

    I spoke to my favorite local body shop; they quoted me $450 to repair and paint it, which is quite a bit more than I'm willing to spend on a bike I plan to sell once it's done and running. For what I can get for it, $450 just isn't gonna cut it.

    Any idea if there's a cheaper way to do this? Or maybe other shops I should talk to, back-yard types, etc? Part of me is tempted to use the plasma cutter and cut a rectangle out of the top (the creased part), then reach in, bang out the small dent, flatten the cut piece, then weld it back in. Naturally, after I totally wash the tank out to eliminate any explosion possibilities.

    BUT... getting the signs of the welding smoothed out would also be a lot of work. So maybe that won't do either.

    Ideas?

    Rob
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  2. #2
    Senior Member jeffrolives's Avatar
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    Rob,

    That "cut and weld" you speak of seems pretty intensive. Not sure I would go that way, but I am not as skilled as you seem to be.

    I have seen some guys use compressed air (just an air compressor and blow gun) to take out some smaller ones. But then I have also seen some guys balloon the tank doing that too. If trying, use lower psi first to make sure you don't blow it up. Another concern with doing it this way is that if you have any weak spots, like rusted welds, it may blow out that seal and now leak.

    I had a Honda Accord that a paintless dent removal company removed some dents in and that worked incredibly well, in my opinion, but that metal was a bit thinner than a m/c tank.

    If already thinking of welding, couldn't you just use a spot weld on slide hammer and then grind the welds down, sand, and finish?

    Also, check out "lock out kits". They have a blow up air bag in the kit that you wedge in door and pump up to hold door slightly open so you can get the rod through and hit the unlock button.

    https://www.lockpickshop.com/AO65.html

    but there may be cheaper ones.

    Any way you can get in there with a adjustable crowbar with tape on end (to soften hard edge) and massage from inside?

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    Mine is a Craftsman. Not too expensive and actually is pretty handy.

    All I got for now.

    jl

  3. #3
    Senior Member jeffrolives's Avatar
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    Those do not look too bad.

    Maybe one of these...

    Dent Puller - Save on this Pneumatic Dent Puller
    plumbstraight likes this.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    With a welder and a clean, paint free tank I think I might tack weld a nail to the outside where the dent is and use a slide hammer to slap pull it out.

    I have been considering the compressed air on a tank I recently bought from a member here. It has what I will call and indent, looks like a knee got between the tank and a hard place and just caved in one side but there is no crease or paint damage. I have also considered dropping a fire cracker in and see if the explosion might pop it back out. The paintless dent repair guy who did my car after a hail storm was a wizard but he won't touch a MC tank. He has to get in behind the dent to do his magic and a TW tank is near impossible to get inside of.

    GaryL
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  6. #5
    Senior Member arbolmano's Avatar
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    I've spot welded on stuff an pulled and I've used screws and welded up the hole. I like the former better. Fill tank with water or fumes from a modern
    car (low emissions) when welding or you might get a much bigger tank. Done that too. Variable results. I've also been known to scuff up real well and
    apply fiber bondo. Truthfully, the last had the best looking result for the least effort. Between rust, dents and paint, I love plastic tanks.
    jeffrolives likes this.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    I was talking with Darrell (TWForum member WS23) and he has had some good success at removing dents like yours using one of these hot glue type dent puller kits from Harbor Freight.

    They are pretty cheap so it might be worth a try.

    (If it doesn't work, the hot glue gun might come in handy for repairing plastics, etc. )

    Crossbar Dent Repair Kit


  8. #7
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TW-Brian View Post
    I was talking with Darrell (TWForum member WS23) and he has had some good success at removing dents like yours using one of these hot glue type dent puller kits from Harbor Freight.

    They are pretty cheap so it might be worth a try.

    (If it doesn't work, the hot glue gun might come in handy for repairing plastics, etc. )

    Crossbar Dent Repair Kit
    I have seen his work and it looks OK. However it is slow going requiring several attempts per dent, and he broke several of the dent pullers. No problem -- return them to HF for a new one and he was back in business.
    Long live the internal combustion engine!

  9. #8
    Senior Member Dell's Avatar
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    The problem with pulling from one point is that it might just make another dent. Body repair is typically done from the perimeter to the center. So I am suggesting drilling a small hole in the bottom and inserting a slightly rounded rod to press or tap with-- round and round, and center will take care of itself. The side dents can be accessed by bending the rod into an L shape and tapping the side.
    jtomelliott49 likes this.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Dell's Avatar
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    Also, as I think about it, I would probably to a combination of things, such as putting a rod in a vise and putting the tank over it, and tapping on the creases from above with a body or other light hammer. I enjoy this, as its a good way to ponder life's mysteries, but it takes a certain attitude. For profit I would use Bondo.
    plumbstraight likes this.

  11. #10
    Member Boxcar's Avatar
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    fill with water , and freeze it. Check on it often. As the ice expands it will push the dents before deforming the tank.

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