Oil tank and oil lines: re-weld and re-route

New lines, new welds

Every year it seems there’s something that needs to be repaired during the first nice week of riding weather in the spring. Last spring it was my oil tank and exhaust.
The exhaust was corroded from riding in the slushy muck over the winter and having no way to clean the bike when I got home. The oil tank was another story.
After welding and re-welding, we still had leaks around the seams. I finally had to tear it all down and take it to a guy that does nothing but weld heavy aluminum. He fixed most of the leaky areas, but later on in the spring one more little gap opened up and started leaking again. It wasn’t anywhere he welded, but in a spot that I thought was all sealed up tight. I rode the rest of the year with the leak, which is minor, but annoying. Anyone who knows Harleys knows that if you can get all your engine and trans gaskets sealed and leak-free, you’re damn lucky!
oil tank and fittings
new lines

It’s spring again though and the leak is still bugging me. I’m tearing it down this week and having the entire tank re-welded. Aluminum is a tricky bitch and I don’t have the equipment to do the thick stuff, so I have to take it to a professional. Last year however, the heat from the welding distorted the tank just enough to cause me some major unexpected grief. Running stainless steel oil lines looks really cool and does a great job of keeping oil in, but if you heat the shit out of your tank while welding it, there’s always that chance that those tight fitting stainless lines won’t line up anymore, and that’s exactly what happened. Removing and replacing my oil tank takes me less than an hour. Re-bending new stainless lines to compensate for the distortion took and additional two days.
That’s what I have to look forward to: two days of bending and tweaking to get the lines to fit. This is why I blew it off until this year. I’ll update on this in a week or so when it’s all over. Maybe I’ll be lucky this year and everything will fall back into place. Ha!

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