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Thread: NEW FUEL TANK LEAK - This time from inside the tank

  1. #1
    apriliaforum newb WholeShotKing's Avatar
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    NEW FUEL TANK LEAK - This time from inside the tank

    Today I experienced a massive fuel leak caused by a completely new failure other than what has been discussed in detailed on this forum. Because of the seriousness of this, I think everyone should be aware of the danger and act appropriately. First of all, I went for an absolutely perfect day of riding in the North Georgia Mountain. We put on about 160 miles of twisty riding. The weather was great, traffic was light and the Futura ran like a champ.

    BUT……

    About 20 minutes after I arrived home, my son and I were working on a project in the garage when he said, “Dad, there is something dripping from your motorcycle.” When I looked, it was just a slow drip, drip but within 30 seconds, it erupted into a geyser. Right before my eyes, gas just began to poor out. It was getting worse by the second. Quickly I lifted the tank expecting to see the Quick Disconnect was not connected but it was. The gas was coming from further down under the gas tank and by now, it was pouring out. If the gas leak had started earlier while riding or later that night, it would have been a disaster. But the Futura waited till the best time to fail.

    I determined the gas was coming out of ‘what look like 2 overflow nipples’ under the gas tank that have no lines connected to them. See photo. Quickly I looped a piece of fuel line between them to stop the leak allowing me some investigation time.



    I looked in the manual and what I saw shocked me. In the manual was a picture of the fuel pump assembly showing a loop of fuel line going from one nipple to the other. OMG…… Who designed that!

    So after draining the tank and cleaning everything real well, I performed the following steps detailed below. Hopefully this is a permanent fix for me. I also recommend you guys consider fixing this before it happens on your Futura. If it had happened less than an hour sooner, I would have been stranded on the side of the road in a pool of highly flammable gasoline. If it happened later that evening, well, my garage would have 3+ gallons of gas sloshing about waiting for any source of ignition.

    1. Lift the gas tank
    2. Drain the gas from the gas tank.
    3. Disconnect the overflow lines and the fuel banjo bolt. (Be sure to mark where they go so you reassemble properly.)
    4. Remove the gas tank
    5. Remove the 7mm bolts holding the fuel pump assembly to the gas tank.
    6. Carefully remove the fuel pump assemble. (I had to move it around carefully to position it just right before it would come out.)
    7. There you will see the infamous loop of fuel line just waiting to ruin your day. (See the kinked fuel line and the big tear/hole leading directly to your motorcycle.)





    8. Cut the metal hose clamps and remove the defective fuel line.
    9. I used Brake cleaner and a few cotton swabs to thoroughly clean the inside of both nipples.
    10. I mixed up some JB Weld (Available at any automotive store) and filled the 2 nipple holes. To get the JB Weld to completely fill the holes, I attached a piece of fuel hose and sucked gently while continuing to feed more JB Weld into the hole. The idea is to keep a smooth flow and not to allow air bubbles to enter the nipple. Once I saw the JB Weld coming out the other end, I attached a piece of tape to keep the JB Weld from dripping out the bottom while it cures. If anyone is wondering about how durable JB Weld is and will it hold up in gas…… It will last forever. This stuff is impervious to engine heat, gas and pressure. I recommend you allow it to cure for several days before submerging it in gas. I also reattached a loop of fuel line as before so now there is 2 levels of protection. (Being cautious due to the flammable nature of gas and a lack of desire on my part to disassemble the fuel tank again.)



    11. Be sure to replace or at least inspect and clean the o-ring real well. (If the o-ring has any flat spots, it probably will not seal properly meaning you may get to do this all over again if you re-use it) Clean the fuel pump surface that contacts the fuel tank. Be sure to follow the direction in the manual, And on this forum. I used Permatex Anaerobic Gasket Maker #51813 available at NAPA for $15.00 and listed under their part #765-1189. Here is the link to the fuel tank sealing discussion.

    http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/s...highlight=leak

    I recommend you fix this before it ruins your next ride.
    Last edited by WholeShotKing; 05-07-2007 at 09:05 PM. Reason: links not working
    2002 Blue Aprilia with carbon fiber exhaust, de-restricted airbox, metal fuel quick disconnect, soldered all regulator & stator wires, aftermarket regulator with cooling fan, custom graphics, handlebar risers, frame sliders and fixed fuel hose loop in fuel tank.

    If I just provided you mechanical and/or personal advice, it's up to you to get a proper diagnosis from a qualified expert.

  2. #2
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up. I remember seeing that hose and wonderin' what the heck, but my focus was on getting that oring at the bottom sealed at the time. So the nipples just go straight thru to the bottom of the plate and serve no function? (asside from creating yet another potential leak, that is) rick

  3. #3
    apriliaforum expert The Fixer's Avatar
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    Wow. Just looking at the parts schematic to see what that might be for and I'm stumped. They call it a "fuel pipe". The one on the scematic looks more like a corregated pipe than just the piece of kinked old fuel line that your photo shows. I feel like ordering one just to see what they send. Is there any way that someone before you changed this? How many miles are on the bike? That's really one for the books. Thanks for posting it.
    BTW, is JB Weld the best for this? That's a lot riding on a glob of schmutz...
    ďThe roadís what counts...donít worry about where itís goiní."
    - Sam Shepard
    "When I'm riding my motorcycle, I'm glad to be alive. When I stop riding my motorcycle, I'm glad to be alive."
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    __________________________________________

  4. #4
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    iirc, that's what mine looked like. Just a piece of kinked hose. A quicker safegaurd would be to just fill the holes from underneath with silicone. Scary still. rick

  5. #5
    apriliaforum expert meanstrk's Avatar
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    WOW! I never paid a bit of attention to any part of this stuff. Admittedly, I don't pull the tank much and don't tool around the motor hardly at all since the thing is so damned reliable, but I may have to check that one out.

    Passages leading to no where? WTF is THAT all about????..........

    Thanks for a great and informative post!
    Ron
    MSgt USMC (Retired!)
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    RST Futura
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  6. #6
    apriliaforum expert woodman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAS
    iirc, that's what mine looked like. Just a piece of kinked hose. A quicker safegaurd would be to just fill the holes from underneath with silicone. Scary still. rick
    Don't fill the holes with silicone, gasoline will disolve it.

    02 Aprilia Futura
    03 650 Kawasaki Prairie

  7. #7
    apriliaforum expert woodman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the warning and all the info.
    Another potential problem to fix......that sucks.

    02 Aprilia Futura
    03 650 Kawasaki Prairie

  8. #8
    apriliaforum expert Dan's Avatar
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    Quickly I looped a piece of fuel line between them to stop the leak
    Seems like that step could be taken without removng the tank or the fuel plate... then you could do a more permanent repair when it becomes time to R&R the fuel filter.
    If I just gave you mechanical, personal, legal or medical advice, it's up to you to get a proper diagnosis from a qualified expert.

  9. #9
    apriliaforum expert Arkansawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Wow. Just looking at the parts schematic to see what that might be for and I'm stumped. They call it a "fuel pipe".
    Maybe they intended to use the traditional method of gauging the amount of fuel in a motorcycle tank. Where they use a longer "pipe" for normal running, then when the fuel gets below this "pipe" one must flip the petcock to open up the shorter "pipe" allowing fuel to resume. Could have been a base plate that was used for several motorcycles and they adapted it to the Futura for cost savings.
    When in doubt.........power out!!!

    JapseyeOgri said:
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  10. #10
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodman
    Don't fill the holes with silicone, gasoline will disolve it.
    thanks, that's good to know. I have small rubber stoppers that I can glue in from underneath with that anaerobic sealant.

    Guess we should all add replacing that piece of hose with the fuel filter to the maintenance schedule.

    On the plus side, if this were to happen on the road, you wouldn't get completely stranded as the fuel will only leak out until it reached the top of the hose. Still, who needs gas pouring out potentially on a hot header pipe. rick

  11. #11
    apriliaforum newb WholeShotKing's Avatar
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    Exclamation Answers to questions and more tips

    My 2002 Futura has 4800 miles. Mileage should not have any effect on this fuel line failure. Time is the culprit. Compound that with a flammable liquid and a 180 degree bend in the fuel line and you have a very dangerous situation.

    I would strongly recommend NOT using SILICONE. In my opinion, JB Weld is the best sealant for this application. Trying to glue the holes closed from outside the gas tank may not work. JB Weld is very thick and when you try to force it into a closed passage, it just will not flow into the holes deep enough. (For those on the forum that doubt JB Weld, you could take the fuel pump base plate to a welder and having them weld the holes closed for the most perminate repair.)

    I know the prospect of opening up the gas tank is not a fun thing to do especially when you read about all the fuel leaks in this area. However; and in my opinion, when you consider the age of our motorcycles and the flammable nature of gas, this is a ticking time bomb and should be repaired soon.

    As a potential 'temporary & precautionary safety stepí, you could simply do one of the two steps below. These precautionary steps are quick and easy to do and will temporaraly prevent the fuel from escaping to your motorcycle when the hose inside the tank fails. This is not the final repair just a safety step until you do the repairs properly using the method you feel is best for you.

    1. Cut a small piece of fuel line and connect it between the 2 fuel tank nipples. (On the outside under the tank) Be sure to secure the fuel line to the nipples with small zip ties or wire.)

    2. Visit your local motorcycle or automotive parts store and see if you can locate 2 vacuum pipe caps. (They are open at one end and closed at the other end.) I found them at AutoZone under part #47393. They have a 1/4 inch Internal Diameter. Simply slide them on the nipples from outside the gas tank and zip tie, wire or hose clamp them in place. Adding a dab of gas proof glue will ensure they stay put.




    I added the vacuum caps under the tank as a 3rd means of sealing the holes.
    1. JB Weld the holes
    2. Add a loop of fuel line inside the tank.
    3. Add the vacuum caps outside the tank.
    Last edited by WholeShotKing; 05-08-2007 at 04:40 PM.
    2002 Blue Aprilia with carbon fiber exhaust, de-restricted airbox, metal fuel quick disconnect, soldered all regulator & stator wires, aftermarket regulator with cooling fan, custom graphics, handlebar risers, frame sliders and fixed fuel hose loop in fuel tank.

    If I just provided you mechanical and/or personal advice, it's up to you to get a proper diagnosis from a qualified expert.

  12. #12
    apriliaforum expert RAS's Avatar
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    Amazing what you never see when your not looking. I was thinking there were just holes at the bottom of the tank leading into the nipples on the inside. So if there are nipples on the outside as well, that makes it simpler. I already have a bunch of those vac caps you've described. Gonna glue a couple of those in place with the Anaerobic sealant ASAP.
    thanks, rick

  13. #13
    apriliaforum expert meanstrk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAS
    Amazing what you never see when your not looking. I was thinking there were just holes at the bottom of the tank leading into the nipples on the inside. So if there are nipples on the outside as well, that makes it simpler. I already have a bunch of those vac caps you've described. Gonna glue a couple of those in place with the Anaerobic sealant ASAP.
    thanks, rick

    Ah yes........ That makes it even easier! Will do that tonight!
    Ron
    MSgt USMC (Retired!)
    Semper Fi!
    A group #45
    IBA #38812

    RST Futura
    Colin Edwards RSV R Mille #066 (Sold now. Sigh...)
    2007.5 Tuono

    For custom paint work, check out http://www.trading-paint.com

  14. #14
    apriliaforum expert bikpaintr's Avatar
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    Are vacuum caps fuel resistant? I may opt for the fuel line fix if there is room for a short loop.
    John B.
    02 Ash Black w/Staintunes, PC3 w/custom map, Evo Filter, Mille Air Boot, derestricted air box, Heli-Bars, Wilbers shock, new rectifier, Scottoiler, heated grips, T'meister, c/f frt. fender & hugger.

  15. #15
    apriliaforum expert Futura's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up. As for failures, dangerous ones deserve the most attention.

    I will have to think of a classy repair. I do not want to open the tank just yet. HAs anyone found an automotive feul filter that will work OK?

    As for clamping, I would use a standard hose clamp, but not too tight as to crush the barbs.

    Wholeshot, was the hose that split not reinforced?

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