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Thread: Tank deforming/bulging anyone?

  1. #31
    apriliaforum expert DuctTape's Avatar
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    Ya know, when Ethanol first came into existence back in the 80's Bike manufacturers warned against using it because it would eat the coating used on the inside of metal gas tanks, gumming up your carb/carb's and then rusting your tank on the inside.


    A lot of people went through hell back then..................................Ethanol sucks unless you're a farmer growing corn.
    Last edited by DuctTape; 08-28-2010 at 09:42 PM.
    2011 KTM 990 Adventure ( Highly Modified)
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducatiz View Post
    Hello Folks

    I run an email list of Ducati owners who have had tank deformations on their Ducati motorcycles. I am an attorney and have researched the problem extensively and have sent a tank to be examined by a lab.

    IF the Aprilia tanks are the same Acerbis rotomolded tanks as on Ducatis, that is, they are made from Nylon 6 (AKA polyamide 6 or PA6) and the inner surface is not coated, then the problem is due to WATER.

    Do your own research, but Nylon 6 absorbs water, unless treated. Water enters the gas tank due to ethanol's hydrophilic absorption of ambient moisture. This is a well-documented problem with using E10 gasoline -- if your gas sits for any period of time and you have ambient humidity, then water is wicked from the air and clings to the ethanol molecules in your E10 gas.

    By action of gravity, the heavier water then sinks, bringing the ethanol with it. This is called "phase separation." Those of you who work on your bikes probably have seen this when you drain the tank, the first squirts from your gas hose will be watery.

    This leads to water being in direct contact with the inner surface of the tank, and as I mentioned above, water is readily absorbed by untreated Nylon 6.

    It is my belief that when Acerbis made these tanks they were tested using European gasoline, which currently has no ethanol. I believe some locations in Europe have as much as 2% which is used as a fuel line cleaner (ethanol cleans injectors), but this is not enough for the problem to manifest. Also, the problem will probably not show up in drier climates. I have a sample of zip codes from my mailing list and I've confirmed this fact -- very few deformed tanks show up in Arizona and SoCali, but a lot of them are showing up on the east coast and mid-south.

    Ducati has been replacing every tank that comes in regardless of warranty age/expiration. My bike was well out of warranty and they replaced it out of "good will." I know they are testing various solutions, the main one seems to be to coat the inside of the tank with a barrier such as Caswell's. I suggested this to them because several Ducati Multistrada owners tried it and over a year has passed with no problems.

    I can't make any suggestions as I don't know Aprilia's policies. If your bike is under warranty, get it into a shop to make a report. In the USA, you have an emissions warranty mandated by the EPA -- for Ducatis, this is 5 years and 18,000 miles, I don't know what it might be for Aprilias, but it is probably the same (this is separate from your manufacturer's warranty, RTFM)

    Summary:
    1. if tanks are made from PA6,
    2. and you are using E10 gasoline,
    3. then it is probable that the Ethanol is wicking moisture and introducing water,
    4. and PA6 absorbs water.

    If that's not a design defect, I don't know what is. But I'm just an attorney, so what do I know?


    Good luck

    'tiz


    Footnotes:
    On Nylon 6/PA6
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...10119/abstract
    http://www.dsm.com/en_US/html/dep/akulonmoisture.htm
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/h046820627255320/
    http://www.zellamid.com/show.aspx?SP=2&url=202PA6

    On Ethanol adsorption of water
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/j2x43q45660x5617/
    http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/news/E10.shtml
    OK, so all we have to do is buy a can(s) of this stuff, follow the instructions, and no more tank problems?

    http://www.caswellplating.com/aids/epoxygas.htm

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
    OK, so all we have to do is buy a can(s) of this stuff, follow the instructions, and no more tank problems?

    http://www.caswellplating.com/aids/epoxygas.htm
    I can't tell for sure. If you can do the research and figure out if the Aprilia tanks are in fact PA6, then it will work.

    Caswell's won't stick to PE or PEX, but sticks to nylon just fine. I have half a dozen Multistrada riders who have had the Caswell coating now for over a year with zero issues.

    If your tank has expanded or deformed, you need to drain it and dry it. If it is the same material as the Ducati tanks, it will return to the original shape/size when the moisture dries out. (This was a problem when Ducati was originally looking into the issues as tanks sent back to Italy would have returned to their correct dimensions.)

    Once you've dried the tank out completely, then do the treatment according to their instructions. I can't stress how important it is to prep the tank correctly. The "ideal" prep should include at least a month of the tank sitting OFF the bike in a dry environment. Some folks doing this have put mil-spec dessicant packs inside the tank and that seems to speed things.

    If you can get a new tank warranty replacement, then you can do the coating before any gas has been introduced (work that out with your dealer). That's the ideal way to do it, on a virgin tank.

    I coated my (replacement) tank after it had gas. I flushed it out with MEK. Spec sheets for PA6 indicated it is impervious to MEK. I believe the volatile liquid in the Caswell's coating is MEK. Flush it quickly just to remove any thing and then check the surface for occluded bubbles -- rotomolded plastics that are as thick as these tanks will occlude air bubbles as part of the process. if they are on the surface of the tank's interior, and you coat over them, the bubble will be unstable. Remove any surface bubbles with an exacto knife or similar.

    Once prepped, and the tank has been allowed to DRY for a long time, and you're sure the dimensions are correct AND there are no distortions, then do the coating.

  4. #34
    apriliaforum Member Yellaghost's Avatar
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    Honestly guys...or gals, I really think that APE should deal with this problem instead of leaving it up to the riders to alleviate a "design problem" of the tank for this US market.
    Although some pros in here would love to poke at the problems but then the warranty voiding issue...so I prefer/Hope that APE will take care of it.
    My tank will be like this damn Shar-Pei before I get a replacement, quite frustrating



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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellaghost View Post
    Honestly guys...or gals, I really think that APE should deal with this problem instead of leaving it up to the riders to alleviate a "design problem" of the tank for this US market.
    Although some pros in here would love to poke at the problems but then the warranty voiding issue...so I prefer/Hope that APE will take care of it.
    My tank will be like this damn Shar-Pei before I get a replacement, quite frustrating
    The only advice I can give you is to get it looked at by a dealer and document everything (date-wise) if you are in warranty.

    It's my feeling that this is a product defect. Selling a gas tank that is incompatible with the most common blend of gasoline in the US market is a defect, period. However, that is a legal argument, not a light switch that makes them do what you want.

    The best thing I can tell you guys to do is get organized. Get someone to spearhead a list of people and find an attorney who will take the time to either prod Aprilia USA into acting or will take them to court.

    I am working with Ducati to the extent that I think they are actively working on the problem to produce a permanent fix. If I think they are not going to fix the problem, then the last resort is a class action suit. Product defects of this nature are frowned on by the courts, and a simple showing of facts is often enough to win.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducatiz View Post
    The only advice I can give you is to get it looked at by a dealer and document everything (date-wise) if you are in warranty.

    It's my feeling that this is a product defect. Selling a gas tank that is incompatible with the most common blend of gasoline in the US market is a defect, period. However, that is a legal argument, not a light switch that makes them do what you want.

    The best thing I can tell you guys to do is get organized. Get someone to spearhead a list of people and find an attorney who will take the time to either prod Aprilia USA into acting or will take them to court.

    I am working with Ducati to the extent that I think they are actively working on the problem to produce a permanent fix. If I think they are not going to fix the problem, then the last resort is a class action suit. Product defects of this nature are frowned on by the courts, and a simple showing of facts is often enough to win.
    Power to the people!

  7. #37
    apriliaforum Junkie V-4ce's Avatar
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    The tank is made of PA of some kind. I just pulled mine off to do some maintenance. On the under side is a recycling logo with PA in the middle of it.
    In the garage: '10 RSV4-R x2 '94&95 VFR750F '01&'09 SV650S '04 DR650 '85 VF500F '83 DT-80K '07 CBR600RR

  8. #38
    apriliaforum Member Yellaghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-4ce View Post
    The tank is made of PA of some kind. I just pulled mine off to do some maintenance. On the under side is a recycling logo with PA in the middle of it.
    Did you get a picture of it? Would be served as proof for the Ethanol incompatibility that ducatiz mentioned

  9. #39
    apriliaforum Junkie V-4ce's Avatar
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    Here it is
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    In the garage: '10 RSV4-R x2 '94&95 VFR750F '01&'09 SV650S '04 DR650 '85 VF500F '83 DT-80K '07 CBR600RR

  10. #40
    apriliaforum Member Yellaghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-4ce View Post
    Here it is

  11. #41
    apriliaforum expert 512BB's Avatar
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    I just noticed a nice bulge and kink on the top right part of my tank. I have the RSV4-Factory and live in the NJ area and 9 out of 10 times I use Hess Premium fuel which does have ethanol. As much as I love this bike, here is yet another issue with it. I am going in for the 3K mile service this Saturday and will get it logged with the service desk.

  12. #42
    apriliaforum Member Yellaghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 512BB View Post
    I just noticed a nice bulge and kink on the top right part of my tank. I have the RSV4-Factory and live in the NJ area and 9 out of 10 times I use Hess Premium fuel which does have ethanol. As much as I love this bike, here is yet another issue with it. I am going in for the 3K mile service this Saturday and will get it logged with the service desk.
    Right on! I am guessing that this tank problem will eventually be noticeable to most if not all RSV4 in the States. Like the engine, a mass recall/replacement may occur...at least I hope so.

  13. #43
    apriliaforum expert BMG's Avatar
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    I was cleaning my bike (RSV4) earlier today and noticed bulges along the sides of my tank, and I thought "that seems odd, I don't recall these bumps." I had not previously picked up on this thread so it was not the power of suggestion that made me notice them. I did a quick search and seeing the photos posted, it is the same issue. I'll let my dealer know tomorrow.
    -- Bruce Almighty



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    Past Aprilias: '13 Tuono V4, '10 RSV4-R, '07 SXV 5.5, '08 RSV-R Factory, '08 RSV1000R, '07 Tuono R, '09 RS125, '07 SR50.

    Past Other: '12 Guzzi Norge, '09 Guzzi V7 Classic, a couple Yamahas and many Hondas.

  14. #44
    Graphicologist Extraordinaire ckruzel's Avatar
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    so what have dealers said, nobody posted any news? i started to get small ripples in the lower part of the left side, i'm switching to sunoco race fuel
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  15. #45
    apriliaforum Member Hawkeye's Avatar
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    I've been informed, in an effort to banish the problem, Ducati will no longer be releasing plastic tanks on its US-bound sportbikes for the 2011 model year and beyond.

    I wonder if Aprilia will not be far behind. This problem is costing Ducati big bucks in warranty replacements.

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