New 1911 Military Indian fuel tank finished

Discussion in 'Board Trackers and Vintage Motorized Bicycles' started by cobrafreak, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    What you are looking at is the culmination of almost 40 hours of labor. It all started when my old fuel tank began to seep fuel out. After a single year the epoxy resin inside decayed and broke off, rattling around, clogging lines. It wasn't pretty. I learned from aircraft forums that the moment you use an epoxy resin liner to a fuel tank you have destroyed the chances of ever fixing the tank by conventional means again. Basically a good metal guy can fix anything. My problems were threefold. 1, I'm not a good metal guy (just OK). 2, My equipment isn't the greatest. 3, I have the wrong type of equipment. I have an ARC stick welder and a flux wire feed. Great for fixing things and fabricating frames, but totally wrong for fabricating tanks. The welds these machines create are too porous. No matter how good my welds are, they are still porous. So I meet Feelyx on the forum who happens to live just 3 miles away from me. He is a fabricating expert. He said that I need to silver solder the tank rather than weld or braze. He explained silver solder is not porous, is easy to fix if you need to such as crash damage, is very very strong, and requires minimal equipment. Silver Solder can withstand 70,000 PSI of force, just under what welded metal is. Plenty strong for our purpose. Silver solder is considered "high temperature solder", but is much cooler than brazing which requires a gas/oxygen torch to get hot and can distort sheet metal. So I started out with 18 gauge galvanized sheet metal. Feelyx (Tim) taught me how to properly silver solder using just a propane torch. You need a hardware store propane torch, hydrochloric acid (muratic swimming pool acid), silver solder, wire brushes, and cans of brake or carburetor cleaner. You dilute the acid 8:1 with tap water. Diluted at this ratio works great for metal work and doesn't harm your hands if you get it on you. You roughen up the metal with the wire brush, clean the metal with brake cleaner to get the oils out, acid splash the area, heat area with torch, and apply the silver solder till it flows properly. Hand tools that make sheet metal work easier are a 30" sheet metal brake, left, right, and straight cut snips, sheet metal hammer and pliers, and an air flanger for seams. Harbor Freight tools has everything you need for a reasonable amount of money. Very time consuming, but this tank will last forever and has no need for any epoxy resin sealant. OK, a little about the tank itself. Notice the shift lever? Yes, it's off my first China Girl build. It has no purpose other than looking period, but it's spring loaded and you can go through the motions as you ride to give a vintage effect. Mounted on top is a Faux manuel oil pump lever. It's just silver soldered on top. It too is spring loaded and it can be operated to give effect. The fuel filler cap on the right is a huge 1 1/4" nut that is machined down to match the fuel gauge indicator on the left. Yes a real working fuel gauge. It is mechanical and works with a float arm. You can see the bright yellow indicator showing full tank. The gas cap is not vented. I run a copper line from the back bottom to the inside top to internally vent the tank like modern tanks are. I have a vintage glass and brass sediment fuel filter/petcock. Looks period and functions great.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #1 cobrafreak, Aug 30, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  2. azbill

    azbill Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,367
    Likes Received:
    0
    nice !!!
    I am assuming the right side has a suicide clutch,
    but I cannot figure out the black knob on the left ???
     
  3. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    Both levers are non-funcional but can be operated to give effect. The right side would be a shift and the lever on the left is a Faux manuel oil pump lever which you would need to pump occasionally on a real antique motorcycle to get oil through the engine. Old motorcycles didn't have automatic oil pumps or pressurized oil. You pumped by hand every couple of miles and the oil would work it's way from the top to the bottom and leaked out onto the ground. Stone age, but that is the way they were.
     
  4. sportscarpat

    sportscarpat Bonneville Bomber the Salt Flat record breaker

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looks pretty cool. See you at the Whizz-in in October?
    Pat
     
  5. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0

    Yes! I would like to be at the Whiz-in again. Here is the details for those that would like to show up.
    http://www.westcoastwhizzers.com/events.html
     
    #5 cobrafreak, Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  6. sportscarpat

    sportscarpat Bonneville Bomber the Salt Flat record breaker

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe it's October 6th, a Saturday. Sunday morning is the swap meet. I may bring a late model Whizzer to the event to sell.
     
  7. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    Checked with my Wife (I need to do that occasionally lol) and She gave the seal of approval. She will go too and ride the Schwinn 4 stroke I made. It will be fun.
     
  8. feelyx

    feelyx New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0

    And you forgot the best part..... The Burgers!
     
  9. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah yes. We had what may be the best burger in town at a taco place of all places. Imagine ground beef and pork and hot peppers. Wow it was good!
     
  10. Lurker

    Lurker New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice job on the new tank. 40hrs seems like a reasonable amount of time to build a tank from scratch in my opinion. Especially for someone who just does this as a hobby. I'm sure I have invested way more time than that on tanks before.

    How did you weld it? Mig or tig?
     
  11. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    This tank is 100% Silver Soldered. I wanted to do it old school and be able to repair it if needed with ease. This tank is totally leak free without the use of any tank liner chemicals. I widened the tank 1/2" and heightened it 1/2" from the old tank dimensions and I have a new fuel capacity of 2 full gallons. My old tank was 1 1/4 gallons.
     
  12. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,146
    Likes Received:
    1
    That Tank looks awesome! Nice job!! (^)
     
  13. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,786
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is a great job, and an excellent tank. Silver solder can work very well for non-load-bearing components - amazingly well.
    The tank itself, is it stainless or basic steel? And did you braze with propane or MAPP or something else? Sorry if I'm overwhelming you here, but I'm always looking to perfect my technique. And I would like to work up to this level of professionalism I see here.
     
  14. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tested the strength of the silver solder by soldering a nut onto the side of the tank and screwing in a 5" long bolt and twirling it around over my head in the back yard. Not very "scientific", but it put my mind at ease of how strong silver solder actually is. I made the tank out of galvanized 18 guage regular steel. It was tough to cut because of the thickness. I had to buy an electric sheet metal shear for the long cuts. I wouldn't advise anyone to go thicker than 18 guage steel. I used a regular propane torch because I already owned it. Tim had a MAPP torch and it was easier to use his torch because it had better heat control. The propane torch was a wide heat dispersement and the MAPP gas was more pin point heat. MAPP gas would be my choice if you didn't have either, but know it runs around $20.00 a bottle vs. $12.00 for propane. It took about 1 1/2 bottle of mostly propane to do my tank.
     
    #14 cobrafreak, Sep 2, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  15. feelyx

    feelyx New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    ....And if tank twirling ever becomes an Olympic sport..... you would get the gold. You might want to work on your dismount though.....


    That tank should give you many years of service with no problems.. even the way you ride.....






    J/K.....
    laff laff laff laff
     
  16. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,786
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks very much for all the info. I forgot to ask this one: what kind of silver solder did you use? Again, thanks for divulging. You're one of the people on this forum that I tend to follow and learn useful stuff from.
     
  17. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bought two kinds from ACE hardware. One was skinny and rosin cored and one was fatter and had no rosin. The fatter rosin-less was the most useful. It cost about $30 a roll and I needed two rolls to finish the tank. The price of silver and gold is up, thus the price is expensive. I've seen other silver solder much more expensive online but it was like a 50% silver content. I don't know what the silver percentage is of the Thick ACE hardware silver solder is but it is adequate and flowed really nice. The whole secret to silver solder is the swimming pool acid 8-1 dilution with water. You use a LOT of it when you are working with Silver Solder. Brake cleaner too. The metal always needs to be clean-clean-clean. You douse the metal before, during, and after you apply the solder. I use a little squeeze bottle to apply the acid water. Be in a well ventilated area because the steam that comes off the hot acid is not pleasant to inhale or have touch your face. It won't melt you skin though because of the dilution. If you have a cut on your hand it will sting like lemon juice but thats about it.
     
  18. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,786
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cool! Thanks for the tips, Cobra.
     
  19. cobrafreak

    cobrafreak New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]

    A neat old picture I made.
     
  20. harry76

    harry76 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Messages:
    2,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    I love that picture Cobrafreak, it really does look like a real Indian. Nice work...... But I must ask what's next? Any more builds planned or are you still just happy enjoying your beautiful ride?
     

Share This Page