BSA Ariel 3: Frankenair fuel tank
It’s been a few weeks since the last update on Frankenair, mainly because I have been awaiting parts from both China and the USA for the fuel tank, as well as full speed at work and on the GT.
First off I washed the tank out using the power wash, to ensure once Nick gets welding he doesn’t POP into a ball of flames. This has given the tank a mottled effect which works for me as it now matches the rest of the bike (rat like). All the sticker are gone and I have a crazed light and dark blue effect.
Nicks plan was to weld up the tank to cover the hole of the existing filler. Into this we are going to drop a fuel gauge (AKA the £2 a pop from China item including delivery). The gauges are designed for a deeper tank, but some measuring the depth of the tank and some bending and moving the float produced the perfect gauge. Here is the item as ordered.
Once the adjustment was made, it ended up tiny but just right. Tests later in the day confirmed it works and when showing empty, there is a nice reserve of just over a pint left in the tank, plenty to get you home. You can see in the images below how much shorter the gauge now is.
Nick then went about cutting a 75mm circular disc from some plate steel, which was then spun round on the lathe. A rectangular hole was then cut into the disc to which the fuel gauge sits in. With no further delays the disc was then welded onto the tank sealing off the original filler hole.
Once cleaned up, two holes were tapped and the gauge test fitted, and a test fit onto the bike to check its position. It’s perfect.
Next was the new filler neck. Loads are available in the UK but they all appear to be alloy not steel. Of those steel ones we found all were too large or seemed over expensive. Finally after weeks of ideas between Nick and myself I came across this, and for two necks and two caps with delivery (all be it took a week or so) these worked out at the price of one neck with a non venting cap from the UK.
It was decided to place the neck on an extension to the tank that sticks out from the tank and allows the filling without having to remove the spare wheel. To fill Charlie one has to remove the spare wheel first, so the second neck and cap has been donated to Nick should he wish to convert his tank to this design, along with a gauge for good measure.
Some cutting sheet steel, some folding produced a box channel to which one end would attach to the tank and the other form the support for the filler neck.
A full weld of the neck to the channel was undertaken just before we stopped for a break. After the welds were all cleaned up a test was undertaken alas the tank was declared a sieve, some extra weld wire and another test later all and the tank was sealed up. Nick then spent time soldering lead all over the seals as an extra level of sealant, which all looked very swish to me.
The access to the cap is okay, and a slight modification to the wire rack can improve that if it becomes too fiddly, but with my fat fingers I am able to easly remove and replace the cap as is.
Some mounts need to be welded to the lid, to bolt the tank to.I alos need to order the right banjo for the tank and make up some fuel lines to run around to the fuel tap and onwards via a pump to the carburettor that should see the fuel system finished. A long day for me, and I was glad to get home and relax for a bit.