Aftermarket plastic tank controversy

Discussion in 'Technical' started by pee, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. pee

    pee Ol'Timer

    For those who think they could do with increased fuel autonomy...
    No doubt Suzuki DRZ 400, Honda XR 250 or 400 are great bikes in this part of the world. However the stock tanks are a bit small. Most of the time this won't be a problem. I wouldn’t mind some extra autonomy though. I usually carry an extra fuel container (1 gallon: about 200 Baths at “Homepro”). I wish I could get rid of it.
    I investigated the aftermarket plastic tanks. There are plenty. Some models won’t accommodate the kick-starter on the DRZ, for example. That’s why I haven't included the “Acerbis” within the pictures displayed below.
    Many threads tackle the issue on Thumpertalk forum. Some guys praise their plastic tank. However, they don’t ride in South-East Asia.
    The main question is: How reliable are they in this (hot) part of the world?
    A Suzuki dealer (and former Paris-Dakar contender) told me they would get wrecked quickly. He advised me to modify the metal stock tank instead: cut it and expand it.
    I still have to find the right person to carry this tricky job... In Europe the quote is above 600€ for the job. Anyway, I won't go ahead without having a spare stock tank in my hands. That could take time. The whole process would be very expensive.
    So, I haven't dropped the idea of getting a plastic aftermarket tank. I am very cautious -especially after reading Hiko's brilliant post (in “Changing Bikes”). He draws attention to the weaknesses of plastic parts on some bikes.
    Has anybody used plastic tanks around Lao, Cambodia, and Thailand?
    What's your experience like?
    What do you think?

    Safari 17 liters(4.35 gal):
    [​IMG]

    Clarke 3.9 gal:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    IMS 3.2 gal:
    [​IMG]

    IMS over 4 gal:
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Robin Holmes

    Robin Holmes Ol'Timer

    I'd go with plastic. I have a plastic tank on my XR650R and it seems pretty bullet proof to me. I realise I am in the UK so no problem with hot weather, but most, if not all motocross bikes use plastic. I have seen plenty of plastic tanks in Thailand on old XR250's and the like with seemingly no problems.
     
  4. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    I had a plastic tank on my 1100GS, no problems at all, and rode that all over Thailand.

    Bush Pilot now the owner and as far as I know didn't give him any problems either.

    Only downside, is you can't use a magnetic tank bag.
     
  5. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    Some Ducatis have plastic tanks , the Dark series bikes in UK have plastic tanks.
     
  6. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Our Trusty Friend "Captain Chaos" (Laos Debacle) had a Plastic Tank on his XR400 which cracked and Split, he welded it up and it didn't last so he replaced it with a Tin one that Looked like Shit!!! I think the Trouble with the Plastic Tanks here come from leaving the Bikes Sit out in the Hot Sun all Day and they break down (specially Rentals). Moving is Different. The New Tanks are really Tough and almost all New Off Road Bikes have them. I would go for the Plastic. Tin looks like Shit once they are Dented where as with the Plastic ones you can just Put on New Stickers!!! Having Said that here in Thailand it would cost Bugger all to get a Big Tin Tank made, look at all the Steeds made into "Want To Be" Harley Davidsons with Big Tanks?
    Cheers Ian.
     
  7. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    So long as the tank is made from Hi Impact ABS it will be stronger and more bash resistant than any steel tank. Has to be ABS plastic though not fibre glass or other plastics.
     
  8. mikerust

    mikerust Ol'Timer

    Safari is Australian. Given the conditions in that country and the pragmatic aproach of most Aussies I have met, well OK they were mostly from Queensland, I would say there is every chance one would last a long time. If worried about bike storage in the sun a local Thai could make up a very nice cover out of a piece of carpet a la taxi dashboard covers.
     
  9. pee

    pee Ol'Timer

    Thanks a lot for the input guys.
    It looks like plastic wouldn't be so bad.
    The Australian made Safari tank has my preference so far. I had an Australian wife(from Queensland)for a while and can only second Mike Rust comment: they are tough.
    The good point with this tank is also that fuel sits quite low on the bike.
    I am going to check with the company if their tanks are made of Hi Impact ABS plastic, as Monsterman says.
    Just for fun, below is a pic of the huge 30 liters tank from the same company:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

  11. mikerust

    mikerust Ol'Timer

    From R & V Aqualine

     
  12. pee

    pee Ol'Timer

    Bill,
    Thanks for the very useful link.

    Mike,
    Thanks for the technical tip.
    I also got in touch with the company RV Aqualine through this Email address:
    [email email=rvaqualine@bigpond.com]rvaqualine@bigpond.com[/email]
    Sometimes they are a bit long to answer inquiry. However I got this mail from them, regarding price and delivery(about the 17 liters model):
    "The cost of the tank is AU$389.00 plus AU$15.00 (for strap) plus AU$85.00
    This tank is available in four colours clear, yellow, blue or black and we currently have all in stock. I am only estimating postage time at 7- 10 days."
    Email received in May 2007.
     
  13. mikerust

    mikerust Ol'Timer

    Problem comes with importing. I think duty/tax is high on M/C parts and accesories as there is a local parts and acessory industry.
     
  14. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    If you're planning a trip to Cambodia you could avoid Thai tax by having the tank sent their via A/post-EMS which is one of the cheaper courier options.
    Cambodia has EMS offices in major towns but you will still need to give a Cambo address.

    I recieved my FMF Powerbomb header in the mail today from Thumpertalk, no Cambo tax or duty. It's the 4th parcel of Mç parts I've had sent from the US via USPS-EMS without any tax issues.
     
  15. bultaco

    bultaco Member

    I don`t think the tanks are ABS, rather HDPE [high density polyethylene}.
    IMS tanks are for sure. I cracked mine and that was the type of plastic welding rod I had to use. Easy to weld by the way. The plastic has sort of a waxy feel to it.
     
  16. pee

    pee Ol'Timer

    Thanks for pointing the import tax/duty issue...
    Importing through Cambodia could be a way to go... Not the most convenient though. I guess it depends how expensive the Thai import tax duty would be on motorcycle parts... That would help to balance the inconvenience.
    Anyone knows about Thai Import duty percentage?
    Bultaco,
    I think I rather go for the Australian made Safari tank. I still have to ask them what kind of plastic they use.
     
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Should be either 30% or 40% of the value including the cost of freight. Bike parts are generally 30 or 40%, there are two rates one for internal engine parts & the other for the rest, but I forget which is which. However note that you pay on the freight too - which can be expensive if it is heavy & sent by air freight or airmail.
     
  18. pee

    pee Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the good tip David...
    Tank cost:404 Aussie $
    Freight: 85 Aussie $
    Import Tax 30% to 40%
    It looks like the tax will be 147 to 195 Aussie$
    Total cost: 636 to 684 Aus$
    18700 20200 Thai Baht.
    Let's hope the tank is good.
     

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