Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Heinrich & other Fuel Tank Examples

When I picked up my $100.00 "craigslist" purchased BMW this how I found the bike. The old tank appeared to be pretty rough but upon closer inspection no dents were evident. There was one nasty scratch on the right side, no cap or tool box cover. The bike was pretty much beyond hope as the restoration cost would have been way more than the bike was worth. The chassis went to a fellow needing parts and pieces.
This is the /5 or /6 German Police Tank I recently acquired. I've decided to go ahead and restore the tank and hold onto it as a spare. I tried to sell it on eBay but the prices are down right now. I'm seeing dented up standard touring tanks going for under $150.00 and decent ones going for under $200.00. I won't give this one away. I ran it a few weeks ago and it only went up to $175.00. I had a $300.00 reserve on it. So I'll just keep it. I already purchased a key for the tool box. I'll eventually purchase new BMW Roundels, knee pads and get the paint redone in Black. The tank is actually pretty nice now though the paint is marginal and there are a couple of flaws in the metal work.
These tanks are pretty rare in the U.S. They are more common in Europe since that is where they originated. I have never seen another one other than in photos. This touring tank was originally a 6.2 Gallon Tank but with the volume loss from the tool box it is probably closer to 5.75 to 6.0 Gallon now.
This is my bike with the Heinrich Fuel Tank. I am still not sure of the capacity but have narrowed it down some. I think it is considered an 8.2 gallon tank. The similar ones without the tool box are sometimes 9 gallon. The toolbox displaces some volume. It appears that Heinrich made many different varieties of tanks and the sizes varied from one tank to the next. Searching the web I have found at least a dozen different makers (from the 60's & 70's) of after market BMW Touring and sidecar tanks. Some where steel, some aluminum and some were fiber glass. I recently saw one fiber glass one advertised but the seller recommended some sort of relining for the tank as the Alcohol in the newer fuels would eat up the tank over time. I think I'll stick with the steel varieties.

The photos below come from "Johns Beemer Garage" web site. He has an extensive gallery of BMW motorcycle fuel tank examples.
This is a near identical Heinrich found on the web. This one was referred to as a 9 gallon unit. It seems that many tanks look alike but when you really study them you can find subtle minor differences. The angles at the knee indents look a tiny bit different on this one. They have more of a radius at the knee indent areas.
I included this photo of a /5 because of its' braking set up. It has a Hoske Tank I believe. The front brake unit is a Munch unit from the German "Munch Mammoth". This brake assembly is very rare and probably impossible to come by now days.
Here is a /5 Police Tank with the radio unit still in place. I've read that about half the police tanks that surface are missing the tool box cover. The radio unit is very heavy according to the owner of this tank.
This is one of maybe 50 Aluminum Heinrich tanks which were produced. When I found mine I had high hopes that it was an aluminum specimen but that was not to be. There probably aren't too many of these aluminum ones left in the world. They would be very expensive if you were lucky enough to find one. There may be some painted aluminum ones out there hiding under multiple layers of paint.
This was referred to as a "Heinrich Fuhrmann 3 Tank. It appears to be identical to mine.
This is a 12 gallon Heinrich Tank on a later model BMW. This is probably the largest tank Heinrich ever manufactured. It is big.
This Heinrich is on a /5 BMW and appears to be the same tank as mine. It is setting on a real neat little cafe bike. Notice how the engine cylinders are offset when looking down at them. The riders foot pegs are also offset to match the cylinders. Most non BMW riders probably don't notice this trait of the BMW airhead.

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