Saturday, May 2, 2009

BMW /5 Touring , Toaster , and Heinrich Fuel Tanks

I never had any intention of purchasing a Heinrich Tank as they are pretty hard to find plus when you do find them they are usually high priced. I purchased this basket case bike last year via craigslist. I didn't even know what year or model of BMW my $100.00 had purchased until I drove the 350 miles to pick the bike up. Surprise, Surprise.....a junk R60/6 but a BIG fuel tank I knew nothing about Heinrich Tanks and had never seen one. All I knew was that it was BIG and it was perfect for the Sidecar Rig.

The tank sat on the front of the seat so eventually I modified the seat mount to adjust the seat back further. I used an old "1000 mile solo seat owners trick" and stuffed a tennis ball between the bottom of the seat and the mounting frame. This keeps the seat from bottoming out on the mounts and relieves some of the stress from the "mouse trap" suspension spring.
The lower frame tank mounts were all in place so I attached the thing to my /5. Surprisingly, even though the bike sat out for years with no fuel cap, the tank was pretty clean No rust to be seen, only some dust and a leaf or two in the tank. I flushed a bit of gas around the thing and on it went. Bought a $5.00 Napa fuel cap, had to punch out the one way vent to relieve tank pressure, and gassed her up. I found a NOS Fuel Cap from H-G tanks for $29.00. I also found a $450.00 reproduction Tool Box Aluminum cover but decided to pass on that. I eventually found a used, somewhat rough original Heinrich cover for $50.00. H-G also supplied a new lock and key set. This particular tank fits pre 1974 models. Later models mounted the brake master cylinder under the fuel tank. Those tanks had cut outs underneath to allow clearance for the master cylinder.

I found a reasonable automotive custom painter and he stripped the tank to metal, finding no bondo or previous damage. He painted and sprayed about 5 coats of clear over it for under $150.00. I had read that these tanks were 9-10 gallons but have found that mine is about a 7.5 to 8 gallon tank. These tanks were all hand built and it appears that their capacities vary from tank to tank.
I've stuffed 7.5 gallons in mine when low on fuel. I've never filled it to the brim so think it is probably an 8 gallon tank.

A view of the tool box interior. I carry a pretty oversize tool kit and there is still room for other junk. The tank mounts up through the bottom with a special mount which utilizes the stock BMW frame tank mounts. I had the tank mount from the R60/6 but H-G Fuel Tanks also has this special mount in his sales site.

My old beemer started life as a Toaster Tank model. After 10 years of riding and wanting to do something different the Toaster was sacrificed (sorry "purists") for a reasonable capacity for a side car. The 4.5 gallons wasn't going to cut it.

If the rig never left town the little tank would suffice but that wasn't the case for our use as we planned on a touring type scenario.

Darians' SWB Toaster /5 , now gone to a new owner.

This is a cheapo 1973 SWB R75/5 Toaster I picked up last winter. $300.00 took it home. It was a very sorry old girl. She had a life of hard use and abuse and went under the knife as a parts bike. Just wouldn't be worth the cost to restore.

Before our first road trip (and before the Heinrich Tank was acquired) I hunted down a 6.2 gallon touring tank and installed it for the needed range. We made our first road trips with this tank.
After the Heinrich Tank came along I auctioned this off on EBay. It brought a surprising $350.00 sale price, even with a disclosed, stained, rattle can paint job.

I ended up trading my black toaster tank for this old /6 German cop tank. The tank has been repainted and will go on my latest side hack tug project.

This is the same tank after paint, a freshly polished aluminum fuel cap, new repro. tool box key and new BMW Roundels. I haven't installed the rubber knee pads yet. This was a $75.00 Mexico paint job with 4 -5 coats of clear. They did a fine paint job but the right knee pad indent is a little deformed at the bottom rear corner.

This is an R60/6 I bought in Yuma AZ. a few years ago for $1100.00. It was a pretty good little runner. She was original and unmolested except for the painted mufflers. The fuel tank style is nearly the same as the Toaster Tank except for the lack of the chrome panels. I think that after 1973 BMW had the under tank master cylinder cut out on all there tanks. This 1975(?) /6 had front drum brakes and did have the under tank cut out.

The 1974 R90/6 donor bike has an identical tank to the R60/6. I think the small tank and the 6.2 gallon tank were the only tanks BMW provided. That is where the after market fuel tank makers stepped in. There were a lot of large tanks made. Some were made of fiberglass and I've read that todays' fuels will eat some of them up. Most of the after market tanks came from Europe but there were a few U.S. makers too. "Johns Beemer Garage" has a huge section of BMW Fuel Tank examples.

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