eBay FTW!

The image above is the reason I haven't posted anything for a while.  When I realized I wasn't going to be able to repair my original gas tank I started combing the interwebs for a replacement.  Since AR tanks are so rare I was even considering trying to use a tank from a different bike.  Since a different tank might require frame and/or seat modifications the tank became somewhat of a linchpin for the continuation of the project.  However, my diligent eBay scrounging paid off.  I scored this sweet "new" tank from a guy in Portugal.  I won the auction for $1.  I'll let you guess what the shipping cost.  Still, it was worth it.

Here are a few reminders of why I needed a new tank.


I didn't have the skills for this.

That is just nasty.

The new tank has a few minor issues of its own.  A little surface rust on the back where the seat presses against it.

A little rust inside, but nothing compared to my original tank.  I'll probably do a POR-15 kit or something like that to reseal the inside.

The tank came with the super hard to find oil tank cover.  Since my bike didn't come with one this was a major win.  This tank is off of a slightly newer AR that came with a locking gas cap that is attached to the tank with a hinge.

The tank also came with a petcock that is way better than my original.  Score.

The bottom looks pretty good.  A little surface rust, but nothing major.

With the amount I paid to ship this thing I would have imagined a nicer box and a some more packing material.  Its a wonder the tank arrived in as good a shape as it did.  But I don't blame the eBay seller.  He had to make money somehow.

Here is the oil tank cover cleaned up up a bit.

I disassembled the gas cap to get all the gunk out.

The gas cap is kind of pitted.  If I can figure out how to take the hinge apart I'll powder coat it black, which should smooth it out a bit.

I absolutely loved the 80's style graphics the tank had.  Sadly they were all scratched up and I needed to remove them to fix a few dents.

A heat gun and a putty knife made short work of the graphics.

They look so sad.

Out came the Aircraft Remover to take off the paint.

I took a hand sander to the places with surface rust and then applied some Krud Kutter to prevent it from coming back.  This seat area rust was the worst.  I got it pretty smooth so it shouldn't show up once painted.

There were a number of small dents that needed to be filled prior to paint.  This one on the top was the worst.

Here are a couple of the dents on the side.

Overall it wasn't too bad.

This shot gives a better view of the dent on top.

Look at the brazing on the gas cap drain line.  Pretty cool.

I've never done any body work before, but it didn't seem like brain surgery so I figured I'd give it a try.  I bought a container of Bondo, a few spreaders, and a pack of stepped grit sand paper.

The Bondo comes in two parts.  A base and a hardener.


When you mix the two parts you only have a few minutes before it hardens.  How do I know that?  Because my first batch hardened before I even got it on the tank.  D'oh.

I started with the dent on top of the tank because it was the biggest and on a fairly flat surface.  First, I roughed it up a bit with some sand paper to give the Bondo something to grab on to.

I then applied a coat of Bondo and waited for it to dry.

Then I used gradually finer grit sandpaper to smooth it out.  This is after 60 grit.

100 grit.

150 grit.

220 grit.  You can see in the center of the dent that there was some air trapped in the middle of the Bondo.  So I went ahead and applied another coat of Bondo and did the whole process again.  I'm pretty sure that is how body work like this goes.  Bondo, sand, assess, repeat.

I did the same for all of the other dents in the tank.

When I'm waiting for Bondo to dry, paint stripper to work, powder coat to bake, etc I throw darts to pass the time.  I was going for 19s in this pic.  Not too shabby.

Once I was generally happy with my body work I gave it a coat of primer.  A real body guy would call this a guide coat.  Applying some primer makes it easier see how good a job you did filling your dents.

One of the harder dents to fill was right on the contour on the side of the tank.  If you look closely at this picture you can see a little irregularity where I didn't quite get it right.

This looks pretty good.  You can't see where that seat area rust was at all.


The top dent is totally gone.

Ah, but one of the side dents is still visible here.  No worrys.  I just applied more Bondo to the still visible dents and sanded them again.

I applied another coat of a lighter color primer to see how I did.

I'm really pleased with the results.  Its still not perfect, but perfect is the enemy of the good.  I'm going to set it aside until I'm ready for final paint.

Front Brake

The AR's front brake worked when I broke the bike down, but it needed a bit of a refresh.

Step one was clean out the sludge that used to be the old brake fluid.

Step two was strip the old paint.  Same formula as always.  Aircraft remover followed by sanding blocks and elbow grease.

The reservoir window was seriously discolored.  Luckily the spare master cylinder that came with the bike had one that is still somewhat transparent.

On the original bike the mirrors screw into posts on the front controls.  Since I won't be using the stock mirrors I decided to see if I could get rid of the post.

I cut most of it off with the Dremel and a cut off wheel.

I used the benchtop grinder to remove as much material as I could and then switched to sanding drums on the Dremel when I needed finer control.

Finally I used a hand sander to get things as smooth as possible.  Unfortunately there was still a little bit of a divot where the mirror mount was.  Since I couldn't weld it (its aluminum) I decided to fill the divot with Quiksteel like I did on my top triple clamp (which was steel and could have been welded if I owned a welder at the time).  When I did the top triple I learned that the Quiksteel would expand in the oven, so I baked it and sanded it smooth again before powder coating it.

After things were stripped and sanded I masked them off to get ready for powder.

Here they are after powder, ready to go in the oven.

You can barely tell that there was ever a mirror mount on there.  Just a little dimple.

I did two layers of powder on all the parts.  They came out nice and smooth.

For reassembly I consulted my trusty service manual.

Step five of the reassembly instructions for the caliper reads:
Install the dust seal around the piston.  Check that the dust seal is properly fitted into the grooves in the piston and caliper.
While that sounds simple enough, it might as well say:
Construct a rocket ship out of cardboard and fly to the moon.
Getting that stupid dust seal in there is the reason why so much time has passed since my last update.  I tried it multiple times with no success.  Finally today I had the right combination of patience and luck to make it work.  Part of the trick was applying a bit of brake fluid to the seal to get it to slip in place.  I put the seal into its groove on the piston and pushed it into the caliper.  Then I worked my way around the seal using a small screwdriver to push the seal down into its groove in the caliper.

Here is the caliper fully assembled.

When the caliper and master cylinder were done I installed them on my front end assembly.  That way it'll be ready to go when its time to reassemble the bike.  If I keep up my blistering pace that should be midsummer of 2020.