How to Replace a Harley-Davidson Gas Tank

Written by jim murkot sr.
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How to Replace a Harley-Davidson Gas Tank
(réservoir image by Jacques PALUT from

Harley-Davidson gas tanks have few components that a rider can repair. However, you might want to remove one if you need to fix scratches or dents or you want to have a custom paint job done. Removing a softail tank is fairly straightforward, but you should do it with a safety-first attitude. The battery should be disconnected and the fuel drained before beginning. This also means removing the seat before starting.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cross-tip screwdriver assortment
  • 10mm open end wrench
  • SAE nut driver set
  • Flat tip screwdriver assortment
  • Hand pump
  • SAE wrench set
  • SAE ratchet set

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  1. 1

    Unscrew the fastener on the top of the fender that secures the seat with a cross-tip screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Push the seat toward the rear of the bike to free the tongue underneath the seat from its bracket within the frame. Lift the seat free and place it aside.

  3. 3

    Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery using a 10mm wrench.

  1. 1

    Turn the handle of the fuel petcock to the "off" position.

  2. 2

    Loosen the outlet hose from the petcock with a nut driver and pull it free. Remove the vacuum hose off of the vacuum nipple on the petcock with a flat tip screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Place a long fuel hose onto the petcock's output nipple. Route the other end of the fuel hose to an appropriate gas can.

  4. 4

    Turn the handle of the petcock to the "reserve" position.

  5. 5

    Connect a hand pump to the vacuum nipple on the petcock with a small hose. Apply just enough vacuum pressure with the pump to obtain a good flow of gas through the system into the gas can. Allow all of the fuel to drain.

  1. 1

    Turn the hex fitting of the fuel petcock counter-clockwise with a wrench and remove it from the bottom of the gas tank.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the centre fastener on the top of the instrument panel with an open end wrench. Unplug all the inner electrical fasteners between the instrument panel and fuel tank. Lift the panel off of the tank and set it aside in a safe place.

  3. 3

    Loosen the brackets on the fuel crossover line with a screwdriver or nut driver. Remove the line.

  4. 4

    Remove the front and rear mounting bolts on the tank with a ratchet wrench. Disconnect the vent line from tank by hand.

  5. 5

    Lift off the tank halves from the motorcycle.

  6. 6

    Install the tanks in reverse order. Add fuel to the tank after installation and check carefully for leaks around the fittings.

Tips and warnings

  • Exercise extreme caution when working around gasoline.

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