How to Build a Motorcycle Oil Tank

Written by william machin
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How to Build a Motorcycle Oil Tank
Motorcycle oil tanks hold oil for dry sump engines. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Motorcycle oil tanks carry oil for dry sump engines. Oil lines from the tank connect to an oil pump that lubes the engine and a scavenger pump that pumps oil back into the tank. A filler cap threads onto a fitting at the top of the tank. Functional oil tanks are made from round or square aluminium tube. Custom tanks are fabricated from aluminium or stainless steel sheet material. Threaded fittings for the oil lines, vent and filler cap are welded to drilled ports on the tank. Building a motorcycle oil tank requires experience with metal fabricating tools and metal welding.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Oil tank material
  • Metal fabricating tools
  • Fittings and hard lines
  • Welding equipment

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  1. 1

    Establish a location and configuration for the oil tank. A cylinder or square tube tank mounts below the frame tubes at the area of the seat. The tank spans the width of the bike or partial width of the bike. A custom tank made from sheet material is designed to mount at one side of the motorcycle behind the engine.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut the cylinder or square tube to length using a mitre saw with a metal cutting blade. Measure and cut the sheet material for the front, back and sides of the oil tank using an automated sheet metal cutter or sheet metal scrolling tools.

  3. 3

    Mark the location of the supply and return line fittings, vent and the filler cap based on the motorcycle and location of the oil pump. The filler cap opening is at the top of the tank in a location that allows filling and adding oil conveniently. Drill the holes for the supply and return oil line fittings, vent and filler cap using a drill press and high-speed drill bits.

  4. 4

    Measure and cut the end caps for the square or tube tank. Weld one of the end caps in place using TIG arc welding equipment. Weld the back and all sides of the custom tank using TIG arc welding equipment.

  5. 5

    Insert the fittings and hard lines for supply and return lines in the drilled holes. Weld the fittings in place. Weld the vent fitting in place. Weld the threaded oil filler cap fitting in place at the top of the tank.

  6. 6

    Weld the remaining end cap on the square or tube tank. Weld the face piece on the custom tank.

  7. 7

    Fabricate mounting brackets for the tank from aluminium or sheet metal plate. The tank has at least two brackets that attach to the motorcycle frame. Drill the brackets for bolts based on the size of the mounts on the frame. Weld the mounting brackets to the oil tank.

  8. 8

    Buff all welds using an electric grinder with a fine wire wheel. Detail the oil tank using a finish sander with fine-grit sandpaper.

Tips and warnings

  • Establish the diameter of the supply and return fittings and hard lines based on the volume demands of the engine.

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