March 21, 2009

Indian 101 Scout Motorcycle: Down But Not Out

My Indian 101 Scout Without Gas/Oil Tank

My Indian 101 Scout Without Gas/Oil Tank

Last week I took out my 1931 Indian 101 Scout motorcycle for its first ride of the year. The early Sunday morning ride was fine for the 25 or so miles before breakfast. On the way back, it was a different story. In brief, I rode it so hard that the vibration must have shaken the single fuel line enough that it tapped against the primer cup on the engine to crack it enough to cause raw gas to spew out of the line and onto the hot engine.

As soon as I smelled the raw gas and realized what had happened I pulled the bike over and shut off the fuel petcock. I then dried the fuel line and wrapped electrical tape around the crack with several layers. My thinking was it just might keep the line tight enough to keep the gas in it. And if not, at least the tape will keep it from spraying directly on the hot engine and exhaust of the little Indian motorcycle.

I had a little spare time early in the week so I pulled off the tape and discovered the entire metal fuel line had cracked through and actually split into two on the ride home. Thanks goodness the tape was there to hold it together and allow the gas to flow to the carb or I’d have to push the bike a long, long way home.

Indian 101 Scout Motorcycle

Indian 101 Scout Motorcycle

I drained the gasoline and oil from the tank, removed the fuel petcock and 2 oil lines. I unscrewed the four mounting bolts and slid the tank out from between the horizontal frame tubes and put the tank somewhere safe and away from potential damage.

Underside of My Indian 101 Scout Gas/Fuel Tank

Underside of My Indian 101 Scout Gas/Fuel Tank

Today (Saturday) I had a closer look at the tank. As you can see from the photo there appears to be one small location towards the rear of the tanks where there is slight gas leakage at the joint between the left and right halves.

According to the experts the proper solution to this is to resolder the area and then repaint it. Because I did not have the equipment for this I figured I’d try another approach. I cleaned the area thoroughly with paint thinner. Then I smeared some special gas-resistant sealer on it. Let it dry and applied a second coating. In a few days I’ll see if it does the job. Sure hope so.

The repair to the cracked fuel line is pretty simple. Apparently this problem occurs pretty often on the classic motorcycles that are ridden hard. The lines get brittle and the serious vibration does its harm. I called George Yarocki, the Indian 101 Scout guru. He told me to cut a few inches out of the line and replace it with Neophrene tubing and a pair of hose clamps. This will allow some flexing of the fuel line with little chance of cracking it. Sounds like a smart, easy and cheap solution. Thanks, George.

In the meantime I had the bike out of the garage so I took apart the pesky side stand (I put the bike up on the center stand first) and figured out how to better anchor it in place. In the past I found it tended to roll a bit on the frame allowing the bike to tilt over more than I was comfortable with. Once I had it apart I saw there are 2 small adjustable set screws in the back. I tightened them a few turns each and reassembled the side stand. Perfect! Now if the gas tank repair holds I’ll be able to put the bike back on the road.

Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog by Buzz_Kanter

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Comments on Indian 101 Scout Motorcycle: Down But Not Out

March 22, 2009

Bigincher @ 11:11 am

It’s always something, huh Buzz? Hope the stop-leak stuff works for ya, but…… well, you know you’ll end up ‘doing it right’ some day; bandaids generally don’t last a long time on old motorcycles. Keep us posted.

Baytown @ 5:58 pm

I agree with Bigincher (hope that’s got to do with your motor!)
Repair the tank properly, or it’ll only end in grief. I realise it will damage your paint job, but the risk of a fire is too great.
Best wishes Buzz.