by Deryle Mehrten
One of the things that has made taking the gas tank off of many of the bikes I’ve owned such a pain is the gas that leaks from the gas lines (on some bikes really flows—our past ’88 K100RS AB SE would drain the tank before you knew it).
My first attempt to stem the gas flow when removing a gas tank was a set of Snap-on fuel line clamps. So far they are the cheapest Snap-on tool I’ve ever bought, only $9.00. The Snap-on clamps worked as advertised. It just seemed to me that clamping the fuel lines in about the same place several times would, over time, damage them. There just had to be a better way.
I found the “better way” while shopping in the Tucson Ducati shop. Seems someone ordered a set of fuel quick disconnects made by Cole-Parmer Instrument Company (CPC) and didn’t pick them up. These are valved fittings; neither end will leak when disconnected. I bought them and mounted them on our past ’98 K1200RS. They made removing the fuel tank, for whatever reason, a snap.
When we traded in our ’98 K1200RS for an ’04 K1200RS I was pleased to find the new bike came with CPC quick disconnects. Pleased that is until one broke several miles from home. Seems the ones BMW put on their bikes are the plastic variety and one of mine, the return line thank goodness, broke. Both Wanda and I were doused with gas. Thanks to the Fredenburghs, long standing SEAT members, for trailering us home.
I still wanted quick disconnects, but not the OEM set. With the information fellow SEAT member Mick McKinnon sent me via email, I ordered two sets of metal CPC quick disconnects online at www.ColeParmer.com. With postage, just a bit shy of $100.00. Not cheap, but they work great.
Here is the information on the set I ordered:
Barbed fittings, quick-disconnect fittings, inserts, valved fittings, hose bard, 5/16 inch inside diameter, 1.35 inches long 2 ea
Barbed fittings, quick-disconnect fittings, coupling bodies, valved fittings, hose bard, 5/16 inch inside diameter, 2.00 inches long 2 ea
There are some precautions when installing and using these quick disconnects. On many fuel injected BMWs there is a fuel line to the injectors and a fuel line returning to the gas tank; therefore you need two sets of disconnects. They come in male and female fittings. When mounting them, mount them opposed so that you cannot mistakenly connect the fuel line that takes fuel to the injectors to the return line.
Also, each male fitting has an o-ring. It is very important to get the two fittings aligned just so when re-connecting them; otherwise the o-ring can be damaged. This will result in a fuel leak. Ease the two fitting together slowly and smoothly until you hear them snap closed. It is easy to tell when they close correctly.
Be sure any fuel line, the small o-rings and the clamps you use are rated for fuel injection. FI hose won’t expand and possibly burst like older non-FI rubber fuel hoses. Also, FI rated clamps will put equal pressure around the fuel line, making a better seal; and you want to use Vitron o-rings as they stand up to gas and petroleum well.
Just to be on the safe side, I carry a spare set of o-rings, a simple repair piece, and a couple of spare clamps. If I damage one of the o-rings while on the road, or end up with a clamp leaking, it won’t keep me stranded for long.
The addition of a set of these type of valved quick disconnects will make servicing any motorcycle that requires the removal of the gas tank so much easier. When thing are easier to do, you do them more often and with better results.