Old Gas

Right side of the tank. Note the tight paint… was hoping to keep it.

Wow… there is just something very bad about the smell of old, varnished gas. The smell hits my brain and seems to burn itself in to my senses – like staring at the sun too long and seeing spots in your vision. Only a smell. The garage stinks, my clothes seem to stink, and I can’t get it out of my nose!

So today I decided to get to work on the gas tank(s) on the Lowrider. It has a “FatBob” style split tank, so there are two halves to work with. Unfortunately, the insides are rusted and there is a bad liner in the tanks. I am guessing, but it looks like someone tried to line the tanks with Kreem and now it is bad. The water and rust got under the liner, the liner lifted, and now everything seems to be a big mess. Getting this shit out of there is going to be a challenge.

One option is taking it to a radiator shop and letting them etch and boil the mess out, but that will probably wreck the paint. The paint is pretty nice and I was hoping to preserve it… but now I am not so sure.

I did what I felt I could get done – which wasn’t much – then decided to go have a beer and pizza and think about it.

Photo Gallery

Carb Rebuild

The S&S Super E, before beginning the cleanup and rebuild.

The bike has an S&S Super E carb on it, clearly added some time after the motorcycle was purchased. Its a great carb and along with the air cleaner, I am certain it opens up and helps the bike breathe better. The only problem is that sitting for four or five years lets water and old gas wreak havoc inside the carb. So, I ordered an S&S rebuild kit and waited for a nice day to get after the tear-down and rebuild. While I am at it, I plan to polish up the carb body and get all the accumulated crud off the outside as well. Gas lines were rotted, clamps rusted up, and the typical effects of being more than 30 years old and sitting for a long time in storage.

The rebuild kit is complete – all the small parts. And I mean “small parts.” Good lighting, a clean bench, and patience is required for this job! And a can of Gumout Carb Cleaner, some compressed air, and some 800-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Other than these speciality items, a couple screwdrivers and end wrenches are about all you really need to get the job done. I do find having a couple small picks handy helps as well. Take a look at the accompanying photo to see what I mean by “small” parts – there are some springs and check-balls in the accelerator pump that are about 3/32″ in diameter.

Cleaned up and rebuilt. Ready to install and tune!

I split the rebuild into two sessions in one day – it was a nice day so I snuck in a ride from noon to 4! Things proceeded without issue. The carb should be good to go when I get the engine reassembled. I will need to reset the adjustments and possibly re-jet the card once the engine in in place. I also cleaned up the intake manifold, buffing the aluminum. See the associated photo gallery and captions for more information.


The VIN number is 7G55826H9 – and assuming my references are correct, this verifies the bike is an FXS-80 (“7G”) and it was a 1979 model year (H9). The stamp on the frame (this is the only VIN that matters, by the way) and the crankcase are the same. Since the rolled off the assembly line together, I plan to keep it that way in the future!