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Author Topic: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?  (Read 9168 times)

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Online Vulcanbill

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Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« on: January 09, 2014, 08:56:31 PM »
Help me brainstrom here...  I'm back and forth about what bike and what mpg and what capacity yadda etc and so on.  Why not just get the bike that I want, which is a new gen Wee and make it work for what I need?  How involved and expensive would it be to just put an aux fuel cell on the back of the wee, in some configuration, and just call it a 350  or 500 mile (pulled out of the air) range?  I never ride 2 up so I could sacrifice that space.  I have little interest in IBA cert so it doesn't need to fall into some specific capacity.  It strikes me that it might not be terribly difficult (to hire someone) to make this happen? 

Ever done it?  Got any good references?  What are considerations I might not know to think of?  I'm sure there are many since I've never researched this concept at all.  What will Chris need to know to make this happen?   ;D

Thanks.
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 09:27:44 PM »
Not discounting the idea, but unless you see yourself wayyyy off-highway or trying to IBA stuff there's just not much value in going with the Aux. Fuel Cell.

Even out here in the big West fuel is available every 150 miles or so. 

BUT, if you wanted to do it I'd send a PM to Justin or post up in the Iron Butt forum.  Lots of experience to draw from.

Regardless, let's answer the question.  The first thing is to source a tank and figure out how to strap it down to the bike/rack/rear seat.  Second thing is to figure out some way to transfer fuel to the pump.  This could be a gravity feed into the main gas tank or it could be a separate fuel pump.  Third thing is to plumb the lines. 

It's not hard but for me I just didn't want to have something permanent on a bike.  Rather, I've gone the route of MSR bottle or other gas cans for my needs. 

Here's one option to consider. 

http://tourtank.com/3gallon.html

Also remember:  each gallon is worth 8# or so plus the weight of the tank.  So, a 3 gal tank is going to be a 30# option…held up high on a bike. 
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Damn.  Was that really a good idea?

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Damn.  Was that really a good idea?

Offline Scratch

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 09:37:19 PM »
I put a Kolpin Fuel Pack on my '06 Wee for my Alaska trip and called it good.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 11:17:21 PM »
BTDT

My route was a 5 gallon Jegs "drag race horizontal" tank. 100% function, 0% style

BMW-K hit a couple points

1) Weight
One gallon of gasoline is about 6 pounds / gallon (BMW-K: water is ~8 pounds per gallon). While I had five gallons (~30LB + ~10LB for tank & mounts [guess]) + bags, I'd put the weight much less than having an adult passenger aboard. Though, rolling back from Alaska I hit too many upward frost heaves at speed that I broke the rear frame of the cycle in several spots. Unlike a fluid passenger, this mass is hard mounted to the bike and does not flex/give when the frame needs to move upward, quickly. Some care for the bike should be on the horizon.

2) Weight up high
Uh, yea, up high - and hard mounted / non-removable.  I (slow speed) low-sided the bike in Hinton AB. The aux tank was full. I could not upright the bike by myself (even after offloading luggage). The upside to up-high is for gravity feed from the aux tank to the main tank. I could open the aux drain valve while rolling down the road.

Using MSR bottles / stowable containers, they do not need plumbing, are wholly temporary, and can be readily removed for the upset bike weight issue - but you need to stop to fill from aux to main (not a big deal for normal use - but important for IBA tours).

I think Carl often has a tank on his bike...

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Even with more than double the standard fuel capacity, I still ran out of gas - in pennsylvania (1/2 mile from a gas station)...
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 01:56:09 AM by Jim »
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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 12:00:49 AM »
I have the 5 gallon tourtank (looks like a keg). I didn't get the iron butt version though. When I took my first ride into Canada, I discovered that gas stations are _not_ 150 miles apart and almost (as in jerking the Harley to get gas over the hump) didn't make it to the next gas station. I actually ran out as I crossed over the highway and coasted to the pumps hoping they took a credit card.

Since then I've had to use the extra gas a couple of times on the 'busa, both on the trip to Alaska.

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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 12:04:39 AM »
Pics:

http://schelin.org/20060610/tourtank/albuma.html

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Offline Justin

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 01:41:15 AM »
All my bikes have an aux fuel cell, since I do LD rallies and iron butt rides. If you decide to do it and want to do it fairly cheap, go with a tourtank. First off, remember, you will need to get the fuel into your main tank. That will require putting in a bung fitting. You can either use one that seals with O-rings, or weld one in. Here's a good write up for installing an O-ring sealed bulkhead fitting: http://www.fjr1300.info/howto/bulkhead.html. That's for an FJR, but the concept is the same. I personally prefer a welded in bung, because I never want to think about it again. Anyway, here's some pics from my last aux cell install on the FJR.

My friend who is handy and has a nice shop with a welder helped me make a mount for the fuel cell. This replaces the back seat. Uses two bolts in the front and slides into the groove that used to hold the back seat.

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For the tank, my friend again helped me weld in a bung. To do that, I pulled the tank off and removed the filter and pump assembly. I cleaned the tank with soapy water, then left it full with water and drilled the hole for my bung fitting while it was still full of water. Protip: No matter how clean you think you got a gas tank it can still blow up in your face. That's why I left it full with water :). If you can place something under the hole, like a cup or something, do that to catch the filings. I put some loose duct tape on the inside of mine to catch the big stuff, then cleaned the rest with an oily rag taped to a magnetic wand - or just an oily rag by hand if you can fit your arm in.

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Now that the tank is drilled and ready for the fitting, I brought it over to my friends shop to weld in the fitting. Again, I repeat, no matter how clean you think it is, gas fumes are evil. You need to displace the gas vapors inside with something when working on a tank. In this case, we used the exhaust from my car.

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Here's the final result:

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Once the bung was in the tank, and the bracket was done, it was just a matter of plumbing with gas hose from the aux tank to the main tank. I have a shut off valve and quick disconnect along the way, and I'd recommend those to anyone adding a tank.

If you need valves, bulkhead fittings or quick disconnects, Mike Langford sells them from his web store: http://maplefarkles.com/index.php/products/94-plumbing-items. If you just want the whole thing done for you, he can do that as well; custom tank and all.

Anyway - if you decide to proceed with this and need any help/have questions, feel free to shoot me a message. I've done three bikes so far, and have done a lot of research on the topic. Happy to help an .Orgier :)





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Offline Justin

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 01:46:01 AM »
Oh - and here's what the finished deal looks like. Note the $10 walmart duffel bag with the bottom cut out to make it look fancy :)

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Offline Jim

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 01:50:47 AM »
Hey Justin... Why did you choose a bung on the tank vs going with a T-fitting in the tank's fuel delivery (do you have in-tank fuel pump)?
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Offline Justin

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 01:57:13 AM »
Hey Justin... Why did you choose a bung on the tank vs going with a T-fitting in the tank's fuel delivery (do you have in-tank fuel pump)?

Jim - any bike I've done this on had an in tank fuel pump. I believe the strom is the same.
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 01:59:39 AM »
Thx. Mine was carb'd with gravity feed to low pressure fuel pump so I could easily "t" into the tank's output line.
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 07:24:35 AM »
I have not added fuel capacity to anything I own, but my favorite way of seeing it done was with a used tank that is cut and expanded. I read a write up on it being done to an FJR tank, and it is a piece of art, although most people wouldn't notice it. No extra plumbing, pumps or brackets, keep your passenger seat, weight carried where and how it is stock. The bad thing is you need to buy a used tank (or have the nerve to cut up your new one) but it could be dented (and cheaper) and you need to be or know a good welder.
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Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 08:02:22 AM »
My first question would be "why do you need that kind of range?"  The Wee has a decent range to begin with.  I've never been overly concerned with running out of gas on the Wee.  On the C14 (about 100 miles less range) I have been very concerned a few times but it just means a little planning ahead and maybe a fill-up when you're at half a tank just because you know you need a full tank to get to the next gas.


The other thing I would suggest is when you're not on your "home turf" never assume you can buy gas with a credit card.  I always have cash for just such an occasion.  Cash that's either hidden in you wallet for years on end or on the bike/gear somewhere.

Offline motormike

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 08:55:46 AM »
I've got nothing to add other than having an actual keg of BEER on your bike would be really awesome.   :beerchug:

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 09:08:48 AM »
My first question would be "why do you need that kind of range?"  The Wee has a decent range to begin with.  I've never been overly concerned with running out of gas on the Wee.  On the C14 (about 100 miles less range) I have been very concerned a few times but it just means a little planning ahead and maybe a fill-up when you're at half a tank just because you know you need a full tank to get to the next gas.


The other thing I would suggest is when you're not on your "home turf" never assume you can buy gas with a credit card.  I always have cash for just such an occasion.  Cash that's either hidden in you wallet for years on end or on the bike/gear somewhere.

Need is a relative term.  I have an 84 mile commute each way.  That puts me getting gas every day.  So, it's really just a matter of lazy and having the option of going 2 whole days without having to get gas. 
And, it could get worse before it gets better on the whole mileage thing.  Also, since said commute is 81 and 70, I'll be consuming gas at a pretty healthy rate so I don't want to be flirting w/ the top of the range on the bike if I have a really spirited ride one day.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2014, 09:39:49 AM »
Need is a relative term.  I have an 84 mile commute each way.  That puts me getting gas every day.

I'm with ya on that!
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2014, 10:02:29 AM »
Well lazy makes sense.  ;D  Just hook up a trailer with a 55 gallon drum to tote behind.

I wouldn't worry too much about the highway mileage.  The wee hums along at highway speeds and above with relative ease in regards to fuel consumption. 

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2014, 10:20:34 AM »
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2014, 10:27:58 AM »
I've got nothing to add other than having an actual keg of BEER on your bike would be really awesome.   :beerchug:

 :thumbsup:  way more fun than gas
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Offline sodapop6620

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2014, 02:06:52 PM »
Has anyone put a low fuel level light on their Wee?  My other bikes have petcocks or a bright light to indicate when I hit reserve.  I don't study my dash while riding but it would be nice to have a bright light to indicate when the tank is getting low.

Any ideas?

Offline Cablebandit

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2014, 02:10:24 PM »
Look down once in a while?  It has a blinky indicator.

Offline kneescrubber

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2014, 09:27:33 PM »
I'm betting with a little bit of work you could make these work.

http://www.camel-adv.com/
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Offline sodapop6620

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2014, 08:58:16 AM »
Look down once in a while?  It has a blinky indicator.

True, but it isn't bright enough to catch the eye.  And when I am riding I tend to be looking forward and scanning the streets for hazards.

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2014, 10:46:26 AM »

  And when I am riding I tend to be looking forward and scanning the streets for hazards.

Overrated.   ;D





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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2014, 06:21:46 PM »
I've got nothing to add other than having an actual keg of BEER on your bike would be really awesome.   :beerchug:

 :lol:
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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2014, 07:19:52 PM »
Has anyone put a low fuel level light on their Wee?  My other bikes have petcocks or a bright light to indicate when I hit reserve.  I don't study my dash while riding but it would be nice to have a bright light to indicate when the tank is getting low.

Any ideas?

Old school, use your trip meter? That's what I do on the Transalp.

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2014, 07:21:29 PM »
He doesn't look at the dash.  Speedometer be damned!   ;D

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2014, 08:41:22 AM »
Alternate proposal.   Your Wee should go 180-200 miles on full tank hard throttle.  5 gallons. I'm talking very aggressive riding.  Any amount of highway driving - even at 20+ - should put you into the mid 40s.  But you will have to fill up evert day.

I'm going to assume your objection is inconvenience of interrupting commute to stop at a station.

Get a couple of 5 gallon gas cans.  Fill them once a week with your car.  Fill the Wee at home.

Or...

Moonie (Dan) (haven't seen or heard from him in quite awhile)  used to have one of the 3 gal tourtank.com mounted on his BMW.  It's an easy install to drill few holes in tailback and run a hose.  That'll get you to 3 trips and a fill up every other day. 
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2014, 10:25:43 AM »
My mind keeps coming back to "trailer" with a "nice sized" tank. Not too large (heavy for start/stop when it's full) but large enough to perhaps make it 3 to 4 days??? A week would be sweet but perhaps too heavy. One of those 1-wheel or narrow trailers.

Trailer disconnected and the bike is back to "normal".
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2014, 12:24:03 PM »
I have not added fuel capacity to anything I own, but my favorite way of seeing it done was with a used tank that is cut and expanded. I read a write up on it being done to an FJR tank, and it is a piece of art, although most people wouldn't notice it. No extra plumbing, pumps or brackets, keep your passenger seat, weight carried where and how it is stock. The bad thing is you need to buy a used tank (or have the nerve to cut up your new one) but it could be dented (and cheaper) and you need to be or know a good welder.


That's what I did on the B12:
Buy dented tank on eBay for $20 shipped, cut in half, add 3" of metal all the way around:
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Weld together:
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Put new tank sealer in take to line new metal that you added (no pics).

Add body filler to smooth out the rough spots and spend some time sanding:
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Add high-build primer, sand more, purchase second seat, cut to fit:
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Spray tank with auto paint in black:
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Add decals your buddy made, then clearcoat:
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Send seat to guy in Florida for resculpt to my measurements and to add gel padding in the seat, then reassemble:
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Old tank/seat for comparo (I still have them):
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New tank holds 7.2 gallons.  Plenty to make the James Bay 236 mile run (I built the tank with that trip in mind).  The farthest I went was 272 miles stop-stop during a SS1000 to South Dakota.
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2014, 12:30:49 PM »
Love the tank Clay.

The funny thing is I had about as much range with the stock tank on my Wee.

I'd love to add a gallon of so to the C14 though.  Now you've got me thinking.

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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2014, 01:16:50 PM »
Yeah, the B12 has about 120 or 130 in the stock tank.  Not enough!  I had planned to pull it and go back to stock after IBA rides or such, but like someone else mentioned, I'm lazy and it's nice to not have to fill up very often.   :thumbsup:
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2014, 01:22:26 PM »
Sweet! You're a mechanical genius Clay!
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Re: Aux fuel cell on a Wee Strom?
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2014, 09:27:21 AM »
Look down once in a while?  It has a blinky indicator.

True, but it isn't bright enough to catch the eye.  And when I am riding I tend to be looking forward and scanning the streets for hazards.

 :headscratch:  I have a SV650 with the same "blinky" low fuel warning.  If you're not scanning down at the dash every once in a while while using the trip meter as an approximate range, you almost deserve to run out of fuel.