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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after a couple months of ownership I'm really getting into doing maintenance on my 2000 S3. I just went to do a coolant flush and one of the Allen bolts that holds the front plastic trim to the gas tank just won't come out. Spins and spins but doesn't get looser. I can't get the tank off because there are things to loosen under the plastic in order to do so. Is my only option drilling out the bolt? And who is best to the work? I have only seen it done and have no experience myself. I'm thinking a custom shop would be better than my dealer. My local dealer is OK. They don't really blow me away with confidence. What can I do?
 

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Drilling it would be very difficult since the bolt wants to spin. If you can get a pair of pliers on it or a screw driver behind it to try to pry on it as you try to unscrew it. What your trying to do is get any remaining threads to catch while you unscrew. If that doesn't work you may have to carefully grind it off preferably from the back side.
 

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Not to sound stupid, or trying to make you seem that way, but is there a nut on the back of the bolt that's spinning with it? Otherwise, can you get behind it at all and unscrew while pushing from behind? I've done that with a few other things along the way and gotten it to grab the thread that way?

Nothing more annoying than screws and bolts that won't come out. Funny how something that should take 5 seconds to undo ends up putting a project on hold for 5 hours while you figure it out.

Good luck
 

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Well you can bring the bike over to Iowa I would be happy to do it for you. In all reality I would try a machine shop. Sound like one of the thread inserts is spining inside the tank. Could have a gas leak in that area now. The first thing I would try is to get some small vise grips on the bolt to keep from spining and drill threw center of bolt wich may not be fun because the bolt is stainless and not fun to drill threw. Is it a top bolt or side bolt to the tank front cowel? I can post some pics of what the nut insert looks like in the tank if you would like a vissual. I also am going to try and see if tank will come off with out having to remve the front two tank mounted bolts. You may be able to just pic up on back oh tank enough to get over the rear dowel and slid bushing off front of tank. Dont think it will work but I will go give it a try.
 

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At first I thought you meant where the tail mounts to the tank - but given that you are working on cooling system, I think you mean the front cover piece to access those components?

You can't hurt anything there - that is just solid plastic with no acess directly into the fuel zone. The nut insert is indeed undoubtedly spinning. Drill the head off the bolt in order to remove the cover; then you will need to repair the spinning nut insert. You can probably epoxy in a new one - not like it is taking a load or anything. Over torquing the screws to begin with (presumably the PO) is probably what put you in this predicament.
 

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If it is a spinning anchor nut and not too tight I have had luck in the past prying under the head of the bolt with something like a common screwdriver while trying to loosen it. The pressure stops the anchor nut from turning. This has worked for me on aircraft and in the machine shop doing maintenance. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the ideas guys! I tried all the prying and wiggling techniques to no avail. Also the shape of the tank prevents it from being maneuvered off without loosening the front mounts. It is the complete left bolt. I guess I'll be drilling it. Anyone know of a good technique other than the vice grip method proposed by t955i2001? I'm thinking I may be more comfortable with a dremel tool and grinding stone.
 

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Thanks for all the ideas guys! I tried all the prying and wiggling techniques to no avail. Also the shape of the tank prevents it from being maneuvered off without loosening the front mounts. It is the complete left bolt. I guess I'll be drilling it. Anyone know of a good technique other than the vice grip method proposed by t955i2001? I'm thinking I may be more comfortable with a dremel tool and grinding stone.
You will prob have to use your dremel tool with a stone or a carbide bit.. the stainless bolts are a little hard to drill threw even with a colbalt bit. As far as the vice grips I am not talking a huge pair just a small needle nose pair to keep from spinning. Just drill threw the senter of the allen tell the head pops off and remove tge cowel and go from there.
another way to hold it would be if you can get under it with a small door pannel clip tool and pry up to put pressure on bolt from spining while grinding. I would also try taping around the bolt on the tank to keep down on scratches.
Also watch the metal shavings on the fork tube seals. keep them clean.
 

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You can't hurt anything there - that is just solid plastic with no acess directly into the fuel zone. .
Here is a pic of what tank looks like with out cowel cover. all off the bolt hole are exposed to fuel inside. I took my video bore scope and went down in the front of the tank with it and saw nipples just like the lower ones one the tank to rear cowel. I was talking with one of my ducati mechanics and he said if you have a leak out of one of the bolt holes to drain tank and fill it up with water and take a bolt and put it in the hole that is leaking and heat the bolt melting the plastic back around it. He says it works. Me I just skim coat the inside with a fuel compatiable epoxy Here is a pic of what tank looks like with out cowel cover. all off the bolt hole are exposed to fuel inside. I took my vedo bore scope and went down in the front of the tank with it and saw nipples just like the lower ones one the tank to rear cowel. I was talking with one of my ducati mechanics and he said if you have a leak out of one of the bolt holes to drain tank and fill it up with water and take a bolt and put it in the hole that is leaking and heat the bolt melting the plastic back around it. He says it works. Me I just skim coat the inside with a fuel compatiable epoxy
 

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... all off the bolt hole are exposed to fuel inside. I took my vedo bore scope and went down in the front of the tank with it and saw nipples just like the lower ones one the tank to rear cowel. .
Rear ones I have no doubt about - I'm surprised by the front.
Defer to that if you've seen them however - had my cover off the other day & would have sworn that was solid there (no reason for it not to be for the teaspoon of capacity it could possibly add). Cewrtainly would not argue the fact and safer to treat it as 'hollow' than not

Anyhoo - certainly no need to be drilling that far anyway - shouldn't even get to the nutsert.
Bolt is M5 so 7/32" drill will be plenty big enough to pop off the head.
 

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Rear ones I have no doubt about - I'm surprised by the front.
Defer to that if you've seen them however - had my cover off the other day & would have sworn that was solid there (no reason for it not to be for the teaspoon of capacity it could possibly add). Cewrtainly would not argue the fact and safer to treat it as 'hollow' than not

Anyhoo - certainly no need to be drilling that far anyway - shouldn't even get to the nutsert.
Bolt is M5 so 7/32" drill will be plenty big enough to pop off the head.
The top bolt holes look like pilars going domn thre the tank and gas could seep threw the sides. the two lower front holes are more solid and will only inner back sides. I was going to try and take some pic with the bore scope but have messed with hooking video up to camcordered and taking still shots to post up.
The lower tanks to rear cowels were leaking on mine after i go a new paint job done on the tank. So i took apart and used a syringe on the inside oth the tank filled with epoxy to reach the area I need to get to. It was a tight fit for the right side.
 
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