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OIl tank manhole installation

Bob Spaulding

New Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
I'm planning to install a manhole cover on my oil tank to get out the sludge. Is there a simple way to remove the oil tank, or is the whole front end coming with it? Bob Spaulding


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
First of all it is my understanding that the factory regarded the upper frame member, (the oil tank & steering head), as one inseparable unit – a point to bear in mind.

In my experience (50 odd years with three Comets), it is no great chore to remove the oil tank and forks as a unit after which the forks can be easily removed from the UFM and set aside.
Because of very limited facilities I get the bike up on the front & rear stands, (the front side stands will drop as a pair by the removal of one ¼ BSF bolt). Before removing the UFM a supporting block should be placed under the gearbox.

In truth the idea bothers me somewhat, I just don’t see the need or indeed the desirability of a manhole, surely a good steam clean/degrease would do the job? Easily said but then I ‘aint seen the job!


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member

I take the spring boxes off. If you do not the steering stem has a mind of its own and the springs cause it to move when it is not helpful. I also place a tray under the steering stem to catch at least some of the ball bearings as I am removing the stem from the headstock.



The feed pipe fixture within the tank has it's outlet holes some 3/8" above the floor of the tank facing side to side. Also, as there is a lip where the filler neck is welded in, it is darned near impossible to get all the crud out unless one has access to a very high pressure hose and some good detergents. I cut my ufm around two thirds of the way down from the top, taking a four inch long section that included some of the side wall too. I made up a rectangular plate around 3.8" wide x 1/4" thick and tapped it M6 around the periphery to take M6 pan head set screws. This was then tig welded in place and an alloy cover sitting on a cork gasket topped it all off. Despite the thrashing I usually gave my old outfit, it never leaked. The benefit of doing this was to be able to see the floor of the tank at the front and rear, and to be able to get a wire brush in there to agitate the crud. Having done this, I found one Biro top ( blue ), one 1/4" ball bearing, a piece of glass, and around 1/8" of condensed bronze and alloy metals that the magnet that I dangled in the filler neck did not pick up. I now use a cartidge filter in the return line. A few thousand miles later having installed a new paper filter in the chamber and the in line jobby and when oil change time came, the paper filter was spotless and the in line cartridge filter was filthy, full of 'orrible bits of very fine metal which would of course have lubricated the top end. Horrible!! ET43
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