Replacing the stock Virago tank with a harley-Davidson FLH fuel tank. 

Description Adding more fuel for the long rides.
Author akoutlaw Date Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:26 pm Type KB Modification
Category Fix It / Mods
Comments [20 - Post your comments]
Views 1247  [Rate Article]

There are several considerations that need to be taken into account when replacing the tank. The first, being that the harley tanks doesn't work on vacuum, but on gravity feed. This consideration means that the vacuum tube connecting to the petcock on the Virago tank must be capped and sealed. The second, is that the frame on a harley-Davidson FLH along the top is thinner than the Virago due to the under pieces of the harley frame. The Virago hangs it’s engine whereas the harley does not, so frame modification are necessary, to me, this was the scariest parts of this mod. There is an FLH mount kit, which I chose not to buy due to the differences between an FLH and a Virago frame.

Parts Needed
• harley-Davidson FLH fuel tank
• High-Flow petcock with left outlet.
• 24” of ¼ fuel line
• (4) ¼ fuel line reverse-pressure clamps
• Roll of 1” Metal Plumbers tape
• Piece of 1/8 x 6 x 2 metal stock
• (4) ¼ X 1” bolts with nuts/washers/lock-washers
• (2) 5/16 X ¾ bolts with nuts/washers/lock-washers
• (1) ¼ x 1” Wood Screw

Preparations for the Installation:
• The FLH tank’s crossover feeder outlets pointed inward at a 45 degree angle. With a heat-gun, was able to straighten out these small tubes, bringing them to a straight ninety (or vertical).

The process goes like so:
Step 1. Drain the Virago tank.

Step 2. Disconnect the vacuum and fuel lines to the Virago tank, I carefully removed it from the bike leaving the front and rear bumpers in place.

Step 3. Mount wood screw in vacuum line, effectively capping it.

Step 4. Next, the rear of the frame (over the right carb) is too wide to fit into the FLH tank, so using a body hammer, I collapsed the frame a little (about three quarters of an inch) to allow the tank to lay level on the frame. It is done at an angle due to the way the tank lays across this section. This part of the frame is purely air-box, so fairly easy to fold in without doing any structural damage to the frame.

Step 5. Several sections of the forward frame were too wide as well, so a small amount of frame modification is necessary, primarily along the right side, ensuring that structural integrity remained intact.

Step 6. I removed the forward rubber bumpers and sawed off the tubes that hold the Virago tank up front, flush with the side of the frame and filed the edges to ensure they wouldn't scratch up the new tank upon installation.

Step 7. I relocated my TCI module to just above the battery on the frame due to it being too wide to fit underneath the tank.

Step 8. I carefully mounted the FLH harley tank after draining it.

Step 9. Due to the fear of drilling holes in my frame, I created a "saddle" for the forward mounts of the FLH tank out of metal "plumbers" tape. Eventually, to be replaced by welding a mounting bolt to the frame. (This saddle was created by running the ¼ bolts through the plumbers tape at the location it needed to be, then bolting down the tank to the saddle. The plumbers tape wrapping around the goose-neck of the frame, then one piece going over the cylinder heads under the frame, forming a triangle along the bottom. I also added ½ inch section of fuel line to the ¼ bolts for buffering).

Step 10. The FLH tank reaches back a little further under the seat, so a custom “saddle” had to be created for this as well. (I took a one eighth thick piece of metal stock and mounted it to the frame on the outside forming a small “deck” under the tail-end of the new tank. I then drilled two holes from the top in which to bolt the tank to).

Step 11. The FLH tank uses a "cross-over" fuel line to keep the sides equal, so I ran the line down under the frame (about nine inches long) connecting the two sides. The difficulty here was ensuring that the line stayed off the top of the cylinder, so I ran the fuel line between the wire harness and the frame, effectively pinching the fuel line close to the frame.

Step 12. Using an eight inch 5/16 fuel line, I connected the fuel line to the harley petcock.

Took it out for a ride, it’s a little wider than the stock Virago tank, so I felt the tank rubbing on the inside of my thighs. The stock Virago seat pinches down on the tank just like before, so I was able to ride the bike before I had everything bolted in place.

• I made sure that all fuel lines had "reverse-pressure" clamps holding them in place.
• The new tank was "snug" in several places along the frame, probably need to go back and touch them up with the body hammer.
• I left the rear rubber mount for the Virago tank in place, as it provides buffering for the new tank as well.
• The harley tank wasn't empty the first time, so being that I can make notes here, make sure the tank is "bone-dry" before attempting any of this.
• Will get a sheet-metal wrapping to surround the goose-neck and forward mounts of the FLH tank, as the bolts and stuff are clearly visible from the side of the bike.
• Will get rubber bumpers installed on the back brace for buffering.

• I spoke to some custom gurus here in Anchorage (thanks to the guys at AK Cycle) and was informed that I could in-fact, drill a ¼ inch hole straight through the airbox located behind the gooseneck which I will do this weekend and thereby remove the forward saddle created via plumbers tape. The rear saddle will remain in place.

• The ¼ inch bolt that I’ll run through the air box will include rubber grommets to prevent the tank from any rattle.

User comments 
lepg107 Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject

does anyone have pics of the harley tank installed ?
makeityours Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject Re: [ KB ] Replacing the stock Virago tank with a harley-Dav

I did my 81 750 but NO WAY did I hammer or modify the frame.Modify the the tank to fit the bike.More sensible.Didn`t have to relocate anything either.
shamat Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:18 pm    Post subject

I just bought (on eBay) a custom tank that uses the 5 gallon side tanks from a HD and has a tank centre from a XJR1200. It was on a custom XJR1200, but I think the frame sizes are pretty close. Didn't want to alter the frame to fit a tank.

Frames a vital for a number of reasons and not somethng that should be modified unless your a fabrictaor with all the right gear.
lepg107 Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:28 am    Post subject

Does this mean no one has pictures ?
shamat Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:11 am    Post subject

Have you checked this thread:

There is a pic there of one of our girls with a HD tank.
shamat Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:15 am    Post subject

And this one:
Some good pics here too.
spyke Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:06 am    Post subject Re: [ KB ] Replacing the stock Virago tank with a harley-Dav

Found this pic. Looks like a harley FXR tank.
lepg107 Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:50 pm    Post subject

Thanks guys I realy appriceate the pics very helpful. Larry
Dutch XV920 Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:15 am    Post subject

That green one is from a Dutch guy at Some othe cool projects as well on his site.
coalstoves Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:53 pm    Post subject

Wow that guy is TOPS those are the best looking adaptations of old Virago I have ever seen,,, he needs to be featured in one of the USA builder mags
grazingazer Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:07 pm    Post subject

he didn't build all of those bikes...check out one of 'em is backwater eddy's bike [from our forum]'s a good collection of pictures but
Dutch XV920 Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:10 am    Post subject

@Grazinggrazer, if you visit xv-chopper you'll see build logs, so from that I take that this guy did in fact build those himself.
grazingazer Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:00 am    Post subject

@ dutch xv920: i don't doubt that he built the four pictured in the logs but backwatereddy built the first gen flt tanked...buckhorn barred virago on there...he lives right here in florida where i do...some of the others i've seen on manfreds website so...also i don't disrespect your handle [dutch xv920] don't disrespect mine [grazingazer]

@ spyke: that green bike with the harley fender is wearing a dragstar tank not one off an hd...the tunnel fits a 1st gen frame
Dutch XV920 Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject

Disrespecting your what? I'm not disrespecting anything or anyone over here, so pleae explain me what you mean, grazingazer?
grazingazer Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject Re: [ KB ] Replacing the stock Virago tank with a harley-Dav

Quote: › @Grazinggrazer, if you visit xv-chopper you'll see build logs, so from that I take that this guy did in fact build those himself.

actually i apologize for not saying please don't disrespect my handle by misspelling in it the way you did
Dutch XV920 Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject

It was a typing error in stead of misspelling your name. But in all honesty: does that offend you?
grazingazer Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:57 am    Post subject

i pm'd you...i don't want to usurp this thread
RValley Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject

i put an flh tank on mine:
grazingazer Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject

what year?
jumper32 Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:03 am    Post subject mod with fat bob split tank

lepg107 wrote (View Post): › does anyone have pics of the harley tank installed ?
yes i am doing it as we speak the left side goes on pretty well with out to many mods to the frame. but the right side does require some deep thought. first you have to get rid on the air inlets on both sides. then on the right side engine mount bolt you have to make a bracket to anchor the front of the right tank. looks good now but is going to require alittle more mods to the frame. currently dont have any pics yet here i will be going home on saturday and down load them so i can post what i have so far. so keep looking for my post. i will show both before and after pics. its a project in the works so far.

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