Softail Tank Installation How-To with Tips

Harley-Davidson Fuel Tank Installation

This installation ‘How-To’ should work for all Softails, Dynas and, and Dressers.
Keep in mind, that some of the steps will vary, but for the most part, they are basically the same.
These are the basic steps to install a EFI tank without making a mess and spilling fuel all over the place.
Removal Step by Step Here

Please note. The below how-to was written back in approx 2007, so this may or may not be useful to you. The newer Softail Tanks are slightly different on the inside. So be sure and use these are ‘basic’ tips.

Tools/Items Required

–A good clean area on a bench. (Put a nice clean towel down)
–New H-D fuel pump plate gasket
(only if you think you need a new one. Most of the time you will not)
–3 hose clamps (or unless you saved the old ones)
–A pair of pliers (putting on all the fuel clamps)
–Torx head socket (to reinstall the screws on the fuel injection plate)
–Basic tools (tools to put the dash on and remove the tank hold-down bolts)
Double sided tape (approx 1/2 wide by 3/4″ long for EACH wire or vacuum hold down you took off your previous tank )

»If you have access to a motorcycle lift, this will help you tremendously. This way, the bike is in the upright position.
If you do not, you can do this while the bike is on the floor. Just have to watch them bars!!!
It’s also a good idea to have a buddy help you installing the tank.

»Lay your tank with the top of the tank upright on your bench. Make sure the ‘O’ ring is still on your quick connect fitting.
Lift up the left side, feed the quick connect fitting with the hose attached back through the hole located on the left rear of your tank. Feed it up to where the big hole is on the top of the tank..
Tighten the fitting all the way. You will have to reach inside the tank and turning the tube while tightening the quick release connector, so the hose does not bind.

Tip: Before proceeding, make sure the quick disconnect is fully tightened. Once you connect the ‘ribbed’ hose to the pump in the step below, you can’t tighten it any more.

NOTE: Some H-D tanks have 2 holes on the left rear. If yours does, you will need to feed this through the front hole of the tank. You will need to plug the rear hole. You can buy the plug and ring-gasket from your local H-D. Of course some of the pre-2003 Dressers required the use of both holes.

»Now to install the pump*
Make sure your gasket is in good condition. If not, replace it!
If there is paint in the pump hole, be sure and tap the holes!

»Before installing the pump, you may want to it outside and shake it to make sure that you get all the fuel out of the pump before you start installing it in the tank. This will prevent it from leaking all over your new paint job!
Make sure your fuel pump arm mechanism is in the unlock position. Making sure it is ‘flat’ and in the ‘install’ position. If it is in the ‘L’ position, you will need to unlock the arm by pulling down on it.
Slowly and carefully feed it into your tank. Once in, the bracket should snap back into place. Check to make sure it is in a ‘L’ shape (not flat as you installed it). DON’T screw it in yet!
You may find that the filter is tough to get in, but you can slightly bend this to get it ‘over the edge’ of the pump hole.
*NOTE – On the Dyna’s and the 2006 and up Softails, your sending unit will be a separate unit from the pump. You will need to install this at the same time you are inserting the pump into the tank. Slip the sending unit in, and attach it the same time you are putting the pump inside the pump hole.
On the pre 2006 Softail’s the sending unit is a part of the fuel injection unit. Be careful when inserting this into the tank. Too many mechanics were bending the float arm when they were inserting the pump/sending unit into the tank. This is the reason H-D made the change.

»Once you have your unit inside the tank*, you will need to hold it out about 1/2 way outside the tank. While holding it 1/2 way out the tank , push on the ‘ribbed’ hose coming from the quick release back onto the pump fitting. If you took off the hose the way I recommended in the removal process, you can use the same clamp to install the hose (the clamp should still be on the hose. If not, install the original good clamp (if still usable), or a new clamp before putting the hose on the fitting). Using a pair of pliers, squeeze the area of the clamp that you loosened. (I use a special tool for this, but a pair of pliers should work).
If you just cut the clamp, you will have to install a new clamp. Slip this on the hose before you put the hose on the fitting.
Make sure this hose is snug and tight onto the fuel pump fitting!

»Slowly and carefully put the pump back into the tank aligning it with the holes. Start by adding a couple of the screws back into the holes. Once you get those started, you can add the rest of them. Make sure you that each screw ends up with a white spacer around it. Sometimes when removing these screws, the spacers will stay on the fuel pump plate, and sometimes they stay on the screws. Make sure each one has one of these little spacers. Tighten all the screws. I always tighten these like you would a wheel. 12 o clock screw, 6 o’clock, 1 o clock, 7 o clock…so on and so on until you get them tightened all the way. You will probably need to make two passes doing this. Do not use an air-ratchet when tightening the screws!

Okay, your pump and send unit is installed along with your quick release fitting.

»Carefully turn the tank on it’s side. Now feed the gauge wires back into the wire tube in your tank. Keep feeding until the two or three wires are out the other end. Once they are starting to come out the bottom of the tube, you can ‘pull’ them out the rest of the way. Be sure and pull them fairly tight. Push the gauge firmly into place. You will feel it click into place. Be sure it’s aligned before snapping into place.

»Now turn the tank upside down. You can now add the gauge connector back on. if you used the ‘tip’ about adding the piece of tape on the connector with color/wire reference, this will make it very easy to put back on. If you did not, you’ll have to check with the other end that is on your bike and install the wires in the correct order in the connector. You can also add your wire ‘hold down’ from your other tank. Be sure and put it in about the same place as on your previous tank.
Grab your crossover tube. Push your line over the RIGHT side of the tank (probably the left side when it is upside down). BE SURE you have a hose clamp on the line before installing it. If you took the tank off as I suggested in my ‘removal process’, then you can use your original clamps. If not, be sure and install some new screw in style clamps.
Don’t worry about the left side of the line at this time.

»You should be ready to install the tank. While you are lowering the tank onto the bike, have a buddy connect the gauge connector. You can also have him make sure that the crossover line is fed through to the correct location. Once the tank is lowered, the fuel crossover line should be going through the correct location, and it should end up being close to the left tank fitting.
Now put your gauge wire in the ‘hold down’ and bend over the tap to hold the wires into place.

Tip: Attaching the crossover fuel line on one side of the tank while it is on the bench will make it quite a bit easier when installing the tank.
Once the tank is one the bike, you only have to worry about attaching one side.

»Before adding the tank bolts, be to add the front tab covers and the rear hole spacers. Some bikes have them, some don’t.
Install all bolts that hold the tank on.
»Install the left side (or right side if you did it bas-ackwards in the above step) of the crossover tube using the original clamp or a replacement.
»Reconnect the main fuel line to the quick disconnect.
»Reattach your dash. Make sure all wires are connected.. Be sure and put any vacuum lines you removed when you took off the tank.
»Pour in your gas. Watch for leaks when pouring the fuel in.
Screw in your gas cap.

»Turn on your bike to make sure the gauge is working properly. Install your seat.

»Assuming that the fenders/seat are installed…you are ready to Fire it up!

Enjoy your new paint job!!!

Disclaimer: I’m by no means a certified H-D mechanic. I did the ‘How-To’ based on the knowledge I’ve achieved by removing and installing at least 50+ tanks on H-D’s. I have also built a custom bike from the frame up, along with a few trucks.
Remember that fuel is involved in the above procedure. Safety and common sense must be used in all the above steps.
Please use the above ‘How-To’ at your own risk.

created 6/3/07
Scott Farrell
Attitude Custom Painting

2 Responses

  1. Wayne says:

    Softail tank removal & refitting
    Excellant directions,easy to follow & covers everything
    Thankyou Wayne