If you do much tinkering on your ride, including adding a fuel processor or even just flushing your own coolant, removing your fuel tank is a necessary process. The first time I had to do it, I kept putting it off thinking it was going to be a huge hassle. Turns out it’s not bad at all – hopefully this video helps you through your first time removing your fuel tank.
I’ll be working on a 2013 Shadow Spirit 750 (VT750C2). The process should be very similar for most of the 07-2018 shadow models, with minor differences here and there. This process may be helpful for other models as well. If in doubt, check your service manual if you have access to one.
Preparation and Tools
Before you get started, the emptier the tank the better; it will be easier to maneuver and the less likely you’ll be to spill gasoline during the process. If you need to, go for a ride and burn up some of that excess fuel.
You’ll also need these tools:
- Socket wrench with 10mm and 12mm sockets
- 5mm and 6mm hex keys
- Flat Screwdriver
- Blocks of wood/small crate
Removing the Tank
1. Remove Saddle
The first thing you’ll want to do is remove the seat. You may have done this before but if not it’s very simple. Remove the two seat bolts, one on each side, with your 6mm hex key, then remove the bolt behind the seat with your 10mm socket. Then lift the rear of the seat and pull backwards to disengage the tab from underneath the fuel tank.
2. Remove Instrument Panel
Using your 5mm hex key remove the two bolts holding the instrument panel onto the top of the fuel tank. Once they are out, slide the whole assembly slightly forward then up and off. Note that it will remain attached by a wire, so just place it down along one side of the bike out of the way. Be careful not to pull on or damage the wire.
3. Remove Vent Hose
At the right rear of the tank, up underneath, there is a small rubber vent hose. Grasp this, twist and pull straight downward off of the metal hose barb. If it hasn’t been removed before it may be stuck. Use pliers if you need to but take care not to damage the hose or barb.
4. Unplug Electrical Connections
Under the left side of the tank, near the middle, are two electrical connections. Disconnect these by pulling them straight downward. Leave the nearby fuel hoses connected to the tank for now.
5. Remove Tank Bolt
Grab your 12-millimeter socket wrench and remove the fuel tank bolt, located at the rear of the tank, where the seat goes. When it comes free, be careful to also grab the steel tabbed washer and set it aside with the bolt.
6. Tank Removal
To remove the tank itself, stand to the left side of the bike. Place your wood blocks/crate on the floor next to the kickstand.
Grasp the tank on both sides, lift the rear up slightly, and slide the whole tank backward until you feel it come free from the rubber mounts up front. It can help to wiggle the tank slightly until it comes free. The tank will still be attached to the bike by the fuel lines, located on the left near the rear. Rotate the front of the tank left and downward, placing it on the wood block with the rear of the tank upward and leaning against the bike frame. This will keep you from straining the fuel hoses.
This position is fine for most repair and maintenance tasks. But if you need to completely remove the tank, for example to have it painted, use pliers to remove the hose clamps on the fuel hoses, then pull the hoses free of the tank. Whereas the vent tube generally comes off pretty easily, these can be a bit tougher. You’ll probably need to pull and twist with some force to get them to come off. This is also where you’re likely to spill at least some gas. Make sure you protect any sensitive nearby surfaces with rags.
Replacing the Tank
When it comes time to put the tank back on your motorcycle, the process is pretty much the reverse of what we did to remove it.
1. Replace the Fuel Lines
With our tank back up on its stand/blocks, replace the fuel lines. Like before, the fuel hoses will probably be tough to force onto the barbs. Make sure you get them seated completely, and then replace the hose clamps.
2. Place Tank
Now we’re going to swing the tank back into place. There are rounded brackets beneath the tank which seat onto rubber-coated mounts on the frame. As you lift and rotate the tank into place, line up the receivers on tank with the frame mounts and wiggle the tank forward into place. Be sure the tank bolt hole is lined up properly.
3. Replace Connections
Plug the electrical connections back in. On my 2013 model the wire tabs are different sizes, so you can be sure that you’ll plug them into the correct connectors.
Don’t forget to replace the vent tube. I’ve forgotten myself a few times. It’s not the end of the world, but it means that any gas that vents out due to heat expansion or a full tank sloshing around will end up running down the engine components instead of coming out down beneath the kickstand like it’s supposed to.
4. Replace Instrument Panel
Next, grab the dashboard assembly and replace it. Look up underneath the panel, if you can, and align it with the front mount. Once aligned, push it back into place until the fastener holes line up. Replace the two bolts to secure it.
5. Replace Tank Bolt and Washer
Replace the tabbed washer, with the tab facing down and toward the rear of the bike, drop the bolt in and get it started with your fingers. What I like to do is tighten the bolt down almost all the way, just until you can still rotate the washer with your fingers. At this point, use your screwdriver to brace the washer tab in place while you finish tightening the tank bolt.
Now simply replace your saddle and you’re all set!