A class action lawsuit has been filed against Ducati for this issue. The lawsuit covers 50,000 motorcycles sold by Ducati and seeks a replacement tank for each of them.
The issue is not specific to Ducati, and has been reported on the web with motorcycles from other manufacturers including Aprillia, Triumph, KTM, MZ, Moto Guzzi, and Bimota.
The tanks that are affected by this problem are reportedly made of PA6 polyamide plastic and were manufactured from 2005 to 2010. At least some of the tanks were outsourced by the manufacturers and were made by Acerbis. At least one manufacturer is replacing the tanks for free under the US emissions regulations for five years but the manufacturer has provided no written statement to customers that the warranty will continue beyond that five year period.
The first reports of these gas tanks deforming began sometime in 2006, and some manufacturers switched from the PA6 plastic to metal tanks (Triumph did this with the Speed Triple in late 2007). Other manufacturers just kep selling motorcycles with the plastic tanks.
Many owners are reporting that their defective tank was replaced with another defective tank, so they are on their second or third fuel tank.
It seems to be primarily an issue with fuel in the US, however the problem is showing up in Europe.
The consensus on the web is that the problem is related to the addition of ethanol in the gasoline, but there are many reports of motorcycles that have used ethanol tainted gas for years and have not had problems with deformation.
The deformation is often cosmetic as seen below on a Ducati Streetfighter
But more importantly in many cases the deformation can cause safety issues. With some motorcycles the deformation causes the fuel tank to get in the way of the handlebars when making sharp turns, and with Ducati Sport Classics the deformation prevents the tank from attaching to the motorcycle frame correctly (as seen below) which might cause the tank to come off the motorcycle during a crash.
In the photo above you are looking up at the tank on the left side of the motorcycle. The tank has spread roughly 1/2" outward to the left, so that the rubber puck no longer fits into the bracket that holds the tank onto the motorcycle.
An extreme case of tank deformation is shown below. In this case the tank had spread so far outward that the rubber pucks that hold the front of the tank on the Ducati Sport 1000 weren't even touching the mounts. In that particular case it's theorized that heat contributed to the spreading.
Here's a video showing tank deformation on a 2006 Ducati PS1000LE (Paul Smart).
A partial list of affected models (based on reports from the forums and articles listed below):
- Aprillia RSV-4 (years?)
- Aprilia RSVR and RSVR Factory (2004-2009 except for "Nera" edition)
- MZ Skorpion (years?)
- MV Agusta Brutales/F4s 2010+
- KTM Super Duke (years?)
- Triumph 955i (years?)
- Triumph Sprint (years?)
- Triumph Speed Triple (up to late 2007?)
- Harley Davidson XR1200
- Ducati Monster (years?)
- Ducati Hypermotard (years?)
- Ducati Streetfighter (years?)
- Ducati GT 1000 (all years)
- Ducati Paul Smart LE (all years .. 2006)
- Ducati Sport 1000 (all years)
- Ducati Multistrada (years?)
If you know of others or have details on what years are affected then please hit the contact link at the bottom of the page and help fill in the missing data.
What you can do:
- If you own a motorcycle with a gas tank that has expanded or deformed, and the deformation has created a safety hazard, then report it to the NHTSA. If enough people report the issue then the NHTSA may require the manufacturer to provide a permanent solution to the problem (rather than just replacing bad tanks with tanks that will also go bad). Report the issue even if the manufacturer already replaced your tank.
- If you are in Canada then Report your deformed tank Here
Web sites and forums that are documenting the widespread problem:
- Harley Davidson XR1200 forums
- WebBikeWorld article from July 31, 2008
- achung_123 blog
- Triumphrat.net forums
- Ducati.ms forums 66% of Ducati Sport Classic owners who responded to the poll are seeing deformation of their fuel tank. Some respondents report having their tank replaced twice or more times by Ducati.
- Ducati.ms forums 45% of Ducati Street Fighter owners who responded to the poll are seeing deformation of their fuel tank.
- Ducatispot.com forum
- Ducatisuperbikes.com forum.
- CoastalDucaticlub forum
- MZriders.com forum (MZ Skorpion uses an Acerbis tank made of PA6)
- Wildguzzi.com forum
- MV Agusta forum thread #1 (reply #10 has photo), thread #2 (reply #12 has photo)
- Another "poll" from Triumph owners showing the widespread problem
I am in Canada and purchased my 2006 Mulitstrada in April 2012. In May 2012 my tank started to leak. I took it in for the seal recall and the dealer tells me it is also the tank. I have just contacted the Canadian equivalent to the NHTSA, Transport Canada: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/safevehicles-defectinvestigations-index-76.htm They generally go by the same process and look at the number of complaints, plus what the NHTSA is doing. Any advice or assistance you can give would be appreciated.
I have just started to look into this and have my bike at a dealer who is trying to bill me 4 hrs of labour on this when all other dealers tell me it should be 1.5 hrs. I cannot even get photos of my own bike leaking fuel as the dealer threatened to take out my fuel pump if I don’t get my bike serviced at his shop.
In the Netherlands, a 2007 KTM 990 "Superduke" was serviced. The fuel tank was lifted for two days. When installing the tank, the FWD mounting point had shifted by 12 MM / half an inch. We use E5 (5% ethanol) gasoline here. The driver travels to countries where they also use E10 (naturally, 10% ethanol mixed in).
I have submitted a warranty claim with MV Agusta which has been approved. But I have been told they are waiting for the tank manufacturer (Acerbis) to come up with a solution to the problem rather than replace my current tank with a spare as they have a very limited supply & prefer to keep those for replacement of tanks that are leaking fuel, have softened, fitting improperly etc.
2004 Triumph Sprint RS, plastic ( nylon) fuel tank, deforms when off the motorcycle ( for maintenance work) so that the one front and two rear bolt mounting holes do NOT line up unless extreme fore/aft pressure is applied to tank. No noticeable 'rippling/loss of paint, BUT tank seems to have small 'blooms' UNDER paint/lacquer finish?
last updated August 20, 2012