Harley Davidson Maintenance — Repair Tank Dents

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Repairing a dent in a Harley-Davidson motorcycle gas tank is different from using PDR techniques to repair a dent on a metal car body. Firstly, the metal is heavier and thicker. This makes the dent more difficult to manipulate. Also there is a large amount of pressure going to the outside of the tank. This is due to the thickness of the metal and the shape of the metal with which you are working.

Tools Required

  • reflector board and light (a zebra-lined black & white board works best.)
  • knock down tool with a plastic/Teflon tip
  • soft-tip pick

Step-by-Step Method

  1. Locate the crowns in the dent by using the reflector board
    and light. Crowns are the areas in the dent where the lines revealed by
    the reflector board are the closest together.
  2. Begin to
    relieve the pressure around the crowns by tapping with the knock-down
    tool. Caution: It may be difficult to keep the tool steady, to stay
    level with the tool and to keep the knock-down tool from slipping.
  3. Using
    the soft-tip pick, begin to push the metal from the inside. At this
    point you are randomly pressing around the center of the dent; not on
    the center but around it. If you see the dent bulging on one side you
    will press on that area. If you see the metal bulging on another area,
    you are going to press on that part of the tank. Note that the crowns
    in the dent, as revealed by the reflector board and light, are
    beginning to become wider and are starting to match the space between
    the lines of the undented metal. With the tapping of the knock-down
    tool and the pushing of the soft-tip pick, you are creating an
    in-and-out movement. This eventually straightens out the dent, without
    having to chip or remove paint to do it.
  4. Address the pin
    stripe, if there is one, in a similar fashion. Use your light and
    reflector board to get good read of the area in which you are working
    and to guide you as you use your knock-down tool to carefully smooth
    out the dent in this area.

That is all there is to it. Although similar to removing dents from a
metal car body, paintless dent removal from a Harley-Davidson gas tank
requires a sharp eye and perhaps a more delicate technique because of
the thickness of the metal and the smaller area involved.

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