DK Custom Products

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What is a Tank Lift and why do I need one?

 About DK Custom Products Patented Tank Lift Kits

U.S. Patent D650,316 S

 

We offer full tank lift kits for the following Model Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Sportsters- to fit 1995 and up

Dynas- to fit 1999 and up

Softails- to fit 1999 and 2017

Touring ( includes HDTrikes)- to fit 1999-and up.

 

In Dynas the sizes are 2", 2.5", and 3"

In Softails and Tourings the sizes are from 1", 1.5", 2", 2.5", and 3".

In Sportsters we have sizes of  1", 1.5", 2", 2.5", 3" and 4". ( The1 and 4 inch tank lifts will only fit 2004 and newer)

All of our Tank lifts are made from 6061 Billet Aluminum and completed with a Durable Black Powdercoat Finish or can be had with a Machine Cut Finish. All hardware needed is Included and is stainless steel. As with all of our parts, these come with easy to read step-by-step instructions.

 

Why do I want to lift my tank?

Sportsters:  Well, The answer to this question depends on your model. For Sportsters, the tank lift enhances the look of the bike, as well as reducing buffeting. Additionally, the tank lift allows for the unsightley wires above the engine to be discretely hidden in the new found space under the tank.

Chris tank lift

 

 

For Big Twin Models such as Dyna, Softail, and Touring bikes... There is a cooling aspect to lifting the tank because the tank is no longer trapping heat, but instead, it is pushing more air across the top of the engine.    The Tank Lift is simply one of many items that work well in cooling your engine. See more ways to cool your Twin Cam or Milwaukee 8 HERE

    

Since air flow is now directed to the engine, this means less air going over the tank and contacting the rider. For most riders, this means there is a noticable reduction in "wind buffeting".  This varies depending on height, helmet, how one sits and other individual variables.

 As an added bonus, more chrome is visible AND It is now easier to clean those chrome rocker boxes!

 

 

 

What size tank lift is best for my bike?

We literally get asked this question on a daily basis. The best answer is, we have no idea. I know, it sucks, but we don’t. Just because “Joe” has a Sportster 48 with Apes and “Frank” has a Sportster 48 with Apes, does not mean that the two inch tank lift will look the same on both. Lots of things factor into the look that you wouldn’t think about, such as the color of the bike, are the mirrors flipped, any other mods that are done, etc.

Also, Harleys are all hand assembled. This leaves plenty of variance in fitment, clearance, and tolerance.

So the question stands, “ How do I know which tank lift to get? ” It’s actually very simple. Since we always suggest that you check for clearance, you take a step back in this process and see what look YOU like on YOUR bike. Here are the steps:

1. With your bike on the kickstand, take the bolt out of the front of the tank.

2. Loosen (do not remove) the bolt at the rear of your tank.

3. Take a towel, or something to that nature, that is soft and won’t damage any kind of paint, and roll it up.

4. Take this roll, and place it between the backbone of the bike and the tank. You can adjust the thickness of this roll to adjust the height between 1", 1.5”, 2”, 2.5”, and 3” (Softails, and Tourings & even a 4" for a Sportster). For Dynas 2”, 2.5”, and 3”.

5. Then, take the handlebars and turn them all the way to the left, then turn them all the way back to the right, this ensures that there are no clearance issues.

By doing this, you are not only able to make sure that you can install the tank lift with no fitment issues, but you can also see the height at which you would like your tank lift.

 

Here is a video from our friends at Granite City Riders, showing the install process and why checking for clearance is important...

 

 

Fitment Options, variables and the Deluxe Option (rear tank lift):

 

In Sportsters, (1995-2003) it is possible that your tank ears have “Rubber Grommets” , if this is the case, please let us know so that we can send the proper brackets to account for the extra length needed to go through those pieces. Also, in Dynas, ( most 2010 and up) have a curve in the tank ear. We also have separate brackets to fit those bikes, so we will need to know if your tank ears have this curve.

2009 and later Touring models that have the 6 gallon tank can only use a 1", 1.5" or 2" Lift. Even with the 2", if the handlebars are pulled back toward the rider at all, there will be a clearance issue. With the DELUXE OPTION you can get a little more room by moving the tank back & leveling it a bit.

The Deluxe option is especially useful on the pre- 2004 Sportsters because the factory rear tank design does not allow the front to be lifted more than 1.5” without this option. SOME 2010 and up Dynas have extra metal on the tank ear that prevents the Deluxe option from fitting.

 

Will a Tank Lift affect my usable fuel capacity?

This is another frequently asked question. Depending on the size of your tank ( 2.1 gallons-6 gallons) and the size tank lift, ( 1", 1.5”, 2”, 2.5”, or 3”), it could possibly reduce your usable capacity by ⅛ to ⅓ of a gallon

However, in the real world, most people do NOT run their tanks until they are dry. Since that is the case there is no practical difference in useable capacity 99% of the time.

With a tank lift your fuel light may come on a bit sooner, but the fuel light acts as a type of “electronic reserve”. Generally there is still a gallon or more of fuel left in the tank when the fuel light comes on.

There are four different fuel gauges on Harleys. Not every model has all of them. 

1. Digital Gauge
2. Analog or mechanical Gauge
3. MTE (miles to empty) read out
4. Fuel light.

The digital and mechanical gauges are notoriously inaccurate. While you can get to know how yours works with time, most use the trip meter to let them know when they are getting near needing to fill up.

In our experience, the MTE (aka Fuel Range) gives a fairly accurate reading. Remember, when it gets down to 10 miles, you still will have approximately 1 gallon of fuel left.

As mentioned above, the Fuel light is a type of “electronic reserve” when it comes on you will still have around a gallon of fuel left in the tank (if it is operating correctly). The way to know for sure is to pull into a gas station as soon as the light comes on. Fill up your tank. If you have a 3.3 gallon tank and you were able to put 2.3 gallons in, then you know that your light comes on with 1 gallon left. Do this a few times to get a feel for it.

One factor that affects all the  most gauges is going up or down a hill, or around a long left hand turn. You can watch your gauges go down even though you have plenty of gas. This is because the fuel gauge float in your tank is on the back left side of the tank. As the level of the gas in the tank is shifted on a hill or in a long sweeper, the gauges will give a false reading until the float is level again.

Important Note: In a long left turn, or a steep hill, the fuel light can come on, even if you have a couple of gallons left. When you level out, it will not go off. Once the fuel light comes on, it will not reset until the ignition is turned off.

These effect are inherent to your motorcycle without a tank lift but adding the Lift kit may compound the effects.

Now, down to what tank lifts do to the usable mileage. A tank lift could cause your fuel light to come on a little sooner than it did without one, and it could show you have less fuel than what you actually do. This is due to where the fuel pickup is located at on your tank. It is already in a sort of odd place, and leaves fuel at the rear of the tank that does not reach the fuel pickup. When you create a higher angle on the tank with a tank lift, it can leave more gas that will not reach the fuel pickup.

The fact of the matter is, for most, this possible loss won’t even be noticeable. This is because the only way you will notice that small of a loss of usable fuel, is if you drain your tank dry before you fill up each time.

**It is worth noting that in 2014+ Harley seems to have gotten the guage right... It is extremely accurate with or without a tank lift.**

 

 

With the front of the tank higher, will this effect the amount of fuel I can put in the bike?

Another misconception about lifting the tank is that it creates a volume of un-used space at the front of tank. On most fuel tanks, there is already an unused "bubble" of air due to the depth of the filler tube. Fuel cannot fill past this recessed filler tube.

 

no tl

 

Notice that changing the angle of the tank does not effect fuel capacity. In Fact, on most models, you can squeeze in a little more.

 

with TL