The gas container described in the paragraphs below was given a real test during a one-day trip to and through, from East to West, the Rocky Mountain National Park just yesterday. Varying elevations from 6,000 to 12,000 feet tested the vapor containment device (a balloon!) and the closure itself with absolutely no liquid or vapor leakage. The trunk of my Spyder was odorless when I pulled into my garage after a full day of riding, over 500 miles! I may have solved the problem with the limited range of my Spyder once and for all! Very happy with this solution.
The first attempt:
One of the things you learn very quickly if you do any serious touring on the Spyder motorcycle is that you have to plan your trip carefully so that there are gas stations available for fill-ups more frequently than other touring class motorcycles. On my 2013 Spyder ST I plan my trips so that there is a gas station available somewhere between 165 and 195 miles between stations. The Spyder does not have any reserve feature on the gas gauge, nor does it have any precise measure of either amount of gasoline left in the tank or miles available from the remaining gasoline. Other bikes I have owned had ranges of 225 – 250 miles per fill up under normal driving conditions, and had some sort of reserve notification capability. Coupled with the limited range of the Spyder is the remoteness of many of the secondary roads and small towns in the Western states where I do most of my touring. The bottom line is that if you ride a Spyder and if you tour on the secondary roads of the Western states you’d better have an emergency supply of gasoline available, particularly if you’re touring by yourself!
My first effort to provide such an emergency gas supply was to search the internet for a gas container that was advertised as both leak (liquid) proof and fumes (vapor) proof. The Reda® brand was advertised as leak proof for gasoline liquid and vapor. Their advertisement was half correct. No liquid leaked when I used their product but the smell of gasoline permeated all items stored in the (front) trunk of the Spyder during my trip to Napa, Ca. last June (2013). It was comforting to know that I had a gallon of spare gas in the trunk but not worth the penalty of having all other items stored in that same trunk reeking with the smell of gasoline!
The Reda gas container is shown in the picture below:
I should say in defense of Reda that the significant changes in altitude during my touring is the primary reason for the dramatic changes in air pressure that is causing the gasoline vapor inside the Reda container to escape into the trunk of my Spyder. That same air pressure will ‘crush’ a half-filled water bottle as I travel (in my Jeep) from a favorite ski resort in the mountains to the West back to my home in Colorado Springs.
In addition to the leakage of gasoline vapor there were three additional problems with the Reda gas container, one minor, but two were more serious. The minor problem is the shape of the Reda gas container. It is specifically designed to fit snugly into the rear of the Harley Davidson Road King style saddlebag, a shape that will fit, but does not fit well into the front trunk of the Spyder. The second, and much more serious problem, is that the pouring and flow control spout of the Reda container fits inside the container during transport. It is therefore immersed in gasoline so that there is no way to remove the spout, connect that spout to the container for pouring and the pouring itself, without getting gasoline all over your hands or, worse yet, soaking your expensive insulated or heated gloves with gasoline. The third problem is the mechanism for opening the valve to be able to actually pour the gasoline is also soaked in gasoline, difficult to manipulate open and maintain open if ‘dry’ runs have not been practiced before actual use. Even with these issues I did use the Reda gas container to hold a precious gallon of emergency gasoline during my first two long touring trips on my Spyder. Thankfully, I didn’t have to use it on either trip!
A second effort:
The challenge then became one of finding a container that would solve all of the problems experienced with the Reda gas container. It could not leak either the liquid or the vapor form of gasoline. The pouring spout would have to be mounted on the outside of the container so that the spout was not dripping with gasoline during its assembly to the container for pouring. Its shape would need to be more conducive to storing in the (front) trunk compartment of the Spyder, rectangular, fitting into the bottom of that compartment. Conveniently, now all other items that are necessary for my long touring trips are carried in a small, pull-behind trailer specifically designed and painted to match the Spyder ST.
I purchased 1.25 gallon ‘No-Spill’ gas container that, with a modification, has solved all of the problems with the Reda. First, it was rectangular in shape with the bottom dimensions fitting perfectly into the bottom shape of the trunk of the Spyder. Second, the spout, with both on/off control and pouring tube, was mounted onto the outside fill opening of the container, with a rubber gasket to prevent liquid from leaking. The only problem the No-Spill container did not solve was the leaking of gasoline vapor, i.e. fumes, when changes in altitude occurred. That problem has been solved by making a modification to the container.
Vapor Escape Control
My solution to eliminating the escape of gasoline vapor from the filled gas container was to provide a place for the vapor to be contained as the amount of vapor increased or decreased with changes in altitude. The picture below shows the 1.25 gallon No-Spill container with the modification.
Note that there is a straight fitting screwed into a threaded hole in the top of the container which is also further sealed with PVC cement. The balloon attached to the top of the hose adapter fitting provides a place for the expanding gas to go, and be contained, as altitude changes during a ride.
The only problems experienced thus far with the use of this modified container is that it is small, holding slightly more than a gallon of gasoline, that the short spout makes it difficult to reach the tank opening under the seat and that as the gasoline ‘sloshes around’ during travel some liquid does make its way up into and out of the straight tube into the balloon where it either seeps out around the balloon neck and the fitting, or it will penetrate the thin rubber balloon itself over time, with a resulting leak of either liquid or vapor.
Improved No-Leak Container Modifications
Increase in Container Size:
There is a No-Leak brand gas container in a 2.5 gallon size with the same bottom dimensions as the 1.25 gallon container, just taller. It fits perfectly onto the bottom of the Spyder trunk, but more importantly this taller container with its external flow control and spout fits well underneath the lid of the trunk. The larger size allows carrying a bit less than the rated 2.5 gallon size of the container leaving some room at the top of the container to help prevent sloshing into the vapor containment modification.
The several components of the modification to this larger gas container are shown in the image below:
The straight fitting with threaded and compression ends has been replaced with a 90 degree fitting for this larger container. This shape was chosen to reduce the height of the fitting using as little vertical room in the trunk as possible. The fitting will be oriented so that the balloon and fitting are pointed in the opposite direction as the pouring spout (during use).
In addition to the fitting threaded, screwed and glued into the top of the gas container a straight, threaded fitting will be added to the underside of the 90 degree fitting, actually inside the tank. This second PVC threaded fitting will extend the length of the first fitting well below the underside of the top of the container so that sloshing gasoline will be less likely to find its way into the elongated fitting, and up into and out of the container into the balloon.
The nozzle of the pouring spout is long enough for most applications but it is too short to extend under the seat of the Spyder to reach the fill opening of the tank so an extension of 7/8” ID vinyl hose from 6-12” (determine the actual length through trial and error with an empty container) in length is attached (securely, with a hose clamp) to the end of the pour spout. This provides a spill-proof method of reaching the fill opening of the Spyder tank without spilling gasoline in the process. The Open-Close button of the No-Leak container facilitates a leak free filling operation.
The several milestones in the process of modifying this larger No-Leak container are described in the following paragraphs.
The drill bit used to drill the hole to be threaded in the top of the gas container is shown below:
This drill bit is used to drill the hole in the top of the gas container. Note that the bits of plastic must be carefully cleaned from both the inside and outside of the container after the drilling is completed.
The threaded metal pipe is used as a tap to thread the hold drilled into the top of the container. Note the filed, slanted cuts at an angle to the threads that support the threading process.
The threaded pipe, carefully turned using vice-grips, is used to create the threaded hole in the container top.
The elbow is screwed into the threaded hole after applying PVC cement, with the compression end pointing to the opposite side of the container.
The control and pouring spout of the gas container has an extension added to provide ease of filling of gas tank fill opening of tank of Spyder under seat of bike. This extension came from another gas container but a 7/8” ID vinyl tubing could also be used.
A straight, threaded coupling has been screwed onto the threaded elbow that extends inside the container to decrease the opportunity for gasoline to slosh into up into the venting elbow during normal riding.
The final assembly of the modification to the No-Spill gas container to prevent gasoline fumes from escaping the container is show in the image below:
This modified gas container will hold sufficient emergency gasoline for my touring without leaking either liquid or vaporized gasoline.