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Iron Butt Association
April 16, 2014
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Auxillary Fuel Systems

In addition to the list of manufacturers of approved auxiliary fuel tanks in the IBA rules, there is a footnote in the IBA Rules that says, "Other manufacturer's cells may also be acceptable. Please call us with the details and we will try and get them certified for use as quickly as possible." There are many, many aux tanks in that category, including a rear-mounted K1200LT aluminum tank design that Kevin Chase builds, and custom aux cell applications by BLM-Accessories.

If you want to get a custom tank approved by IBA, you basically have to get Dale Wilson (IBA Chief Inspector) or Tom Austin (IBA Technical Advisor) to inspect it. If it's fabricated from steel or aluminum, we are basically going to be looking for adequate wall thickness (i.e., no flexing under thumb pressure); adequate looking welds that appear leak-free; a robust mounting system that appears to be sufficient to restrain the tank during an accident; a venting system that does not appear likely to expell liquid fuel onto the exhaust system when the bike is parked in the sun or tipped over; securely attached ports for fuel lines and vents; secure connections for all fuel and vent lines, and a securely mounted gas cap. If it's a system that contains a bladder, we will allow a somewhat flexible metal enclosure. If it's a fiberglass tank, we may do a lot of tugging on the fittings attached to it to make sure they are secure.

Before a list of approved tanks is posted for use by other rallies, there will probably be an amendment to the IBA rule language to delete the reference to the tanks being "certified". Proof that a custom tank will be "safe" requires far more comprehensive testing than is practical for the IBA to do. No Original Equipment Manufacturer would release a new fuel tank without destructive testing (e.g., deliberately crashing the bike with the tank attached). Obviously, The IBA can not do that. Our inspection of a custom tank is therefore limited to identifying obvious defects that we think make the tank unsafe.

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