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Fuel filters

September 5, 2011

There is bad stuff lurking in the bottom of our gas tanks.  Dirt, grit, old solder and various types of tank liners.  This big chunk of liner was bouncing around inside the Rudge tank this weekend.  About 9” long and fully 3/8” thick in some places.  I don’t know what brand of liner it is, a previous owner put it in there at least 12 years ago.  But it came loose.  Likely it was due to the new high levels of ethanol in our fuel.  I’ve been told that we shouldn’t call it gasoline, since it has so many other chemical ingredients.  But it is what it is, and we have to use it.  So to prevent some of that stuff from clogging up the old Senspray carb, a fuel filter is a good idea.  But the almost 90 year old fuel tap is in great shape, and I didn’t want to swap it out for a modern ugly one. It was simple to cut the filter screen from a spare tap and safety wire it onto a small stub of copper tubing that was pressed into the tap, suitably bored to fit via a small drill bit.

Give it a try, your carb will be happier.



An old style fuel tap.  These were used from the steam era until the 1930s or so.  They use a tapered cone that goes across the body and is rotated by the handle.  Since it is a metal on metal seal, there are no corks to dry out and leak. And it is simple to grind in the seat if needed with a smidge of valve grinding compound.



Modern ugly fuel tap, with a copper mesh screen.  These look wrong for old bikes, but worse than that, they don’t work!  I bought some for the wife’s Velo, and they leaked within the first week that they had fuel in them.  I checked with the local supplier and he said “yep, they do that”  I didn’t bother to ask him why he sells them, but made a mental note to avoid his shop from now on… 



The 1925 tap on the Rudge, with a mesh filter that I installed.  This one might be made from Rotherhams, or maybe Enots.  I didn’t see any makers marks.   I just drilled the top of the tap body to receive a short bit of copper tubing (1/4” if I remember correctly).  Pressed in the tubing, then safety wired the mesh into place.  Soldering would work to attach the mesh, but I figured that I would make a mess of the soldering.



Enjoy the rest of the riding season!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Abbott permalink
    September 6, 2011 9:00 am

    Pete: I found brand new Ewarts taps. They are the same taps as used on SeaGull outboard motors and there is a dealer right near you. They are the cylindrical push off, pull on type.

    Jim A., Tucson, AZ

    • September 6, 2011 9:34 am

      Hi Jim. thanks for the lead. Those are good for 1930’s and later bikes, but I like the tapered type of taps for my early bikes.

  2. September 6, 2011 1:57 pm

    hey pete, been having same problems here with liners…yep those ethanol fuels are eating through them….one mate had an old fibreglass flattrack tank seat combo on his triumph and it went through the liner and through the fibreglass….he was not happy….

    ive been running fuel filters on all my bikes…nice tip on maintaining the aesthetics of the original tap…..


  3. September 7, 2011 7:18 pm

    I don’t think it’s the ethanol, more likely all the additives like injector cleaner, benzene,and a host of nastiness. Ethanol is quite harmless…Mike

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