Article By: Tyler Malinky
Originally Published In The August 2011 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
A stock style horseshoe oil tank is a timeless classic and looks good on stock bikes as well as choppers. When running a custom rear fender you have to fabricate rear oil tank mounts, as with a stock setup the rear oil tank mount bolts to the fender. If you want to run a narrower fender, or a different size rear wheel and want to keep your fender following the profile of your tire, you need to fab some custom mounts. I ran into just this issue when building my ‘59 Pan in a repop ‘52 rigid frame.
Note that I did replace the curved upper crossmember with a straight one because the one on my new frame was way crooked from the factory! This style oil tank (pictured Left) mounts will work with either style crossmember. H-D oil tanks from 1958 to 1964 have upper tabs on them that work perfectly to make custom mounts. The pre-58 tanks however, do not have these tabs and won’t work with this mounting method.
If you want to run the earlier style tank without the upper tabs, you could also fabricate a lower support bracket to go from the bottom oil tank mounting holes down to the rear of your trans mounting plate. I used some of our Lowbrow finger rubber mount tabs that have a stainless steel spacer / washer and a rubber isolator grommet. They are 1/4” thick mild steel, easy to weld and more than beefy enough to withstand a rigid ride.
The military spec grommet compresses down nice and tight for a totally solid mount. By utilizing the stock front oil tank mount on the seatpost and welding these tabs in place it rigidly mounts the oil tank and keeps a very clean, finished look.