Sportster Fuel Tank

Q: Hello, first off let me say how much I enjoy watching the videos,they are very well thought out and easy to follow. I recently made a few modifications to my 2013 Sportster ’72. They are a 2 1/2 tank lift and a ignition and coil relocation. It seems to have turned out pretty well, at least I’m satisfied. BUT, the fuel tank is already small at 2.1 gallons of fuel. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Before the tank lift I was getting about 100 miles to a tank, now with the lift that has dropped of to around 80-85 miles.. Is their a solution to this other than removing the tank lift or replacing the tank? I was expecting this change but went ahead with the mod anyway. I must say the bike Looks really good now so I’m hoping for a solution please help. I was thinking maybe something to do with the fuel pump. It seems there has got to be a way to get more fuel out of the tank.

A: Really, there is nothing you can do to compensate for the altered pitch of your Sportster fuel tank. Your stock HD fuel tank is far superior than any aftermarket tanks out there. Trying to re-engineer, or tamper with the location of your fuel pump assembly is asking for trouble. Yes, I did “know where you were going with this”. I was trying not to – but you forced me into saying it—-
Probably best to appreciate the new, custom look and just deal with the 15 mile loss.

Related Videos:
Harley-Davidson® Upgrades: Spark Plugs, Coils and Wires
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18 Responses to “Sportster Fuel Tank”
  1. Dan

    Hi I have a 1994 Heritage Soft tail and I want to replace the fuel tank as it has started to rust internally and I need to take it with the new one to be painted the same color.My question is how do I remove the fuel tank from the bike .Thanks for your help

  2. Bill

    Dan: Have a 2004 Dyna Lowrider. I`m replacing the tank with an aftermarket replacement tank. The new tank has a different gas seal cover than mine. How many styles are there in this tank. Bill

    • Customer Service Techs
      Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Bill. I don’t really understand the question. By “gas seal”, do you mean gas cap? Almost doesn’t matter. Any after market tank you can find is junk compared to Harley’s stock tank. We don’t know why an aftermarket tank is being used here, but we can assure you that you are wasting your time and will be sadly disappointed.

  3. Kevin Cole
    Kevin Cole

    I have a 2013 72 Sportster and love it. I was thinking about going to a bigger tank. Don’t Harley-Davidson have a larger peanut tank for this bike. If I got it would I need a conversion kit ?

    • Dennis Santopietro
      Dennis Santopietro

      Kevin, You’ll have to check with the dealer and look at

    • Harley Serafini
      Harley Serafini

      I have a ‘15 seventy-two with a 1200C tank. It was bought like this, but I have not found any modifications, only swap. Looks better if you ask me, and I can go farther. However, if your into raising the tank you will run into space issues. Unless of course you raise it above the frame.

  4. Len

    Why buy the 72 just to change the design that makes this model unique? FMH is right when you customize you compromise, but the question is was this a customization that should have been done?

  5. Angelo

    Apologies if I shouldn’t latch on to a posting with a somewhat unrelated question but here goes:-
    I also ride a completely standard sportster 72 2012.
    my best consumption on a tank is 85miles. Normally between 82 and 85.
    I’m the first owner and bike has been on the road for 12 months since June 2014. Has 6000 miles.

    Do you think i may have a Problem?
    The previous posting and others on other sites that i have followed suggest 100 miles to be the avg.
    i know 15 miles is not much, but on this small tank would make a big difference to me.

    tks… Angelo

    • Customer Service Techs
      Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Angelo. We’ve heard a lot of complaints about this. People seem to tell us that they get between 80 and 100 miles out of one tank full. Only thing you can do is run premium fuel; 93 octane. All riders should be, regardless of make and model. Some riders opt to move up to a larger style XL tank. Any performance upgrades will also lower your mpg.

  6. Cody

    I’ve got a 2016 sportster 72, can I remove the cat/baffle in the factory mufflers without hurting the bike? There are zero modifications done to the bike as it sets I’m just looking for a louder exhaust just not trying to spend a ton on pipes

  7. Bill Conroy
    Bill Conroy

    Guys, Just got a 98 Sporty after riding bigger bikes for many years. I will be putting on a five gallon tank and a spring loaded solo saddle so I can ride all day long like I used to and enjoy it on this smaller bike. What pitfalls should I look for? I know, “customize, compromise” but I am tired of stopping for gas 3 times a day and my butts numb when I get home. I’m retiring soon and money dictates that this bike is it!

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Bill. A lot of seats, like the one that you describe, only look cool. When riding, you find yourself trying to hold yourself forward so you don’t slip off the back.
      There are no good aftermarket fuel tanks for XLs. Make sure you have the inside lined before it goes out for paint and, then just hope that welds don’t crack.

  8. Michael cholewa
    Michael cholewa

    I’m in the process of rebuilding an ’05 XL883L (carbureted). I’ve found a beautiful ’09 (EFI) tank I’d like to purchase. Is there any place I can purchase just the Fuel pump assembly bottom plate that mounts to the bottom of the tank? I don’t want to have to purchase the entire assembly just for that plate. This part doesn’t seem to have a part #. Any other suggestions on how to mod an EFI tank to work w/a carbureted bike? Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions you may have!

  9. CCColeman

    There is a solution to keep the look of the bike and return your MPG back to stock. Buy a King Peanut tank that is 3.3(?). Match up the paint and Wa-Lah you’ll be back to normal. With the EFI Tank Lifts someone should have come up with a solution to also lift the rear of the tank so the fuel hanging out in the rear bog end of the tank can be used.