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In a silly move during an engine overhaul, I dropped my Honda Rebel's fuel tank and put a dent in the top side.

Is it possible to pull this dent out? I've heard there is a method using heat and ice to cause the metal to contract back into its original position, but the only time I've ever seen it used it was a total failure.

Here's an image of what I'm working with:

enter image description here

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The right side looks like it has a small crease. You may be able to get it to look better but I don't think it will be perfect without some filling and painting. You can try covering the filler opening with some heavyduty plastic and installing the gascap. Hook the fuel outlet up to an air compressor. Gradually increase the pressure to see if the dent will pop out. I wouldn't let the pressure go any higher 35-40 psi. I am not sure what the burst pressure rating of a gas tank is, but I wouldn't go much higher. I know that some bodyshops have a paintless dent remover. A short stem is glued to the paint and a dent puller attaches to the stem. The glue is heated and the stem removed when it is finished.

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There are a few ways to resolve this dent issue.

Method 1

glue these plastic ding tabs to the gas tank. You can find them by googling "plastic ding tab"

You will use a hot glue gun and hot glue them to your gas tank. enter image description here

Use a dent puller slide hammer. The tip should screw into the plastic ding pullers.

enter image description here

Pull the weight of the slide hammer to the bottom towards the gas tank and give it a good pull. When the sliding weight hits the stop at the end of the hammer the transferred energy will pull onto the glued tab and pull the dent out.

You may need to repeat the operation a few times to get the way it needs to be.

Method 2

This isn't very elegant but I have used compressed air by sealing the top of the gastank, removing the petcock and blocking off any cracks. I use one of the two screw holes for the petcock to insert a rubber tipped air gun and charge the gas tank up.

It CAN ruin the tank if you over fill with air pressure. You can set the regulator on the compressor to only give you 30psi to start and work your way up in 5psi increments until the dent pops.

Good luck

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Given you have such easy access to the inside of the tank, you might try pushing the dent out from the inside with a lever-type tool.

Here's a video of one such tool and some of the technique.

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I think I'll give this a try tonight. The metal the tank is made of is fairly thick, would heating that spot to make it a bit softer compromise the tank? There's no fuel in it. – BrMcMullin Dec 13 '12 at 19:27
    
If it were me, I'd try without heat first. You're going to cook your paint before the metal softens enough to make a difference. – mac Dec 14 '12 at 14:28
1  
Actually, you want a little heat from something like a hairdryer to ensure that the paint softens a little and doesn't crack when the dent is pushed out. The dent might be a little bit too big for the paint to escape unscathed, though. – Timo Geusch Dec 14 '12 at 15:59

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