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Discussion Starter #1
The side tank panels are secured in by a few bolts.
I have one that is stuck, NOT the bolt itself, but the brass receiving female seating that is incorporated into the tank. When I turn the torx 20 bolt head the whole thing just turns, bolt and seating underneath.
Running farkles to the front of the bike, I've been under there numerous times and make every attempt to not be ham-fisted.

I have tried
-slipping a thin screwdriver underneath the grey plastic tab and turning the bolt head
-grabbing the bolt head with a pliers and pulling up/out
-rapping the bolt head with a well-placed hammer strike
-trying to squirt some wd-40 beside the bolt head hoping it will find its way to the threads???

None of this worked

I've seen similar issues on both the Yamaha and Aprilia forums and there are no good solutions. One remedy included cutting the tab with the offending bolt, and then drilling out the bolt. That could be done with this bolt, but really?
I don't know if the bolt is seized in the threads, or the attachemnt of the seating to the tank failed or some combo of both...and I did not overtighten, I don't think.
Before I am forced to cut an opening medially to slide the tab out from under the bolt or surgically amputate the tab, any wisdom from y'all?
It is this bolt. and TIA
 

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Gordo 2018 1200 GSA
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There are a couple of thing I would look at.
If the female nut is spinning, can it be pulled out of its housing? Or pulled up enough to get some pliers in to grab it?

You can cut the tab, but will only allow you to take the panel off and you will have to make another tab....but still have the original problem.

You could try pushing down with mild pressure rather than lifting, pushing down might hold the female nut better by forcing down into its housing.

If you can loosen it a few threads you might be able to get a drop of glue onto the nut, just enough to hold it in place to get the bolt out.

As a last resort you could Use a dremel to grind the top of the bolt and then glue the female brass nut in with epoxy or similar and the drill out the bolt. You would obviously have to source a new bolt (eBay or local BMW workshop)

If you don’t have a dremel you could use some files or an angle grinder (I would use an angle grinder myself because it is too big).

My two cents worth, good luck.
Gordo
 

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Can you post a picture of the female fitting on the other side of the bike, so we can get a better idea of what that bolt is seized into?

Can you get a screwdriver, or better, a forked pry bar, between the panel and the tank, and pull the brass insert out of the tank with the panel? Then you could chuck it up in a vise and probably break the bolt loose.

Figure at this point that the hole in the tank is stripped. What's the tank made of? Polyethylene? Nylon? This will determine what kind of adhesive (if any will work) you could use to install a new brass insert.

I hate fittings like this, by the way--they always seem to corrode and seize in this manner. When I encounter one, I always make a point of putting anti-seize on the bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick responses! Much appreciated to have other eyes on it.

If the female nut is spinning, can it be pulled out of its housing? Or pulled up enough to get some pliers in to grab it?
That's the problem...no, I cannot access it because everything is attached, ie, male bolt->tab from side trim-> female encased-in-tank nut, IOW no access to it.

You could try pushing down with mild pressure rather than lifting, pushing down might hold the female nut better by forcing down into its housing.
just tried that, no joy, still spinning underneath the tab, feels like little to no grip at all

I cannot loosen the bolt at all or in any way access the nut underneath the tab. It fits very well (German engineering, but gone awry). The tab is so flush to the tank that I can barely insert a single edge razor blade under the tab.

As a last resort you could Use a dremel to grind the top of the bolt and then glue the female brass nut in with epoxy or similar and the drill out the bolt. You would obviously have to source a new bolt
You mean grind away the head of the bolt completely, leaving the shaft inserted? I think I would rather cut a slot in the tab so I could then slide out the side trim, have the bolt head still attached and try to remove it and the recessed-in-the-tank female nut in one piece. I would have the head of the bolt to grab with a vice-grip or similar. I planned on re-seating it using epoxy, JB Weld, something like that. I feel pretty certain I could find a similar bolt, prob a hex head button cap bolt at a hardware store or Home Depot, Lowes etc. I do have a Dremel. On the Aprilia forum someone tried to Dremel or drill the head away and remarked how tough the material was.

Can you get a screwdriver, or better, a forked pry bar, between the panel and the tank, and pull the brass insert out of the tank with the panel? Then you could chuck it up in a vise and probably break the bolt loose.
It is really close fitting, a tiny flat blade screwdriver barely can get purchase...a razor blade is a very tight squeeze. The tank appears to be some sort of plastic, and risking damaging the tank is not something I want to risk by wedging something in and levering it.

I'm afraid cutting a slot and sliding the tab outward then addressing the bolt/fastener somehow may be the least damaging course????

This is what piece is spinning (from the other side) shown by the red arrow. The green lines on the other side, the offending side, shows where I would try to make the slotted cuts of the tab. I think thw side panel would still be very secure by putting a washer under the new bolt head, reinforcing the slotted tab.
 

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Survivor
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You may be able to cut a slot in the end of the tab where the plastic is at its narrowest. If this can be done, then you may be able to slide the tab out. Given the tight tolerances you described this approach may be difficult.
 

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Like Gordo said,can the female piece be pulled up with the complete panel if all other fasteners are off ? What’s holding it in if it’s spinning freely ? Maybe gently pried up all together?
 

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If you take your Dremel and cut through the flange on the bolt head closer to the bolt body, you can perhaps save more of your flange. Just don't let the bolt head get hot enough to melt the plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
again, thanks for the suggestions, appreciate the help

You may be able to cut a slot in the end of the tab where the plastic is at its narrowest. If this can be done, then you may be able to slide the tab out. Given the tight tolerances you described this approach may be difficult.
Right, that is what I was trying to describe above and with the green lines on the previous picture

Have you called the BMW dealer for a suggestion. Surely they've had this come up more than once.
Not yet. The "backstory" is that this has been this way for a while. I am addressing it now because I am in mid install of an accessory brake light, using the JetSpeed mod of a Whelen TIR3 lighthead and the Skene IQ-260 Controller (I was sent I think a defective one, it looks traumatized out the pkg and seems to be non-operational). Since I had the bike apart, and frustrated by the lack of progress, I went to the bolt and fastener in question and posted the problem. I may wait on the surgical approach until Tuesday when they open again. I was planning on bringing it to them, but just hadn't yet. Right, though, agree with your comment.

Like Gordo said,can the female piece be pulled up with the complete panel if all other fasteners are off ? What’s holding it in if it’s spinning freely ? Maybe gently pried up all together?
I tried pulling it up with all the other bolts off...no go, and I was afraid I would break the tab. I don't know why it is not just slipping out of its seating, unless there is some circumferential ridge on the female fastener that will hold it IN while allowing it to slip, like a tongue in groove.

If you take your Dremel and cut through the flange on the bolt head closer to the bolt body, you can perhaps save more of your flange. Just don't let the bolt head get hot enough to melt the plastic.
You mean like where I have drawn the yellow line? Thus saving a lot of the bolt to grab, to try to extract the whole she-bang, ie, the bolt and female seating? IOW, cut the bolt head so that now it is a half moon shape, no longer round...cut the tab to allow the tab to be slid away from under the bolt head...try to pull it out en masse as a bolt and nut?
Yeah, It could be where I am. The downside of that approach is sparks flying near the gas tank. I think I would get a wet towel and drape it over the tank and position the Dremel so that sparks will fly toward the rear and a well positioned fan, from the rear blowing fumes away from the sparks.
 

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Could you drill out the fastener, then replace the brass insert with a new one? If that's not an option (I've not looked up the parts schematics to see if it is), you could drill it out a little more then thread in a helicoil insert?

I'd dremel off the head of the fastener myself, then remove the plastics, try to epoxy in the brass female part and drill/reverse drill out the fastener nub (if I couldn't get it out with vice grips or something). Then I just would have to get a new fastener for a couple of bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Any way to squirt some superglue around the edge of the fitting nut?
maybe, but moot now..and it would have been absolutely impossible with the tab in place

Could you drill out the fastener, then replace the brass insert with a new one? If that's not an option (I've not looked up the parts schematics to see if it is), you could drill it out a little more then thread in a helicoil insert?
no, couldn't so that. That nut does not appear in the parts fiche, at least I couldn't find it.

I'd dremel off the head of the fastener myself, then remove the plastics, try to epoxy in the brass female part and drill/reverse drill out the fastener nub (if I couldn't get it out with vice grips or something). Then I just would have to get a new fastener for a couple of bucks.
I could barely get a razor blade under the bolt head, a Dremel cutting wheel--no chance. The was no removable plastic surrounding the insert, that's the gas tank. And if I tried to drill it out it would just spin with the drill as it did with the the bolt in place. As far as replacing the brass insert, it was most likely that it was the plastic of the tank that failed, not the burrs on the insert.

So, I posted the question over on advrider and Jim VonBaden saw it and replied.

He thought cutting the plastic tab was the likely solution, pointing out there are a few other screws holding the side trim on securely.
He cautioned against drilling against the tank because it is thin. And it's over $1000.
Another inmate said he had the same issue and cut the sides off the bolt head, cut a notch in the tab and uses the now T-shaped bolt as a quick release and says it works fine.

I modified that technique a bit as suggested by judgedelta here, cut one side of the bolt head off. Now able to get to the tab, no longer in the shadow of the bolt head, I cut a notch out with a razor blade, cleaned it up, touched up the scratches in the tab, and it works fine. The tab slides pretty easily around and away from the bolt post.

With the tab off to the side I did try to extract the bolt and seating nut and I could not get it to bulge, and as I was trying I could see the tank flexing. Not wishing to make a working solution into a much larger, possibly very expensive, project I went with "The enemy of good is better." JVB did suggest, if I were able to get the insert out, to use "ABS adhesive." Again, I was not able to extract the insert.

I want to really thank everyone for jumping in with thoughtful solutions.

John
 

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Here's what you are looking at, or actually not able to look at. It's called a nutsert

https://www.lawsonproducts.com/pdfs/PIRFS_Nutserts_PI.pdf

This is one of those great ideas, until it isn't. BMW probably uses a different branded nutsert but they are probably all about the same. Sometimes a call to someone like Lawson will yield an actual helpful engineer with a solution.

Barring a magic bullet I would slot the faring tab and slide it out, and back in when finished underneath. You are most correct in going overboard protecting the tank from sparks/heat. 1 cup of atomized gasoline has the same "go" power as a stick of dynamite.
 

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"I could barely get a razor blade under the bolt head, a Dremel cutting wheel--no chance. The was no removable plastic surrounding the insert, that's the gas tank."

Glad you found a fix that worked for you - I don't think you were picking up what I was putting down based on that reply. I wasn't suggesting you dremel the head off of the bolt from under the tab - but grinding down the entire head of the bolt above the tab, then removing it that way. That's the route I would have gone, then epoxied the brass back into the plastic, and replaced the bolt with an OEM. Still - your way works for you. Do you worry about the notched bolt head rotating while riding and the plastic sliding off if it gets hooked on pants or who knows what and bending/breaking, or is it pretty securely fastened as it is now?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
snip ... I don't think you were picking up what I was putting down based on that reply. I wasn't suggesting you dremel the head off of the bolt from under the tab - but grinding down the entire head of the bolt above the tab, then removing it that way. That's the route I would have gone, then epoxied the brass back into the plastic, and replaced the bolt with an OEM. Still - your way works for you. Do you worry about the notched bolt head rotating while riding and the plastic sliding off if it gets hooked on pants or who knows what and bending/breaking, or is it pretty securely fastened as it is now?
Hey, Sed8r,
Sorry, if I missed your point, and at this point it's moot, but, cutting down the head of the bolt, if I am reading you right, down to the bolt shaft, would have prevented using the bolt head as I now am, as a quick release, and necessitated "for real" getting the bolt out. The arrangement I am using allows for security of the panel without a trip to the dealer or the hardware store. And it invisibly works.

To be clear that brass insert nut--the "nutsert" referenced by Crucian above was NOT coming out, resisting all my attempts at pushing, pulling, levering, wd-40 etc. It was IN and spinning freely (but "secure"). Also, note that the nutserts have differing methods of attaching to the tank's plastic, so I was afraid that aggressive pulling on it might be opening a Pandora's Box of problems. My preference was to get it out and reinsert it with some epoxy--as you suggest, but complications of the cure were worse than the disease.

I tried to get it out, but prudence said, "Stop!"

The panel is secure even without the bolt; there are, I think, 4 other bolts holing it down, and the offending bolt is covered by other trim, IOW no posiibility of snagging any part of me. Also, I do not worry about it rotating for a couple of reasons: first, the nutsert is in-it's not going to slip out. second, there is a lot of bolt head left, and there is no sweet spot of the bolt head rotation, or enough play in the trim to allow it coming loose without active intent.

With all of that said, I will admit that this particular bolt is in a Goldilocks zone that allows the approach I used. I think there are other bolts on the bike that would NOT allow my approach because of the issues you raised, but for this one it is fine, I think.

Thanks for the input!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Others have had this problem. Using the "search" feature I found this thread and others. https://www.r1200gs.info/forum/14-maintenance-modifications/47181-tank-fitting-repair.html
YES! I did do a search, here and on google and didn't see this -- and I'm glad I didn't :smile2:
I did find similar on the Yamaha and Aprilia forums, but not here.

From a headache and PITA perspective, and with the particular bolt involved, I like my far simpler solution. Admittedly it works in my case, but may not in others. And JVB replied that the plastic was "thin" so...

Anyway, Rick, thanks for the find! And just now I tried googling here and online "Tank fitting repair" and still did not pull this up. Maybe my ISP is just di-king me around.
 
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