Advice needed about my FF restoration

I’ve just acquired an ‘86 VF1000FF. I’ve stripped her down so I could get the frame powder coated. Overall, the bits seem to be all there and in reasonable shape.
My immediate problem is that the fuel tank cannot be open by the supplied keys, although these work on the ignition and helmet locks.
The tank is in good shape on the outside but as I cannot unlock the cap, I haven’t seen inside yet. The tank has quite a bit of fuel still inside but switching the fuel tap to on doesn’t cause the fuel to come out.
Really I have several related problems

  1. How to unlock or remove the fuel cap
  2. what to do about getting a key for the cap
  3. Why won’t the fuel drain out of the tank when the tap is turned ‘on’
    Two other issues are, where to obtain replacement red VF1000F graphics for the seat side panels and the rear stripe and red HONDA logo on the seat cowl. My bike is in red over grey silver.
    I believe that one of the radiators may be leaking, although this may have been replaced. If not, does anyone have one for sale? I will get around to testing the ones with the bike this week, so I’ll soon know which rad has the leak.
    All info gratefully received thanks

Hi, where are you located? as for the tank the fuel caps seize up, have you tried spraying wd40 into the key hole then push down on the cap to take any pressure off the mechanism and waggling key around in lock. This worked for me. Regarding the fuel not coming out, there is an internal filter in the tank and also some small bore pipes that get blocked. Attach a length of pipe to the outlet tube and blow hard down pipe till you hear air bubbling into tank, try in reserve position first. Again this worked for me. I got a set of decals for my RE from ebay for £60 dont know if they do FF ones but if you are in uk search ebay for decals and its the only uk based seller, they’re excellent quality.
Good luck!


1 Like

Hi Gary
I’m in Crawley near Gatwick. How about you?
I did try blowing up the outlet pipe but maybe I should have done so with a bit more oomph and your idea of trying this in each tap setting is a good idea.
I did WD the cap and I’m fairly certain that it is on a different key to the ignition but again, in view of your good advice I’ll try this again too.
I really appreciate your help.
Dave L

Hi dave I’m in Liverpool, a couple of the club live around the leeds area and thare are a few in Scotland, these are the ones I’ve met but I’ve seen posts from members in norfolk as well so there may be some by you also. Any info you need you will be able to get from here also quite a few parts though ebay is not too bad just look for a few weeks before buying as some people ask silly money for parts but if you are patient they usually come along at a reasonable price. The petrol cap lock is pretty crap and if the key fits in the lock it will usually open it with a bit of waggling. Good luck with restoration and hope to see you on one of the ride outs or stafford show, the Scottish tour in may this year was fantastic, great roads company and beer!


hi dave,
try this firm for the decals,
they do the decals for the vf1000f2, which are the same as yours other than the 2 which you would loose,
the red stripe on the seat unit is sprayed on with a grey pinstripe around the edge, the colour is candy alamoana red and available from RS bike paints, the grey pinstripe should be available from any graphics/printers.

getting the locked fuel cap off is a nightmare, ive tried just about everything from, going in from the fuel sender unit underneath the tank with long forceps to try squeeze the lock prongs in, to removing the black outer cover to try get to the hinge pin, in all honesty I would say, if ones available on ebay,buy it, then drill or force the lock with a screwdriver. if you do manage to get it open without destroying it, the key number is stamped on the underside of the hinge bracket, most good locksmiths can cut the key from this code.

no flow from the fuel tank could be either rust/silt blocking the internal filters or, the air hole in the filler cap blocked.

Thanks Pete, that’s very useful info.
I did see a clip on YouTube where someone drilled a smallish hole in the cap that released the lock, so I might try that. As you say, it might be the best option to get a working replacement With it’s key!
Once I can take a look inside, it should be fairly clear how much crud has built up. has been on SORN since 2005, so I’m expecting the worst.
Thanks also for the info on the graphics - that is a good steer.
I appreciate your help mate. Thanks

When she is finally up and running,I will definitely take her up to Stafford and I look forward to hooking up with you and any other group members that may be about.
All the best
PS I expect I’ll be picking your brains again over the neat few weeks (months!!!).

I ended up having to take off the fuel tap handle and revealed loads of crystalised crap from the tank. Blowing back the line might clear it temporarily, but I i had to use a vacuum pump to extract it all and flush the tank.

There’s a thread on here about it.

Good luck, glad to hear you are running.

Quick update
Managed to get the filler cap off, after using a load of WD40. When the lock started to loosen a bit I used the key to work it for quite a while. I had the sense that the key want quite as far in as it needed to be OR maybe the cap spring wasn’t moving as much as it needed to. Anyway a couple of taps with a rubber mallet and bingo, she was free!
I was surprised to find that instead of a gallon or do of ancient petrol, there was actually the same quantity of some kind of detergent inside. Obviously, one of the previous owners had started to clean the tank. What came out was a lot like strong coffee in colour.
After flushing it out with the hose and pressure washer, what I could see if the inside looked reasonably clean but some rust flakes were also evident.
Now I have filled the tank with hot water and Soda chrystals and set up an anode attached to the battery charger. This is bubbling away quite nicely now and hopefully by tonight the tank will be in good shape on the inside. The cap also looks pretty good but the rubber seal isn’t too clever. I’ve seen one on eBay but it’s from the States and they are asking £24 which seems quite expensive!

I’m after a new rubber seal as well, if you want to split the cost of delivery it should save about £5 each, the only ones ive seen on ebay are £19 with £10 delivery so if you have seen them cheaper it may be worth seing if they will send 2 with the same delivery though if the price is over a set price you have to pay import tax and a handling charge from the royal mail!


Hi Gary
I’m happy to do a joInt order with you for the petrol cap seals.
Which way shall we go? Will you order or shall I?
Your prices seen better than the ones I saw and I’d be happy to go with these and share the shipping and/or import costs.
Let me know. I’m not in a great hurry but if you want to get this done straight away, no problem!
Dave L

Hi dave, have contacted seller to see how much postage will be for two seals, will let you know when he replies.


Okay Gary, that’s great!

Guys can you hold on till I get back home tomorrow as I need one of these for my vf1100? I’ll check to see if its the same. I suspect it is.

No problem from my side viffer

Hi viffer, hope holiday went well. Still waiting for quote on postage but it says he only has two available. If he replies I’ll ask him if he’s getting any more in, dave said he doesn’t need his immediately and I can wait a bit for mine so if he can get more it may be worth getting a few as others will need them and I’ve not found anyone selling them elsewhere.


Cheers Gary, Let me know how you get on pal!