Updates in reverse order:
Update #4 11-Oct-2010
If you have been told by a dealer any of the following, PLEASE PM ME with your contact info, i.e. name, email, phone #, and the dealer you dealt with. I will be taking this directly to a meeting with my contacts at Ducati.
* You have to have a leaking tank before we will replace it.
* You have to leave a deposit to get your replacement tank
* You have to leave your bike with us until the new tank comes in
* Ducati isn't replacing tanks merely for expansion
* Your bike is out of warranty, no replacement
Also, if you have sold your bike due to the tank issue, please contact me as above.
Update #3a 28-Aug-2010: Research links FYI
Some of you have asked for more information on the Ethanol/Water/Nylon interaction. Some of the info I have is proprietary and I can't post it, but all of the following have the same or similar info and are public.
Problems with E10/Ethanol absorbing water and then separating are well known, thanks to the boat industry, and manufacturers of polyamides (all) have known for years that (uncoated/untreated) Nylons absorb water in varying degrees depending on the type. PA6, the Nylon used in your tank, is probably one of the more aggressive absorbers. (Note: polyamides are a family of materials).
The last PA6 note mentions that PA6 can absorb moisture to 8% of its weight, and that is from a manufacturer of PA6 parts. I wonder if ~anyone~ at Acerbis/Ducati did any research on PA6 before deciding to use it for a gas tank.
On Nylon 6/PA6http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pola.1993.080310119/abstracthttp://www.dsm.com/en_US/html/dep/akulonmoisture.htmhttp://www.springerlink.com/content/h046820627255320/http://www.zellamid.com/show.aspx?SP=2&url=202PA6
On Ethanol adsorption of waterhttp://www.springerlink.com/content/j2x43q45660x5617/http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/news/E10.shtml
UPDATE #3 10-Aug-2010 What is known so far:
1. Ducati is replacing every tank that comes in with any significant deformation. The main things to look for are a) spreading on the frame mounts (one rubber bumper on each bottom side) b) ripples in the surface or c) pressing against the keyswitch
2. The correct procedure is to go to a dealer and have the tank inspected. Some folks have had problems with some dealers not wanting to deal with the tank or claiming Ducati is not replacing the tanks. So far, this has borne out to be just dealers with incorrect info.
3. The tanks are made from Nylon 6/6, aka PA6 or Polyamide 6. They are made by Acerbis.
4. Nylon 6/6 absorbs water. Ethanol wicks moisture from the air and gravity causes the water to weigh down the ethanol so that it separates from the gasoline solution. This means you end up with a pool of water at the bottom of your tank which is readily absorbed by the nylon surface.
5. I do not know if Acerbis/Ducati coats the interior of the tanks. I do not believe they do.
6. Other bikes have had the same type of problem: Multistradas and Sport Classics. I have not talked to anyone with an SBK yet, but I have heard rumors those as well.
7. Some Multistrada owners got new tanks and had them coated with Caswell's liner. I have gotten into contact with a few of these folks and so far, they are happy with the result. Some have had the coating for a year now.
8. Ducati NA is actively looking into solutions.
9. I have spoken with the Office of Defects Investigation at NHTSA and have presented to them the data on the problem. They may open an investigation given the number of complaints thus far. More reports can only help push this effort.
10. Ducati NA seems to be engaged, but not to the extent we'd all like them to be. That doesn't mean a solution isn't coming, but it also doesn't mean a solution is coming at all. The best thing for me to do is continue working with them until I am convinced there is no more effort on their part. I do not currently have a timeline, there is no statute of limitations for a defect suit of this type.
UPDATE #2 17-Jun-2010 Please check out HeMan's post on how to inspect your tank for signs of expansion: http://ducatimonsterforum.org/index.php?topic=39604.0
UPDATE ***I am collecting stats on which bikes are having the tank problem and what (if any) mods may be involved. You have to be on my list (see signup below) to receive the survey link. That's the only way I can prevent crap responses from getting in.
Please sign up to the list to get the survey link if you haven't yet. If you are on the list, check your email.