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We suspect that the under-tank pad was to minimise the heat radiated from the motor up into the fuel tank, and to minimise the hot air blast from the radiator and fan. I have two pads in my collection, but no one seems to worry about fitting them these days - most tanks seem to have had the small metal retainer-fingers removed, because the reason for their existence was not known.
 

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They were probably intended to keep the heat from the engine from vaporizing the fuel and heating it up.



Still have one on my tank, but I had no idea they disappeared in later years. Guess if it ever goes bad, I don't need to worry




Mike
 

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Possibly there for the heat but also possibly there for vibration/resonance issues. Mine and the tabs were in good shape when I removed it to fully strip the tank, I'll probably just put it back.
 
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