Fitting the Gas Tank Cover
The fit of the gas tank cover on the XR1200's can be an issue.  The gas tank has a tendency to swell over time.  Although the tank cover can look like it will never drop into place, I have never had a problem get mine to fit into place.  To me the key is to never force the clips at the rear of the tank into place, and to carefully work the front of the cover down into position.
Here is what works for me...
Tank Cover Installation
First, with the fuel tank mounted and the handlebars pointed straight forward, I first set the  tank cover loosely onto the gas tank as shown in the below picture. 

Note:  Before doing anything else, stuff a rag into the fuel filler neck so that screws and miscellany can not be dropped into the tank!

Cover Set on Top


The below picture shows the rear of the tank cover with the tabs snapped into place.  The front of the tank cover has not yet been tightened down, and is raised on the tank.

Clip it in Place - Don't Force It

As shown below, keeping tension on the punches, I next  start the front screw.

With the front and back screws started, I alternately tighten down both screws until their slanted shoulders draw the tank cover down into place.


Front and Back

The below pictures show a look at the cover properly seated in place on the tank.

Although a number of people have had problems with tank swelling and cover fitment, even with constant tweaking on this bike and removing the cover hundreds of times,  I've never had a problem with the tank cover popping loose once properly clipped into place.

Still in Place


Next,  I rock the cover back so that the tabs at the rear of the tank cover can be snapped into the indents in the tank.  It pays to not force these tabs, since once they are bent and/or weakened they will not hold into place.  I simply rock the cover back a bit, and smoothly press down on the end of the cover while snapping the tabs into place on the sides.


Gap in Back

In order to stretch the tank cover and ease it down onto the tank, I insert two thin alignment punches into the openings for the side screws and slowly move the tank ring forward and down to line up the screws - as shown in the below picture.

Once I have the tank cover into position, I hold the alignment punches with one hand and start the rear screw with the other.  (Having an assistant would be handy.)


With the front and back screws in place, next the side screws are inserted and snugged down. 

HD calls for a torque value of
24-30 in-lbs.


And below,  a full view of the cover from the side.



These photos were from my rebuild of the top of the engine, so after a few last miscellaneous details, the bike was ready to test fire...
Click on this link to go on to installation of the ...

XR1200 Exhaust Installation



        With the tank cover back in place, the rag can be removed from the fuel tank opening,
        and the filler cap installed.

       Click on the below link to go back to

     XR1200 The XR1200 Engine (unplugged) - Overview