Fuel Tank

So we took a loaded van with kids, bikes and a granny to Center Parcs in the Lake District. Filled up with diesel at the start of our long journey and got the slight smell of diesel walking back from the till.

We carried on and stopped at Tebay services and mid sipping my coffee noticed fluid in the puddles under the van, yep something was leaking, not gushing but a gentle drip which right or wrongly I left until the holiday was finished. Certainly the van stopped leaking diesel once we’d got to around half a tank.

Now to fix, I had hoped it was just a rubber grommet but deep down I knew it was more serious. On to the Brickwerks website with a list of items in the basket, a day or so later a very large parcel arrived. Taking on advice, although the tank came in a protective paint job I spent ages working out what else to cover it in; red oxide,  standard paint, Hammerstein or some sort of galvanising paint. Got annoyed and bought some Action Can ZG-90 Galvanised Antirust in a tin. Applying it I initially didn’t think it was that great but once left to harden and a couple of coats I think it will do fine as an extra layer to protect. Certainly when  the van gets its welding for and spray it will also receive underseal which will protect further.

Spare time doesn’t come easily due to work, family and weather so I only had a few hours here and there to work on the van. First job was getting in the air but could only use the camping ramps. Then to syphon the tank and work out how best to lower the tank, remove the pipes and not spill diesel all over the driveway. I actually managed to do this with little fuss once I’d spent a working week agonising how best to do it.

With the old tank on the floor I dragged it’s sorry self from under the van and boy was it crusty. I removed the tank level sensor then with the new tank next to it started to measure and cut the new breather lines and inserting the breather grommets.

With the fuel tank out of the van  I spent some time looking under the van and wire brushing and vactaning spots. Although with obvious rust all around I was pretty pleased with the state of the van so left everything going to dry over night.

The next morning was all about fitting the new tank. With bottle jack, a few small pieces of wood and some persuasion the tank got into place, the breather hoses connected up and tank straps fitted. Final job was to reattached the filler neck, a little grease and it slid into the tank grommet with only a bit of resistance.

Next came adding fuel that I’d siphoned from the old tank, I gingerly filtered and poured it in half expecting to see it again on the floor but no it held. Next I contemplated pumping fuel into the line and to the engine but decided that as the line from filter to engine was full of diesel I’d chance it being OK and fired the van up. No problems, went to the petrol station again nervously added more fuel and all was still OK.  Another job completed and the van is back on the road.

I’ve not bothered adding any photos of this or gone into detail as another owner has written up the procedure very well here. He clearly has more time than I do as his tank looks great.

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