The article featured on this page is from the April 2011 issue of Auto Enthusiast Magazine
FUEL TANK AND LINE REPLACEMENT
Story Larry Weiner
Owning a vintage Chevy is very rewarding in many ways. These vehicles were so beautifully designed that they cause both envious admirers and proud owners alike to gaze upon them longingly, even when they are parked.
Vintage Bowties are the perfect conduit for making new friends, to say nothing of the pride associated with exhibiting them at shows, or even at the local cruise night. For many of us, one of the greatest rewards of ownership is the satisfaction of working on our favorite Chevy.
As one who came of age during the height of the muscle car era (and fondly remembers the 1960s as though it was only yesterday), I must continually remind myself these memories now date back over 40 years ago. When vehicles reach that age, sometimes simple, routine maintenance is not enough. Some parts you might not think about often are reaching the end of their useful life cycle, thanks to the passage of time, mileage and the climate.
One of the parts that will require attention after the passage of four decades or more is the fuel tank. Constant exposure to the elements, combined with storing thousands of gallons of gasoline over a lifetime of service, in addition to the added insults of the numerous chemicals used in fuel formulation, moisture accumulation, and the inside of the tank degrading from old age, all contribute to the need for servicing this vital component.
Sometimes, the fuel tank may need little more than boiling out and it’s ready for many more trouble-free miles. If yours is suffering from rust or physical damage, it may be time to consider replacing the original fuel tank with a new one.
If you are working on a popular classic muscle car like the 1967 Camaro that is the subject of this story, the solution is easy. Reproduction fuel tanks are readily available. For our Camaro, the original fuel tank had been painted at some point, which we could have removed, but it also suffered from a couple of unsightly dents that would have been problematic to repair. Like the tank, the fuel tank straps were also showing their age.
The steel fuel line from the pump to the carburetor had been replaced with a correct reproduction by the previous owner, and the main line from the tank to the pump was the factory original. The line suffered from corrosion and surface rust in some areas, making it a prime candidate for replacement. The flexible rubber lines at the tank and pump ends exhibited cracking and general deterioration. After considering our options, this seemed like the perfect time to replace the fuel tank, tank straps, the main fuel line and the flexible rubber lines.
The new fuel line was a perfect match for the tired original we removed from the Camaro. The new fuel line fit perfectly. Our goal was to achieve OEM grade results with the fuel storage and delivery system. Follow along with us as we upgrade the fuel system on the 1967 Camaro SS.
1 Remove the rear license plate to access tank-to-filler neck hose and loosen screws in the Wittek tower clamps in preparation for tank removal.
2 Loosen the screws in the mini clamps on the rubber hose connecting the fuel tank hard line to main fuel line. Remove that hose and unbolt the bracket that locates fuel tank hard line to the frame.
3 Remove the screw retaining the ground wire for fuel tank float assembly.
4 At the center of the trunk near the fuel filler neck, unfasten the male end of the positive wire lead for the fuel tank float assembly from the female end attached to the trunk harness. Push the rubber seal in the trunk floor downward to release it, followed by pulling the wire and end through the hole.
5 Remove the retaining nuts from both fuel tank straps and carefully lower tank to the ground.
6 The tank has been lowered to the ground and is ready for removal.
7 A photo of the upper filler neck is for reference when installing new tank. The filler neck hose will slip over the upper filler neck when the new tank is installed.
8 The original tank shows locations for placement of anti-squeak straps, insulator and fuel line routing from fuel tank sending unit assembly. The positive wire from the sending unit is held in place by the two pieces of tape that are still on the top of the tank.
9 Remove the positive wire from the fuel tank sending unit assembly by gently pulling up on it at the rubber boot.
10 The original tank straps are ready for removal.
11 Remove the self-tapping screws from tank straps.
12 Unhook the tank straps from receivers in floor support and remove the tank straps.
13 Using a flat blade screwdriver and hammer, carefully hit the tab on the fuel tank lock ring and rotate it until it releases. Spray a lubricant on the lock ring to allow for ease of removal.
14 Carefully remove the fuel tank sending unit assembly, noting that the fuel pickup and float assembly are a tight fit through the access hole.
15 Upon removal of the fuel tank sending unit assembly, check the condition of the fuel pick up screen. Note that this screen is torn on the seam and must be replaced.
16 Here’s a comparison of the reproduction fuel tank by Spectra Premium and original fuel tank.
17 We’re showing how the fuel tank corners are the same.
18 The reproduction fuel tank strap by Spectra Premium versus the original strap.
19 Here’s a look at the reproduction tank-to-filler neck hose as compared to the original.
20 Comparison of reproduction and original fuel tank-to-sending unit gasket. Note the frayed edge on original gasket. Replacement is a good idea.
21 Remove the main fuel line from the tank to the fuel pump by releasing it from retaining clips on the right side of frame from back to front of vehicle. Note routing of line and location of clips, as this will make it easier to install the new line.
22 The original fuel line is compared with reproduction fuel line manufactured in the U.S.A. by Inline Tube.
23 The fuel tank sending unit has been cleaned.
24 We’ve placed the reproduction fuel pickup screen on the fuel sending unit fuel line end.
25 We’re putting it back together, reinstalling the cleaned up fuel tank sending unit into the new fuel tank.
26 Hang the new tank straps and tighten the self-tapping screws in preparation for installing fuel tank.
27 After cleaning the tank surface to remove protective oil coating, apply silicone cement to permanently place new anti-squeak strips and the rubber insulator pad.
28 Slip the new filler neck hose and loosened Wittek tower clamps onto new fuel tank neck. With the help of another person, hold the tank up to vehicle trunk floor. Pull the tank straps onto tank strap bolts and tighten. Carefully slip the filler neck hose over the upper filler neck during the installation process.
29 Tighten the Wittek tower clamps on the new filler neck hose.
30 Reinstall the ground wire and be sure that rubber sleeve on the tank fuel line is positioned so that the tank strap bolt head does not contact the line.
31 The new fuel line from the tank to the fuel pump is installed.
32 Install new rubber fuel line from the mechanical fuel pump mounted on the engine to the main fuel line. We used original style 3/8-inch green fuel hose pinch clamps to secure the line.
33 Install new rubber fuel line from the tank line to main fuel line, again using the correct 3/8-inch green fuel hose pinch clamps to secure the line.