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Old 11-19-2010, 20:46   #1 (permalink)
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Fuel Tank Replacement

This thread is being created to keep another on topic.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert View Post
If you remove the gas tank, the Ford manual says to discard the studs. That means they are easily replaceable. We don't have rust here so we just reuse them.
With the help of an equally strong friend, I got the tank out today. Sadly, the news isn't all good. While I was able to remove the strap nuts without breaking the studs, the fuel tank itself is in poor shape. What fuel was left in the tank, I tilted the tank on it's side towards the end that leaked to move the fuel there, and discovered where the leak was coming from: right above the rubber vibration dampening pads. This is an area of the tank where - when installed - road salt is allowed to accumulate, even if you run the car through a wash with a good underbody sprayer. Both ends of the tank are equally rusted, but the driver side was just the first to let go. Also, this tank has been removed and patched once before. An inch or so to the left of the current leak is an epoxy patch. Having inspected the rest of the outside of the tank, I have decided that a new tank is more appropriate than patching the current leak and continuing on my way. Even if I own the car for just a year, or even only a month... it is highly likely that a new leak would develop quickly. The metal is badly damaged, and very weak. Just pushing on it with my finger damn nearly breaks through.

The odd part is, the car isn't particularly rusty. I've seen three year old cars in worse knick than this one, rust wise. Just a bad stroke of luck, I suppose. And a heavy design flaw.

More bad news: I was not able to remove the filler neck. It just would not come out. We pulled and pulled and pulled to no avail.. Bert, is there a particular trick to this?


Questions:

I am unable to locate a fuel pump seal on Rock Auto or Autozone. Will this have to be a special order through the dealer?

The u-shaped clips for the evap hose connectors and the filler neck vent tube were fine when I pulled them out.. Until my friend stepped on them... Aren't these called 'duckbill' clips or something? I assume those will have to be ordered from Ford as well.. I doubt a parts chain carries them. I can check though.

How do the fuel tank straps come off the chassis? They're pretty rusted, and I want new ones.. but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove them short of cutting them off.

If I wanted to replace the studs that are used to hold the fuel tank into the car, how do they come out? I cannot see a way to remove them, but my light was limited, so it was hard to see anything really.


Other than those, I'm open to suggestions Bert. I only want to have to do this once, damnit. It was a pain in the arse to remove the tank, I don't want to have to worry about this again for the length of time I own the vehicle.

When I discovered the tank was leaking, I had called FNA (Ford North America), because I found it unacceptable that a car just five years old and otherwise not in bad shape had a tank failure. The girl dug around for a while, spending about an hour on the phone with me, to see if there was some loop hole in any of the warranties Ford would have offered for the car to get me a replacement tank. Sadly, when such phone call was made, the car was two months out of something in the corrosion warranty that likely would have covered it for me. However, I still find this whole thing to be a bit ridiculous. I had had no feedback from any officer I have spoken with, with cars even a year or two older than mine, about a gas tank that rusted through this early on. If you ask me, Ford should at least discount associated parts for me to put a new tank in myself. Discounting things like a filler neck if I wanted to get a new one, fuel pump seal, clips, fuel lines, etc... as a courtesy for the poor tank quality on this car. This may just be me venting off some steam from being pissed that such a new car would have the failures seen here, but eh. I may call Ford about it, breaking out terms like Customer Satisfaction and whatnot.

Cheers,
- The Doctor
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:28   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

Turn the filler neck ½ turn and try pulling it out. I have never removed the studs so I can't say how to remove them. Maybe with a better light you'll be able to see. As for the straps, there's a pin that slides in from the sides if you hold the strap in the right place. They pull right out. You can use a screwdriver or something to reach in to push them out the other end. The clips come with a new pump, so I'm sure a prts store would have them. One is smaller than the other If I remember correctly. Have you checked for a used tank, filler neck and straps? Sometimes a southern car ends up in the wrecking yards. You can search here. Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market or you can use your vin# and search this way. Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market This searches all wrecking yards in the country. You can pick a location or area if you want.
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Old 11-20-2010, 15:16   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

there is usually 3-4 bolts in the gas door area... and another bracket on the filler neck acting as a support that should be unbolted to get the filler neck outta the car... the straps are easy to remove as soon as you take a coat hanger and put it thru the small hole and push the pin out the bigger hole
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Old 11-20-2010, 21:24   #4 (permalink)
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cool Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

It appears that the studs thread into nuts on the middle floor section (section in between trunk floor floor pan) on the raised trunk section.

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Old 11-24-2010, 17:36   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

Well, I got my new Spectra fuel tank today. Going to shoot it with some paint before I install it, I think. I actually think getting the straps back onto the studs won't be bad... Or at least I hope not.

Looks like the new tank came with a new fuel pump seal. That seams a little random.
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Old 11-29-2010, 19:17   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

So, the tank is in the car, but not actually in the car. We cannot get the straps on. The straps got bent when we pulled the old tank out of the car, because you have to bend them past the exhaust for clearance. So, we managed to get the pins out to remove the straps from the car, and beat them back into a good shape. We then threaded the nuts on the studs that hold the tank in the car (with the straps attached) loosely, and stuffed the tank in the car. Now we are trying to get the pins back into the straps to attach everything up, but it's almost as if the straps are too short. We have them shaped properly, we know this for sure.

Who's got tips?

Cheers,
- The Doctor

P.S. I apologize if my thoughts are not well organized. Due to my health, I am on some pretty hardcore pain medication right now.
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Old 11-29-2010, 21:09   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

It's easiest to put the tank in place, put the straps in the location, push the pins in, and then put the nuts on last. Don't even get the straps on the studs until the pins are in.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:43   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

You should see sort of an "L"-shape lip on the end of the strap that goes on the stud. The lip will catch a large screwdriver (or similar tool) and you can apply upward pressure to raise the straps up to get the nuts on.

I think I remember having to use a small scissors jack to apply enough pressure.
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Old 12-05-2010, 19:54   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Fuel Tank Replacement

Alright, here is my experience, and tips for other members.

- New straps are not necessary, but probably a decent idea if they are badly rusted.
- Do NOT bend the straps past the exhaust to allow clearance for the gas tank to come out. Any bending in the straps will make it more difficult to re-install them later on. Grab the strap to move it around in the bracket to locate the pin, and use a screw driver to push the pin out. A friend here helps a lot.
- Save yourself A LOT of headache... Buy the new studs from Ford. They are longer, and include the nut/clip assembly. However, if your stud situation was as bad as mine, you'll have to cut the studs out of the car. Use your best judgment for this, and use a good cutting wheel on your dremel.
- If you do not want to buy new studs, you can make them like I did. Go to Home Depot and buy a 12" threaded rod. Mine was 3/8's, and course thread. Buy the corresponding nuts to go with them, lock washers, and cut (Flat) washers. It's a good idea, after you trim the rod to make new, longer studs (Go overkill if you want on the length, trim them later) to use JB weld on the nut/washer setup on the BODY end of things to make installation easier for the tank/straps. Setup goes flat washer > lock washer > nut. Cake on the JB weld up there aftewards and allow it to fully cure. If I were you, and this is at your own discretion, I'd leave the studs long and not cut them after you're done installing the tank. This way you can just re-use the same studs if the tank ever has to come out again without any issues.
- Use anti-seize wherever necessary. Know that this WILL affect your torque wrench, and you'll over-torque slightly.
- Please, do not waste your time attempting to get the straps back on the old studs using a jack, screw driver, slipper, or any other tool. Me and my friend wasted probably eight hours total attempting to do this, and it was all for nothing. When I decided to make my own studs, the work was done in about 20 minutes including installation of the new studs.
- The fuel line on the fuel pump itself can be difficult to remove. Spray it out with PB blaster and use a detail brush to flush out as much grime as you can. The OEM-brand annodized alumium COLORED tool set you can buy at Autozone worked best. The plastic quick-release tools, and the cheaper OEM-brand scissor style tool were not worth a damn at all. The alumium spring loaded set worked in about five seconds.
- Do yourself a huge favor, torque the fuel pump properly. It's 89 INCH pounds.
- The fuel tank nuts are 22-30 FOOT pounds.
- The Spectra tank seems to be of similar OEM quality, maybe not quite as good though. OEM from Ford would be $700, though, and the Spectra was $122. Guess which one I bought. I recommend you use laquer thinner or acetone and then soap and water to wash the oil coating that the tank ships with. Then give it a good scuffing with a scotch brite pad prior to priming and painting it. Mine is Duplicolor Mirage color-changing paint.
- The filler neck will likely piss you off. It is possible to remove it before removing the tank from the chassis, but I was forced to drop the tank with the filler neck still attached, and then it came out super easy. Make sure you do not drop the anti-theft screen that is clipped to the end of the tube inside the old tank. It will VERY likely get stuck in the filler neck grommet when you pull the tube out, just know that you MUST remove it.
- Make sure you re-use, or buy new fuel tank strap pads. These are rubber, and protect the tank from the straps. It also protects the tank from the trunk pan of the car.
- The spectra tank *DOES* come with a new fuel pump seal. It also comes with new bolts and washers for the fuel pump.
- The spectra fuel tank straps *DO NOT* come with new pins. Soak your old ones in a medicine bottle full of rust removing gel. I use rustoleum. It works great if you let them sit overnight or longer, then shoot them with some paint after and give them a good lube with some bearing grease. They're less likely to rust to the straps that way.




Can we get this thread stickied, maybe? Save people some searching and all that...

Cheers,
- The Doctor
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