This thread is being created to keep another on topic.
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?
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.
- The Doctor