Installing a New Fuel Tank

01
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Preparing to Install a New Fuel Tank

Time to replace your fuel tank.
Ready to install a new gas tank. photo by matt wright, 2007

If your fuel tank has developed a leak, or has been punctured or otherwise damaged, it will require replacement. This task can be done by the average mechanic. Be patient, and be sure you have safety on your mind at all times. Gas is highly combustible and dangerous if ignored.

Safety Tips:

  • Work in a clean, organized area. Clutter can cause accidents.
  • If you are working indoors, be sure there are no pilot lights or other sources of flame or spark present.
  • Keep your work area well ventilated.
  • Be sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand.

What You'll Need:

  • Fire extinguisher!
  • New fuel tank
  • Fuel line
  • Hose clamps
  • Proper gas storage container
  • Floor jack
  • Wrenches, sockets, normal hand tools

With all of your materials together, you're ready to install a new fuel tank. Don't forget to do it safely!

02
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Draining Your Gas Tank

Draining the fuel tank.
Drain the fuel from the tank. photo by matt wright, 2007

Before you can install a new fuel tank, you need to drain the gas out of your old tank. Be sure you have a proper receptacle to catch the draining fuel.

Some fuel tanks have a drain cock that will allow you to drain all of the gas neatly. If you have a drain cock, it will be located at the lowest point on the tank. Loosen the valve and allow the gas to completely drain.

If your tank has no drain cock, you'll have to drain it by removing one of the fuel lines. The rubber hose that exits the tank at its lowest point will drain the tank fully. It will either be connected to an electric fuel pump, fuel filter, or to a hard fuel line that goes to the front of the car. Loosen the clamp on the end of the line that connects to the gas tank. Pull the hose off and allow the gas to run out of the tank into your container until it is drained completely.

Pour the gas into a gas can and store it safely. You can pour it into your new tank!

03
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Removing the Fuel Lines

Remove all the fuel lines.
Disconnect the fuel lines. photo by Matt Wright, 2007

The next step in replacing your fuel tank is removing the fuel lines that connect to the tank. Gas tanks have more than one line. There is a fuel supply line that leaves the tank at the lowest point and goes toward the fuel pump or engine. Then there's the large fill tube coming from your gas fill entry point (where you fill 'er up). There will also be a vent line to allow pressure to be released when the tank's level changes.

Disconnect all of the lines going to the fuel tank. It's a good idea to take a digital camera and shoot the setup before you take it apart. This will help you put it back together if it gets confusing.

04
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Dropping the Rear Suspension - 1 (maybe)

Supporting the suspension.
Support the rear suspension with a jack. photo by Matt Wright, 2007

This step won't be necessary on all vehicles. If you're lucky, you get to skip it.

Some cars have a single beam in the rear. On front wheel drive vehicles, it will be a suspension beam only, but on rear wheel drive cars it will be an axle with a rear differential. Inspect your situation to see if the tank can be removed with the rear suspension in place.

If it can't, you'll need to drop the rear suspension.
First, disconnect the bottom fitting on your rear shock absorbers and pull the rear suspension down and away from the dangling shocks.

Next, support the rear suspension beam or drive assembly at the center with a floor jack. this will allow you to slowly lower the heavy parts.

05
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Dropping the Rear Suspension - 2

Drop the rear assembly.
Safely lower the rear assembly. photo by Matt Wright, 2007

If you're forced to drop the rear suspension to remove the fuel tank, you've already supported the assembly with a floor jack and removed the lower shock mount bolts (see previous step).

Next you'll need to disconnect the rear brake lines to avoid damaging them.

Now remove the large nuts that attach the rear beam or drive assembly to the frame of the car. With the nuts off, lower the assembly to the ground using the jack.

06
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Remove the Straps and Drop the Fuel Tank

Remove the fuel tank straps.
Remove the fuel tank straps. photo by Matt Wright, 2007

Your fuel tank is held in place with two metal straps. These straps hold the tank in tightly and safely.

To remove the metal straps, loosen the nuts at one end of the straps. They should drop on their own, but they might be a little sticky. Pull them down and unhook them from the other end.

With nothing holding it back, you can now drop the old fuel tank. Installing the new one is just like taking the old one out, only the other way around. In mechanics terms, installation is the reverse of removal.