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S IV Fuel tank removal

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by SIVAllan, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    A note on S IV fuel tank removal.

    1--obtain working fire extinguisher and locate close by.
    2--no smoking; switch off cell phone.
    3--clean out boot entirely.
    4--put rubber mat in boot if one is available.
    5--drain tanks.
    6--open fuel tank cap to allow ventilation.
    7--I did not need either to jack up the car (fender well bolts easily removable) or remove the boot lid. I did remove the boot-to-fender and spring mechanisms, then raised the boot lid and tied it in place. This made plenty of room to remove the tanks.
    8--disconnect all hoses.
    9--remove brace for each tank.
    10--lift out tank(s).
    11--No problem.
    12--clean fender well once tanks removed. I found 1 ancient gas rag; 1 ancient engine compression check gauge; about a dozen ancient washers; and the bolts I dropped when disconnecting the tanks.
    13--treat any rust in inner fender wells.
    14--take tanks to shop for treatment.

    Tomorrow the tanks go to SIMS radiator nearby. They will open the tanks, remove all liner, etc and recoat with the red aircraft liner for 110$ per tank, and require 3 to 4 days.

    This will allow some time to remove the crossover pipe and replace hoses with new ones obtained from SS.

    A question?

    In the attached pic, hoses #19....not sure what they are! Is it necessary to replace them?

    Thanks to those who have strongly recommended this procedure. I've b*tched and moaned about it but believe it to be a prudent repair whether immediately necessary or not, for Sunbeams at the start of a home restoration.

  2. howard

    howard Donation Time

    Sorry Allan- I couldn't make out the hoses you're referring to on the drawing- it came out too small for these mid-age eyes to see. But if it's rubber, it probably needs replacing- and if you don't do it now, you'll wind up taking it all apart again later.

    Did you find about 5lbs. of dirt in your fender wells underneath where the tanks sat? Didn't know if it was just mine that had all that or everyones.
  3. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    The hoses run from the top of the tanks back into the body somewhere...?

    Maybe they are for ventilation...?

    I sure did find a lot of dirt, etc beneath the fuel tanks. I half expected to find an old doubloon, but only found the miscellany decribed above.

  4. volvoguys

    volvoguys Diamond Level Sponsor

    Hi Allan,

    Item 19 is a 'breather pipe' and is very necessary. It is a single rubber tube that connects the two tanks via the small upper outlets and runs along the panel between your boot lid and top compartment. It keeps the fuel level balanced so one tank doesn't get/stay fuller than the other. Nothing special and can easily sourced at about any automotive supply store.

    Take care, Mark.
  5. Green67Alpine

    Green67Alpine Former SAOCA Membership Director Gold Level Sponsor

    Allen, Shouldn't you get the balance pipe etc cleaned and coated also??

    Tom j

    Suffering another Series V setback :(
  6. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time



    Might as well replace as much as possible while doing this.

    The task is much more straightforward than I anticipated.

  7. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    Absolutely. Not sure which is the balance pipe <s>, but I'm replacing everything that is replacable.

    Once finished, there should be no fuel issue from the tanks to the carbs.

  8. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    First things first...un-cable the battery...
  9. howard

    howard Donation Time

    That breather pipe that Mark mentioned is very likely a reason you might be smelling gas fumes in your cabin, if you are. They get petrified after 40 years- downright crispy. Make sure and replace it- I got some off the shelf (fuel grade) from a local parts store.

    Yeah- a great place to start is making sure you don't blow yourself to smithereens by disconnecting the battery.:)
  10. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    I believe they are available at Classic Sunbeam also, for those of us who are parts-store challenged <s>.

    Good to know it's not a special made item that is commonly available.

    Once my shade-tree "shop" dries from another thunderstorm, I'll finish the gas tank re-do, replace the fuel line - and whoopee! another step closer to the first ignition!

    I believe the gas tanks are dangerous, maybe moreso empty due to fumes and urge EXTREME CAUTION to anyone working on them.


  11. Wombat

    Wombat Donation Time

    I think read on this Forum earlier that a good way to replace this pipe is to connect the new one to the old one and to use the old pipe to pull the new one through.

    Good Luck
  12. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    Thanks, makes sense.

    I watched electricians wire this house using the same technique in places.

  13. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    A note on issues/concerns with "step two" of the S IV fuel tank removal:

    1. tanks out; time to remove the 3 crossover pipes.
    2. remove boot lock assembly lower plate in order to remove pipes. Boot lid release mechanism can remain in place.
    3. remove hose from one end of crossover assembly.
    4. remove the two bolts from the chassis to the assembly's center boltdown point.
    5. lift out remaining crossover assembly.
    6. remove all hoses.
    7. if use of correct hose clamps is an issue, now is the time to locate them for use in reassambly. clamps on the assembly were mostly kaput.
    8. the left and right crossover pipes appear identical. no need to worry which is which on reassembly.
    9. take the 3 pipe sections to be boiled out.
    10. relined tanks and boiled out crossover pipes to be ready tomorrow. Hooray! One step closer to first ignition!

    1. the entire assembly reeked of fuel smell. It must have been the major component in the boot's fuel smell, although the balance pipe is another likely culprit.
    2. the inside of the pipes were in terrible shape. I found rust and the black goo that comes from fuel tank liner corruption and probably other sources.
    3. the radiator shop said that they can not remove the rust from the pipes' insides, but only the goo, and recommended I use MURIATIC ACID.
    4. use of muriatic acid will be a learning experience - COMMENTS WELCOME!
    5. the chassis-to-center crossover pipe connection bolts were very rusted in place, and both broke from only mild torque by the socket wrench. the broken parts will have to be drilled/somehow extracted from the crossover pipe's chassis connector, and the bolts replaced.
    6. the balance pipe is severly fossilized. I pulled one end to see if it would slide out, and that end came off in my hand. That was the fuel tank filler cap end. The other end, away from the fuel tank filler cap, is more healthy and flexible. But the balance pipe is STUCK TIGHT. Not sure how the pipe can be removed and will have to muse upon this issue. I suppose I can devise a way to put some oomph on a pull, but feel the balance pipe will break and leave part in place. SUGGESTIONS WELCOMED!
    7. a new balance pipe, if it won't push through on its own, could be linked to a smaller hose, such as fuel line, which would easily push through (I think!!) and then pulled through using the smaller diameter hose.

    Overall this is not a giant task, but it does take time. Removing the balance pipe may be the more challenging part.

    Again please note that SAFETY is paramount. Fuel fumes are dangerous, and steps to eliminate any source of spark must be taken.

    Thanks to everyone who has followed this thread. I appreciate your advice.

  14. howard

    howard Donation Time

    Like Yogi Berra says,"It's deja vu all over again." This was exactly what I ran into. The thing that took a while to figure out was the reason the pipe wasn't coming loose: there are sharp screws that poke through the back panel and grip into the hose (but don't puncture through). I had to duct tape the new hose flush end-to-end with the old hose, then carefully/slowly finagle the old hose out and the new in. I was particularly careful not to gash the new hose on those sharp-ended screws. IT CAN BE DONE.
  15. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Allan, as in a lot of things pertaining to acids and such, you don't need an ass kicking low pH to do the job on the rust. In fact, I used a zinc phosphate solution, pH about 3-4. While not recommended to use it without gloves, it will not not burn your skin until the contact time goes out of sight. The only down side of the stuff is cost, usually about 20 dollars a quart. A plus is it leaves a zinc phosphate coating on the cleaned surface. This fights rust and gives a good surface for the tank liner to cling to. The muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, is cheap and can be purchased at any hardware store. I'd look into diluting it for use on this job. It will leave a very clean surface, very prone to rusting if not quickly coated.

    My balance tube had already been removed. All I can say is I had no real trouble snaking the new one into place. Don't know why. Maybe its because the car was an empty shell.

  16. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    Howard, Bill, All,


    I will take a REAL CLOSE look at the balance pipe location, and report back on how that goes. I did not know about the screws...that is a big help. I guess Lord Rootes did not think this through regarding distant future home repairs, or the body part above the balance pipe would have been made to be removable....

    I'll surely look into a zinz phosphate solution. Thanks for that! It would be a crime to do this repair only to risk more rust from use of the muriatic acid. It would be super if the radiator shop could spray the red aircraft liner into the 3 crossover pipes once I get them pristine inside. I'll ask them about it.

    Thanks again!

  17. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have a suggestion and a question. The suggestion is to use pipe plugs when you use the muriatic acid. I am sure they have a proper name, but you can get them at any hardware store in a variety of sizes. I believe there is one that will fit the cross-over tube. They are rubber plugs that expand as you tighten a wing nut. They do a great job sealing and the acid won't affect the rubber.

    And, while I love muriatic acid as a cleaner, it does rust almost as fast as you can rinse it out of the tank. I am very interested in trying zinc phosphate next time I do it, but don't know where to get it. Bill: where do you go for that?

  18. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Jim, wish I had a real good answer, but I don't know of any convenient source. I saw some recently (in a store), but can't remember where. Probably the local hardware store as I don't get much further than that most of the time. I'll check tomorrow.

    I got mine on line from the POR 15 site. Jan has an on line source, but I can't remember any more than that. Wherever you find it, it will probably not be clearly labeled as zinc phosphate, have to look at the claims of leaving zinc, or look at the ingredients.

  19. howard

    howard Donation Time

  20. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    Picked up the re-lined fuel tanks from the radiator shop. Sims charged $75 per tank, lower than the original estimate. I have to paint them and picked up some medium gloss black which hopefully is close to correct.

    The shop agreed to red coat the crossover pipes. They will remove any rust by additional soaking, then cap the pipes, pour in the coating hot, shake, and let dry. Will take a couple of weeks.

    They did not treat the fuel level sending unit and suggested a soak in brake fluid to clean it, or bead blasting at a machine shop.

    I asked my pharmacist about zinc phosphate. She suggested a vitamen or health food store as a source. I checked with two, the second suggested a pharmaceutical lab. I think it can be found locally but, having decided to use the red liner, for me it's become academic.

    Onward to the balance pipe...



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