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S IV Fuel tank removal

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

  1. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Allan, might try dropping a couple of zinc tablets into a diet coke.

    Checked the hardware store, no luck. They did have Navel Jelly, a phosphoric acid product. Not as good at preventing rust, but definitely better than muriatic acid. Must have seen the stuff at Advance Auto, or possibly it was just dream. Dunno.
  2. Nickodell

    Nickodell Donation Time

    Allan: As a retired chemist I got a good laugh out of the suggestion to contact a health food store. I guess when the pharmacist heard zinc and phosphate all she could think of was some kind of supplement. I'd try a large hardware store or a paint supplier. The best result for removing scale is a mixture of zinc phosphate and phosphoric acid. You can also buy it online.

    Phosphoric acid is the stuff that gives cola drinks its kick, and an old mechanic's trick to loosen rusted nuts and bolts is to soak them in Coke, and then tie a rag round them and soak that in Coke too.

    If you use muriatic (i.e. hydrochloric) acid be absolutely sure to do so in the open air, as the fumes can knock your socks off, or worse. And whatever you use, wear an approved mask and goggles or face shield. You're only issued one set of eyes, and replacements are not available.
  3. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    Bill, Nick,

    The crossover pipes should be Ok with the red liner. I might try the other techniques in the future.

    I'm the first to admit to a lack of knowledge of chemistry <s>. I suspected a concept-derail though as the products the pharmacy advised were solid.

    Thanks for the concept. It sure sounds like a good solution to the problem.

  4. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    Hey Howard,

    Did your car have its soft top/frame on the car? Those might have been screws for the soft top.

  5. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Allan, I'm not quite with you on the the "other techniques". The zinc phosphate is not to coat the tube, but to remove the rust and leave a rust RESISTANT (not rust proof) surface for the red stuff to adhere to. Zinc phosphate is used as a surface treatment under the primer when the auto industry gets serious about creating a good, weather resistant finish.

  6. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    Thanks again.

    I had in mind that the muriatic acid or zinc phosphate were "stand alone" approaches. But both would be good approaches to application of the red liner. In my case, the radiator shop is boiling the pipes until done, so to speak, prior to applying the red liner.

    It looks like I will pull the crossover pipe for the parts car, to get at the reversing lights, which need to be moved to the S IV while it is apart. I will look into use of muriatic acid or zinc phosphate for them. I'd like to get them treated before they migrate into storage.

  7. howard

    howard Donation Time

    Quite right, Allan- the soft top/frame was still installed. Could very likely have been the source for the sharp screws. I was not of the mindset at the time to dig into removing any more than I already had when I got to that stage of the "coat-the-tanks/replace hoses" game. I'm not lazy; I just like to compartmentalize each project so I can keep track of it all. I imagine if I HAD removed the soft top, I'd have damaged it... then I'd be replacing it... BUT WAIT! I messed up the back panel doing all this work on the soft top- need to fix THAT... OH NO: I busted a bolt fixing the panel- I'll have to fix THAT...etc. infinitum.

    I truly love working on my car- and it's taught me to break the project up into little bite-size pieces. Kinda like eating an elephant.

    You're probably right: the screws were most likely from the top's mounting hardware.
  8. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    I thought that might be it. My top is not on the car, so thankfully I don't have to deal with that, but it does bring up whether to try and route the balance pipe on the side of the channel away from the screws. Not an easy thing to do, but a goal to shoot for.

  9. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    A note on fuel tank issues: step 3: balance pipe removal & replacement

    1. the balance pipe's fossilization extended its length, making it impossible to pull out due to breakage.
    2. pull out what will pull out from each end.
    3. remove soft top boot lid.
    4. use flat screwdriver through balance pipe body channel openings to push it too/fro and loosen it.
    5. use needle nose vise grip pliers through the same openings to slide it one direction or the other according to the degree of remaining balance pipe flexibility.
    6. break off and remove small sections of balance pipe until none remain.

    Observations and Engineering Question:

    1. the balance pipe supplied by CS is in reality a fuel hose.

    It is a 3/8" (9.5mm) line. This size line has an opening close to the same size as the stock balance pipe, but the fuel line's walls are thicker.

    They are just enough thicker to make the fuel line too large to go through the balance pipe channel in the car body. I tried lubrication to no avail.

    A ¼†(6.3 mm) line goes through easily, but its opening is small. Perhaps it is too small (?).

    I believe there is an intermediate size fuel line, which I don’t have (5/16 7.9 mm).

    Is the opening in a 5/16 line adequate to balance the tanks? I believe a line of that size might be workable.

    I attached a pic of the 3/8 line (left) the stock balance pipe (middle) and a ¼ line for comparison. Not to worry about your eyesight, the camera was on closeup and no tripod to eliminate shake.

    Your comments are welcome.


  10. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Allan, the only possible downside of using the 5/16" hose would be a slow to fill tank on the drivers side. That means that after fill up, you might have to wait a minute or so for the fuel level in the two tanks to come into equilibrium. But as the volume of air that has to go through the hose is only half the volume of the gasoline put into the tanks, I doubt if it would be a problem.

    Also, you might check to see if a thinwall 3/8" line is available.

  11. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    Bill, thanks.

    The tropical rain has returned, putting my shade tree shop out of business for a little while.

    I'll use the time to shop an alternate balance pipe.

    I was wondering whether the choices need be limited to fuel lines...

    How about a good lenght of plastic line for example? Even something the acquarium shops sell?

    I don't want to introduce a flammable line into the fuel system! but if a line is not flammable...and can resist fuel fume corrosion...isn't the door open to other lines than fuel lines?

  12. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Allan, rubber is about as flammable as anything you can find, so no problems there. Gasoline resistance is another story and something I'm very wary of. Years ago I used a laboratory grade silicone hose for a fuel line. In a few weeks it became very brittle and broke. As a result, I don't use anything that will be exposed to fuel or vapors unless I see something on the label or packaging indicating it is appropriate.

  13. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    Ok, thanks.

    I found an air line that has a rubber core that is perfect, at a hardware store. Not sure about it and fumes though. Will have to look at that.

    A hydraulics shop suggested checking with a brake line shop. Hadn't thought of the brake guys; will do some homework on that too and report back.

  14. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    Where is McGiver when he's needed <s>?

    Last night I sorted "the facts" and noticed an irregularity, which I have since chased down. I believe the irregularity, if that is what it is, is the culprit.

    The balance pipe hose was flatish, or somewhat "pinched" on the fuel cap end. I noticed that when it came out but didn't think twice about it. In the earlier attached photo of three hoses, some of the flatness remains. I had to pinch the pipe into a semblance of roundness to make the photo.

    Why flat on one end?

    I put my hand into the channel opening on the drivers side. Lots of room there, and a new balance pipe should not be a problem.

    I did the same thing on the fuel cap side and - voila - the balance pipe body channel is narrower - my finger just barely will fit.

    That seems to be the problem in a nutshell. A new balance pipe won't force through that side.

    I don't know if this is a defect that Rootes corrected later, or just what. I can find no indication of a body repair gone wrong, no body repair to the channel at all. The S IV is an early one, #251 that year, so a wild guess is that early S IV's had the problem. Maybe so, maybe not, but the problem is there.

    Rootes produced three different Series in 1963, and was gearing up for the Tiger. That's quite a production effort, and I'd expect some changes as the effort progressed over that year.

    I looked at the balance pipe arrangement on the S V parts car, and it uses a metal balance pipe. The metal pipe is sturdy and must have been installed before the channel was welded together.

    Both sides of the S V channel seem open large enough to present no problem though.

    Instead of continued searching for a thin wall 3/8 fuel hose/balance pipe or some substitute such as possibly a brake line, perhaps a metal pipe could be installed in the S IV.

    Such a metal pipe would have to bend around the boot spring hinge, and then track up under the balance pipe channel, to be as removed from human/boot interaction as possible, and have less risk of injury.

    Alternately, if I could locate a shop that could staple or bind flat a couple feet of one end of a 3/8 fuel line, perhaps it then could be snaked through, and used to pull through a length of non-stapled/bound line.

    I'd think that a resulting balance pipe would be more oval or oblong than round on that end, but that should not be a problem if the oval/oblong's opening size is the same size as the round end...

    I've attached some photos of the S IV as well as the S V metal pipe.

    Thoughts/comments on this situation would be very much appreciated.


  15. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Allan, these are little more than random thoughts. I'm certainly no authority on the Alpine construction.

    I have two Series V's, one midrange, the other very late. Both used the rubber hose, so the metal tube must must have been a passing fancy. I'd guess the crossover tube was installed (either rubber or metal), then the metal pieces installed and spot welded in place. I'm guessing your car was welded up with the pieces misaligned and the hose mashed flat. The "proper" fix would probably be to take the assembly apart and reassemble it correctly. Yeah, I know. You just want to drive the damn thing.

    Flattening the hose, even a small amount, is going to decrease the cross section area. Its just a matter of degree. Its very possible a 5/16" hose with thinner walls would pass more air than 3/8" tube that is mashed a little. If the 5/16" hose will fit without splitting the ends, I think that is what I'd use.

    Another possibility would be 3/8" aluminum or copper tubing. I've never messed with the aluminum stuff and have no idea how hard it is to bend, but guys use it for fuel line.

    I have used 3/8" copper tubing and think it is a possibility. I'd measure out the proper length, straighten it to a gentle curve needed to push into the channel and anneal it. Copper work hardens, so by the time it is wound into the package and you get it unwound it has started to harden. It can be annealed with a propane torch, just get it red and let it cool. Does not have to be plunged in water or anything like that. This would leave you with dead soft tubing and you might be able to fish it through and make the proper bends by hand. The problem is it has to bend to start into the channel, straighten as it proceeds across the car, then bend again as it comes out. Might be doable by hand, just don't know until you try.

  16. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time

    Still weighing balance pipe options...

    A related fuel tank question?

    The fuel tank volume measuring device has a float. It's been floating a long time now.

    Does the float need recoating as a standard maintenance item?

    If so, what would coat it and not be too heavy and interfere with the float action?

    Thanks, your comments are appreciated.

  17. jmthehermit

    jmthehermit Donation Time

    Hi Allan, here is a pic of a sending unit out of my tiger, it is exactly the same as the one out of a series IV. Are you sure no one has tried to repair the one you're showing in your picture? cheers, Jeff
  18. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time



    I uploaded a pic from the 'net somewhere just to illustrate the point but you are right, it's not the same.

    So I made/attached a pic of the S IV unit.

    It's different from yours in a few ways...

    1...the rod on mine is bent...should be straight...?

    2...the float device looks like an old varnished floor. How did you get your's so clean and a totally different color? Is it treated with something?

  19. jmthehermit

    jmthehermit Donation Time

    Hi Allan, my sending unit is untouched and out of a 42k mile car. It is dimentionally correct and is why I included a shot with a ruler to guide you. I had access to very large carb cleaning tub that actually swirls the parts in carb cleaning solution. Although it didn't need it I dunked it with a whole lot of other pieces and carbs that I wanted done. The boss didn't care because I was the boss. Jeff
  20. SIVAllan

    SIVAllan Donation Time


    That's amazing. I had no idea what the float was made of. It looks like tin. Aluminum?

    My unit's float is so radically different I put it under a bright light and looked through a 10x loop.

    I guess it is corroded, but good.

    To the naked eye, it looks like leather with clear varnish over it.

    But beneath a chip or two in the 'patina' I see the shiny silver color.

    If all that is corrison, I'll guess the float is not accurate. When I bought the car, the fuel gauge worked, though I had no idea whether it was correct. The car has double the miles of yours. Looks like we are getting some bad gas here in Georgia!

    I'll have access to a S V unit in a day or three, and maybe it's in better shape. It's been idle for at least 20 years in a sealed tank, so I'll keep the fingers crossed.

    I'll check the usual retailers and see if there's a product on the market to treat the S IV unit. But I'd need a bucket of carb cleaner to go that route. All I've see comes in spray cans.

    I'd appreciate any comment on cleaning these devices.



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