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Old 01-27-2013, 01:36 PM
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Modding fuel tank

I'm asking for advice here for my '83 El Camino that I have put a 1996 LT1 engine in.

I'd like to go to an in-tank fuel pump for the car.
Presently, I am running an external pump and have had reliability problems with it (burned out 2 already) and I'd like to quiet it down too.

I'd like to use both this fuel pump unit and sender assembly by Tanks, Inc. Both these are adjustable as far as depth.





However, my tank is odd in that it has a hump on top for the stock sender and fuel pickup. Here's what it looks like:



The Tanks, Inc. pump unit must be mounted flat and there isn't room to do that with that hump.
My thought was to cut that hump completely off the tank and weld in a flat piece of sheet metal in it's place. When it's open, I would have enough room to also tack weld in a tray into the bottom.

I've never modified a gas tank before. Is what I'm presenting here seem like a reasonable thing to do?

I've got a good Lincoln 110 volt Mig and am pretty good at welding sheet metal. What gauge sheet metal would I want to use? I do have some 18 gauge mild steel lying around I could use.

Advice will be appreciated.

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:49 PM
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I think you got the right idea. Putting a scavenging tray in it is a very good Idea to keep pump from starving or airlocking in heavy accel/low fuel levels.
I would solder the tray to the tank bottom as a weld will remove the plating that resists rust and with that gone and ethanol in the fuel

If you weld the top on that would be OK but I would think soldering would still be better.
Maybe the top could be formed with a "lap" seam all the way around to aid in soldering and to add strength. Just a thought.
You could also curve the mount piece for the pump so it stands flat on the gas tank bottom when installed into the tank canted top.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:09 PM
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I'd rather weld.

Do you think a product like this could be trusted?

Auto Gas Tank Sealer Kit - Gas Tank Sealer - KBS Coatings

If not, then I think I will scrap this idea and look at some other alternative.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:35 PM
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I've done all the welding on gas tanks that I want to do for this lifetime. What would I do? I'd find a gas tank in a boneyard that's in a vehicle that used the '96 LT1 motor and swap all the OEM stuff including tank, lines, pump and all into the '83.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by techinspector1 View Post
I've done all the welding on gas tanks that I want to do for this lifetime. What would I do? I'd find a gas tank in a boneyard that's in a vehicle that used the '96 LT1 motor and swap all the OEM stuff including tank, lines, pump and all into the '83.
The tank won't fit. Already looked at that.
Some guys have been successful putting an LT1 wagon tank in a '78 to '87 El Camino with some mods but it won't fit with my exhaust system.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:41 PM
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The 1987 El Camino tank should fit the stock position. The 4.3 version had EFI pumps and trays in them. Maybe a salvage yard has one, or new ones arent that pricey.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:46 PM
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El Camino Store: 1959-1987 El Camino Parts & Accessories 1-888-685-5987 - El Camino Parts has tanks for EFI el caminos in 85-87
Tanks are the same shape for 78-87 whether they are carbed or EFI
Only thing is both have a choice for either a 17 gallon or a 22 gallon size.They are both the same size externally.
Do some cross referencing at the el camino store, you'll see .
Spectra fuel systems sells tanks for less than the E C store. Available at advance auto parts.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:52 PM
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The 1987 El Camino tank should fit the stock position. The 4.3 version had EFI pumps and trays in them. Maybe a salvage yard has one, or new ones arent that pricey.
Yes, it's the same tank on the outside. I can get a new one from Spectra for $158. I've known that all along.

It's the sending unit that's the problem to get an in-tank pump in it. The 4.3 sending unit has been discontinued for a number of years. Every once in while you see a NOS one but they are over $400 and then you've got to get a pump to fit that will provide enough fuel for the LT1.

Still, I think at this point, I'll get the new tank even if I stick with an external pump for the time being.

Maybe Tanks, Inc could modify a non-FI sending unit to accept a pump for me. I think I'll give them a call tomorrow.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger1 View Post
The tank won't fit. Already looked at that.
Some guys have been successful putting an LT1 wagon tank in a '78 to '87 El Camino with some mods but it won't fit with my exhaust system.
Then change your exhaust system.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:11 PM
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I would bet Spectra also has the FI sender for that tank.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:16 PM
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Then change your exhaust system.
No. I'm committed to my exhaust system.

It's also not a perfect fit even without that. It's a poly tank too. They also have been discontinued. It would be hard to find in a wrecking yard in my neck of the woods. So, several reasons I don't want to go that route.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:17 PM
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I would bet Spectra also has the FI sender for that tank.
They do not.
Every once in a while I've run across an NOS one. They are over $400.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:22 PM
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It would be easier to mod a sender to fit then, rather than mod/build a tank.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:40 PM
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It would be easier to mod a sender to fit then, rather than mod/build a tank.
That may be true. But still not real easy.
I need to keep everything so it won't corrode.

My original idea was presuming that a coating like I provided a link to is a good reliable solution. I'd have the same issues if I used steel to mod a sender.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:06 PM
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Dichromate plating or zinc plating isnt that hard from what I know about it. They would be a better solution than a "coating".
Even coating the welded areas with lead works well.
Modding a sending unit shouldnt be to hard, the captive O ring fittings would be the hardest part. Hydra crimp makes a crimp tool that forms them on bare 5/16 and 3/8 line but the tool is 400 bucks...even from tool topia.
I have used compression fittings that were hose barb on the opposite end on raw tubing ends, and shoved nylon fuel line on the barbed end to create a leakproof fuel line in the past.
Here in the rust belt, making brake lines and fuel lines is my favorite past time...: D
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