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Re: Fuel tank

To: Bob Howard <>
Subject: Re: Fuel tank
From: David Hill <>
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 15:28:48 +0100
Hi Bob, Terry and everyone else, 

Tank Top Syndrome happens frequently in the UK, what with salt and
In another life, I used to repair tanks, for myself and for a local MG
Spares business. Here's how...

Fuel tanks can only explode when they're enclosed so I used to open them
up like this. 
1. Drain tank  and remove it.
2. Remove the fuel gauge sender and replace with a steel blank, cut to
the same size. 
3. Rinse the tank out with water a couple of times then fill it
4. Use a hammer and chisel (sharp) or an air chisel to cut out the top
of tank. You will get splashed but you won't get burnt. 
5. Once the tank is open, drain off the water and throw in a lighted
match/burning piece of paper. Obviously you do this outside but any
remaining petrol residue will burn briefly and then the tank's safe. 
6. Clean up the cut to sound metal-usually, the edge is undamaged so you
can make the cut about 1" inboard of it. 
7. Cut a new top-I used 20g mild steel sheet; forming ribs with a panel
hammer and dolly/vice will stop the new top drumming. 
8. Weld in the new top. Seam welding with MIG works but you may have
problems sealing the overlap when you get back to the start point. 
9. Test the integrity of the seal with water-note that you can't MIG wet
metal successfully. Also check for and weld any pin holes(unlikely).
10. Dry, paint and reassemble. 

I've done this on dozens of B tanks without mishap and the ones I used
to do for the spares business were sold as exchange recond. All it needs
is enough sensew to keep the petrol and sparks apart and never weld an
enclosed vessel. 


Dave Hill

Bob Howard wrote:
> Terry,
>   The top of my '75's tank did disappear, into rust and scale and thence
> into the fuel filters.  I kept smelling gas, then more and more of it.
> Couldn't locate the problem, so finally took the car  to a shop.  By the
> time I got home, they were calling me and laughing that the mechanic's
> wrench that he slid up on top of the tank while going underneath fell
> into the tank.   About 70 percent of the top of the tank was as porous as
> a piece of gauze.  I had bought the car in Maine, apparently having spent
> its life there, then put on another winter, for nine or ten years of
> year-round use.  Apparently it's the sand and road salt that lodges on
> the top of the tank and eats it from the top down.

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