The golden shower

Showering in gasoline is so much FUN ……  right.
It burns the eyes, it tastes bad, but it has to be done.
Did I mention how much FUN it is?

OK disclaimer time.


I am NO mechanic.
This probably shouldn’t be done.
Probably NONE of this stuff is meant to work together.

Throughout all of my research, it seems that the original tank is much closer to something that you would find in a BOAT.

Its just a big rectangular box with a couple of holes in it.
No fancy ass evap system, electric pumps, safety valves, NUTHIN, just a box.

You can’t BUY a tank for a 70’s Ford delivery van.

YES I looked into having something made up.
YES it CAN be done.      $800 – $1000

Could I have the old tank repaired ?
Sure, for $400 ish, I can have it properly cleaned, and lined on the inside.
Then I STILL have to fabricate a way for the new sending unit to go in, because the new stuff doesn’t mesh with the old stuff.

I’m more inclined to try a CREATIVE solution.

After all, I can still have old tank done if I need to.

PoCo Inspired

And then the fuel tank……

So I figured if I’m gonna be driving this big ass truck around most days next season….
I’m gonna be pretty busy with enough other stuff, that I don’t want to be guessing how much gas is left.  I want the gas gauge to work.

After playing around with the gauges and getting nowhere, the only thing I could do was drop the tank and and check the sending unit.

And that’s where the fun begins.


PoCo Inspired

The tank was tanked

It looked OK on the outside.  But inside was buckets of rust.
It sounded like it was full of gravel.

I rinsed and rinsed, but yeah…. it was gonzo.[…]

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No really, it looks fine …..

The sending unit looked great!!

If it were breaded chicken.

So much rust, it didn’t even budge.  When I forced it, it just crumbled.


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Dakota to the rescue

It figures…

Just a week before I decided to drop the tank, my brother scrapped an 90’s Ford pickup with ……wait for it  …… a nice big plastic gas tank.
It even had a new sending unit and pump, not that I could have used those.
Timing is everything Timmy.

I searched for a while, checked the auto wreckers, but nada.

Then by chance, another truck that my brother had just sold to a guy, ( a 97 Dodge Dakota )
Was being parted out, and the guy did not plan to use the fuel tank.

Wasn’t sure how it would go, but free is free.

It’s a little smaller than the original.
But a pretty good match[…]

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The ring please

So I got the tank, but I did not get the ring.

Seems these fancy new plastic tanks need something to fill that big hole on the top.
and a locking ring to keep everything in place.

The guy I got the tank from, had the wrong ring, but said he would look for it.

Patients is NOT one of my virtues.  …..   not at all

Checking the auto wreckers, I was able to grab a ring.
Made it home a few hours later.
Apparently, they are NOT universal.
Really….   REALLY???
C’mon….   It’s a 6 inch plastic ring for dog sakes.

Back and forth over the next few days….

FINALLY I find one that fits.
AND it happens to come with cap as well which holds the pump and the sending unit.
So I guess it was worth the hunt.[…]

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What is this?

So what I ended up with is just busted up parts of the sending unit and fuel pump.

Not like I could use them anyway.[…]

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A quick couple of whacks with the hammer and a drift and the innards are suddenly outards.[…]
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Hole in one

SO it turns out that hole #1 is a perfect fit for the new ending unit.

Well, let’s just keep on going and see what happens.


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Up Periscope

Well not exactly, but that’s what it looks like.

I put this piece back in and figured I would use it to make a fuel pickup.

It’s an old Ford 300 6 cyl, so it still uses a mechanical fuel pump.

I took the fitting off of the old tank but could not get the pickup out of it without cutting the tank open.

It was probably not much use anyway.
I don’t even know how this thing ran with all the rust in the tank.


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Relish the thought

So I needed SOMETHING to fit hole #2 ….. how many times have you said that to yourself?

OK I didn’t NEED it, but wanted it to help stabilize the top of the pickup I created.

For some unknown reason I grabbed this jar of relish and set the cap in the hole.
Perfect fit.

I know, this is getting pretty redneck, but it just kept fitting together.
Look at these pics…



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I love it when a plan comes together

So I played around a bit and got both the sending unit and the fuel pickup worked out to mount in this cap.

Made sure I put in a few stainless steel screws just to hold it all in place and we were ready for a test fit.



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Make you mark

Remember that when you are putting in the sending unit, that you want to place it so that it never catches or rubs on the sides.

I found that when tightening down the lock ring, the cap that contains the sending unit sometimes shifts around.

So the first thing you want to after you set it in place is to grab a marker, and mark the cap and the tank.

Sure you could use one of those bright yellow greasepaint markers you have 6 or 7 of because you grab one every time you are at the autoparts store that you have scattered around the garage…..

You can never find those anyway. And they are probably dried out cause you never put the lid back on…

But it seems you ALWAYS know where the wife keeps those fancy ass $10 calligraphy markers that she never uses but always tells you to NEVER touch….

And they always work, and never run out of ink, and seem to mark on ANY material.

Nah, I didn’t tell you to do that.

Any way….  make you mark !


PoCo Inspired


Because of WHERE everything sat, when the ring was tightened down, in sat unevenly.

Mostly because the sending unit sat a little higher with the gasket and the metal plate.

The solution was to drive a couple of those stainless screws and some washers into the cap so it would tighten down evenly.

You can see this in the pics.


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Slight change in design

The main pic is of the finished set up.

I had first thought that I could use the plastic parts ( shown back in the Up Periscope) as is and ad an aluminum tube for the pickup.

That idea did not pan out. I needed the tube to be more flexible to allow everything to fit in this hole in the tank.

I ended up trimming that tube and attaching a length of fuel line to it.
It was a little soft though. I didn’t want to risk it moving around too much.
So to stiffen it, I wrapped a length of hose around it, and clamped it at the top of the tube.

It gave it a slight curve, but was still flexible enough to manipulate.

The filter at the bottom of the pickup was pressure washer chemical suction line.

It’s meant for chemicals and detergents, so I hope it doesn’t dissolve in gas.



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All set up

I know it doesn’t look like much.
But its all set up and ready to be put in.

All the plastic parts on the exterior had generous amounts of 2 part epoxy added to hold it all together.



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Inlets outlets

The fuel filler hose ended up being it own freakish nightmare.

It of course does not fit where the original did.
Or in the same way.

First off I had to cut it apart and eliminate some of it.

But I need to keep the factory end ( on the right ) because it connects to the tank.
ONLY this factory end connects.

The filler end ( on the left ) I thought it would be nice to use it.
It’s a modern plastic cap ( that I plan to replace with a locking one )
Unlike the old gas cap which is …..  vintage.


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What the neck is that?

I figured….no problem, this should be easy.
I can make/adapt a filler neck to fit from something simple like exhaust end pieces.
Or worse case, maybe a rad hose, or something like that.

So I head down to the auto parts store  …..

Well, I guess it USED to be an auto parts store.
Because they had sweet diddley fick for exhaust pieces.
What happened??
I used to be able to come here, buy a muffler, clamps, hangers, and all the pieces, adapters, bends, and connectors.   Hell I could pretty much put together a complete exhaust system from off the shelf parts.

Oh no sir, we don’t carry that stuff any longer, just whats left over from old stock in this piddly little tiny area.

But they will gladly sell me a fridge stove washer and dryer….
And a new TV. And a bike, and cat liter, and patio furniture….

And this fricken thing …


Because it’s just WAY too complicated to figure out how to play fricken beer pong on my own.  I need a bloody pre fab kit???!!!

In the end I was able to find ONE reducer that would work, and then a rubber 90 degree bend with steel straps that will fit.

PRAYING that gas doesn’t hurt the rubber.   aaaa  it doesn’t need to last a lifetime.[…]

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Cobble Cobble kitty kitty

This is what I managed to cobble together.
It’s not perfect.  It’s pretty redneck.  But it will work.

Here is a shot from underneath.

Would have been way better to have a 45 degree bend, but this is all that I could get.

I forgot to mention that I also went to 3 other places looking for the parts I wanted.
None of them carry anything.

Just in case you were wondering why I did not just go straight out….

On the left of the pic above, is where the factory filler hole on the truck is.
On the right is the factory ( on the tank ) filler hole.
Directly ( below ) the tank filler hole is the side of the truck, but it is actually the pocket for the sliding door.  So the truck’s factory hole is what need to be used.

Or so I thought.[…]

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Let’s get it together

Ok so I put it all together.
Low and behold  — (I don’t know who the hell the guys are) the thing actually runs.

Fuel pickup is working and I can even drive it…..  Must have done something right.

At the gas station, putin in fuel is a royal pain.

Turns out that if the filler spout is at the same level as the tank inlet, then it back washes a bit.  So we have to raise it up a bit.  No biggie.

Next problem is that sharp 90 degree turn the hose takes.  Need to extend that.  No biggie.

But now the fricken gauge is STILL NOT moving.

40 litres of gas, and NUTHIN….  WTF???

I followed all the dang directions.  TO THE LETTER.

Oh well at least I know how much gas I put in.   Don’t know how much it burns, but I know where I started.

Leaving for a road trip tomorrow, guess it will have to wait till I get back.


PoCo Inspired

That’s it boy, yer grounded!!

NOWHERE in the instructions does it say that the sending unit NEEDS to be grounded.

The gauge has a positive, a negative, and a connection to the sending unit.
I thought maybe it was grounded from there. ( if it needed to be )
I dunno, never done this before.

A bunch of research revealed that I am not alone here.  Other people have run into the same problem.  And the same way – nothing in the destruction’s say anything about grounding the sending unit.

Looking at pictures of other ones, they seem to have a connector for the ground wire.
So I guess they just ASSUME I should know this.
So to test it (  cause I didn’t want to drop the tank again for a 4th time ) I ran a wire to the negative on the battery, and the other end to the metal plate on the sending unit and connected it with a small magnet.   Low and behold showed up again to laugh at me, and there it was, the gauge moved.  Not much, but it moved.

So now the tank HAS to come out.
I need to attach a ground wire properly, AND figure out why the gauge is barely moving.[…]

PoCo Inspired

I didn’t mean to drop it

So as it turns out, it didn’t burn much fuel.
As I’m dropping the tank….  I LITERALLY drop the tank.  It was half full.
Don’t worry though, I caught it with the side of my head. I only broke the piece you see in the pic.
It was the fuel pickup.
Remember, with the relish jar lid.  Yeah, pretty cheesy I know.
We can fix it, we have the technology.

Anyhoo, gauge / sending unit problem was just a matter of totally ignoring the instructions that came with it, and just sort of tweaking it by trial and error.

I knew the tank was 11.5 inches deep.  There was roughly 5.5 inches of fuel.
So I figure that is about half a tank.  So I just kept adjusting the sending unit until it sat between 1/4 and 1/2 on the gauge.  Figured the gauge should show a little less than what is actually in there.[…]

PoCo Inspired

That’s better

So the pickup unit is not so cheesy now.

I used a nice piece of round aluminum

Carved a little notch so it had a nice fit.
Drilled some pilot holes.
Drilled out the center and put in a 3/8 fitting.
I even extended the pickup line so that it reached all the way to the bottom.

Made sure my ground wire was attached properly.
Put a little Seal All around the lip, and tightened it down with some more of those nice self tapping stainless screws.

I now have a nice corrosion free plastic tank, and a working gas gauge.

Some days I amaze me.

All the other days are me F-in things up 5 and 6 times to get the end result.[…]