Monday, September 14, 2009

Tank redirection

The WestMarine tank arrived on Thursday. After a bunch of other distractions this weekend, I was able to get a few semi-interrupted hours to try to fit it into the bus. I found that it would not fit into the fuel tank bay. My measurements are correct, but the fuel tank bay is not square. In fact, its all kinds of lumpy which works great for the lumpy original tank, but is lousy for a flat bottom tank. So, I moved on to plan (b) or os this plan c or d?

I figured that I'll be running diesel or a biodiesel blend of some kind. These fuels are not explosive like gasoline is. Evidence: semi-trucks have their fuel tanks hanging under the doors out where everyone can see (or hit) them. The national safety folks and the collision testing people appear to be fine with that. So, I tried to fit the tank under the "rock-n-roll" bed (some call it a Z-bed - misnomer). The tank fits with a couple of inches to spare on top, but the fittings are a small problem. Once I removed the floor register in the center of the front wall (it was non-functional in my bus anyway), the power converter, and the driver-side lower bed support the tank could sit flat. I may need to remedy the support, but the power converter will move into the area where the fridge is. I don't use the fridge as a fridge anyway, so that whole thing will come out and go onto craigslist or theSamba.

Back to the tank. I had to cut down the fuel inlet to about a 1/2". That should provide enough space to put a 90* bend hose in without the seat bottom rubbing. I determined the route for the fuel fill line through the firewall, and started making the opening. I will need to route the tank vent back into the engine compartment too, so I'll be boring a hole for that. The outlet on the tank looks a little small, and the tank did not come with a male nipple, so I'll need to figure out what size it is and buy one at Lowes or Ace Hardware. I'll have to bore a hole for the engine fuel supply line too. For all of these openings, I found bits at Lowes to fortify the hole for the lines to pass through. I'll upload pictures once I take some :) The key here is to extend the opening so it isn't a thin steel hole that can work its way through a rubber (or even steel, given time) fuel line.

I will have to fab or purchase tank hold-downs. I know I can get them at WestMarine, but they're like $35. One last lingering concern: the fuel tank fill inlet is 1-1/4" and the filler at the flap on the bus is 2". I purchased a rubber adapter, but I don't know how it will fare with diesel fuel. One more thing to keep an eye on during routine maintenance efforts.

Hal will return next weekend to finish out the engine mounts. So, the fuel stuff on the engine compartment side needs to be done by then. Its another busy week of school, soccer practices and evening meetings, so it will be tight getting this done before Hal arrives on Sunday afternoon.

top - plate on the top of the tank
middle - tank in-place under the rock-n-roll bed
bottom - fuel inlet measurement. Yes, it looks like 1-1/2", but the conduit I found that matches is 1-1/4"

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