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Rusting tanks / fuel breather

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Just read this article on LEW with interest.

Been working on my car a lot over the past months and always noted the strong (and nice) smell of fuel in the garage or in the rear compartment (boot) - engine bay.

Dismissed it normally as a job I'll get around to later, I actually like the smell so it wasn't a big deal.

Now I read this article and it pretty much describes my car. I know the thing was neglected for 2-3 years on the run...although it was serviced the car never did anymore than 200 miles a trot. In my opinion the car was sat on grass all this time as the underside of the car (especially the front wishbones etc) are rusted to hell, fortunatly the car's oil coolers both went which coated it all in engine oil so it's not critical but still needs urgent restoration work.

Could my tanks have rusted too ?

How can I test them ? Pressure test ?

Car doesn't leak fuel that I can see, infact I know, because it's so ecomonic atm.

It's just that when the Lotus damper set is released the car is going up on stands so that the suspension can all be bead blasted & restored - the linkages will all be done and if the tanks need changing I might have the engine out to have a play as well - I'd rather do all the jobs in one go like.

hehe gonna have a few write ups for Kato to do :D

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Yes, that LEW article is rather excellent isn't it, tee hee :D

The fuel breather is a really easy job... In fact it'll take you five minutes to see if the breather is shot - just unscrew the quarter trims and examine the hoses coming off of the fuel filler - bet that if they are gone it will be just above the air intakes...

Rotten tanks are very common. The tanks on my S4 were replaced after 6 or seven years and this from a watertight car... leaking quarter lights mean that the tanks will almost certainly be in poor shape. The problem, as I am sure you know, is that the tanks sit on a piece of foam that helpfully keeps water in contact with the lightly painted metal. I'm not sure how you could pressure test them satisfactorally in situ - at least not how you could do them independently, but you can reach up from underneath the car and check to see if the foam is damp with petrol.

Whatever, check the breather and replace it (cheap, easy and it will need doing eventually) and then if the fuel smell is gone, you've got your answer...

If and when you pull the engine then it is a good time to have a good look at the condition of the fuel tanks. If they do look suspect then my suggestion would be to replace them with ally tanks rather than the OEM ones - cheaper and they'll last longer.

Good Luck, Ian


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i have the same problem. not got round to changing hose yet tho.

jonathan can you let me know what sort of hose they have used on your car? the one that is common for splitting.

my gt3 has a ridgid black hose not the clear soft one as show in write up. ive checked mine and its seems fine. seems a very substantial hose too. just wondered if yours was the same. cant imagine mine has been changed before as it didnt look tampered with. and no fuel on the top of the fuel tank pads either.

cheers dave

Edited by DAVES_GT3
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I replaced my breather hose a couple of months ago and I've got enough fuel hose left over for another Esprit if you want it ?? I'm gonna be away the rest of this week but could drop it up to you on Saturday morning if you like ??

I've a feeling you'll find the smell disappears once you've done it - I was convinced my tanks were leaking because of the intensity of the smell but it went as soon as I'd done the breather.

Let me know if you want the fuel pipe.



89 SE Pacific Blue

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Thanks for the comments - I'm really looking for an excuse to take the engine out LOL, spend more time tinkering than anything but each to their own I guess.

Steve - its about time you poped up and said hello ! :D

Always more than welcome to come by - gonna have a look at the car tonight and see what I can smell.

Just drop in - Saturday is our works day, we're generally always in either building or fidling with cars.

Edited by Jonathan

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