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Fuel Tanks

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Seeking advice on whether to replace or repair one of my fuel tanks.

Looks like 'extra' lumps of foam on the front face, most probably not intended to be there by Lotus judging by the grey carpet tape, started this problem. Underneath the foam rust has pinholed the surface in a number of places. The rest of the tank appears fine.

If it can be repaired what is the best way otherwise who makes the most competitively priced alloy replacements?

Thanks

Ambrose

Ok, just read through previous posts on this topic (I know should have done this first).

Definitely don't want a repair and would prefer a stainless tank to alloy, can anyone recommend a fabricator and what sort of price I should pay?

Thanks

Ambrose

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Edited by _ambrose_

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Hi Ambrose...

I'd replace...

Replaced mine - even though they were fine - with Alloy ones from SJ Sportscars as mine's a keeper and it's now one less thing to worry about.

IIRC you're in Aylesbury?

We'll have to meet up at some point as I'm in Tring at least once a week and drive through Aylesbury. I think you've already met John with the other Silver TE in Aylesbury?

Iain

Edited by Iain

"... the Lotus Turbo (Esprit) owner will not only be comfortable in fast company, but will find, more often than not, that he has no company at all!" Road and Track magazine

1983 Turbo Esprit - Silver - 'Lottie' Featured in Classic and Sportscar Aug 2008 and Wheeler Dealers.

1999 Elise - Norfolk Mustard - 'Liz' Daily driver - 221,000 miles and counting!

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Hi Iain,

Yep, it's definitely replace, but I'd lke to see if I can get a SS one (there is a kind of SS theme going on with my car...). Nice to know that the alloy ones are just sitting on a shelf at SJ should it become the last thing on the list.

Yes met John a couple of times in fact I need to pop round and pick up a water pipe he got hold of for me. I think he is officially wining the reconstruction race (his car has more bits near the proper place than mine, though this is not difficult since mine has a huge void where the engine/gearbox/suspension/tanks/wheels/cables/pipes should be). The plan is to get it all sorted by, but more likely during, summer. The thought of 3 tip top silver turbos blasting round Oxfordshire is very appealing and we should definitely arrange a celebration along those lines when John and I have caught up.

Thanks

Ambrose

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I have got the alloy SJ tanks on the Mutant also.

They were very well made and are a fit and forget item.

The alloy the tanks were made out of was shiney so looked like stainless and as the they are covered up when fitted in the car then what is the difference? Also the alloy units will be lighter than the stainless.

Hilly


1981 S3 4.2 V8 6 speed (The Mutant)

Mutant V8 Conversion Thread

Knowledge is power .................... apparently.

 

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Hi Hilly,

Im not bothered about aesthetics, hopefully the replacement will never be seen by anyone...

Its just that all of my aluminium water pipes are corroded and need replacing. The fuel tanks will not be subject to the same heat/water conditions so would probably last 'forever' but SS is guaranteed to do so. It's highly likely that I'll end up with the SJ ones which if they last 20+ years is absolutely fine (in fact they'll probably outlive me )

Thanks

Ambrose

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Id would go Stainless my self maybe a bit heavier but its going to be full of petrol. Stainless is an inert material. You could still get your old ones repaired and I think the problem with the rust comes from the foam retaining water, and now you can get the foam that doesn


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Ok I admit I ve changed my mind go for Ally, I was unsure if the ally would corrode with the petrol but a chap who works for me is into classic bikes and all the racers have hand made ally tanks. No problems with any kind of corrosion etc. Standard ones from SJ are prob your best bet!


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Hi ambrose,

I have just done my tanks, luckily i caught them in time and i have just treated them and covered them in waxoil!

Just a little word of advice - first remember to drain the tanks ( i didn't!) and when you are putting the tanks back in, do up the bolt near the bottom of the tank first. Especially if you are intending to replace the 'bubble and squeek style foam rubber! The reason being if you are compressing the tanks down using the top brackes it is then virtually impossible to get the bolt to line up!

I thought 'so what not as if the tanks are going anywhere!' Until i noticed the earth straps - i had to take the tank out again just to fit this one bolt!!!

Best wishes

Simon

PS nylon bristled door mats make a good substitute for the bubble and squeek foam!!

Id would go Stainless my self

I have spoken to some people about stainless steel, aparently it is a good strong solution but you will get some 'bonging' for want of a better term.

You know when you get a pressure difference in say a metal 5litre oil can, you get a bong noise as the can either sucks in or springs back! Aparently stainless would do the same?!

Alloy the better path! - or if you tanks are not leaking, treat them, waxoil them and put 'em back in! Thats what i did!!

Edited by simonf

REHABS FOR QUITTERS!!

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On the alloy or stainless fuel tank thing, my mate makes fuel tanks for the marine industry he makes both alloy and stainless steel tanks, he gives his ally tanks a 5 year warranty and his stainless tanks twenty five year warranty, he also says most of his work is from replacing leaky alloy tanks in petrol engined sports crusers with stainless ones. I asked him is it the salt water that corrodes the alloy he laught at me and said no its the additives they put in modern fuel !

Matt


1976 Esprit S1 123G, 1976 Esprit S1 166G, 1976 Esprit S1 170G, 1976 Esprit S1 228G, 1977 Esprit S1 564H, 1978 Esprit S1 326G, 1978 Esprit S1 329G, 1978 Esprit S1 336G, 1981 Esprit S2.2 0991, 1997 Elise S1

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Hi Matt...

That surprises me...

My Ducati 851 has an alloy tank - is 18 years old - and no sign of corrosion at all? Cant't believe fuel manufacturers would include additives that corrode alluminium alloy?

However - whilst we're on the subject - modern fuels can cause havoc with carbs if left standing - l ots of varnish and gunk. Also had a mate who was a senior fire officer - said modern fuels more likely to catch fire in a shunt...

Iain


"... the Lotus Turbo (Esprit) owner will not only be comfortable in fast company, but will find, more often than not, that he has no company at all!" Road and Track magazine

1983 Turbo Esprit - Silver - 'Lottie' Featured in Classic and Sportscar Aug 2008 and Wheeler Dealers.

1999 Elise - Norfolk Mustard - 'Liz' Daily driver - 221,000 miles and counting!

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Hi

Thanks for the feedback, Im going to reconsider all the tank options including getting mine repaired (it really is only that one bit on one tank) and after chatting with Mike at lotusbits he thinks repaired tanks are fine. Also the more I use this POR15 paint the more confidence I get that it will be a longish term solution, in reality it only needs to last to the next engine rebuild maybe 2-3yrs (only half joking). The SJ ones are of course just sitting there and Simon350s is getting some made so that could be an option too. The aim is to get a functional car for summer and spend less than 40% of the value of the car doing so...

I read the astroturf padding solution, what a good idea and I try to remember to put that bottom bolt in first.

Ambrose

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For anybody else who's thinking of sloshing a load of POR-15 into their tank have a look at what the inside of mine looked like...

As you can see one half has been blasted and the other is untouched. No amount of Marine Clean, Metal Ready & POR-15 is going to deal with the amount of rust and s**t that accumulates over the years.

Paul.


Lotus Esprit [meaning] a 1:1 scale Airfix kit with a propensity to catch fire

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Hi Guys,

Have repaired fuel tanks on S1 10 years ago by sandblasting tanks to see how badly corroded they were, and then using plastic padding fuel tanks repair for the holes in tank. Then Sanding it down flat and painting with galvanised paint. As the S1 fuel tanks are easier to remove and fit this was a viable option and was successful. However on the turbo this was difficult with engine in place so I found it prudent to remanufacture in stainless and make an inch shorter in height to get them in without removal of engine.

Hope this is off use.

Regards

Jon

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Guest bharper

ambrose,

did you miss the page where matt-watts had stainless tanks made up for 250 pounds for the PAIR???

boy, if I could get a decent ship rate to the US, I'd be all over those...

here is a link to the page they are on - ss tanks on this page ....

Brian

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Paul,

If I remember correctly, either the marine clean, or the metal ready are acid based rust removers. Once an acid based rust remover is in contact with rusty sheet metal, and the rust is removed, the acid continues to eat the bare, clean metal as well. This may cause pinholes to develop. Otherwise, pinholes may not occur in the presence of a chelant based rust remover that tends to leave the bare metal alone. Here in the states I sell a chelant type rust remover, which has been utilised extensively for similar applications. The problem now is trying to effectively coat the inside once it is bare steel. I have tested the POR-15 on a battery box and the rust seemed to come right through it again and it tends to chip off. We are currently testing newer technology chemistries to produce a superior coating.

Sandblasting will also compromise the thinner metals unlike a chelant based rust remover, plus some of the 'debris' is likely some sand and flakes of rust that can't be removed easily. Neither is a problem with our rust removal fluid.

Better yet, just get some custom poly fuel cells made and be done with corrosion and the fuel contacting metal altogether!

Regards, Lee

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Brian,

Would definitely have taken that route, but by the time that offer appeared mine were repaired and installed.

In the end I went for a professional coating both inside and out. You can see the patches where they opened up the tank to sandblast the interior. I did feel a bit uneasy about sloshing POR everywhere in the end. I figure if a tiny coating of paint got them through the first 20 yrs then this stuff will last the next 20, plus they guarantee their work.

Ambrose

DSC04593-1.jpg

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Guest bharper

Ambrose,

My bad, I did not see the original post dates until after posting. Sounds like you got your tanks taken care of first class. Still torn on what to do with mine, there is a company franchise over here that bakes them out, takes them apart, and blasts the inside, and coats inside and out, at about $300 US each... lifetime guarantee, but don't know if that is mine or theirs. more than those new stainless ones, but would probably be another 250 pounds to ship the ss ones here, if not more. Decisions, Decisions... errr...

Brian

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I spent ages deciding what to do with mine as they both had pinholes in the bottoms. In the end I cut the old bottoms out and blasted them inside and out. Then I painted the insides with POR tank sealer, cut the sediment traps out of the old bottoms and made some new bottoms out of a sheet of steel. I had the whole lot tig welded in and I'm going to paint the outsides with POR tank sealer. The total cost for both tanks was about


Lotus Esprit [meaning] a 1:1 scale Airfix kit with a propensity to catch fire

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