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fuel cell installed


docf

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Took about 20 hours total including all the R&D and all of the fittings that I had to redo multiple times to get everything to fit right. I made a frame out of heavy angle iron and welded it to the frame crossmember. Line at the back bottom is -8an fuel feed to the pump. The pump sits near the ecu right above where the factory pump is installed. From there its a -6an line to the factory filter. As soon as it gets a little less humid here I'll replace everything up to the fuel rail. The left side top port is a vapor port to the factory charcoal canister and has a tipover valve in case I flip the car. The top right port is the fuel return which is aome -6an line from the factory fpr. The black thing in between the 2 is the fuel level sender and it works!!! with the original vdo gauge. Put 3 gallons into it (12 gallon tank) and it show exactly 1/4 tank on the gauge. To the left of the tank is the blitz dsbc boost solenoid.. need to pick up some nice red vac hose from pep boys tomorrow. Drove it out to watch fireworks and everything works like a top. The walbro pump is nice and quiet and even during aggresive cornering I couldnt get the fuel gauge to budge.. thanks to the blue foam that the tank is filled with. I took the back roads home and didnt notice any change in handling.. contrary to what alot of people think 30 pounds of crap where the trunk should be does not "destroy" the handling of the car. On the way back stopped for gas and watched the gauge gently climb to 3/4 tank when I filled it up 3/4 of the way (imagine that!). The look on the gas attendants face when I popped to rear and uncorked the tank was priceless.

So given about a weekends worth of time (spread out over a couple of weeks) and about $650 spent I have my leaky gas tank esprit back on the road... and as for the empty space in the read left can you say "huge oil cooler with fan"???

The factory tanks will stay in there until I:

A. have a bad day at work and take it out on the tanks with an angle grinder and a sawzall.

B. get my motor swap next summer

More pics to come.. its just so dirty in there I really want to clean it up first.

post-235-1152067172.jpg

Edited by docf
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So instead of maybe 4-10 hrs work and $100-200 (reconditioning the tank), you spent 20 hrs and $650, since you didn't have the time to do it the right way, and not enough money to pay someone?

That's assuming the tank was repairable (coatable or weldable).

I don't know how much a new one would be (from Lotus) or a new fabricated aluminum one... but I would guess around $400.

Edited by Vulcan Grey

Travis

Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

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Always thought about this myself, but in the factory locations not in the trunk.

Obviously it's a bit ugly, but if it's a racer who cares.

Are you worried about changing the balance of the car with all the fuel wieght shifted to the back?

Luke Colorado, Super Spy.   -  Lotus Owner No Longer

1987 Zender Widebody 560SEC | 1994 Lotus Esprit S4 | 2013 Honda Fit EV (#269)

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post-235-1152067172.jpg

Just removed the "_thumb" from the file location you will find in the image properties.

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Any chance of posting the picture, as I just get rubbish when I click on the image.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's cos you're using Firefox... or...NOT IE. Happens to me too.

Luke Colorado, Super Spy.   -  Lotus Owner No Longer

1987 Zender Widebody 560SEC | 1994 Lotus Esprit S4 | 2013 Honda Fit EV (#269)

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UUmmm, any idea how much heat will be transferred from the turbo to the nearest point on the tank? I admire your inginuity and work, but I just don't see how that was a better solution than replacing/fixing the original tanks. Only thing I could think of would be because of having to remove the engine to get them out...however, I seem to remember hearing of someone that was able to replace them without pulling the engine. In any event, to each his own.

John
94 S4

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1. I examined the tank as best as I could using a "borrowed" fiber optic bronchoscope. On the inside of the pass side tank there is what i can best describe as a "gash" of rust about 2/3 of the way up and on the inner side of the tank. It is scaling on the inside along the entire length of the rusted area and this the leak that showed itself when I filled the tanks. The drivers tank looks ok from the inside but the underside is pretty badly rusted. When my car was transported in wrecked condition from miami to nyc in mid winter it got hammered with salt.. like it had been dipped salt. This explains some of the underside rust but i cant really figure out what happened to the pass side tank. I think the drivers side tank is repairable but the pass tank is junk. The cost of removing, refurbishing, and replacing the tanks was quoted to me at over $2000.. 16 hours of labor plus materials. This does not take into account the cost of 1 new tank which i did not know was so bad when i called around for estimates. Let me make this clear.. if i had to spend $2000 plus on this car just to make it roadworthy again I would have just as soon put it into a guardrail and bought a nice porsche with the insurance money.

2. I used a "gm" style fuel sender.. 0-90 ohms.

3. I saw the pics of someone who removed almost every part of the induction system and what looks like a hundred other parts to avoid removing the engine.. but I have a 1 car garage thats very very cramped and I am still in residency so 70 hours weeks and a needy girlfriend left me with no time to do the job myself. Plus.. fussing over the car is getting a little old. I dont mind fun stuff like changing the turbo or body work but this kinda thing would really ruin my enjoyment of the car.

4. With the short drives I've taken the front left corner of the tank doesnt get that hot.. but thats most likely due to the fact that the rear of my car is essentialy wide open and gets alot of airflow. I think that stopped in traffic on a hot day it would probably get hot enough to cause problems. That noted I took the advice of a race shop and will be installing some heat shielding on that corner of the tank. I bought a sheet of aluminum and tried to make a heat shield but it just looked uglier and uglier the more I looked at it so some stick on reflective stuff will do.

5. I wanted to try something different, get to play with my new welder, make an actual performance upgrade with better hoses and a good fuel pump, and learn something about fuel cells.

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I feel you pain on the issue of fuel tanks.

However, this looks way to dodgy an option for me! You certainly have fabrication skills and a good imagination to come up with something like that. Here's reasons why this would be a no-no for me, but you must have thought about them already.

1. Impact resistance. The original tanks are protected from side shunts by the tub of the body shell. If you had a rear end shunt by a higher bumper vehicle, the tank could be ruptured and the fuel ignited by the hot turbo and manifold. Too scarey.

2. Damage to the tank from road debris. You don't have anything protecting the underneath of the tank! A few stones over time will give you a leak quicker than you realise. See no.1.

3. Screwed up airflow and aerodynamics. With the rear deck removed, airflow underneath the car will not behave as originally designed by Lotus, especially if you have the engine tray removed too. I would think it would make the rear lighter at high speeds, despite a tank full of petrol weighing it down.

4. Maintenance is going to be a bitch. When you come to change your clutch, driveshaft seals, exhaust, fluids etc, will you have to remove the tank?

5. Have you fitted any internal baffles in the fuel tank? I'd imagine due to the shape of the tank, you'll have to keep it constantly 1/4 full. Any lower and a sharp turn, heavy acceleration or even a hill will mean no fuel at the pump. The original design has a round pot (think tin of beans) at the bottom of the tank where the pump sits. This eliminates the above problems and means you can be pretty low on fuel before you have to top up.

6. Your insurance is null and void. If you tell them you have done that to your car, I'd be amazed if they still covered you.

7. You have to open your boot to fill up with petrol. Not very elegant.

8. No boot space! I'm glad of the generous luggage space the Esprit has for a supercar. Means I can go long trips with it secure in the boot, not at my passengers feet.

I think you should have replaced the original tanks, but hey you completed what you set out to do and know the risks. B)

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