Willys Hotchkiss Jeeps
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Hotchkiss M201 - latest blog of work - the fuel tank replacement
27/05/2011
 

During a test of the fuel system a few weeks ago, it became apparent the original fuel tank had a small leak.

I had sand blasted the old tank  before respraying. but this had unfortunately found a very small hole next to the seam at the bottom of the tank. I had to order a new tank as I had thought the seam was leaking (unfixable) but it isn't the seam and very easy to fix!  (hence the tank is for sale in the sales part of the website!)

I had been asked a few weeks ago by a chap who visited my site - and knows nothing about jeeps, to go through any jobs I do on mine step by step as to help any novices out there who aren't sure how to maintain their vehicles - so here goes:

First comes the removal of the drivers seat.  Pretty straight-forward if the captive nuts on the back end of the attachment bolts hold!

Under the seat you can now get to the tank.  Two restraining bands hold the tank in place.  Make sure you record which strap goes where as they are slightly different lengths and mixing them up can be a pain!! On this jeep the straps has a longer one at the rear (see picture three)

Out came out the fuel sender and it was in a rather poor state (see picture 2) Obviously the gasket was beyond saving..  After cleaning up the unit and testing on the bench - it is actually fully servicable.  Therefore this unit was put to one side.

Under the sender is the mounting ring that the sender sits on and forms a union between the tank and the unit.  This was rather a pain to get off as the screws holding it in place were really stiff. All but one came out, but the screws were useless as the heads were all burred from removing. Picture 4

The float on the end of the arm of the sender unit is actually made from a coated peice of cork!  Over the years the coating comes off and the cork gets soaked in fuel, slowly breaking it down.  The float didn't look too bad on this sender but its well worth replacing to ensure an accurate reading. I found another synthetic float from a old 60's classic car sender unit and this easily slipped on the arm where the cork float came off.  In the past I have replaced with a tin float, but more modern synthetic plastic floats are better as they don't leak. The old sender from a car only cost a couple of quid on ebay - so happy days.. (it was a volvo amazon 121 one)

First of the problems then arose...

When putting the sender unit back on the union (already fixed to the fuel tank with a new paper gasket) I found the sender unit wouldn't sit flat and any fuel slopping about in the tank could potentially get out past the sender this way!

It transpired the issue was with the replacement screws I had bought to attach the union flange - they weren't sutting down in their recesses correctly but standing proud. I could have used a liquid gasket to take up the slack but I simply sanded the whole union flange flat with an electric sander, taking the heads of the brass screws down to give me a level neck.  Picture 7. The new paper gasket fitted and the sender sat perfectly tight against the tank.  No gaps - no leaks now!

On some tanks, when you buy them, they come with drain plugs on the bottom corners.  Be careful with these as they can stand proud and when you put the tank into the body recess they snag and can damage the tank.  Either remove the plug and file down, or like me, I have put in a flat bolt of the same thread in the hole. This way they dont stand out and you can drain the tank through the drain neck (when the tank is in the jeep) using a socket set.

The tank goes back in with a new filler cap (a metal one rather than the plastic one fitted already) - a new lid gasket and voila!

I put in a couple of strips of rubber foam under the tank to ensure it sits snug and doesn't chafe the body - tighten up the straps - re attach the fuel line underneath and we are good to go.

Back on with the seat and job now done!

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