Category Archives: Fuel system

July 2008 – Miscellaneous since February

What we’ve done since February (!) 2008

This one is for Dan.

Just under a year ago, I said I was looking for a double-groove crankshaft pulley. I published a humorous email exchange at the time, and I had resolved to get a new pulley from Classic Jaguar. Funny how time flies — I had no idea it’s been a year since that time until I fished around on my website for that link. People ask me how the car is coming, and I think how leisurely the pace has been, punctuated by flurries of great activity. I have taken Mike Moore’s advice, given a few years ago on the Jag-Lover’s forum, to do something every day, even if it only amounts to cleaning tools. Sometimes, I’ll have to admit, I have been content to gaze upon the car — as if looking constituted work.

At any rate, I did get my pulley from Classic Jaguar, but I got a used part — my preference actually. And Dan Mooney was gracious, since I didn’t need the accessory pulley and bolts that he offered on his used parts listings. Dan has always been gracious and supportive through the course of this restoration, and I have used the Classic Jaguar website a lot over the years to watch the pros at work. I like to think I’ve been able to take cues, at least, from what happens in the CJ workshops, but I don’t think my toolsets quite match. Neither does my talent, alas.

I went ahead a few weeks later to pick up a used low brake fluid level switch from CJ’s used parts collection. One of the two that came with the car broken too badly to repair; the other seems workable until I get around to replacing it or can figure out how to mend it. That is a challenge since the things were put together in a way that defies taking apart, and I ended up breaking both of them utterly when I was struggling to get the aluminum canister off. See the used replacement’s innards in the picture below.

Aaron has been involved with this restoration over all of the years, and he leaves to NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina, at the end of August. He told me that he wanted to get the engine running before he left, but it looks as though that’s probably not going to happen. We have gotten the major pieces in place, and in fact we have turned the engine over for a period to see the oil pressure pop up. (It went to 60 pounds in very little time, I’m happy to report.) Getting the ignition system straight has been a little bit of a challenge, mainly because I didn’t take the time to actually look at the distributor insides. I was expecting to hook the thing up like the original 3.8 liter engine, but the new engine has an electronic ignition, so the setup is significantly different at least at the distributor. (See the pictures below for comparisons of the original distributor and the newer one.)

The fuel pump is in place, but I haven’t connected the run of wire from the “rear” harness to the cockpit harness yet. (Remember, I modularized the wiring harnesses a bit more than they already were.) The fuel tank filler hose is in place, too. I had to buy one of those little pieces of rubber from a Jaguar vendor, because I couldn’t find a hose with the right inner dimension. Not even McMaster-Carr had something suitable. But I did some searching after I got the hose and could use the printed numbers on the rubber. Goodyear offers “Fuel Fill Hose SAE 30R6” in various inner dimensions. I believe an inner dimension of 2 1/4 inches would do the trick.

Various pictures collected over the months

The fuel level sensor. Essentially, it’s a rheostat. (Er, maybe a potentiometer, but I think not. The thing has two, not three, leads.) The whole thing is quite delicate, so if you go the route of cleaning it, be very careful. The brass float that dangles into the fuel drives the blade. There are two “switches” so to speak — one that signals the variable level (the rheostat) and the other that is on-off that signals low fuel. The lid that’s removed in this photograph plays a role in completing the circuits, too. When I opened this little box up, it was quite encrusted. Cleaned up pretty well, though.

Looking down the XJ6 exhaust manifolds. I used the XJ6 manifolds that came with the engine I got from David Boger. Rather than heading straight down, the lower pipe slants backwards just slightly, and the manifold include a bolt-like bung hole plug. That plug makes it much too tight a fit against the left subframe, so I cut off the plug. The picture shows the front exhaust with plug and the rear exhaust with the plug cut off.I like the XJ6 manifolds for another reason: they include a heat shield setup that would seem to reflect heat downward. With all of the work on the paint, I really don’t want to have heat damage around the left louvres as I’ve heard some people have seen. Of course, the change in design means that the exhaust will have to be specially crafted, at least from the base of the manifolds to the front of the muffler section. I don’t think that will be too much of a challenge, though.

The engine compartment. Yes, please don’t pay attention to the mess. One of the thing I could do (but, apparently don’t) is take time to clean up the garage. It is shared, for the time being, with son Aaron, who also leaves his junk around. Working on my car includes quite frequently asking Aaron where tools are. But, aside from that, the engine compartment is coming together nicely, creating a sight that offsets some of the garbage in the background. Notably absent are the brake and clutch hydraulic fluid reservoirs and much else on that side of the engine. Since the time this photograph was taken (early July 2008), there has been some additional progress. A battery has been fitted, the heater fan assembly has been more firmly put in place, and a new starter solenoid (which still hasn’t worked right) is set up.You can see the oil cooler setup quite plainly, of course.

The rusty brake rotors need calipers fitted — and to be used — to get them clear of the red iron oxide. That, too, will come.

Lucas 22D distributor with condenser and points. This is the inside of the distributor that came with the 3.8 liter engine. It’s a Lucas 22D (note the marks) and it’s what I’m familiar with — mechanical and old fashioned with points and a condenser. I suppose I could use this one, as Glen Jarboe has on his 4.2 after he went through his engine rebuild. I’ll put this one aside, though, in favor of the distributor that came with the 4.2 replacement engine (below). If that one needs replacement, I might go with a Pertronix.

Lucas AB14 distributor with sensor. This distributor came with the engine I got from David Boger. People on the Jag-Lovers XJ6 forum seemed to think that this distributor is the Lucas AB14. It’s got a “CEI” (Something Electronic Ignition, probably) that has a sensor instead of the more mechanical approach that I’m familiar with. Peter Crespin, who knows a lot more than I do about these things, explained that the star-shaped center portion is a “normal six-point reluctor for the Hall effect pick-up coil at the side of the base plate.” This setup requires an amplifier, and David will be sending one to me. If the old electronic parts don’t pan out, I could install the mechanical 22D or put in a new Pertronix. My thanks go to Frank Anderson, Al McLean, Peter Crespin, David Boger and the Jag Lovers’ XJ6 forum.

A handy mechanical oil pressure gauge under the bonnet. I’m not terribly impressed with the track record of the electronic oil pressure gauge. People seem to think that they’re maybe accurate to within 25% (and I believe that might be half in jest). With the two oil pressure sensor possibilities on the 4.2 liter engine I got, I went ahead and installed a mechanical gauge next to the windshield washer bottle and above the fuel filter bowl. The copper tubing goes to where the on/off pressure sensor used to be. I believe that the XJ6 had an oil pressure sensor there that was attached to an engine cutoff. The electronic sensor for the gauge was broken on this engine, and so I might attach the sensor from the 3.8 liter engine. It’s old, but it might work.Then, again, I might just stick a non-standard mechanical gauge in the cockpit. Lucas ones are available, I believe, though they display a different range of oil pressure than the electronic gauges do. Having an oil pressure gauge in the engine area is really nice. I’m considering installing a tachometer nearby, too. I believe they come in the two-inch form factor

Insides of the brake fluid level switch. Both of my brake fluid level switches ended up being less than desirable. Both of them cracked when I tried to remove the aluminum canister that protects the cork float. One of them is more-or-less intact and still sits atop a fluid bottle, waiting until I replace it. The other broke into small pieces, and so I replaced it with a used part from Classic Jaguar. The replacement was really nice, and when I removed the aluminum canister, the top part came off. I took advantage of the inadvertent disassembly to clean and photograph it.The thing is dead simple. Simple enough that you’d think replacements would be cheaper. I just wish there was a way to replace the top cover and the canister without having to replace the whole part. The inset photo shows where the two contacts are hit by the metal disk that’s attached to the rod and float. One thing that might help others trying to replace a besotted cork: There is a hole near the top of the canister that is slightly pressed into the plastic of the assembly. If you take a knife and remove part of the aluminum that’s pressed into the hole, you might find removing the canister easier. It worked for me.

February 2008 – Alternator bracket

Alternator bracket and alternator installation

This one is for Glen.

The XJ6 engine I got of course didn’t have the exact same places to mount the alternator and other engine-driven parts (like an air conditioning compressor). This meant that I was pretty stuck when it came to mounting the alternator, since the original 3.8 liter engine had a very different mount for its generator, and even the mounting holes on the 3.8 differed from those on the XJ6 4.2 liter engine. I had to get a later mounting bracket and fit an alternator.

I could buy a mounting bracket, and indeed I searched around for one. The only one I could find came with extras for hanging an air conditioning compressor. I wasn’t really interested in paying the premium for a new part (which may or may not be quality). So, it was time to fabricate.

I knew that Glen Jarboe was putting his 1969 4.2 liter E-type restoration to rights in Texas, and I suspected he might even have his alternator bracket accessible. He and I had exchanged emails on a couple of occasions, most recently to discuss the way that the E-type oil dipstick fit. So, I decided to ask him a few questions about the bracket.

Glen’s Real Bracket. This photo was taken by Glen Jarboe to help me out with the fabricating project. (He graciously let me use it!)

After a couple of emails, I had a scanned template in hand and good pictures of what the 4.2 liter E-type alternator bracket looked like. (Two of Glen’s emailed photos appear here.) He scrupulously described the original bracket in his car this way: “The bracket is constructed of three pieces … a front plate that attaches to the water pump and timing housing. A large plate that is bent at a 90 degree angle to form a large flat base and a vertical face that attaches to the block. A strengthener plate, oriented vertically, 3 3/8″ back from the front plate and welded to the base plate. This should correspond the distance between the alternator mounting arms.”

Glen’s Real Bracket. A second look from a different perspective. Glen’s help with this fabrication was essential, and I am grateful to him.

Of course, I didn’t have a means of bending the plate very easily, so I’d piece it, just as Glen also suggested. I could get the fabricated bracket pretty close to the original, but whatever deviation from the original wouldn’t be devastating. This was a job that could do well enough if it was executed close enough. The placement of the holes was the least forgiving of the entire fabrication job.

I used metal from an unused XJ6 bracket — just cut it up to get the flat pieces. I had the front part of another XJ6 bracket (one that I believe was originally used for the XJ6 alternator, as a matter of fact), and that one I pressed into service as well. The metal sometimes needed a little filling or extension here and there, but overall did the job. The vertical “strengthening plate” was made of metal I salvaged from a cast off angle iron. (I keep most cast-off metal, since it seems to come in handy sometimes, though it’s easy to have the shop descend into even greater messiness.)

The actual fabrication was pretty straightforward. I spent more time arranging to get time to do the job than actually to do it. Aaron did the best welding. I managed to blob welds pretty nicely, but they won’t move, I can tell you. The pieces of metal I cut generously, meaning that I eventually had to grind out a fair amount of metal to get it to looking more like Glen’s original. One thing I did not do was worry about the threaded fitting at the front plate of Glen’s bracket. I used a nut instead, and I didn’t weld it to the bracket.

The actual alternator instructions come from Ray Livingston, who documented his installation of a Hitachi alternator for E-type Lovers ( His PDF is available through that website. I haven’t gone through the entire process of altering the Lucas regulator yet, but Ray’s instructions were pretty much on target. I got my alternator online, so I wasn’t able to double-check the fit of the original fan and pulley, but they were exact fits in any case. The PDF explains the alterations with care. Now, Ray was interested in upfitting a 3.8 to an alternator set up, so his mounting bracket was a special one he got from XKS Unlimited. It used the 3.8 liter generator mountiing holes to fit the bracket, and those holes were utterly lacking on my “new” 4.2 liter engine block. The choice of a new Hitachi alternator worked nicely, though — at least as far as fit goes.

I’ll do the electrical alterations at a later date.

Other stuff

I have been collecting parts with a focus on getting the engine running this spring. Since Arlene reported today that the daffodils are beginning to come up, I’d better get going.

Facet fuel pump 40105. Just a little thing, this pump. The entire thing fits into the palm of my hand, and it will have plenty of room to go into the lower trunk compartment without getting in the way of the spare tire. I need to get some fittings for the input and output.

I decided to go with an external fuel pump. I have two of the originals, one hopelessly corroded and the other a bit gunked up. These are submerged pumps, and for some reason I can’t get myself used to the idea of putting a forty-some year-old Lucas fuel pump into a tank of gasoline. So, I took the pump off the mounting plate, and redid the fuel intake arrangement. I’m going to use a Facet pump that I got from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Supply ( The Facet pump is model number 40105.

Of course, there are new submersible fuel pumps available, but the size and simplicity of the Facet pump was quite appealing to me. Yes, the whole pump fits into the palm of my hand, as shown in the picture, and it delivers about the right pressure, so I shouldn’t need to install a pressure regulator upstream from the pump. I’ve seen discussions of this pump in various car forums, and it seems to get good reviews. For me, the size is a real benefit. It will easily fit in the lower trunk/boot compartment, though I’ve not yet mounted it. Besides that, it will easily fit into a tool box, and it wasn’t expensive, so having a spare on hand makes sense. I think I spent maybe around $40 USD on it.

I also set up an oil cooler, since the oil filter mount on the XJ6 engine I used needed some rethinking of circulation to the sump in any case. I don’t have any pictures, but I will get some and post them sometime. I do wonder about the airflow restriction that might come about by having a small and narrow oil cooler radiator in front of the engine cooling radiator. It could be that the additional cooling of the oil will be offset by lesser cooling of the block, but I think it’ll be all right. Something to watch, I guess, and if it’s not working out, I’ll simply remove the oil cooler.

From an XJ6 mount to an E-type mount, step-by-step

This is some bracket from the XJ6 engine I used. It may (probably not) actually be for the alternator on the XJ6, but it’s used at a much lower mounting point — the one used for engine mounts on the E-type. This piece provided most of the raw metal for my alternator bracket.

Glen Jarboe was working on his 4.2 liter engine at the time, and he had an original mounting bracket for the 4.2 liter engine. With a quick email exchange, he provided me an outline of the piece, templated from his part. A couple of pictures gave me a pretty good grasp of what the finished product would look like. He scanned his template with some measurements. He sent the scan as an email attachment. Hooray for the Internet!

I did have a piece of another XJ6 bracket that mostly conformed with the front flat that I needed. I traced Glen’s template of the piece, and then cut the outline as best I could. The picture shows the partially cut piece. The missing metal and the misplaced hole required some deft welding.

The template an the metal outline is complete. This piece is virtually finished. All I had to do was drill the hole for the bolt that attaches the part to the front of the engine. My bracket did not have the large hole of the original piece (see the large black circle on the template), because my plan didn’t require using that kind of hardware or adjustment plan.

Tacked together, the bracket is mostly in shape. The front piece is tacked on very loosely in this picture. I attached the front piece to the from the other engine (two bolts that go through the water pump housing), and then I clamped the angled piece into place after sliding it against the side of the engine where it would attach. After checking the tack welds against the place where the piece would go, I let Aaron do the final welds. (I was good with blobs of metal, but he’s got MIG welding down better than I do.)

I loosely set the rear part of the bracket after setting the alternator onto the mount. It turned out that I should have put this piece forward about a quarter- or half- inch forward (10-15 mm), so that I would have more forward adjustment possibility. Bolt spacers are easy to use, but you need to have some room to play with. You can also see the holes for the bolts that attach the bracket to the side of the engine block. I located these holes by covering the bracket with masking tape and then circling the bolt holes with lipstick. Then I set the bracket in the right place, removed it, and then put the holes where the lipstick markings indicated. The lipstick marked the “kiss” of the engine block against the masking tape. Romantic, I guess. Lipstick is a useful tool in my shop!

The Duralast rebuilt alternator for a 1980 Nissan/Datsum 720 2-wheel-drive pickup. It cost about $55 USD at Auto Parts Warehouse ( There are lots of choices for this alternator. I chose to use the web, because it was easier.

The Hitachi alternator comes with a fan and pulley that won’t work (they’re on the left). I took the pulley and fan off the original generator. The new alternator accepts the fan and the pulley exactly, though there is some fettling required. I had a devil of a time getting the pulley and fan off the alternator. I had to use my air impact wrench to remove the nut, which probably had some sort of LocTite on it.

Between the alternator body and the fan sits a spacer. This is about twice as thick as it needs to be for the Jaguar fan, so I cut it in half. Adjustments in the line-up of the pulley can be done by shifting the alternator on the bracket either fore or aft. I found that the place I put the rear part of the bracket holder was a bit too far to the rear. I didn’t have much room to adjust the alternator forward.

There it is! The curved alternator adjustment bracket was a regular old off-the-shelf bracket from AutoZone, and it was designed (I think) for GM engines. I cut off just a little more than half of the length of the piece, and drilled a hole. It’s chrome plated — I’d prefer regular old Jaguar drippy black, but this will do. It’s worth noting that the Hitachi alternator uses metric threads. The adjustment bracket used a 8.8 metric bolt (though I have to admit I don’t know what the 8.8 stamp on the bolt head meant).

November/December 2004 – Firewall sundries

An odd fall, this last one. Sometimes it was as warm as summer, and then, before you get too used to the nice weather, in popped a cold spell for a visit. I still have some paint touch up to do before I can turn to the final buffing and shining, but I’ll need some sustained warmth before I can swing the paint sprayer again. Now that it’s almost the turn of the year, warmth might wait ’til spring to come back.

So, over the past couple of months, I’ve done various things, mainly on the areas of the car forward of the firewall (“front bulkhead”), but also some on the interior. I’ve devoted a page to the specifics: the firewall section (this page), the front suspension, the steering setup, the pedal and master cylinder asssemblies and the rest. “The rest” means the left over of what I did, not the rest of the car, unfortunately. It includes beginning installation of sound dampener/insulation on the interior, shipping some chrome off to be redone, and beginning work on breakdown of the IRS.

Firewall Sundries

The firewall is a place for lots of individual parts, so as you go about refinishing and reinstalling them you do get the feeling that you are really moving along. The nice thing about the firewall work is that you can also tackle a complete piece in an evening or two, making for a satisfying pace. When I compare the firewall clutter on my truck (a ten-year-old Ford F-150) with the minimal stuff on the Jag firewall, the difference is amazing. There really isn’t much on the old Jag, and what was placed there seems to me to have a certain ornamental flair. (Perhaps that is a bit of bias impinging on judgment.) That simplicity comes in part from the fact that the firewall had to serve both right-hand and left-hand drive configurations. So there are many parts that are placed in a somewhat mirrored fashion, not exactly mirrored of course. This means that something like the blanking plates for the pedal assembly are required on the Jag, whereas I don’t think my pickup has anything like those. And since they’re on the Jag, they could be adorned with cadmium plate. And since the configurations are mirrored, the firewall always has some area more or less unused opposite the used space, though individual sections of the firewall are also set up so that they can accept different parts.

The first thing I took on was the wiper motor. It’s basically a steel sheel surrounding the rotor and armature with pot metal caps. A gear assembly comes off the top of the motor and contains a large nylon gear driven by a brass worm gear off the motor. The motor itself is straightforward, but the controls are a little formidable because of the requirement that the wipers “back off” and go back into their off position once the wipers are turned off. This means reversing the motor to set the wipers into their resting place.

I was a dolt and tried to make the motor move by touching wires with a six-volt battery charger. There wasn’t anything that moved, and when I thought that perhaps this was a stupid thing to do (after a couple of touches to no effect), I gave up. I asked about ways of testing the motor on the Jag-lovers forum, but apparently there’s not much to do until the switches and wires are correctly installed. I was warned about messing with battery charges and delicate wiring, though!

Putting the motor into visible order was a matter of dismantling the pieces and cleaning them up. The steel motor housing is painted a hammered silver/grey. I used a multipurpose grease on the gears. They had been greased before, and the grease had firmed up quite a bit. It wasn’t hard or rubbery, but it was old and stiff. Installation of the motor was a matter of fitting the wiper arm and sliding it into the inner part of the firewall and bolting the mounting plate. Now I can look at it and hope it will work.

The windshield washer jar and pump were original, as was the mounting bracket that attaches them to the firewall. The washer pump lacked a part that apparently sits below fluid level and is driven by the small motor mounted on the jar lid. This meant, of course, that the pump was functionally worthless, even though it looked good after cleanup and a spray of satin black paint. New washer pumps are available, but they don’t look like the old one I have, as far as I can tell. I decided to mount a “universal” washer pump in the area inside the firewall behind the washer fluid jar, and let it use the existing lid and tubing to draw fluid from the jar. It’ll be invisible, and it should work to pump fluid. Although I will hook up the contacts on the old pump, they won’t be connected. Instead, the real wiring will go to the new and hidden pump.

New rubber tubing was fitted. I got it from McMaster-Carr, a place that amazes me continuously. I also installed the first rubber grommet in the firewall for the washer tubing. This grommet came from the body seal and rubber kit that is offered by Classic Jaguar. I look forward to installing the rest of the rubber parts!

The mounting bracket was a bit of a job. The rubber guard on the side bars (see the closeup picture of the restored part) completely rotted and had turned into little more than a sticky goo. More rubber had deteriorated at the base of the bracket. I’m not exactly sure why it behaved this way, since it appeared to have been dissolved in some fashion. By solvents in the washer fluid, perhaps? At any rate, that had to be completely removed. After I stripped the paint on the remaining parts, I repainted gloss black, leaving the side bars unpainted. I decided to try reapplying the rubber coating with Plasti Dip, a product that is used to give tools a rubber-like grip on their handles. You usually dip parts into the product, but I brushed it on the bars. It took several coats to build up sufficiently, but the end product looks quite good. The Plasti Dip looks like it will be quite durable, too. I have loads of the stuff left.

The fuel filter bowl and the bonnet latch assemblies also went on after thorough cleaning. I’ll be removing the fuel filter bowl to install the car number plate. I’m a little disappointed wth the reproduction of the car number plate. It evokes the original, but it doesn’t come too near duplicating it. The past couple of days I’ve been toying with the idea of doing my own (and more true) number plate. It seems that the people who did the reproductions could have been more scrupulous.

October/November 2004 – Gas tank

Gas tank cleanup and sealing

The gas tank had waited in the chicken coop for two years. That was long enough to take on a couple of boarders — mice who built a nice soft nest behind an inside baffle. In spite of the fact that the gas tank was bone dry from the first day we got the car, I know that mice hadn’t invaded until we took possession. The nest I pulled out piece by piece and sucked out with my shop vacuum was made of our brand of paper towel and a cotton swab or two that had been lying around. I had to use some wire to fish out the little bits. Time to set more traps, I guess.

I glanced inside the tank when we put it into storage, and I recall thinking that it was pretty rusty, though I was also happy that the tank was completely empty and had been for some time. Perhaps it is a matter of perspective now, but looking at it after two years of repairing other (worse?) rust made it seem a little better. The rust inside was scary nonetheless. There was a welded repair that had been covered with blue silicone sealer. I recall the previous owner pointing to some blue stuff and saying “Kreem?” but I have to admit that “Kreem” didn’t make much sense to me then. Now I know it is a type of gas tank sealer. Our closer look inside the tank showed us that the tank had never before been treated with a gas tank sealer. That fact simplified our work, since we wouldn’t have to remove a previous sealer to apply our own.

The underside of the tank, on the corner nearest the threaded hole for the fuel sump, had been repaired by cutting out a rusted area and patching it. The rest of the tank wall was unmolested and solid. The rust repair was probably done at the same time as the “repair” of the fuel sump hole on the trunk floor that we redid. This area of the E-type is commonly rusted, I’ve heard. It can collect water, since it is in close proximity to a hole fairly near the pavement and since Jaguar apparently used jute pads to soundproof. The jute pads were situated between the gas tank and the floor of the trunk. Unfortunately, they soaked up moisture and eventually promoted rust.

Bottom line: We didn’t need to do rust damage repair, though sealing and removal of lesser rust deposits were still needed.

I decided to use POR-15’s “US Standard Fuel Tank Sealer” kit. I’d read positive reviews, and I’ve been overall happy with other POR-15 products I’ve used. I know that the rust protection coating is mighty tough stuff, and I figured the sealer would be tough, too. Also, I was attracted by the simplicity of buying a kit that included everything I’d need. Cost was in line with what I expected: $50-$75. My kit arrived with two quarts of “Marine Clean” detergent, a quart of “Metal Ready” rust converter and metal etcher, a quart of sealer, and a large-ish container of fuel treatment, that I won’t use until I actually put gas into the tank. A single letter-sized sheet contains all of the instructions. In short, you clean the tank thoroughly, convert any remaining rust and etch the steel, and then coat with the sealer. (See the sidebar for all the details of our sealing job.)

Since I wanted to make the most out of the detergent that came from POR-15, I decided to do a pre-cleaning of the inside of the tank. There was no sense in pouring in the special detergent to do what regular old “industrial strength” degreaser-detergent would do. To that end, I used a 1:1 dilution of Kirkland brand (yes, it came from Costco) “industrial/commercial” degreaser-detergent. This stuff is colored a flourescent-like green. I’ve used it to degrease parts and I’ve even used it — with spotty results — to clean items that were to be zinc plated. It has worked very well to remove grits and greasy deposits. I used the regular degreaser in the same manner that the POR-15 folks recommended using their “Marine Clean” detergent. The first cleaning really took out a lot of junk, both loose chunks of grit and flaked rust and dissolved goo. The detergent mix came out looking like eight-hour old espresso. After a clean water rinse, I redid it. The second batch of detergent came out signficantly more clean, but still definitely brown. The third batch came out virtually the same color as it went in (see the left half of the comparison picture in the sidebar), so I figured that the detergent had done as much as it could.

At that point, I began using the “Marine Clean.” Now, “Marine Clean” is a clear liquid, and the POR-15 people claim that it dissolves varnishes and residues that result from oxidizing fuels. Apparently this works in gas lines as well as gas tanks. I actually wasn’t expecting the “Marine Clean” to get as much out of the tank as it in fact did, since I’d already cleaned the tank with some also pretty tough detergent. That “Marine Clean” really works — the first 1:1 dilution came out significantly brown, indicating it was at least dissolving what my other detergent couldn’t. The second dilution also came out somewhat brown. One thing that was a bit unsual was that the instructions suggested that there was a third application of the “Marine Clean,” but my kit contained two quarts of the stuff. I figured that the POR-15 people decided that three was overkill and two would suffice.

The test of the relative strength of a “industrial” degreaser-detergent and the POR-15 “Marine Clean” detergent was really the only surprise in the process of sealing the gas tank. The rest of the process went without much to note.

After the inside was sealed, I painted the outside of the tank. I did decide to mask the areas where the fuel pump and the fuel level sensor attach as well as the threads for the fuel sump. These now are clean metal. I am thinking about installing a different (more dependable?) fuel pump, though I’m not sure what type, submersible or not. That is a question I do not need to answer right now, however.

The gas tank looks nice. I’ll have to keep more rodent boarders from moving in!

Gas tank treatment, step-by-step using POR-15 Fuel Tank Sealer Kit

Pretty scary, I thought, when I first took a look at the inside of the gas tank. This area is the welded repair that must have been associated with the rusted out trunk. I think that the rusted out trunk floor became a problem when gas began to leak. The area immediately adjacent to the welded repair on the tank exterior had some pitting as well.

The instructions for the tank kit said to clean the tank with the “Marine Clean” detergent, diluted 1:1. I decided to use some regular old “industrial degreaser-detergent” (purchased from Costco) to do the initial cleaning. This entailed sloshing around a 1:1 mixture of water and degreaser. I did this three times, and I let the detergent soak for about an hour in the tank. The first time the mixture came out a coffee-colored liquid. After a clean water rinse and another Costco-brand slosh, the detergent had done as much as it could. It came out almost completely the color it went in. The picture above shows the results on the interior — there were some results but the best was yet to come.

The picture shows the last Costco-brand detergent and the first “Marine Clean” detergent mix. It’s pretty obvious that the Costco detergent had done its best. And the “Marine Clean” — which went in completely colorless — came out quite brown. The “Marine Clean” detergent is claimed to remove fuel residues and varnishes that appear in fuel tanks and fuel lines. I was skeptical, but I was pleasantly surprised by the result, especially after I had cleaned up as best as I could with other detergent.

This shows the tank floor after two applications of the “Marine Clean” detergent. Although the instructions said that the final detergent soaking would pour out almost clean, that was not my experience. That second soak came out brownish, too. I’m assuming this second application was adequate, since a third quart of “Marine Clean” did not come in my kit, although the instructions mention a third application of the diluted detergent. What is shown here really amounts to a thin coating of rust. I could easily rub it off with my fingertips.

After the inside is free of greases, oils, and varnish, the rust is converted with a product called “Metal Ready.” Basically, this converts iron oxide rust and etches the metal surface. This left (or, perhaps more accurately, replaced) the rust film with a grey film that came off just as easily as the rust. This picture shows the treated surface after it had been rinsed with clean water. The surface came quite clean, since you can see the brazed welds quite easily and the steel looks like steel.

An old hair dryer served as the forced air source. It was perfect, since I just shoved it in a hole and turned it on. For the most part, I kept the dryer running without using the heater. Hot air went in about three hours all told, and it definitely heated the tank. Overall, I ran the hair dryer about ten hours. Completely drying the inside of the tank is very important, and the kit instructions especially stress this. The tank sealer will not adhere to a wet or moist tank wall.

The POR-15 kit comes with a quart of fuel tank sealer, which looks to me to be the same stuff as POR-15 metal coating. Stinks the same, at least, and it looks pretty much the same, too. We duct taped the openings on the gas tank, poured the sealer into the very dry tank, and rotated it to make sure that the coating covered the entire interior surface. After that, we poured the excess out — about a pint remained. The kit instructions said to leave the can open, so that it wouldn’t explode (!), and that does make me think that the sealer is somehow different from POR-15 metal coatings, since those are resealable, at least for short term.

The inside of the tank now looks like this. The POR-15 instructions say that you can repair larger holes with a fabric-like product and POR-15 sealer applied to the outside of the tank over the holes. Thank goodness we won’t need to do that kind of thing!