Installing a Fuel Tank and Line in a '66 Corvette

How to replace the fuel-tank and fuel-line of rust, water, and too much time spent sitting still

Chris Petris Sep 15, 2004 0 Comment(s)

The first thing to do when removing the body-mount bolts is soak thecaged nuts with rust penetrant the day before attempting to remove anybolts. The body mounts were deteriorated and the body-mount caged nutswere spinning. It's rare to find caged nuts that allow bolt removal evenwith a good drenching of PB B'laster rust penetrant. Once the caged nutsspin, there are a few choices for removal. A reciprocating saw, a smallair-powered reciprocating saw, and an air hammer work best with theleast damage to the body or frame. A torch is not recommended, as thebody is just too close. I decided the body-mount brackets with the cagednuts should be replaced because the cost is reasonable and doing sorequires less labor.

Body-Panel Removal

Removing the body requires removal of the fuel tank, bumper, bumperbracket, rear closeout panel, lower valance panels, seatbelt frame tobody cables, emergency brake cable, steering column, clutch linkage,lower closeout panel behind front tires, tachometer cable, speedometercable, shifter ball, sill plates, master cylinder, radiator hoses,heater hoses, throttle linkage, and oil-pressure line. Additionally, theengine wiring harness must be disconnected from the engine components.It's much easier to remove the fuel tank, then the rear bumper andbrackets. Once the body-mounting bolts are removed, lifting the bodyworks well with a four-post lift on the outer rail behind the lowervalance panels. There is a strap assembly available that hooks onto theouter rail and uses an overhead lifting device. Look carefully at theouter rail before applying any load. The outer rail at the rear is wherethe No. 3 body mount sits. If there is any corrosion damage, the railcan be weak. On this car, the No. 3 body mount on both sides did notrequire bolt removal because the rail was so badly corroded.

Once the body was removed, the caged nut brackets were cut off, the fuelline was removed, and the frame was cleaned up. The caged-nut bracketswere replaced and welded on. A coat of Ospho rust treatment was appliedto the frame. Once the rust treatment was dry (usually 24 hours) a coatof zinc-chromate primer was applied. A final coat of PPG DP-90 semiflatblack paint was applied.

Install the new fuel line, then make sure the caged nut 7/16-14 threadsare clean before lowering the body. Install the body-mount cushions asper instructions before lowering the body. The body-mount kits have goodinstructions with illustrations, so watch for correct positioning. It'sa good idea to put Never-Seize on the body-mount bolt threads beforeinstallation. Check body-to-frame alignment with the body-mount holeswhere the sill plate sits on the driver and passenger side. Be sure toinstall the body shims in the same location and check door-gap alignmentwith the chassis on the ground. I usually roll the car back and forth,then let the chassis settle overnight to see where the chassis flexmoves the body. It's not a good idea to stress the body to make a doorgap look better than it did originally. Cracks can occur if any majorchanges are made.

Now all of the items that were removed for body removal are reinstalled.The fuel tank, fuel pump, and pump-to-carburetor fuel line will beinstalled next.

Finally, I removed the carburetor and checked for contamination. At thatpoint, a determination will be made whether to overhaul or replace.

Before connecting the carburetor fuel line from the fuel pump, turn overthe engine for a while with a container to catch the fuel from the fuelline. This will flush out any contaminants that may be in the new fuelline, fuel pump, or sending unit. After the fuel system is restored, allthe fluids will be changed.

No matter what year your Corvette is, it is exciting to drive. So, whenwas the last time you drove your Corvette?

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Here we are using a reciprocating saw to cut off the caged-nutbody-mount brackets. Cut them off even with the frame and mark thelocation before grinding the area.

The caged-nut body-mount brackets after welding. We made sure the framewas level, then made sure the bracket was level before welding.

The caged-nut body-mount bracket welded on with zinc-chromate primerapplied. A final coat of semiflat black paint will be applied. Then a7/16-14 inch thread tap will be run through each mount to remove anypaint or debris left from welding.

When you receive your new fuel line, it will be bent in half tofacilitate shipping. Find the middle of the line, lay the center on apiece of wood, and hold one side down while pulling outward on the otherend. Install the new stainless steel fuel line into the rear framesection. Be sure to cover up the end of the fuel line to prevent debrisfrom entering the fuel line during frame installation. Install theremaining fuel-line retaining clips.

Contact the vendors listed below to get all the parts you see here.

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