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How to Install a New EFI Gas Tank in a 1960 Corvette

Modern Fuel Storage & Delivery

Gerry Burger Jun 14, 2016
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We may not be the quickest studies on the block but over time certain things come into clear focus. Things like all good-running cars require a clean, safe fuel storage and delivery system.

You might try to convince yourself that the old tank is as clean as a whistle, but if you’re dealing with a 1960 Corvette tank you are probably just kidding yourself. Our own original tank looks quite good inside, with just some minor surface rust on one side but once again, experience has taught us that it doesn’t take much dirt to destroy a fuel system. Add in the fact that we are running a modern EFI fuel-injection system from FAST and clean fuel becomes imperative.

We feel certain our gas tank could have been professionally cleaned and lined for those who are building a pure restoration, but frankly the cost of saving an old tank often exceeds the price of a new tank from TANKS, Inc. We also wanted to run an in-tank fuel pump to provide the proper flow and fuel pressure to our FAST dual-quad EFI setup. And so it became a no-brainer to simply order the new tank and fuel pump from TANKS, Inc. and know everything is compatible and brand new.

Our new tank arrived complete with a flange for the in-tank fuel pump and the internal windage tray to ensure the pump would have a reservoir of fuel to pull from while in turns and during heavy acceleration and braking. It should be noted that TANKS Inc. also sells standard, exact duplicates of original tanks for carbureted applications. Our tank order came complete with a rollover safety vent and the proper fuel pump for our EFI application.

In keeping with the new products line of thinking, we ordered a set of new tank straps, tank pads and a filler neck hose and clamps from Corvette Central. Finally, we ordered a soft top protector from Corvette Central that was glued to the top of the gas tank cover. This will protect your soft top and also add some degree of sound deadening to the cover. We already had the proper fuel line hose and fittings from FAST so we were prepared to begin the installation.

Our old tank was out of the way and sold at a swap meet so we had an empty tank cavity awaiting our new tank. First, we scraped the remains of the original tank pad off the floor and installed the new pads in the same place. Next, we set about test-fitting the new tank.

When Chevrolet built the 1960 Corvette, some of their tolerances were “generous” by today’s standards, think panel fit and door gaps. However, when they designed the fuel tank they decided to make it fit like the proverbial glove and since the TANKS, Inc. unit is an exact duplicate it too is a very snug fit. As a matter of fact, we had to bend one or two corners with a pair of adjustable wrenches to provide clearance in the tank opening. Do this very gently and a little at a time to provide the perfect clearance. In the end, the tank fit perfectly but the cavity is so tight that we actually used the straps to pull the tank down the last 1/2-inch or so into the final, proper position.

Once the tank fit in the cavity we spent time cutting the pickup tube and return tube on the fuel pump to the proper depth, as per the excellent TANKS, Inc. directions. Satisfied that we had the fuel pump assembled properly, we installed the pump in the tank prior to actually installing the tank in the car. We installed the gas gauge sending unit in the new tank at the same time.

The next challenge was to fit the tank in the tank well with the straps hooked to the front tabs under the floor. Since I was working alone, keeping the tank straps in place was a bit of a challenge. The straps were held in place with pieces of twisted wire, and then the tank was installed. This took several tries, proving it would be much easier to have an extra set of hands for this part of the job. The tank straps were bent to the contour of the tank and folded down toward the rear of the car. The strap kit comes with a set of 5/16x2-inch bolts but the new straps must first be pulled down to the shape of the tank. To that end a 4-inch, full-thread bolt was sourced and used to pull the straps down on the tank. After the straps were formed to the tank the long bolt was removed and the 2-inch bolts that came with the kit were installed. And that is how the installation would go in a perfect world.

Actually, our installation didn’t go quite that smoothly. While we had taken the time to run a tap through the original threaded receivers it seems we under-estimated the rust damage on these small units. As we tightened the straps down they simply pulled out of the rivets and came apart. It seems when Chevrolet assembled the 1960 Corvette they didn’t properly paint any of the steel pieces attached to the fiberglass body, and in fairness they were not too concerned about any part of the car lasting 56 years.

We had a similar problem with the front tank mounts and so we fabricated all new mounts from stainless steel. Our new pieces follow the original design but are not exact duplicates. If you are restoring your car or prefer to avoid the fabrication work, replacement mounts are available from your favorite vintage Corvette parts suppliers. We fabricated the pieces and bolted them in place with stainless steel hardware, knowing the parts would now last a lifetime.

We completed one non-fuel related task next. We took the time to install Dynamat over the inner wheelwells as this area would not be accessible later. Tires are a major source of noise in a car and this should go a long way to keeping any tire roar out of the cockpit.

The straps were then reinstalled for the last time and tightened down. Next up was venting the tank. If you purchased an original-style tank from TANKS, Inc. the factory original vent hose would simply push in place, exit out by the gas filler and the job is done.

Since we are using the in-tank pump we would be using the rollover vent supplied with the tank. Finding a good location for the rollover vent took a while but we finally located the vent in the passenger-side rear wheelwell. We fabricated a simple bracket, mounted the vent and connected the 3/8-inch hose. This required drilling a hole in the fiberglass tank cover using a Uni-bit for a smooth cut.

Finally, we installed the -6 AN fittings into the feed and return lines on the in-tank pump and routed the proper FAST high-pressure fuel-injection hose across the top of the tank and down to the framerail, following a similar route as the original fuel line. We fastened the feed and return lines to the outside of the framerail using stainless steel Adel clamps, and brought the fuel lines into the engine bay.

Next, we installed the new filler hose, filler neck grommet and filler tube inside the gas filler door and onto the tank. This was a very straightforward process and the Corvette Central parts fit perfectly.

The final piece of the puzzle was fitting the factory fuel tank cover over our new tank. Once again, if you are using an original-style tank for carbureted engines the cover will simply bolt back in place. With the in-tank pump installed we encountered some contact between the pump and the cover. Our concern was the pump could transmit noise through the contact point of the cover so we opted to raise the forward edge of the fiberglass cover 1/2-inch. We achieved this by using a piece of 1/2-inch box tubing and secured it to the original mounting flange with sheetmetal screws. We drilled a 3/16-inch hole through the box tubing in four places. Then we opened the top hole up to 3/8 inch while leaving the lower hole 3/16 inch. This allowed us to us sheetmetal screws to secure the box tubing to the original crossbrace and all the sheetmetal screws were located internally in the box tubing, which left a smooth top mounting surface for the fiberglass cover. We also welded a tab on each end and secured it to the 3/8-inch bolt on the seat back brace. This made a very secure mount and even added some stiffening to the area.

The cover was then bolted down using the original bolt locations on the rear of the cover and a series of sheetmetal screws into the box tubing on the leading edge of the cover. We used a gasket between the cover and the mounting surfaces in an attempt to make an airtight fit as early Corvettes seem to be known for gas odors. Strip caulking is also available from Corvette Central for sealing the cover and may actually work better than our gasket material. Since we raised the forward edge 1/2-inch, we used two pieces of soft, compressible foam rubber to form a transitional seal up to the front edge. Then the soft top protector from Corvette Central was glued on top of the cover and the job was complete.

In the end we couldn’t be happier with the tank from TANKS, Inc. and the new pieces from Corvette Central and our fabricated brackets. It did take us a bit longer than we expected, but then most things do when you’re working on a finished, painted car. We now have a brand-new fuel system that will serve us well for many years to come.

1 C1 Gas Tank 2/27

01. When it comes to fuel we want two things: a safe tank and a completely dirt-free fuel system. Our new C1 gas tank from TANKS, Inc. provides both. Since we are running FAST EFI on our engine, we ordered our tank with provisions for an in-tank electric fuel pump.

2 Gpa 4 Electric Fuel Pump 3/27

02. Before we even began fitting the tank in the car we worked on assembling our TANKS, Inc. GPA-4 electric fuel pump. Both the supply and return lines must be cut to the proper length, so we measured to the bottom of our tank.

3 Pump Parts 4/27

03. The parts to the pump are easily assembled following the excellent directions supplied with the unit. This pump will supply the desired higher pressure and return lines for our EFI system.

4 Measure Cut Plastic Feed Line 5/27

04. The old adage “Measure twice, cut once” comes into play here. After doing the math, we laid all the components out to ensure our numbers were correct, and then we cut the plastic feed line.

5 Black Feed Line Barbed Ends 6/27

05. The black feed line is heated with a hair dryer or heat gun so it will slide over the barbed ends, then line clamps secure the tube to the upper flange and the pump.

6 Windage Tray 7/27

06. Inside the tank is a windage tray, and the pump filter sock must be properly oriented with that tray. We made a simple mark on the tank and the flange to ensure we had things in the right direction. We also installed the -6 AN adapters from FAST in the feed and return fittings.

7 Mounting Holes 8/27

07. Of course there are always “old car surprises” along the way. Our original mounting tabs for the gas tank straps simple broke when we attempted to attach the new straps. We removed what was left of them, leaving these three mounting holes.

8 Tab Style Mounts 9/27
9 Fabricated Tab Style Mounts 10/27

08-09. We fabricated these simple tab-style mounts to replace the rusted and busted original units. Two 1/4-20 bolts will hold the brackets in place while the center nut is 5/16-18 for the tank strap bolt.

10 Stainless Steel Brackets 11/27

10. The new mounts were a minor setback, but we now had the new stainless steel brackets in place. If you want true factory replacement pieces, reproduction units are available from your favorite Corvette parts supplier.

11 Forward Strap Mounts 12/27

11. As it turns out, the forward strap mounts were also in terrible shape so once again we fabricated replacement parts in stainless steel, and once again original replacement pieces are available via mail order.

12 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Under Bracket 13/27

12. Since we were working alone, we fabricated a piece of 16-gauge stainless steel to go under the bracket. This simply holds the strap in place during assembly and prevents it from falling out of the mount. We found this to be very valuable during assembly.

13 Mounts Replaced 14/27

13. With all our mounts replaced we are finally ready to install our new fuel tank. First, we installed new gas tank pads from Corvette Central to protect the bottom of the tank. Note we also lined the inner wheelwells with Dynamat before installing the tank.

14 Corvette Central Gas Tank Straps 15/27

14. We opted to use brand-new gas tank straps from Corvette Central. As we found out, it pays to examine the strap mounts under the floor and order replacement strap mounts as needed.

15 Straps Wired Forward Bulkhead 16/27

15. With the new mounts installed the straps were wired to the forward bulkhead to keep them out of the way while the tank is put in place. We did several test-fits of the tank well prior to putting the straps in place.

16 Tank Strap Kit 17/27

16. The tank strap kit comes with 5/16x2-inch bolts. We found the use of a 4-inch, full-thread bolt to be the easy way to connect the new straps to the mounts. This long bolt pulled the straps into the shape of the tank.

17 New Tank Straps 2 Inch Bolt 18/27

17. After the initial stretching of the new tank straps was completed, we replaced the long bolt with a 2-inch bolt for the final installation. We used a 1/2-inch nut driver followed by a 3/8 ratchet to securely tighten the straps.

18 Fuel Lines 19/27

18. When we began routing the fuel lines from the fuel pump forward we realized the hoses would make contact with the fuel gauge sending unit bolt heads. Not wanting to risk any hose abrasion we cut a small piece of ABS plastic as a protective shield. This shield MUST be a plastic, non-electrical conductor.

19 Tank Cavity Finished Fuel Lines 20/27

19. Here we can see the finished fuel lines routed out of the tank cavity. The center hose is the vent line while the other two are feed and return lines that exit through the floor area and head forward from there.

20 Fabricated Simple Bracket 21/27

20. We fabricated this simple bracket to attach the vent to the passenger-side rear inner wheelwell. We opted for red paint as a reminder that gasoline fumes are in the area.

21 1960 Corvette Wheelwell 22/27

21. We also aimed the slot in the vent toward the wheelwell to minimize the chances of debris entering the vent. Two stainless steel bolts hold the bracket in place. In case of a rollover, this vent valve will close, preventing fuel from spilling out.

22 Filler Neck Grommet Hose 23/27

22. The filler neck, grommet and hose are from Corvette Central and this was a perfect fit. Take care to center the hose between the filler tube and the tank inlet and then tighten the supplied clamps.

23 Fiberglass Tank Cover 24/27

23. When it came time mount the fiberglass tank cover we raised the forward edge 1/2-inch using a piece of box tubing. The tubing bolts to the back brace and is also sheetmetal screwed in place along the original rail.

24 Gasket Material Shelf 25/27

24. We had this gasket material on the shelf so we punched holes for bolt clearance and glued it in place. Notice the thicker foam rubber that will compress to fill the void caused by raising the front of the cover 1/2 inch. Strip caulking can also be used to seal the cover.

25 Corvette Central Soft Top Pad 26/27

25. With the original tank cover secured, we used contact cement to glue the Corvette Central soft top pad to the fiberglass cover. This mat will protect the soft top when it is down and also provide some sound deadening.

26 1960 Corvette Gas Cap 27/27

26. The final touch was installing our original 1960 Corvette gas cap. It is the only original part in the entire fuel system, and as for the red paint, we simply thought it looked cool.

Sources

Dynamat
Hamilton, OH 45015
513-860-5094
http://www.dynamat.com
Corvette Central
Sawyer, MI 49125
800-345-4122
www.corvettecentral.com
FAST
Memphis, TN 38118
901-260-3278
http://www.fuelairspark.com
Tanks Inc.
877-596-3842
www.TanksInc.com

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