With all the time and effort we put into the fuel systems in our cars, you'd think we might pay a little more attention to where that liquid energy comes from. But alas, gas tanks are one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment on the undersides of our vintage machines. For the most part this lack of attention does no harm-the tanks keep holding gas and feeding it to hungry V-8 engines. But when a tank goes bad, well, let's just say it can give a whole new meaning to the term "passing gas."
There are several potential reasons that might make you decide to replace the gas tank in your old Bow-Tie. To begin with, rust might have accumulated over time on both the outside and inside surfaces of the tank, especially if your vehicle sat unused for years with little or no fuel in the tank. If this rust is excessive, it can lead to potentially dangerous fuel leaks, while scaly rust and other debris inside the tank can clog fuel lines and filters. And from an aesthetic standpoint, a beat-up old tank doesn't look right when it's bolted to a freshly restored chassis.
While it is possible to have your tank restored or reconditioned, it's often less expensive to just replace it with a new unit. We recently decided to replace the leaky, beat-up tank in our '65 El Camino with a new one from The Paddock. While we were at it, we replaced the fuel tank sending unit and cleaned up the mounting straps and surrounding frame sections using materials from OEM Paints. We also fitted the mounting straps with rubber anti-squeak strips that will keep them from drumming that annoying rhythm on the tank at certain engine speeds. The whole procedure was a simple weekend endeavor, with much of the time spent cleaning up old parts and waiting for the paint to dry. Check out the photos and see if you think we made a difference.
The new tank certainly looks better than what came out of our car, and should provide us with years of trouble-free service.