1971 Chevrolet Goodmark Camaro - All The Small Things

Gettin' Fueled with Rick's Hot Rod Shop

Dakota Wentz Jan 31, 2007 0 Comment(s)

It's funny, when you sit down to plan out your next ride, or even your trip to the hardware store, you always remember the big things-the motor, the wheels, the suspension, tranny, and so on. But when it comes down to all the small things, such as washers, electrical tape, or some other mundane object, we tend to forget them. The problem is, when you lay everything out and sit down to do the job, these little things you need to do the job are nowhere to be found. It's about this time when one slips into character and yells, "DOH!" just like America's favorite dad, Homer Simpson. You inevitably forget about the small things. No wonder chicks make grocery lists ... it's genius! Anyway, when the Super Chevy staff and Goodmark planned out the Goodmark Camaro (the former SC project car), the plan was to drive the hell out of it. Yet when planning things out, we totally missed one of those little details vital to a build.

The Goodmark Camaro was meant to be driven on the street, on the track, on the road course, and even through the mud, if the situation permitted, or if some joker thought we couldn't do it. It was never meant to start up and go on local cruisers now and again. It was meant to start up and drive from Los Angeles to the backwoods of Georgia. However, the fuel-injected motor didn't have the best fuel system. Now we're not talking about quality or anything of the sort, but we're talking about the actual style of the system.

The old setup was a standard gas tank with an external fuel pump that mounted to the framerails. Typically, this system is used for hardcore drag racing; it thrives in that type of setup. As for the street, it wasn't ideal. Driving around town and short trips were no biggy, but when the car was in it for the long haul, it was a different story. In a drag race the throttle is wide open and the motor is taking in all the fuel it can handle. Yet driving at 70 mph down the freeway, the throttle might reach a quarter of its potential and not eating up a lot of fuel. The problem with this is that the pump was pumping so vigorously that the gas was cavitating, or in layman's terms, forming tiny bubbles. Over the course of a few hours all these bubbles accumulated into one big air pocket, which caused a vapor lock. that would leave us on the side of the road for three and a half hours in 115-degree heat just outside Tucson, Arizona, waiting for a tow truck, only then to drive in that tow truck 45 miles into Tucson, and then call a cab to rush us to the airport and take a red eye just to get to the car show we were supposed to be at the next morning! Now, if we would have thought things out from the beginning, this could have all been avoided, including my lobster-like appearance courtesy of the Arizona rays.

If we would have gone with an integrated system, like the one used on the Big Three's fuel injected cars, we wouldn't have had this problem. An integrated system is a fuel injected system where the pump is built right into the bottom of the tank. Instead of the pump pulling the fuel from the tank, it pushes fuel from the tank to the motor, a much better setup for long-distance driving.

Once again, herein lies a problem: Musclecars, for the most part, aren't fuel injected, and they don't come with integrated fuel systems. For that reason the aftermarket stepped in, and integrated fuel systems for musclecars were born.

Rick's Hot Rod Shop in El Paso, Texas, has specialized in building integrated fuel cells for musclecars with fuel injected motors. From 100 horsepower to 1,600 horsepower, they build tanks that can handle the desired load. On top of that, their tanks are application-specific, not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. One of the newest products to surface from Rick's is their Stealth tank. The Stealth tank/fuel system is designed to support motors with up to 1,000-plus h.p. in an in-tank situation. The tank begins life as a 304 SS sheet and is radius-bent into shape. Then the baffling system is created using stainless walls and a special pickup reservoir.

The fuel exits the pickup chamber via a 5/8-inch stainless steel hard line, and after traveling through an Aeromotive 100-micron prefilter the fuel arrives at the pump, an Aeromotive A1000 that flows 600 pounds per hour at 13.5 volts and 45 psi. The system also uses an Aeromotive 12304 100-micron stainless element fuel filter that is free flowing and capable of flowing 2,000 lb/hr with a pressure drop of less than 0.5 psi.

The now-pressurized fuel line continues through the 5/8-inch stainless tube and exits the tank on the front face of the tank via a -10 AN stainless fitting. The tank also has a -8 return line, and 10GA Teflon-coated wire to supply electricity to the pump. Besides Camaros, the tanks are also available for other model GM cars.

To install one of these tanks into your ride is pretty simple. All it takes is bolting in a new tank, running a wire to the ignition and the other to a ground, and then making the fuel lines fit. When it's all said and done, the cost for one of Rick's Hot Rod Shop Stealth tanks and the amount of time required for installation will vary from person to person. But not being stranded on the side of the road-now that's priceless.

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Here's a look at the Rick's Hot Rods integrated Stealth tank. Although you can't see through the 304 stainless steel to the tank's internals, you can see the highly polished finish on the outside. Remember, though, the inside consists of custom baffling and a pickup along with an Aeromotive fuel pump and filters.

We could show you a picture of a gas tank being removed, but really, what's the point? You undo a few straps, remove some hoses and wires, and yank it out. The only advice I have for you before pulling the tank out is hitting the streets and layin' down some fat burnouts. That way you get every penny out of the $3.35 gallon of gas, instead of watching it fill up a bucket or cover the floor!

The Rick's Hot Rod Shop Stealth tank comes assembled, so there are really no complications there. But before anything was set in stone, the boys at Goodmark placed the tank up into the car and made sure there was nothing in the way.

With the front straps bolted in, the tank was hoisted up in place. A trick to keep the road noise down is to use a garden hose and place it between the tank and the trunk floor. Once the tank is tightened down, the squashed rubber acts as a sound deadener, much like Dynamat does on doors and floorboards.

Once the boys at Goodmark checked everything it was clear, they mounted the tank straps to the front mounting positions. The tank is held in place using two belt-like straps that literally strap the tank in place.

Once the tank was situated up top, the belts were pulled tight and bolted up. I know, they make it look so easy.

At the back of the tank there are four protruding fittings. One is the -10 AN stainless feed line fitting and the other is the -8 return line. The other two are the power outlets, one for the 10GA teflon-coated wire to supply power to the pump. The pump needs to be tapped into an ignition wire; that way it is activated the minute the battery is hot. The last fitting is for the ground wire.

One area that is cause for concern is fuel lines. You may have to extend your fuel lines or make new ones. In our case the existing fuel lines needed extending. Goodmark used stainless steel braided hoses to extend the lines. One cool trick when cutting stainless braided hose is to wrap some electrical tape around the area you're getting ready to cut, then make your mark right on the tape where it needs to be cut. Once the hose is cut, the tape will keep the hose from fraying, which would make it near impossible to put the hose into the fitting.

Once the fuel line was extended, Goodmark wrapped about a foot of it in garden hose. This will protect the stainless steel from rubbing up against the tank and making any scratches.

Here's the tank with both the feed and return line hooked up. Along with the fuel lines, the tank had to be wired to an ignition wire and ground out.

Along with the Aeromotive pump and filters, Rick's also uses an Aeromotive 13109 bypass regulator. Just like all fuel systems, fuel injected motors can only handle so much fuel at a time. Once the fuel rails fill up with gas, the excess fuel being pumped to the rails is directly sent back to the tank. When using a bypass regulator, it measures the pressure in the system and only delivers the proper amount of fuel needed to the motor.

From a dead man's view you can see that the installation fits like a glove. The tank doesn't look out of place, and best of all, our Camaro will run better than ever.

Sir, they've gone plaid! The stealth tank is so stealth you can't even see it.

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