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Gas Tank Removal and Replacement

Contributed By: Joe Sego

Recently I had to pull the gas tank off my 1979 Cherokee Wide Track. The following should also cover the Jeep Wagoneer as well.

CAUTION - CAUTION - CAUTION

This can be a serious hazard to you and your truck. Use extreme care and caution when working on any fuel tank. I can't stress this point enough. If in doubt, let a professional do it. Saving a little money isn't worth it.

My 22 gallon tank was starting to pump an orange colored fluid that was supposed to be gasoline. The truck had sit out in a field for several months without a gas cap when I found it.

First off we did the removal in my garage, with the overhead door open for ventilation. Outside would be better. No heaters or electric trouble lights were used, we used common sense to prevent a spark of any kind. Luckily I let my engine run out of gas on it's own right in the driveway. You can pump or siphon the gasoline out of it.

We jacked up the left side and used jack stands. The tires were barely off the floor. (most Jeeps have ample ground clearance) The tank sits on two steel brackets, one in front and one in the rear. The steel strap (1) only supports the middle of the tank. By the way, the tank is coffin shaped and very large! I'd say 4 to 4.5 feet in length and 20 inches wide and approx. 12 inches deep. You'll need a helper!

First we removed the two bolts and nuts on the front mount. When then unhooked both the fuel line and return line at the front of the tank. Have a container handy to catch any fuel in the lines. There is a piece of 5/16" line and a 1/4" rubber line that connects the steel lines. This is below the driver's seat near the frame rail. Next we removed the two bolts and nuts at the rear of the tank. Then we took the steel strap apart on the inside side of the tank, not next to frame rail. There is a nut on top and barely enough room for a 5/8" end-wrench. This is tight! They should have welded the nut on. (IMHO)

At this point the tank is free (except for rear hoses) and resting on both brackets. To gain access to the four rear hoses, you need to lift the tank and drop the front end of the tank to the floor leaving the rear of the tank resting on rear bracket. There are four hoses near the rear of the tank, two of them are large, they are the fill tubes. (yeah, there are 2 of them!) I'd say maybe 1-1/4" diameter. Disconnect those and look for a small 1/4" hose that is the vent, disconnect that, the fourth hose is a bit harder to get to, it runs up into the wheel well and is a check valve in case the truck ever turns over. It should be noted it may be easier to remove the left rear wheel and take hose apart through the wheel well.

The tank is now ready to drop to the floor. Once down CAREFULLY remove the electric line to the sending unit. There are two small outlets on the top, these are the fuel and return lines, again there is a piece of rubber hose maybe 5 inches long connecting the steel lines.

At this point you can clean the tank in whatever way you choose. Soapy water, or water should be added to initially wash out the tank. I won't go into all the different cleaning techniques. You can send the tank out and have it tested and sealed inside. The installation is a reversal of the above. I highly recommend you replace all rubber hoses and clamps. Might want to replace the "usually defective" Jeep sending unit. The #1 most important part of this job is being careful. We took my tank out, cleaned it and had it back in in maybe 2.5 hours. I think you'll be surprised at how large it is. To keep it above the bottom of the frame, they had to make it long and narrow.

Good luck and BE CAREFUL!!!

jsego@ai2a.net

Updated Saturday, January 11, 1997 07:56:46 PM

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