Aerotank Fuel Tank Installation
Contributed By: Dave Read
My gas tank adventure.
It all started one day when I was poking around my 82 Wag factory tank and it fell out in my driveway!
The dealer wanted $250 just for the metal coffin that holds the plastic tank in place and caused all the frame rot. I wanted to move the tank to the rear because I figured that would then make it easier to repair the frame rot. I thought about using a Blazer/Suburban tank ($100 new), but I would have needed to obtain/fabricate holding straps, and rig up a fill neck. Not even sure it would fit.
The Aerotank is IMO spendy for what you get, but I checked around and Aero was the only game in town. Northwest Metal Products was willing to make a custom rear tank, but more $$$$. Aero lists this as an auxiliary tank. Without the Y in the fill hose it can be used as a primary tank.
When I received the tank I was underwelmed It is a big heavy gauge sheet metal box painted black. It was falling out of the flimsy cardboard box packaging. One side was left unpainted. The sending unit comes in kit form. You slide on the float, bend the float road to length for the depth of the tank, and then screw it to a round hole in the top of the tank and seal with your own epoxy. Easy enough, but I'm more adept at remove and replace than fabrication, and I didn't want to screw it up because of the amount I had paid for the tank. So I procrastinated. Ended up being easy. Some black spray paint touched up the forgotten side.
Instead of straps going around the tank to hold it in place there are brackets welded to the front and back of the tank. You drill your own holes through the brackets and your FSJ's crossmembers and then bolt in place with 4 bolts. This ends up being fairly easy. First cut off the spare hanger on the front crossmember. Then hold the tank in place with a floor jack and figure where the holes go. Two bolts through each bracket/crossmember. My crossmembers already had one hole each in right area so I drilled matching holes in the brackets and got one bolt in each crossmember. Then remove the jack, two more holes and two more bolts. Get a good cobalt drill bit, take your time, and wear goggles to protect from metal chips. Aero supplied two regular bolts and two carriage bolts. I tossed the carriage bolts and bought some grade five bolts.
All the connections to the tank are made by clamping rubber hose to metal pipes welded to the big sheet metal box. If you were handy with a MIG you could make the tank yourself and save a lot of $$$.
You cut down your existing fill and fill/vent hoses and connect with hose clamps. Think before you cut! The factory hoses have necked down ends. I cut off what I thought was scrap only to find that I needed the scrap piece because it had the necked down end. Fortunately my scrap piece that I was about to discard was long enough and I used it to connect the tank to the fill neck connector in the rear quarter.
They supply several feet of 1/4, 5/16, and 3/8 new rubber hose for the fuel, return, and emission/vent lines. My plan was to cut the factory rubber hoses and using brass slip fit plumbing tubing connectors, splice the old factory rubber to to new rubber hose that I clamped to the tank. I didn't want to risk pulling the old rubber hose off the old rusty steel factory lines, for fear of destroying the steel lines. Turns out the old factory hose was so hardened with age that I had to use brass connectors one size too small to get them to slip into the old hose. I clamped down the hose clamps and hoped for the best.
Someday I will go back and run new steel line with short lengths of new rubber hose to connect the tank. The tank only has one emission/vent fitting, but my 82 has two steel emission/vent lines, along with a third steel transfer case vent line. All three steel lines are up above the transfer case. Not to be confused with the three steel lines (fuel, fuel return, and brake) along the left frame rail. I clamped a bolt into the extra emission line above the transfer case. I may tee this into the single emission/vent fitting on the tank. I may run the fuel and return lines line down the right frame rail which should make the much needed left frame rail repair easier. I may use rubber all the way to the fuel filter and carb instead of steel with short lengths of rubber at each end. Anyone know of a source for a 15 foot roll of 3/8 steel line. What about copper, I know this is a no-no for brakes, but how about fuel? Summit has aluminum, would this corrode in salty Chicago winters?
Aero supplied plastic hose clamps. I bought my own metal clamps.
Still haven't wired up the sending unit yet.
All in all the install is not too difficult. If I ever find an 80 to 91 Wagoneer with a pristine left frame rail I would seriously consider installing this or some other rear tank before rust starts.
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