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How to Remove the Gas Tank From an Astro Van

by Cassandra Tribe

Chevy Astro vans have the fuel pump located inside the gas tank. This is the primary reason why the design of the gas tank allows for it to be removed with relative ease compared to other styles of vans. While easy in terms of gas tank removal, you still will have to put some significant effort into the process. Reaching the various bolts to be undone--and doing it in the right sequence--can be challenging, but with the right set of tools and some understanding of the procedure, it can be done by most backyard mechanics.

Park your Astro van on a level surface and engage the emergency brake. Put a chock block under one of the front tires. Open the hood and disconnect the negative cable from the battery.

Locate the fuel filter and disconnect the line from the tank feeding into the filter to relieve pressure in the line. The fuel filter on an Astro van will be under the van, on the fuel line, beneath the rear seats and slightly in front of the gas tank. The fuel filter will look like a cylinder placed into the actual fuel line. Disconnect the line closest to the tank by loosening the hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver and pulling the hose off.

Jack the rear of the van up and support it with jack stands. Do this on both sides of the van.

Reach up and loosen the hose clamp (with your flathead screwdriver) connecting the fill pipe from the gas filler hose. The gas filler hose is attached to the gas cap. Look up inside the car on the side where your gas cap is located and you will see the clamp.

Use a socket wrench to remove the bolt holding the bracket of the fill pipe in place on the frame. Once you have removed the bolt, pull the fill pipe down and away from your gas tank.

Slide under the car and look up at the gas tank. You will see that there is a molded metal shield bolted to the frame of the car that protects the tank. There are four bolts located at the four corners of the tank. Remove the bolts and pry the shield from position. Let the shield drop down and pull it out from under the car.

Push the car jack in and under the gas tank. Raise the jack till it touches the bottom middle of the tank and presses upwards on the tank slightly. Use the pressure from the jack to keep the gas tank stable and in place until you have removed the remaining bolts and are ready to lower the tank.

Disconnect all the fuel lines and electrical connections from the fuel tank. Locate these by following the lines back from the fuel filter to where they connect with the tank. Undo the hose clamps on the lines and pull the lines out. Unplug the electrical sensor by squeezing the side levers on the connector and pulling the two pieces apart.

Remove the tank-holding straps by undoing the bolts from both sides of the straps (there are two straps) and pulling the straps from around the tank.

Use the jack to lower the gas tank out of position. Keep one hand on the tank to stabilize it as you remove it.

Tip

  • Use a piece of soft tailor's chalk to mark the bolts and their location in the frame of the car. Put one mark on the bolt head and one on where it goes in the frame. Then, on the next one, but two marks on the bolt and frame and so on. This will take the guesswork out of reassembling it.

Warning

  • While it is not necessary to empty the gas from the tank before removing it, use extra caution in working around a tank with gas. Do not smoke or use any type of open flame near the tank from the moment you disconnect the line from the fuel pump to release pressure. Vapors from gasoline are highly flammable.

Items you will need

About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.

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