How to Replace a Fuel Tank

by Dan Ferrell

A fuel tank is mounted in the back of your car and out of sight. No wonder most people forget about it, until it is damaged or develops a leak from rust, road vibration or an accident. Then it is time for a replacement. Replacing a fuel tank is not too difficult if you follow the right procedure and take extra precautions. Keep in mind that gasoline is highly combustible. But these simple steps will guide you in replacing your tank in a matter of minutes. Let’s start.

Park the car in a well ventilated area and raise the back of the car with a jack and support it safely on jack stands.

Remove the gas filler cap to relieve fuel tank pressure and to relieve fuel system pressure. Refer to the Tips section for more information.

Open the hood, and then disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the battery.

Empty the fuel tank into an approved gas container using a hand-siphon pump if necessary. On some vehicle models, a drain plug is provided on the fuel tank.

Make sure component assemblies will not be on the way as you lower the tank. If necessary, unscrew and move aside or remove the components. Make sure to keep the screws in a safe place and make a note of the original location of the components.

Pull the jack underneath the gas tank, raise it and place a piece of woodblock between the jack’s point of support and the fuel tank. This will help you lower the gas tank gradually.

Unplug the fuel pump electrical connector and disconnect the clamps securing the fuel hoses attached to the tank if they are accessible at this point. Otherwise go to the next step.

Remove the bolt or nut from one end of each of the two metal straps securing the fuel tank to the body frame and move the straps out of the way as much as possible. Some tanks are secured by bolts going through the tank flange.

Lower the jack gradually making sure the tank is loose. If necessary, use a pry bar to help release the tank. If you did not do it in Step 7, unplug the electrical connector and disconnect the fuel hose clamps as soon as you have access to them. Do not forget that the filler hose is attached to the side of the tank.

Remove the tank from the car, and then place the new tank on top of the jack to help you raise the unit gradually as you connect the hoses and the electrical connector. Bolt the straps and any other components previously removed. Remove the jack, lower the vehicle and pour the gas into the new tank. Connect the cable to the negative terminal of the battery.

Tips

  • check Consult your vehicle service manual for the proper procedure to relieve fuel system pressure on your particular vehicle. You can buy a service manual at most auto parts stores or consult one for free at most public libraries.
  • check You can buy a cheap hand-siphon pump at most auto parts stores.

Warnings

  • close Under no circumstances attempt to weld or solder a fuel tank to fix a leak. Even on a fuel empty tank, fuel gum attached to the inner tank walls may catch on fire from the soldering heat. Consult a professional welder if necessary.
  • close When working in your car fuel system, make sure you are in a well ventilated area, away from appliances with open flames like dryers or water heaters and do not allow smoking near your vehicle.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.