In 1998 I bought a Triumph Herald 13/60, here you can read about it's restoration and share in a few photo's from it's travels. Please feel free to leave comments to any of the posts, of even email me if you want to.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fuel Tank

Some time ago I bought a job lot of Vitesse fuel tanks as I wanted the extra capacity they provide over the fairly small Herald tank. I fancied to do it mainly for the convenience of fewer trips to the petrol station, but also as I have a craving to take part in the Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run, so the extra couple of gallons would be a real bonus. I kept the best tank of the bunch, the others went back on Ebay and  I recovered most of the original purchase cost by selling off the spares.

One thing I wanted to do was remove the drain tap, these serve little purpose as most are completely seized by now and any attempt to undo the plug end up in them snapping off. It also makes the tank easier to fit if they're not there, so I cut around the base of the tap and seam welded in a patch. At this point I should say that you should NOT weld a fuel tank, however I knew these tanks had been empty for many years, plus I gave them a thorough clean as well with some pretty powerful cleaning agent to remove any trace of fuel. I would recommend that you seek professional help here rather than risk injury.

Where the drain tap used to be
With the tank welded I put a small amount of petrol in to check for leaks around the new patch, but unfortunately the smallest drops started to appear through the weld, so I had little choice but to use a tank sealing kit. I've used the kit from Frost before to good effect on someone else's car, but chose to use an alternative by KBS which is cheaper, it's widely available on Ebay if you want to try it. I know some people don't like these tank sealing kits, but as long as you have a fuel filter on the exit of the tank this should stop any potential dirt getting to the pump or carbs.

Tank Sealing Kit
The kit includes a very strong cleaning agent which removes any loose rust and gum. Seal up the holes in your tank, mix 1:1 with warm water and rotate methodically to ensure you get full coverage. When your arms are ready to drop off, thoroughly rinse with water and dry, I used a hot air gun. Then repeat the process with the metal prep (no need to dilute this one) this etches the inner surface and helps the sealer stick, again after swirling around the tank for 30 minutes or so it needs to be rinsed clean and dried thoroughly. The final stage of the process is the sealer which creates a thin but very hard layer inside the tank, filling any pin holes in the process. One last session of tank twisting to spread the sealer on all surfaces, drain off any excess and leave to cure for a few days. Whilst waiting for the sealer to cure I got the tank painted in black gloss.

If you are going to remove the drain tap it does leave a large redundant hole in the boot floor, I chose to buy the correct size rubber grommet to blank it off, but if you're mid-restoration then you could cut a patch and weld in instead for something more permanent.

Rubber Grommet for redundant drain tap hole
I didn't have a sender unit with the replacement tank, fortunately it was the same six screw type as the existing one. I waited until I was fairly low on fuel before doing the swap, that way I could remove the sender from the original tank without losing any fuel, fit it to the new tank and then tip the fuel from old to new.

Just need to get a new sticker for the top and the jobs done.

Original Herald Tank

Larger Vitesse Tank

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