Shortly after purchasing my Series 3 I decided to fill the fuel tank in anticipation of some enjoyable mileage ahead. However whilst filling the tank I was wondering just how much fuel the tank would hold when I discovered a puddle forming around my feet. A quick look under the back of the Land Rover confirmed my fears that I was never going to fill this particular tank as its contents were currently leaking onto the local garage forecourt. I quickly returned the nozzle to the pump and after a few handfuls of sand
from a nearby bucket beat a hasty retreat into the garage to pay for what diesel remained in my tank.
When I returned the leak had subsided to an occasional drip and concluded that the culprit for the leak was in the top half of the tank as confirmed by the fuel gauge reading just below the half way mark. So a new tank was duly purchased of which I opted for a pattern part as an original Land Rover part was almost four times the price! The new tank arrived and to help prolong the life of it I removed the paint along the welded seams under which I discovered the start of some surface rust. Obviously the tanks when manufactured are left unpainted for a while which allows rust to start forming. I then applied some seam sealant along the seams before priming and top coating with chassis black.
Removal was quite straight forward, the fuel lines and sender wire was removed by accessing the top of the tank via a panel in the rear floor and the fuel filler pipe as well as the breather pipe was removed by releasing the jubilee clips holding these in place. Next I supported the tank using a piece of wood and a trolley jack before releasing the 4 bolts holding the tank to the main chassis. Its worth mentioning at this point that an original fuel tank is a very heavy item. So remove as much as the fuel as you can prior
To work commencing to reduce the weight as much as possible. This can be done by siphoning or by removing the drain plug in the bottom of the tank ( it’s a 27 mm bolt the same size as the wheel nuts so the wheel brace can be used.) Once the 4 bolts are removed slowly lower the trolley jack to release the tank from its position and wheel it out of the way. Before the new tank was fitted I took the opportunity to inspect, rub down, repair any corroded areas and repaint the chassis and rear cross member that is usually hidden behind the tank when it’s in position. Thankfully mine was sound in these areas and just required a clean up and paint. Before fitting the new tank the old sender unit will need transferring to the new item along with a new sealing ring.
One of the downsides of buying pattern parts is that they often don’t fit quite right. This was the case with my new tank and required two new holes drilling in the chassis brackets to allow the new tank to sit correctly. The new tank was placed on the trolley jack with a piece of wood between it and the jack and wheeled underneath. It was then raised into position and after a fiddly session ensuring the new relevant spacers and rubber washers were in place it was finally bolted home. The newly drilled holes by
the way were primed and painted before fitting the new tank to help prevent future rusting. Once secured the filler pipe was reconnected and a new breather pipe was installed as the old one was perished and collapsing. Finally I reconnected the fuel pipes and fuel gauge wire back onto the top of the sender unit. When connecting the fuel supply line a new ‘olive’ must be used to seal the connection as the old one will now be useless. They are designed to squash onto the pipe as the union is tightened to ensure a fuel tight seal. Do not over tighten the union as this could lead to the pipe being crushed.
Part fill the tank with fuel before bleeding the system and check for any leaks before driving any distance. After a run check around the sender unit and fuel pipe connections to ensure they are leak free.
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