|TR6 Gas Tanks and Lines
Tracing the Cause of TR6 Fuel Problems (Part 2)
by Dave Northrup
Click here for Part 1
Many of you read of our
delightful adventures in and around the Tennessee mountains. And I’m
sure you identified with the lonely breakdown in Mississippi!
Apparently there is an addendum to the story.
A couple weeks later I made a
trip to Fort Worth, and, fortunately, just a few blocks from home, the
fuel pump failed again. Somehow the old adage “fool me once – shame on
you; fool me twice – shame on me” seems to apply here. Unfortunately I
had already removed the old fuel pump and taken it apart. At this point
I doubt that it was the problem. To prove my point, a few days later
the car started up and ran without issues.
These cars are a lot like
computer programming – the error message you get really indicates only
a general idea of the location and problem. It never pinpoints it
exactly. Slowly, way too slowly, I’m learning about these cars!
The first step was to get the
car out of the garage! Gas vapor is not a household friendly smell!
Just for grins I thought I’d see if the car would start (I’m lazy – it
sure beats pushing it!). And it did. At least I’m learning – I’m
redoing the entire fuel system.
First step is to drain the
tank. The easiest way is to use gravity! Make sure the back of the car
is higher, then unplug the line in the front where it hooks up towards
the pump. And it all drains out nicely! Of course, when you unplug that
line, all the gas in the fuel filter and the carbs drains back down
onto the ground unless you are ready for it, which I wasn’t. So I lost
a little gas and unfortunately polluted the groundwater a bit. I’ll
definitely do better next time!
Having a little experience in
disassembling TR6’s, it did not take me long to get the tank out. What
took the longest, ironically enough, was to remove and shelf all the
spare parts I had carefully stowed around the spare tire: fuel pump,
alternator, distributor, water pump, and other small items! The tank
itself is held in by six bolts plus some miscellaneous lines, hoses,
and padding. And it all has to come off to get the tank out. I also had
great ambitions of repainting all the trunk surrounds – after so many
years it gets pretty scuffed up. Have to pick up a can of gloss black
for plastic. Do you ever wonder about all those cans of spray paint?
They seem to arrive but never leave . . .
So the tank goes off to
Kirby’s to get redone, all the rubber hoses get replaced, and I pick up
a new gasket for the sending unit. Speaking of which, I polished that
up, got all the old gasket off, and just happened to have another float
to replace the one which had a wee bit of fluid in it! I’ve been told
you can repair these, but I’ve never seen it done successfully! Might
be a good time to see if I can correctly calibrate the gas gage and
sending unit, too.
As they say, reassembly is the
reverse of assembly. In this case, its pretty true. It would have been
smarter to have connected that vapor hose as I was placing the tank.
Once its bolted in, its very dicey getting that hose onto the vapor
lead. Fortunately, I had just the right size fingers!
And for once, I remembered to
screw in the sending unit before bolting in the tank without losing a
single screw! Just because I like to put gas in from the driver’s side,
I reversed the position of the gas cap. The heck with concours judges!
I was even able to screw in
the gas line from the bottom, place a rubber grommet up in that space,
connect the gas line, and get eve-rything, including the spare tire and
a zillion other things back in the trunk. I carefully poured gas back
in the tank, and checked for leaks, front and back. It took some
starter fluid to get it running, but then it just purred along! Dropped
it down off the jacks – slowly and carefully; this is no time to get
hurt – and drove around the block!
It will be a while before I
find out if, in fact, I have cured the problem, but I’m optimistic!
Didn’t quite make it to Oklahoma, but there’s got to be something
coming up! Maybe I’ll put the spare pump back in the trunk and drive
over to Fort Worth.
As it turned out, my next trip
was to pick up my daughter at school. She is sometimes patient with her
Dad, but she really doesn’t like my funny little British cars.
Especially when they quit on the way home. A policeman came by, flashed
his lights, and helped me push it off into a parking lot. From there I
worked on the usual, suspecting the fuel pump. But the replacement
electric fuel pump didn’t do much, either. After a while, and after
some serious car rocking, it started up and ran on the mechanical fuel
pump. My diagnosis: there was still some crap in the fuel lines.
Had some time a few days later
and took it back out. It ran pretty well, for a while, then died.
Rocking did not help. But it appeared that draining out some gas onto
the roadside did. Perhaps that was the last of the gunk. Perhaps not. A
few days later I verified that indeed it was not, as the car once again
fell prey to this malady. Rocking did not help. No fuel drained out of
the lines until I opened the gas cap. Then it hit me! The problem was
in the breather system, also called the vapor recovery system.
Back on jacks, empty the tank,
and remove everything in sight. It was immediately apparent that I hit
it his time as I could not blow air through the vapor recovery system.
So then it was a matter of tracing down the piping. It pretty much
follows the gas line. And somewhere was the problem. Tried forcing a
wire through the lines without success. After practicing much
avoidance, I pulled the entire line from under the car. And there was
the problem, obvious as daylight. Where if passes through the frame
next to the ex-haust, it was melted shut. The obvious answer was to
install steel (brake line) piping, redo a little of the tubing here and
there, and put the car back together. Which I did.
So, several days of work, gas
tank refurbished, removed and reinstalled twice, interior trunk panels
repainted, and all gas lines cleaned out and/or replaced, plus one
unnecessarily replaced fuel pump. All in the life of an LBC.
Click here for Part 1