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A Serious Lesson Learned...

Old September 28th, 2012, 2:13 PM
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Smile A Serious Lesson Learned...

I learned a lesson similar to the one I'm about to share years ago, I had a 1974 924 Porsche and I had to replace the fuel filter. I pulled the lines on either side and of course gas started pouring out. Luckily it was my fathers garage and only about a cup of fuel came out. Fast forwards 15 years, my own garage and a 1951 Chevy Deluxe I received as a wedding gift from a good friend of mine. It's a funny thing receiving a fixer-upper car as a gift; Maybe it's similar to someone giving you a box of a potent gambling addiction or maybe a tree that only grows if you feed it money. I was anxious to get working on it and my first order of business... throw a battery in it. It turned over. Great! Didn't start though. With the little bit of knowledge and some help from the Chevy Enthusiasts I knew I had to replace both the fuel lines and the fuel tank. No problem.

A week or so earlier I had tried to drain the tank in order to see just how dirty the tank was; I opened the drain plug and to my surprise only a couple of drops of rusty nasty 'fuel' came out. 'It's empty' I thought to myself. I had put in 4 gallons of fuel a few days earlier with 3 different tanks I had laying around 2 one gallon tanks and 1 two gallon tank. Adding new fuel didn't help anything... 'lines must be clogged' In order to undo what I had done I lined up the tanks under the car and loosened the drain plug. I prepared myself for 4 gallons. Again, surprise... No fuel. Now in hindsight I realize my thoughts at the time were a little off, but sometimes the most logical explanation is usually the right one. I thought that the fuel must have been burned by the constant revving and checking and the rest just evaporated (I know, its dumb).

Luckily, I left the tank I was going to use to collect the fuel under the open drain plug while I went up front to install the new fuel pump I ordered. After popping the old fuel pump off, I walked to back of the car to get the gasket I had left on the workshop table. I hear a noise that sounds like someone is watering the plants outside. It's 2:00 in the afternoon, the sprinklers go on at 4:00 in the morning. Wait, that noise is coming from under the car! I look under and the loosened drain plug has disappeared into one and a half gallons of mucky gasoline. Ok, don't panic. Fill this container then the other two, piece of cake, 4 gallons of gas displaced into 4 gallons of gas can space. When the third tank started to reach the top I realized there was a little more than 4 gallons in the tank. Panic ensued. I quickly dump the two gallon tank into shallow bucket I had laying around and continued the filling process, which bought me just enough time to call a buddy. "Dude, can you bring over some gas tanks... As fast as possible?" I think he could tell by the panic in my voice that I had already let about a half gallon spill onto the floor of my garage and there was no end in sight with what might still be remaining in the tank.

HE shows up with a trash can he probably grabbed from his bathroom and a bucket he uses to mop the floors with. Great, two more gallons dispersed. At this time I had drained about 6 gallons of fuel from a tank I thought was empty and was still rushing out of the tank like a freight train. I could go on about how gallon after gallon we rushed around looking for tanks and buckets and pretty much anything that would hold fuel all the while trying to locate the plug for the tank to put an end to this madness, but I will spare you and get right to the point. 16 GALLONS!! That's right 16 gallons of tar filled, caramel textured, dark brown fuel.

My neighborhood isn't really the type of neighborhood that understands working on a car until 2 in the morning, lets just say they are a little more conservative and not too stoked with the smell of gasoline that lurked around for about a week. After I took the tank off I peeked inside to see what the problem was, it looked like someone had taken off a rubber t-shirt filled it with rust and stuffed it into the tank. I assume it was some tank sealant from the 70's that lost an ongoing battle with the fuel and then turned to the dark side. Anyway, we have all learned lessons in different ways, if I have a child who wants to work on cars in the garage, I might oversee any projects related to the fuel tank. Thanks for reading and I hope you can pass this lesson on...
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Old September 28th, 2012, 8:26 PM
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lol. good story. Whats an old 51 chevy deluxe look like...pics??

I'd like to add my own old fuel story if that's ok.

I went out to start the honda gas generator that is a built in unit to my motor home. The RV has been in storage for 5 years. The generator would crank over but would not start. I removed the spark plugs, sprayed some brake cleaner on them and into the cylinders. When cranking, it would now start and stall. I figure it must be a fuel delivery problem. The fuel was very low, not to mention old, so I put 45 liters of fuel into the rv. no change. So I repeat the brake cleaner step. On the 3rd try I crank it over and hear a loud BANG and something hits me in the leg. I look down and my pants are covered in seeds and small twigs. Yep, mouse nest in the exhaust. Started right up after that!

Last edited by tech2; September 28th, 2012 at 8:29 PM.
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