Removing the Syncro Gas Tank

From a Post by Dave Bayer:

Today I had the pleasure of dropping the gas tank in my syncro. Since I had so much fun doing it, cialis treat I thought I'd write up a little note to help others thru it.

First, my engine and tranny were out. I don't know how one would drop the tank with the engine in as mine came out down and toward the back of the van. I had pressure washed the tank, the engine compartment and a good portion of the underside of the van (including the wheel wells) before I started this project. However there was still a ton of sand and road grime everywhere when it came to the tank and fuel pump.

I started off by removing the fuel pump, labeling the wires, wire/nylon brushing as much of the dirt off at possible (a 'detail' brush would have been more helpful) and dremeling the crimp style fuel hose clamps. The aft pump hose can be plugged with an 8mm bolt (with 13mm head). The pre-pump hose is a bit larger and I didn't have a suitable plug for it besides the fuel pump (the check valve in the pump appears to actually take some pressure to open). I drained the aft hose first (there is a good amount of fuel in there) in my gas can. A funnel would have been helpful here as gas sprayed a good bit. The forward hose was worse, gas flows more readily than water it appears. Also, a jerry can of a large enough size to do this in one go is essential. With the van on jack stands I had a continous drip of gas and a good amount in the tank. A plug for this hose is essential. The pump should go into a plastic bag to keep the ends clean.

Removing the filler pipe required removing the right rear shock. It's held in by one screw to the frame and the hose clamp to a filler hose that runs up to the cap. Removing two screws in the plastic around the filler cap revealed two more screws holding the filler hose in place. With a little pulling, this hose comes up nicely. The pipe can then be pulled to the rear of the van (so that the pipe follows the hose into the metal tube behind the wheel) and then out. Watch this part as there will undoubtably be a lot of sand/slit built up in this area which you do not want to brush into the pipe, hose or tank.

The coolant pipes are rumored by the Bentley to be in the way. The coolant distributor and coolant pipes are held in place by two worm clamps - the coolant distributor is held in place by one in the engine compartment, the pipes by one o the forward edge of the frame crossmember. Also the heater coolant line on the left side of the van needs to be moved out of the way.

The clutch slave cylinder and the two tranny vent lines should be moved aside (placed aside). As should the differential lock vent lines. Oh, you'll need to undo the plastic strap on the left tank strap before you can do that (it's easily removed, just light the tab and the plastic strap portion came right out).

The straps came off easily though I more or less had to use an imapct wrench on the two forward bolts. The charcoal canister is easily removed from the driver side wheel well; it's held in place with a large worm clamp and the two large hoses pull right off while the smaller one required a little more force (was held on by a crimp hose clamp that I couldn't get to with the stout wire cutters. I probably could have dremeled it but I was worried about fumes. This clamp might have been good to cut before removing the fuel pump). One of the hoses transverses the back side of the van to the right forward corner of the engine compartment and hooks in to a black plastic circular thing to which the vaccum lines attach. This should be removed as well.

Back to the left (driver) side wheel well. Remove the fuel gauge sender wire. Try to detach the return fuel hose at this stage as well. It will make getting the sender past the frame rail a bit easier. Also, one might consider trying to detach the wire clamp that holds the thick cable that runs from the battery to the starter along the right frame rail if possible. I noticed that the cable appeared to be cutting the amount of clearance the tank had...

There is a hose that runs down from the filler hole to the right top of the tank. It should be visible from the right wheel well. If you are not going to replace this hose, try to get at it now (not sure if you can). You should probably also remove the plastic tie holding the main wiring harness where it comes out of the left front sheet metal and pull the wires down and to the right to provide as much clearance with the sheet metal as possible.

Ok, now the fun. You will probably need a 3-4 foot bar and a smaller 1 foot bar for this upcoming back - actually removing the tank. The tank drops down and back on the left side of the van (this will be obvious when you look at the tank). There are a network of vent lines that run along the top of tank - these include:

  • two grey plastic blocks that protect the fuel lines from being pinched when you raise the tank. They effectively leave a 1/2 - 1 inch space between the top of the tank and the sheet metal above.
  • two plastic vent nipples along about 3 inches from the rear of the tank and a few inches in the side
  • a bunch of hoses

So I would insert the 4 foot bar on the forward side of the spring perch in the wheel well with the end of the bar on the sheet metal above and the tank on the middle of the bar and gently push down. The tank should move pretty easily if I haven't missed anything I did. Soon it will jam. I needed to crawl under and pull it forward then crawl and use the bar a couple more times.

Once the tank comes down a bit, the fuel supply line can be removed if you want.

Eventually you will probably get jammed on the bolts for the fuel guage sender. This is where the 1 foot bar comes into play (in my case a 1/2 inch rachet driver). I inserted this along the frame rail and between the tank and used it to push the sender in just enough to get the bolt to clear. Repeat for each bolt followed at times with a push from the 4 foot bar (sometime in here I moved the bar to the engine compartment and inserted it where the tank straps came down).

Once the sender clears, the tank comes out without too much more fuss, though I do remember thinking that it was not going to clear the half axles. Also after the sender clears and you've dropped it another couple inches, the hose that runs up to the filler will be nicely accessible.

Finally, drain the tank. This was alot of fun because the tank is bulkly and I couldn't seem to find a spot were I could hold the tank and see where I was pouring the gas out the hose end (the ones that went to the fuel pump). My fuel gauge sender was covered in dirt as was the rest of the tank...

I'm assuming replacing the tank will be more or less just the reverse. Overall that job took me about 3-4 hours (I intermixed a little bit of other work I needed to do as well). Hope I didn't miss anything in that write up.

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