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Old 12-11-2010, 10:06 PM   #291
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Re: Hal The Van

Fuel tank installation continued:

With the sending unit installed some info about how it works.
In this picture you can see the float attached to the sending body. Within the sending body is a variable resistor. As the float rises and falls in the tank with the liquid level it changes the resistance value. The wires from the sending body connect to the two terminals on the top of the cover plate.


Here is the box the sending unit came in.


The check mark next to "10-180 ohms" shows the upper and lower limits on this particular sending unit model.

The resistance value should be 10 ohms with the tank empty and 180 ohms with the tank full. You can buy stock fuel gauges that correspond with these values. I'm going to go a different route for a fuel gauge so I need to take some measurements.

Move the fuel tank over to washing machine next to the utility sink. Hook up the probes from my voltmeter to the electrical connections on the top of the sending unit cover plate.


With the tank empty the sending unit returns a value of 8.8 ohms.


Since the fuel inlet is on the side I'd roll the tank over to pour in water. Used a milk jug as my gallon measure.


By the way, the top of the washer looks like it does because it's next to the utility sink so paint brushes and such get placed there while waiting to be cleaned. I like to think of it as my on little piece of abstract art.

After adding each gallon of water I'd roll the tank back and straighten it up with a level.


So I added one gallon of water at a time and took a new reading with each one.

Here's the results.
Gals - Ohms
1 - 30
2 - 67
3 - 101
4 - 125
5 - 143

Once I poured in 5 gallons and leveled up the tank the water was just even with the bottom edge of the fuel inlet.


Dumped the water into the washer and moved the tank back to the workbench. Added a couple ring terminals and shrink tubing to a dual length of wire. Attached this to the cover plate terminals. With a resistance reading there is no positive or negative so don't have to worry about which wire is which.


You can tell that the gasket sealant is still a little tacky.

continued -
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:11 PM   #292
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Re: Hal The Van

Excuse me if I give myself an "attaboy" for today. Just got finished installing a new steel brake line. It's the one that goes over the rear differential.


It was either finish it today, 40 degrees and rain, or wait till after the monster snow storm we're supposed to get hits.

Considering all the bends in the old brake line and this is the first one of these I've ever done, I think it looks fairly close.


Also my first use of a flare tool.


Details will be in the write-up for the basement storage box.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:51 PM   #293
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Re: Hal The Van

Fuel tank installation continued:

Now that the sending unit is finished I have to add two more items to the fuel tank before it will be ready to install. Need a way to draw fuel out of the tank. There are ready made fuel standpipes that screw into the tank but I think they are overpriced. These heaters are a specialized device and there are no outside manufacturers making replacement parts or installation hardware. Without competition the manufactures can charge whatever they want. My major complaint. Time for DIY.

Here's the parts I'll be using to make my own fuel standpipe.


Plastic fuel line. It's 4mm OD and 2mm ID.


Flexible Copper tubing. 1/4" OD.


1/4" x 1/8" Hex head bushing and steel brake line.


The bungs at the top of the fuel tank have a diameter of 1/4". Need to reduce the size down. Use Teflon tape on the hex head bushing.


Install the bushing onto the tank.


My original idea was to use steel brake line as the standpipe since the end fittings match the inside (1/8") of the hex head bushing. On reflection I wasn't sure how the coated steel of the brake line would react to being continually submerged in kerosene so I moved to plan "B".

Use copper tubing as the standpipe into the tank. The heater installation instructions warn that air bubbles could form within fuel lines larger than 4mm. These bubbles could then block fuel flow. So I'll take the 2mm ID plastic fuel line and slide it into the copper tubing. The plastic fuel line fits nicely into 1/4" OD copper tubing.

I'll still use the brake line fitting but it needs to be drilled out before the copper tubing will fit through. Start by drilling a hole in a block of wood. Screw the fitting into the hole.


Set up the drill press. Use clamps to hold and center the fitting. There's not much room for error so took my time with this step.


I've written before about using my drill press on metal but I forgot this step. There are a set of pulleys on the top of the drill press used to adjust the speed.
When drilling metal I change it from the fastest setting.


To the slowest setting.


Drill out the fitting.


Drilled fitting on the left.


The copper tubing now slides through the fitting.


continued -
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:19 AM   #294
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Re: Hal The Van

Fuel tank installation continued:

Cut off a section of copper tubing.


Straighten it out by hand then to check my work I laid it on the flat edge of a metal level. Rolling it back and forth showed where it still needed work.


This copper tube will hold the plastic fuel line inside the fuel tank. Once installed I want the bottom of the tube to be one centimeter from the bottom of the fuel tank. Probably a bunch of different ways to accomplish that. Here's the one I used.

With the 1/4" bushing already installed put Teflon tape on the drilled out brake fitting and tighten it down inside the bushing. Then slide the copper tubing through the fitting until it reaches the bottom of the tank.


Using the vernier caliper measure the distance from the top of the brake fitting to the top of the bushing.


Use a inside caliper to measure the distance from the top of the tube to the top of the brake fitting.


Remove the tube and the fitting from the tank. Lay them down on a piece of cardboard and mark down the measurement from the inside caliper. Also mark the bottom edge of the fitting.


Slide the fitting down the tube then mix up two part epoxy. Using the marks from the cardboard as a guide, spread the epoxy on the tube where the fitting goes.


Again using the marks, slide the fitting through the epoxy back to it's starting position.


Double check the position with the inside calipers. Wait for the epoxy to set up.


Using a tube cutter, remove 1 centimeter from the bottom of the tube. No particular reason why I decided on 1 centimeter. It just seem about right.


Screw the now epoxied together fitting and copper tube back into the tank. Use the vernier caliper to check that I've tightened it back to it previous position. The fuel tank will installed on the driver's side of the van while the heater will be on the passenger side. Bend the outside end of the tube so it will point, once the tank is installed under the van, towards the passenger side.


Remove the tube and fitting from the tank. Slide the plastic fuel line through the curved piece of the tube to check that I didn't create any restrictions with the bending.


One last thing. Need to secure the fuel line so it won't slide out of the copper tube. The fuel line came as a kit with 2 short rubber hose pieces and clamps. The hose will fit over the fuel line but it's ID is too small to fit over the copper tube. Use a drill on one end of the hose. Enlarge it enough so it fits over the tubing.


Install the rubber hose and screw clamps. Slide the plastic fuel line back into the copper tube till it's end is even with the bottom of the tube.


Then tighten the screw clamps to hold everything in place.


Before I screw the tubing back into the tank I'll install a vent line in the other bung.

continued -
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:00 PM   #295
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Re: Hal The Van

Fuel tank installation continued:

A note about tank venting. I'm not adding a pressure vent. As I'm adding fuel to the tank I'm hoping that if it do it slowly enough the displaced air will exit via the inlet hose. Also since the gas tank won't be filled to the top there should always be room for warm weather expansion. I will be adding a vacuum vent. This is needed because as fuel is withdrawn from the tank it needs to be replaced with air.

This is the motorcycle vacuum vent.


Us it with some plastic hose, a piece of brake line and brake line fitting.


Install the 1/4" bushing for this bung on the tank.


Trim the brake line with a tube cutter. Here you can see the difference between cutting the brake line with a hack saw (left) and a tube cutter.


Use epoxy to glue the brake line to the fitting.


Putting it all together. The barbs on the bottom of the vacuum vent hold the hose tight enough so a clamp isn't needed. Use a clamp to hold the hose onto the brake line.


Install on the tank.


Here's what the tank looks like with everything installed.




continued -
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:50 AM   #296
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Re: Hal The Van

This isn't part of the fuel tank project but it needs to be done before the tank is installed.

The battery bank will sit on the drivers side of the van but I'll need to run electrical wiring to the passenger side. I thought of different ways of doing this like running the wires above the rear doors or along the edge of the raised floor directly behind the front seats. Here's what I decided on.

This is 3/4" ID liquid tight flexible conduit. I got it at Lowe's. At $0.73 a foot it's not too expensive.


Here is a rough idea of the location where I'll run the conduit under the van. At each end of the conduit will be fittings that go through the van floor.


A more direct path would be to run it under this part of the van but as you can see it's already a little crowded. All these hoses and connections are to the van's gas tank.


This is how that same area looks viewed from the passenger side of the van. Directly in the front of the picture is the exhaust shield. Next is the gas tank and protruding from the top of the tank you can see fuel lines and electrical connections. The fuel pump is inside the tank below that point.


You can see in the pictures that the underfloor bracing on each side and the gas tank and exhaust shield on the bottom forms a kind of cable tray. Since it's too crowded here I'll move to the right, towards the front of the van, between the next set of floor braces.

It's less cluttered here. The gas tank has a raised section with a connector on the top. That's where the vent line attaches.


The conduit is flexible but very stiff so I fed it through from the passenger side since there is more room to work.


Looking from the drivers side, the raised section of the gas tank and the vent hose is front and left with the conduit above and to the right . By the way, this is the view the camera has since it will fit up in there but it's not like you could get you head into that space.


Here is where the conduit emerges from between the braces. It's in the space above the fuel tank inlet. This is why the conduit must be installed before the fuel tank. There wouldn't be room to work otherwise. You might notice the tape on the end of the fuel inlet. After finishing the fuel hose installation I sealed this end of the fuel inlet with tape since it would be awhile before the tank was installed.


This is the 90 degree fitting that will connect the conduit to and through the van floor. It is threaded on each end. The threads with the wide spacing is screwed into the conduit. The end closest to the hole saw will fit through the van floor. The hole saw size is 1-1/8".


The hole saw installed on it's arbor. To the upper right of the picture you can see the plastic nut and rubber o-ring for the conduit fitting.


Screw the fitting onto the conduit and figure out the best place to install it.


I want to check how this location looks from inside the van. To transfer the location from under the van to the inside take a measurement from one of the bolts on the fuel tank bracket.


Inside the van measure from the top of that same bolt then drill.






Screw the fitting into place. I'd have sealed around the hole with silicone but it was below freezing. I should be able to seal it when the weather improves.




Moving back to the passenger side of the van. Here is the approximate path for the conduit but it's obvious it's too low.


I made some measurements before buying the conduit. Decided on a 9 foot length knowing that it was longer than needed. Now is the time to start trimming. Use a hacksaw on the conduit to shorten it.


Then do a test fit. Checking both length and placement. This picture is looking straight up from under the van. This is the section of the van floor between the rear wheel, to the right, and the side step well. Notice the small cutout with plug on the floor to the right of the conduit end. This will be my measuring point when I transfer the conduit location to the inside of the van.


The pieces cut off the conduit get smaller as I zero in on the best length.


Measure and drill the hole for the fitting.


I'm using a straight fitting on this side of the van. Here's how it looks with the fitting screwed onto the conduit end. There's rubber washer that seals against the conduit.


Push the fitting through the floor and screw on the o-ring and plastic nut.


This doesn't complete the installation of the conduit since there are still a couple things to do beside using silicone to seal around the cut holes. As it is now the conduit is laying on the top of the exhaust shield. I will be adding a metal bracket that raises the conduit off the shield. I'm not doing it now because the conduit will have to share space with the intake and exhaust hosing from the Webasto heater since they will all be in the same general area. Until the heater is installed I'm not sure how it will all lay out. I've included enough slack in the conduit so it can be moved around within this space. The van won't be going on any trips until this is all done so the exhaust shielding melting the conduit won't be an issue.

Even though it was plenty cold on this day I did have some supervision but he spent most of his time perched on the steps.


From this location Tiger can watch all the critters (squirrels and birds) on the various bird feeders without being noticed.

Costs for this:
Lowe's
3/4 Liquid Tight Flexible Conduit 9'@$0.73' - $6.57
3/4 LTF Conduit 90Degree Fittings - $2.76
3/4 Flex Conduit Straight Fit - $2.49
Lenox 8 Piece Hole Saw Set - $39.98
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:36 PM   #297
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Re: Hal The Van

Nice work! I gotta tell you, I admire your thorough work and patience you exhibit in your endeavors. If given the same items and assignment I would no doubt have a worthless pile of scrap with holes drilled in it, pieces cut too short, mis aligned brackets and I would most likely just end up drinking heavily to try and forget about the whole thing.

Again, good job.
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:14 PM   #298
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Re: Hal The Van

Thanks Saline,
I do appreciate the encouragement. I also have my pile of scrap with holes drilled in it and pieces cut too short. My mistakes are many and varied.

Merry Christmas to All!
From Hal and Tiger (Bob's inside keeping warm).




And the geekiest Christmas gift ever. The U.S.S. Enterprise Pizza Cutter. Too cool for words.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:48 PM   #299
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Re: Hal The Van

Fuel tank installation continued:

I'm going to install the fuel tank onto the van. I did this earlier in the month when it was just cold and dark (no snow yet).


First off, what could have been a big mistake. Here is a picture from back in September when I was constructing a mounting point for one of the tank brackets. It's made to straddle that underfloor ridge. I plum forgot all about that ridge when I was preping the fuel tank. I'll come back to it.


Getting the tank onto the van was a bear. I could have used another set of hands. Because of the difficulty there aren't as many pictures as usual. The mounting difficulty was with the metal straps that wrap around the tank.


They are like big springs that fit very snug around the tank. Along with the difficulty in trying to hold them closed so you can get a bolt screwed through the end is that there isn't much room to work between the side of the van and the tank.


My solution was to use a jack stand to raise the holding strap up against the bottom of the tank. This gave me enough slack to get the bolt through the holes and a nut started. In this picture you can see I have the tank attached and the jack stand I used is just visible at the bottom.


At the same time as I was getting the straps bolted together I also had to make sure the rubber fuel inlet hose was getting properly seated on the tank inlet. Wanted the hose to go all the way down the tank inlet until it was against the fuel tank. Notice two things in this picture. You can see a metal ring around the hose where it meets the tank. That is the screw clamp I'll use to tighten the hose onto the fuel tank inlet. At the top right of the picture you can just see the 90 degree fitting and the flex conduit I installed earlier.


I actually remembered to put the screw clamp on the hose before installing the tank. Finding that I'd installed the tank without the clamp is the kind of bonehead mistake I usually make.

There wasn't enough room between the tank and van to get my hand up in there to tighten the screw clamp. I used a long ratcheting screwdriver that has the six sided interchangeable bits. By added an extension with a flat bit to the screwdriver I was able to reach the screw clamp from beyond the end of the fuel tank. Keeping the end of a screwdriver that long steady enough to tighten the screw clamp took a ton of patience.


Tightening the bolts on the holding straps caused the tank to raise closer to the bottom of the van. So at the same time I was checking the rubber hose on the fuel inlet I was also checking the top of the tank, I couldn't see anything up there so I was working by touch. That's when I realized my mistake in not account for the underfloor ridge. In this picture you can see that the blue vacuum vent will miss the ridge but looking through the hole in the square tubing below the vent you can just see the arc of the copper fuel line. It will pass directly under the ridge. The tank hasn't been leveled out yet


I was able to reach up and make a couple corrective bends to the copper tubing so that it would clear the bottom of the ridge as I raised the tank. I later checked the plastic fuel line and it wasn't constricted by the bending. Here is how it looked with the tank fully raised.


I lucked out with the ridge. Of course if it had been in the way I could have made adjustments but that would have meant dropping the tank.

That finished that night's work.


I want to protect the plastic fuel line. I'll be using split loom conduit.


Split loom conduit or tubing is a corrugated plastic tube the has a slit down it's entire length. It's used for organizing and protecting electrical wiring. The slit on the side allows wires to enter or exit the conduit at places other than the ends. It also helps with the insertion of wires since you don't have to shove or pull them through the length of the conduit.


The fuel line isn't wiring but the split loom will give it a protective cover.


Found the easiest way to get the fuel line into the split loom was to bend the loom 90 degrees and press the fuel line against the bend. The fuel line would slip into the loom. Then just worked my way down the loom until I ran out of fuel line. Cut the loom at the point.


The Webasto heater will sit on the passenger side of the van so I need to get the loom covered fuel line across the underside of the van. I used the same "cable tray" that I ran the liquid tight conduit through.


Since the loom isn't stiff I couldn't feed it straight across the underside of the van. This picture is the view looking up between the gas tank and the exhaust shield. I kept shoving the loom through from the driver's side until it could see it in this gap.


Pull all the loom through that gap.


Listen to Tiger tell me how he would have done a better job of it.


Push the split loom up and over the exhaust shield to the passenger side of the van.


That brings the fuel tank installation up to date. When I install a bracket to raise the liquid tight conduit off the exhaust shield I'll do the same for the fuel line inside the split loom. The next step will be to install the Webasto heater. With the current cold, wind and snow that's not going to happen right away. At the moment the weather forecast has Saturday in the 50's. We'll see.

I've got a couple more projects on the van to write about so I'll start covering one of them in my next posting.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:03 AM   #300
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Re: Hal The Van

Holy Schnikees! that tank install is an impressive undertaking. I also just picked up a diesel heater for my van. Big difference is that my van is diesel so I can just drop the fuel tank and add the fuel pickup. the guy who sold the heater recommended adding a small tank like your doing. I briefly considered it, but having seen the amount of work you are doing, I think dropping the fuel tank will be a breeze by comparison. Keep up the good work.
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