Monthly Archives: July 2014

Petrol tank clean and repair

Back in the early ’90s when the car was restored in the UK the petrol tank had been lined with ‘Slosh’ tank liner. Recently I’d observed the liner was starting to bubble and leave a large amount of deposits in the fuel filter.

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Lifting and bubbling old ‘Slosh’

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Muck in the filter

Because of the internal baffles the only way to clean it out was to open it up. The tank is a clam shell design with a soldered seem around the middle. I took it to a local radiator repair shop. With an oxy torch the solder was removed and the tank opened. WARNING: Don’t try this yourself, a naked flame around a petrol tank should always be left to the experts.

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Once opened the next task was to remove the old liner. Some of it peeled off in big chunks but for the rest I bought a fuel tank renewal kit from RustBuster. With this you get their ‘Aircraft Stripper’, basically a normal paint stripper, rust inhibiting degreaser and a can of new formula ‘Slosh’ (suposedly resistant to ethanol fuels). Below is the result after stripping the liner off. Luckily the tank looked in good condition with only very minor surface rust.

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A day with the electric drill and grinder and all the old ‘Slosh’ was removed. The exterior paint was also stripped. There was some damage to the bottom section of the tank that had been filled. I took it all to Marc Bondini, Lancia expert and restorer, to have the dent fixed and the two halves soldered back together.

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Next was to re-line the interior. After a clean out  with the supplied degreaser the new ‘Slosh’ liner was poured inside, carefully following the instructions to rotate the tank to ensure all the internal surfaces were coated before draining the waste out and leaving it for 4 days to fully cure. Next four coats of POR15 paint was applied by brush to the exterior and left for a further four days so everything could cure nicely.

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FIRA makers stamp. As Paolo kindly pointed out, Fabbrica Italiana Radiatori per Automobili. The same Lancia owned company made the Aprilias radiator.

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Painted and ready to go back in

Back in the ’90s when the tank had been installed after the restoration they found the fuel outlet had been clogged, so a quick solution was adapt the fuel outlet to the breather on top of the tank and a blank filled the correct outlet. To put it back to the correct setup the internal pickup tube cleared, the wire mesh filter on the drain plug cleaned of slosh, took about four soakings in paint stripper to get it clear, a new breather pipe was made and finally a new copper fuel line was bent up. Finding 8mm copper tube proved quite difficult, I had enough to do the breather but not enough to finish off the outlet, I only needed about 40cm. None of my local plumbing suppliers had any, but could get me some, however the minimum order was for 40 metres! So a quick search on the net found some with RS Components which they managed to deliver the next day, amazing.

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totally clogged drain plug filter

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New breather tube

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Back in and looking good.

Once the tank was reinstalled  30 litres of petrol was added, the tank sender unit (a work of art in itself) was re calibrated , a quick check for leaks, none!, and we’re back on the road.



Solar Plating turned the job around in just three weeks, very happy with that. I eventually got around to refitting the parts, I had to pull the fuel tank out in the mean time to do some major surgery. Very pleased with the result, no more rusty peeling chrome. Straightened the rear bumper and filled in the old number plate holes on the front and relocated the number plate. The radiator insert lost some of the small cross pieces in the chrome process which I had to repair. Also painted the insert black so only the front edge shows the chrome, looks better than in the photograph.

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Spare wheel retaining strap

The Aprilia came with a tatty modern strap for the spare wheel. Armed with some dimensions and a drawing a visit to my local saddlery, Great Southern Saddlery in Leongatha and a week later Graeme had made two, for just $48 ea.

He now has an order for three Aurelia B20 leather straps.

New leather spare wheel retaining strap

New leather spare wheel retaining strap

Old spare wheel strap.

Old spare wheel strap.