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Replacing The Fuel Tank On A Diesel Vectra

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The tank of my 1998 diesel Vectra is leaking. How easy is it to replace? Anyone done it? How big a job? Seems straight forward but will give it to a garage if it's not going to be.

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Guest eight

The tank of my 1998 diesel Vectra is leaking. How easy is it to replace? Anyone done it? How big a job? Seems straight forward but will give it to a garage if it's not going to be.

Just had it done on the other half's Fiat Sporting. Count on 3 hours labour. In that case the bolts were under the seat, so not as obvious as you might think. Also there's the fuel pump and gauge sender in there that need to be replaced. I doubt its one of the most difficult jobs on a car but due to the petroly nature of the job and consequent fire risk I left it to the professionals. Also you really need the entire car clear of the ground so if you'd have to buy axle stands etc. anyway then you might as well let the garage do it.

eight

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It's a diesel so the fire risk is much less than with petrol, but VERY messy. I would bite the bullet and get it done at a garage. It shouldn't take too long so the labour costs shouldn't be too savage.

If you must do it yourself and you're confident that the replacement tank is the correct one, just drill a hole in the bottom of the old tank to drain it. It will make the tank a lot lighter but will of course write it off. Be prepared to catch the fuel, there will be a lot more in there than you think. All tanks have several litres of unusable fuel even when the guage is on zero.

Oh, and be prepared to smell of diesel for a while! It's oil so is hard to scrub off.

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It's a diesel so the fire risk is much less than with petrol, but VERY messy. I would bite the bullet and get it done at a garage. It shouldn't take too long so the labour costs shouldn't be too savage.

If you must do it yourself and you're confident that the replacement tank is the correct one, just drill a hole in the bottom of the old tank to drain it. It will make the tank a lot lighter but will of course write it off. Be prepared to catch the fuel, there will be a lot more in there than you think. All tanks have several litres of unusable fuel even when the guage is on zero.

Oh, and be prepared to smell of diesel for a while! It's oil so is hard to scrub off.

Think I might do that, just trying to keep the costs of everything in life to an absolute minimum at the mo until my new business can afford to pay me. Was pleasantly surprised that you can get a new tank for £70 as I had fears of many hundreds. On the plus side, the business owns the car so the VAT on everything will come back.

I don't think I'd have attempted it my self if it were a petrol tank.

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I don't think I'd have attempted it my self if it were a petrol tank.

Neither petrol or diesel are hard. Run the car until it is nearly empty, then take it off - even if the thing has a few kilos of petrol in it, you can prop with a bit of timber and it's only going to fall 10 inches or similar. Loosen all of the bolts down to the last few threads before taking any off - otherwise it will go skew and the last one will be a pig do undo. Remember to disconnect the filler and sender - you'll probably have to transfer the sender to the new tank.

I wouldn't drill and drain - big chance of diesel everywhere.

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Neither petrol or diesel are hard. Run the car until it is nearly empty, then take it off - even if the thing has a few kilos of petrol in it, you can prop with a bit of timber and it's only going to fall 10 inches or similar. Loosen all of the bolts down to the last few threads before taking any off - otherwise it will go skew and the last one will be a pig do undo. Remember to disconnect the filler and sender - you'll probably have to transfer the sender to the new tank.

I wouldn't drill and drain - big chance of diesel everywhere.

The sender is in a twist off cap thing at the top under the rear seats, not a problem to just swap over.

I'm not sure how the filler connects though. I assumed that they were part of the tank but it doesn't seem to be. It looks to connect to an inlet at the rear of the tank so it may just be a flexi-pipe connected with a jubilee clip. I'm hoping that it's maybe this or another pipe connection which has gone rather than the actual tank its self as it will be much easier to fix.

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Filler is usually a stub pipe, connected to the hole in the side of the car by a jubilee clipped hose. Never seen one where the filler is an integral part of the tank.

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I wouldn't drill and drain - big chance of diesel everywhere.

I admit it could be messy, but I thought the OP wanted the cheapest / quickest way to do it. A tank with fuel in it could be heavier than you expect and unless you're careful, it could hit the floor and split - definitely messy. The tank will have to be drained completely to be disposed of anyway.

I'm assuming it's metal, if it's leaking, which suprises me. I had a '95 Peugeot 405 a while ago that had a plastic fuel tank.

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The tank will have to be drained completely to be disposed of anyway.

However, if you can get the old tank off without spilling any of its residual contents, siphoning them back into the new tank after fitting and using them could be an option.

If you don't have an inspection pit, the only real problem is going to be lifting the car far enough off the ground to be able to work under it safely and comfortably. There'll be the cost of axle stands to factor in to the overall job cost as well, if you don't have any.

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I admit it could be messy, but I thought the OP wanted the cheapest / quickest way to do it. A tank with fuel in it could be heavier than you expect and unless you're careful, it could hit the floor and split - definitely messy. The tank will have to be drained completely to be disposed of anyway.

I'm assuming it's metal, if it's leaking, which suprises me. I had a '95 Peugeot 405 a while ago that had a plastic fuel tank.

This one is definately steel. It looks to be in very good condition but from the pics I've found of them they have a large wide seam which looks to be a a massive water-trap. I'm quite amazed though that modern tanks aren't all plastic.

It surprises me that lots of car stuff isn't stainless steel. I know that manufacturers want to make money by selling spares but if I can get a new tank for £70 anyway then why not make it out of something non-corrodable from the outset as they aren't going to make much off stuff like that.

I have an old Merc 500 which I'm restoring. It was sold new in 1989 for someting in excess of £60K and I'm trying to undo bolts corroded into the structure of the car which p1ss3s me off intensely. I mean why don't they just use stainless stuff? Okay, they might make a half percent less but they'd recoup that in their reputation - which is something that Merc could do with these days!

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[quot]It surprises me that lots of car stuff isn't stainless steel. I know that manufacturers want to make money by selling spares but if I can get a new tank for £70 anyway then why not make it out of something non-corrodable from the outset as they aren't going to make much off stuff like that.

A stainless one would cost several hundred quid - and would last forever, thus shutting down future parts revenue. Stainless is effing expensive, and much harder to weld up.

Why not weld it?

Take it off, fill it to brim with water and it would be fine.

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[quot]It surprises me that lots of car stuff isn't stainless steel. I know that manufacturers want to make money by selling spares but if I can get a new tank for £70 anyway then why not make it out of something non-corrodable from the outset as they aren't going to make much off stuff like that.

A stainless one would cost several hundred quid - and would last forever, thus shutting down future parts revenue. Stainless is effing expensive, and much harder to weld up.

Take it off, fill it to brim with water and it would be fine.

The thing about stainless though, why not make bolts and things out of it as it makes them much easier to remove?

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Why not weld it?

There was a chap in Selby who earned himself a Darwin Award during the Autumn 2000 fuel protests, by drilling through the bottom of the petrol tank of a car parked on a street in an attempt to extract its contents. Steel drill bit ... sparks ... 50 litres or so of petrol ... kaboom. They found the drill about 150 yards away, with bits of the chav distributed across a similar area. He also took most of the windows in that street with him, such was the force of the explosion.

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1) Stainless fasteners are 3x the cost of mild steel

2) You get all sort of corrosion issues with stainless and quite a lot of the components in cars - especially aluminium. I've just rebuilt a Land-Rover with stainless, and you need to separate the fasteners from the body work otherwise the ally goes to dust quite quickly.

3) Corroded fasteners are not a problem for the manufacturers or their agents. They just whack an impact gun on the fastener, and it comes out. The DIYer with a single 13mm spanner has trouble - the official garage will have the appropriate length and offset tool that makes it easy. I have about 15 13mm spanners, all very slightly different for precisely this reason....

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This one is definately steel. It looks to be in very good condition but from the pics I've found of them they have a large wide seam which looks to be a a massive water-trap. I'm quite amazed though that modern tanks aren't all plastic.

It surprises me that lots of car stuff isn't stainless steel. I know that manufacturers want to make money by selling spares but if I can get a new tank for £70 anyway then why not make it out of something non-corrodable from the outset as they aren't going to make much off stuff like that.

I have an old Merc 500 which I'm restoring. It was sold new in 1989 for someting in excess of £60K and I'm trying to undo bolts corroded into the structure of the car which p1ss3s me off intensely. I mean why don't they just use stainless stuff? Okay, they might make a half percent less but they'd recoup that in their reputation - which is something that Merc could do with these days!

My father drove Mercs for about 25 years, from the 60s to the 80s and in those days all the bolts seemd to be cadmium plated. TBH, you didn't need to do much fiddling around with Mercs in those days although they were dead boreing.

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My father drove Mercs for about 25 years, from the 60s to the 80s and in those days all the bolts seemd to be cadmium plated. TBH, you didn't need to do much fiddling around with Mercs in those days although they were dead boreing.

My 500 SEC is far from boring.

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Take it off, fill it to brim with water and it would be fine.

How can you weld a tank full of water?

BTW welding fuel tanks can be done, but only in an inert gas atmosphere. Something strictly for the experts.

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How can you weld a tank full of water?

Most leaks are tiny, tiny pinholes. You can MIG over the top of these pretty easily. Flooding it with inert gas is higher risk - it might blow out, you might get petrol vapours blowing out of the top etc.

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How can you weld a tank full of water?

BTW welding fuel tanks can be done, but only in an inert gas atmosphere. Something strictly for the experts.

You can weld underwater. It's done on oil rig legs and such-like!

Diesel does not explode much, so a quick flush with alcoholl and a dry out will make it "fairly" safe!

It's failry easy to change a tank, but it is messy so I would leave it to proper mechanics!

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