In yesterday’s article, we established that the Jag’s fuel tanks were shot, and went on safari to try and find one or more appropriate replacements. Having struck out (multiple times), I decided to take the night off, put a few miles on the LeSabre while the nearby Back To The 50s cruise night was going on, and hit the show’s swap meet the next morning.
Come dawn, the skies looked threatening – but that hadn’t stopped the vendors from turning out in full force. Let’s see if we can find a tank for our Jaaaagggg.
This swap meet had a fairly sizable spread. Everywhere you looked, all kinds of people were hawking all kinds of stuff.
Perhaps more impressive – and surely more frustrating – were the crowds. Shoppers were packed in tight, and moving slowly.
Their pace was perfect for browsing. But I was searching for something in particular, so I needed to move a little faster. It was a little tricky at times, but I could usually manage to force my way through.
Though I wasn’t seeing many tanks around, I did spot several interesting items along the way… like this Hollander interchange manual. It’s sort of a junkyard spelunker’s bible, the master index of what parts fit on what cars. If you’ve ever been handed an interchange printout at a junkyard, or used sites like Car-Part, you’ve seen Hollander interchange data in action.
As it happens, I have an inventory of several hundred car parts in my attic and garage. Each is listed with its location, condition, what I pulled it off of, and its Hollander number (so I can easily determine its compatibility, or lack thereof).
For instance, I just tucked a 110-01935AL into the attic yesterday. Look it up, and you’ll find that it’s a left fender for your 1981-87 Regal coupe, complete with cornering lamp.
This one was dated 1967. Had it been a bit newer, I might have grabbed it… I can always use another copy.
Plenty of wheels – but they weren’t giving out any deals. The Buick sport rims were bringing $35 each (without caps!).
Of course, there was no shortage of dealer advertising items. This guy had a stack of early ’70s cardboard prints depicting various GM models.
Speaking of advertising, there were plenty of painted-up pails to be had. This lineup certainly puts my “collection” (consisting of two buckets) to shame.
Keep Minnesota green. Sure, why not?
If you want three deuces, a four-speed, and a 389, you could easily find all three items here. Whether or not they’d fit together might be another story.
In addition to all the parts, there were also more than a few vehicles for sale whole.
Not all of them were older than yours truly.
Unfortunately, tanks – fuel cells – anything that could have been helpful to the Jag – were nowhere to be found. This boat tank was the closest thing I spotted… not close enough!
And, as luck would have it, the sky opened up just as I was reaching the last tables. All the vendors disappeared like rabbits. The show cars – which I hadn’t even come close to yet – quickly got covered or driven into trailers. Those without any better options (such as this woman with her roofless ’55) just had to do their best.
So with that, the outing was over. It was back to the Buick, and the beginning of my long drive home.
If you read yesterday’s article, you may recall some discussion of options for this Jag’s fuel tank needs.
There’s used tanks, which I have been unable to find any of. There’s new tanks, which are rather costly. There’s fuel cells, but I’ve been unable to find any of those on the cheap, either.
But remember when I mentioned there being an additional, then-undisclosed option?
There is a fourth choice, one which I think is more in keeping with the spirit of this project. After all, we’re aiming to make this long-forgotten $1000 Jag into a driver on the cheap, using a bit of junkyard ingenuity, and accepting that some factory correctness may need to be abandoned to make that happen. Resale value is a non-factor. Stealing from another manufacturer’s parts bin is a non-factor. The only factor is whether it starts, runs, drives, and stops reliably.
That being said, I’m thinking about junkyard fuel tanks. Truth be told, I was thinking about it from the beginning. But since I’m not exactly a walking encyclopedia of fuel tank knowledge, I was unable to easily determine what vehicles might make good donors (short of crawling under every car in sight with tape measure in hand).
Reader DougD suggested the Ford Focus as a possibility; Wolfgang mentioned the Ranger. Keeping in mind that I need something roughly the same dimensions as my full-size spare tire, what would you recommend?
Of course, there’s plenty of other obstacles other than physical dimensions which must be overcome. But I need a starting point. I’m looking at you, CC readers – what vehicle(s) would you suggest I check out?
VW Beetle? 🙂 But then it’s probably not much bigger than that outboard tank you showed.
Right size, but it’s sort of a flange mount 1/2 way up the tank so you need a rectangular hole to drop it into.
I feel like such a star, being mentioned in a CC article. Brush with greatness indeed!
Depends on if you need a tank with single or double inlet… You could source it from Europe. Either you found the tank yet either not… The article is entertaining.
I’d gladly pick up that Country Squire, if only to spite my father. His half-joking, half-serious vitriol towards the “Ford POS,” as Mr. Smith so eloquently put it in Men in Black, is well-known in our family. Only his extends to the Mercury and Lincoln models of the Panther platform as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he thinks the same of the last-model Caprice/Roadmaster.
Does he have any personal experience with the cars?
Well, back when he learned to drive, that was the norm. Nobody in the family called the Galaxie or, later, the LTD floaty (definitely “boaty”, though) because the alternative was a pickup truck, emphasis on the truck. And he looks back with fond memories on his Cordoba and Mirada. Part of it stems from his driving of nothing but pickups, trucks and tractors, as well as occasionally his wife’s minivans, since he sold off his ’79 T-Bird to his brother-in-law. Going from any of them to an old-school “butt-dragger” is enough to make anyone cranky.
What really set it off was when my parents went on a trip to Vermont in 2012 with his brother and sister-in-law, and the rental company (which promised a “Nissan Maxima or similar”) saddled them with a late-model Grand Marquis. Guess who ended up driving most of the time through the Appalachians in a car almost 18 feet long, 78 inches wide, and six inches off the ground? Also called the “rolling turd” by my uncle, who at one point hit a brick wall parking the thing because of the insane front overhang typical of all those old cars.
Like I said, half-joking, half-serious.
These are pretty easy cars to drive and park, I can’t really sympathize with the difficulty…then again yesterday I saw someone struggling to parallel park a C-Class on 51st street and laughed because I could get my Electra into that spot.
Electra is another matter entirely…until the aero styling of the early 90’s, it was okay to have a crazy overhang because you could see all corners of the hood, and then you knew that you had about 6″ in front of that to compensate for. Only after hoods started sloping away from your line of sight did it become difficult. And you take my uncle, whose primary ride is a newer Yukon with the integrated bumper, and put him in a driving experience he’s not had since learning to drive in the old El Tee Dee, and it becomes pretty understandable. I doubt my father would have done much better in the same situation, since he’s used to tractors, and to say that they’ve got a vertical front grille is an understatement.
I can’t really sympathize either. I can shoehorn the Deville into a space someone couldn’t get their CRV into. Its all a matter of making a mental note of how far your car extends in the various directions that matter-and just plain knowing how to do it.
Not sure what the actual dimensions are for your needs, but you might take a look at junkyard Class C motorhomes. They tend to use aftermarket gas tanks that are happily of the rectangular variety rather than the puzzle piece design of most factory offerings.
Ford Model 8N? Don’t rule out old tractor tanks-they had to fit under narrow hoods; were usually built of a good thickness of metal. And old tractor restorers have a lot of experience with boiling out/re-sealing old stuff. Don’t know if the outlet would match, but the size might be right, and you have more variety to choose from this way.
A picture of one of your old tanks might help the cohort with your search-this is a visual memory task.
Dibs on the Co-op oil can! I have poured a lot of diesel engine oil out of those things.
That’s funny that all the show cars got covered or driven into trailers when the rain came. You would think their cars were made out of sugar. Wonder how complete that early 60s Impala hardtop is?
Some people are so anal about rain that they won’t take their classic out of the garage if there’s a cloud to be seen anywhere in the sky.
They strike me as people who must be like Cameron’s unseen dad in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, the Ferrari that sits in a climate controlled room and is never driven.
I was at a show a few years ago and the same thing happened when a storm came. It was only brief, and few hours later when it finished the people who stayed had fairly dry roads to drive home on (it was summer). I think rain falling vertically would be less ‘dangerous’ than driving on wet roads where spray finds its way into more places, with road grime as well.
My high school auto shop teacher had a fully restored 64 vette. If it rained after a car show while he was driving it home he would have it on a lift the next day so he could wipe water spots off the undercarriage. Seriously he used to polish the entire undercarriage several times a year.
Was his last name Frye and did he live in Chicago?
Perhaps you could JB Weld all the obvious holes in your tanks, and then pour some tank restorer and sealant inside. Test, patch the remaining leaks with some more JB Weld, and then once it stops leaking, coat the OUTSIDE of the tank with sprayable truck bed liner to protect it.
Or maybe some sort of flexible bag-type fuel cell would work.
“icamerica” has a Series III tank from an ’86 in good condition in NYC for $150+ shipping. Not sure what shipping would cost or if this is in your price range, maybe negotiate a bit? PM him at JaguarForums.com if interested.
Interesting. I’ll have to swing over there and see what’s up.
That Country Squire looks fantastic, don’t see many with the late model front cap, very nice.
Re: fueltank, need to speak to some West Coast junkyards. It shouldn’t be too hard to find one with no rust.
I had one like that, a 1989, as a winter beater. It wasn’t as pretty as this one but I feel like I got good value out of it. Owned it for four years and about 25,000 miles. I bought it for $800, put about $2500 in repairs into it over that time (half of which was a rebuild of the AOD), and traded it in during Cash for Clunkers for $4500 toward my now ex-wife’s Cube.
I wouldn’t mind another, but now that I’m in California I’d rather a 71-75 GM clamshell wagon.
That Evinrude can gave me a thought – what about salvaging a below deck fuel tank from an old boat? No rust issues. Square/rectangular shape. Shouldn’t be too tough to find in this land o’ ten-tousand lakes.
That’s what I was referring to yesterday when I said “or the marine equivalent”. Unfortunately, most of them have dimensions like 6″ tall, 18″ wide… and 5′ long.
Still haven’t dismissed that idea, though. Just have to find one with correct enough dimensions, and a sender (or provisions for one). The latter has caused me to dismiss a variety of other sources.
Did anyone else notice that the ’55 Chevy (the taillights look more like a ’56) with the lady holding the umbrella seems to have a tailgate? That would indicate a wagon (Nomad?) that has had its top sawed off. Anymore shots of it?
I noticed that, too. If it hasn’t had extensive gusseting, it’s a wobbler. But it looked like a carefully built project. Sure would like to see more. It doesn’t have the Nomad chrome on the gate, so a 210 would seem likely. Definitely a ’56.
Yeah that 56 does look like a hack job re the tanks I’d be soaking one in phosphoric acid and fibreglassing the outside sealing it hopefully and using a internal tank sealing compound problem solved on the cheap rather than faffing about,if its successful do the other, mind you 70s OZ falcon had an in the boot floor tank with spare recess pressed in but those arent easy to find in the US either
It occurs to me that the tank for a Fairmont/Zephyr (etc, etc) wagon (not the sedan) is small and oddly shaped. Also, there is the 10.9 gallon tank of a Honda Fit. Don’t know what shape it is, but it mounts under the drivers seat in the car. These are the only remotely odd gas tanks in my own experience.
I believe the fit is a small rectangle with an odd top but I think it would work as well if you could find one cheap.
If you aren’t too fussy about losing fuel capacity, a Fiat 124 tank should fit roughly inside your spare tire spot (might be slightly deeper). You can get new ones for $140 at http://www.autoricambi.us/product/FU3-485/Fuel-Tank—1980-85-Fuel-Injected/
They are about 11 gallons and are already designed to fit into a trunk, since that’s the factory mounting location for 124’s. Can you post some photos and maybe some dimensions for the Jag’s trunk, spare tire well, and fuel tanks? Might make it easier for us readers to suggest stuff that is closer to your needs. Also, I’d be really cautious about getting a used tank, by the time you pay for it, plus time, energy, and gas to go get it, plus modifying to fit, plus fixing/sealing it….. you might just be better off buying a new tank (or set).
How much would it cost to ship a pair of tanks? XJ-6 are in my local yards by the dozens, and nothing here rusts.
A fellow CC contributor had suggested an arrangement like that a few months back. Unfortunately, it seems that used gas tanks are considered hazardous material and therefore not shippable through USPS/UPS/FedEx.
I hear tell of a process that involves steam and a special machine to apply it, but it doesn’t sound like something I’d want to get involved with.
Unless someone out there knows something I don’t…
Ah, good point. You’re probably too far up north to make a Pick-n-pull trip to a dry state worthwhile, huh?
What about Greyhound Freight?
That’s how I had the Astre gas tank shipped, via Greyhound, they don’t give a crap, just make sure they tell the agent its a “container” and box the whole thing so it can’t be seen.
What about canvassing Jag blogs to see if other Jag owners have come up with a solution?
Something like this?
I’ve never used it, have no relationship with the company or people there other than finding it via Google.
Keith: it really would help if you could provide the dimensions of the spare tire well.
Also while digging around I came across this website: http://justgastanks.com/index.php
Do you think you can squeeze 28 x28 x 11 in there?
The Toyota Landcruiser underseat tank is a little smaller:
and this one is downright cute:
How much was that Hollander Interchange? I currently drive to the Central LA Library to do my Hollander research, and since it’s located downtown, I ring up an hour of time and $8 bucks in parking every time I make the trip.
Like you, I’d prefer a newer copy, but that early book would be tempting in the $20-30 range.
I’m curious, as someone else mentioned, have you checked on a Jag forum? or Hemmings? I’m sure there is someone parting these things out in a nice part of the country that probably has a fuel tank?
I was able to find a nice gas tank(still needed cleaning and sealing) for my buddies Astra from someone parting out H-bodies on eBay.
You can also check out car-part.com, a salvage yard search tool. I believe you’re in the twin cities, but it shows a left side tank down in Fairbault (the city, not the county).
I didn’t search the Dakotas or Wisconsin, but they may be an option for you as well.
I see the link did not work, but there are tanks in you area. A search using a Minneapolis zip code returned the following hits on car-part.com:
Left Side Tank- Centuria, WI, Nashau, IA, Wisconsin Dells, Carroll, IA
Right Side Tank- Fairbault, MN, Centuria, WI, Nashua, IA
Prices were in the $ 75-100 range, but a bolt-in solution may justify a price premium.
Some times marine salvage places have under deck-type tanks (aluminum) that could be in your size range. You would still have to do some mods to get the filler and vent in the right spots..
Here’s a wild card to try and you should be able to find it locally on a number of makes.
What about the fuel tank from a minivan converted over to wheelchair access? My former (and late) next door neighbor had an ’04 Chevrolet Venture up fitted by Braun; the fuel tank had been replaced with a fuel cell during the conversion.
Take a look; I’ve even got a part number in there for you. Hopefully this gives you a new avenue.
The stock Jaguar tanks look tall, long and skinny. What about two motorcycle tanks – they are a similar shape. If you found two of a bigger cruiser style bike you might get a combined capacity of 50L or so.
I’ve got a spare Triumph Spitfire gas tank – it is very rectangular like a fuel cell. Might be a bit small at 10 gallons.
You have owned this car all of what, 2 months? It is WAY too early to be considering some cobble job on the gas tank. A genuine jag tank will turn up, just keep at it. Half the joy of owning an older car is the elation of finding that unfindable part at a good price.
Try looking here http://www.jaguarheaven.com/index.html
I have the slightly newer XJ40, a 1988. It has one tank on a shelf in the trunk behind the back seat. It was rotten. I drove for a couple months by strapping a portable gas caddy from Northern Tool in the tanks place, until I found a repairable replacement. The only mod I made to it was installing a fitting for the fuel return line. If you have that shelf in your trunk, or even if you don’t, you could sit it on the trunk floor and if your fuel pumps are in-tank, simply install one inline and extend the hoses. I had to open the trunk to fill the tank, but have to open it to gas up anyway because the fuel door release solenoid doesn’t work.
Then, you can drive the car, properly search your replacements, and have a handy fuel caddy left when finished.
I have that exact model of gas caddy pictured above (got it for $10 from a CL seller that I was buying some roofing nails from and he was cleaning out the shop). It is designed to drain while remaining upright. If you lay it down, the fuel port at the bottom will be facing up.
While on the topic of this particular gas caddy, let me say that the filler hose and nozzle are worthless. The nozzle valve leaks gas while filling only a trickle of fuel, and the hose of course is extremely stiff (due to the alcohol in the gas no doubt). I have been searching for some 1/2″ ID replacement rubber hose to make a new filler hose/nozzle, but have not had any luck finding gasoline-rated rubber hose in this size. Yes, I could use 3/8″ but with only gravity-feed, it would take far too long to fill even a small gas can.
There is a dip tube in mine that extends to what is the bottom when it’s laid flat. My XJ40’s inline fuel pump withdrew fuel from it fine. I’ve only used the hose on the tank as a caddy a couple times since it finished it’s duty as a jaguar tank. It will establish a siphon and that’s all I’ve required. It has no practical capability of pumping uphill.
If you’re interested, I have a newer Hollandar I’d sell-goes up to ’73, I think.
Love this site, thanks for sharing all your gearhead stuff.