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Author Topic: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration  (Read 6815 times)

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Offline Marlin

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Good evening all!  :D

My restoration is finally getting underway, and my pride and joy is finally getting the wrench time it deserves. I bought my 1972 Pinto sedan in December. Just prior to my purchase it was shipped to Australia from Cali, where it had been in storage since 1988. (she's still wearing old bias plys! ;D ) The car is now running nicely, thanks to a new carburetor, fuel pump, points, plugs, battery, and starter solenoid. Now I'm focusing on the gas tank, as the car has sat with old gas for 20+ years. (I'm currently running the engine via a jug to the new fuel pump and lines.)

As expected, the entire fuel system is in need of a complete overhaul. Last weekend I dropped the tank and removed it for cleaning. Not surprisingly, the condition of things inside was quite nasty. I drained (safely of course :) ) the smelly old gas (a few gallons worth) and a very large quantity of gunk and rust along with it. Then I managed to remove all the loose gunk inside with a pressure washer, but in doing so I noticed water was escaping through numerous small pinholes along the side of the tank. There are around half a dozen to a dozen of them, all congregated in one area. If you peek inside the tank and run your eyes down that particular side it looks like stars in the night sky!

Also, the fuel sending unit is rustier than the titanic! I'm aware that there are unfortunately no repro sending units available for any pinto model.

I wasn't expecting to deal with holes. I'm not sure if it's repairable, or if repairing a hole-ridden tank is a wise idea at all. Given the amazing original condition of the car, I want to keep parts as original as possible. I'm also concerned that if the tank already has holes on one side, then it's likely the entire lining is too weak for the tank to be safe to use.

I was surprised to discover a repro pinto tank is actually available, and straps too! :
http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Spectra/Fuel_Tank/SPIF80A.html

From what I can see it looks virtually identical to the tank in my '72, but from what I've read it's only compatible with 1975-76 pintos?? My only other option would be a clean, lightly used tank that someone has parted out somewhere. The cost to ship something that bulky to Australia would be far greater than the purchase price itself, so I need to be 100% sure that I'm getting the right parts.

So my questions are:

Is a gas tank with small holes repairable? If so, is it a safe and practical solution?

Will the repro Spectra tank fit in a '72 Pinto?

If neither option will work, how likely am I to find a used tank in good enough condition to use as a replacement?

Also! Will I have to watch eBay for an eternity in hope of finding the right NOS fuel sender? haha

This is my first proper attempt at a restoration, and it's very much a learn as I go experience. I want to accomplish as much as possible without resorting to handing $ over to a mechanic, and it's a good learning experience for me as well. I'm really excited at getting my beloved Pinto back to it's former glory :)
1972 Pinto sedan 1600cc

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2014, 08:30:12 AM »
There are several products out there that seal pinholes permanently from the inside & they do work great but I haven't used one myself. They aren't cheap so weigh that against the cost of a new tank. A good tank sealant runs $100 & up so stay away from the cheap stuff.
 
As for a tank & sender to replace yours, I'd post in "parts wanted" & see who has one. The Spectra tank should fit but I think I remember someone saying the early sender wont fit the hole.
 
A sender will pop up on ebay if you are patient or get ahold of bbobcat75 since he was parting out a 72 hatch & may have a tank if it came with one.
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Offline Reeves1

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2014, 09:19:42 AM »
Due to your location...

Why not have one made ?

If done properly with aluminum, it could hold a bit more fuel as well. because it will not have the seems.

If you do, put a drain plug in it.

Run new lines as well.

Offline Rob3865

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2014, 06:37:46 PM »
Be careful with this. There are two styles of gas tanks Early and late. That reproduction tank appears to be early. You can tell from the sending unit hole. See how it is recessed from the tank surface around it? The late style tank has the sending unit hole flush with the rest of the tank surface. The late style tanks will NOT fit the early cars, either. It appears from the picture though, that the reproduction tank is based on the early design so you should be ok. Just food for thought.

Offline Marlin

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 04:34:28 AM »
Thank you for the advice guys. It's much appreciated  :)

I haven't ruled out the option of a custom fabricated aluminium tank. A friend of a friend actually makes aluminium tanks for marine applications, so I'm going to discuss it with him before I go forward with any decision. Another advantage besides possibly increasing fuel capacity, is that a new tank could be designed to be safer than the original ford design. It would save me tracking down a tank shield kit, as my car was never fitted with one. I think the real safety issue was with the filler neck rather than the tank. It's joined to the tank with nothing more than a rubber grommet! It certainly didn't take much effort to get the two separated during the tank removal.

Rob, I believe you are right about the differences with later pinto tanks. I'm not sure what year model the changes take place though. I would have thought somebody on here would have installed one of these Specta tanks by now. Stock photo's are not a trustworthy source of information, so I'm not going to go forward with that route unless I can get 100% confirmation about the fitment. Shipping for the tank alone would cost at least $200, so it's not a risk that I'm willing to take.

Alternatively, I could get the existing tank professionally repaired if it's in good enough condition inside. I'm willing to pay the price for safety and a job done right. I guess I have a few phone calls to make now. lol

Also, I've notice that Spectra Premium makes a fuel sender unit specific for this tank:
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/spectra-premium-sending-unit-fg178a/10169135-P

It's specified for 1975-76 mustang II, but it looks completely identical to my old sender.
(mustang II OEM part no. D4ZZ-9275-A. My sender's is D12F-9275AA)

Here's a pic of my pool old sender. lol
1972 Pinto sedan 1600cc

Offline bbobcat75

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 07:03:15 AM »
have a tank with sender in the 72 I am parting out - 1.6 with a 4speed  - but not sure of shape and condition of the inside of tank - still in car -
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1975 ford pinto - drag car - 2.3l w/t5 trans - project car

Offline Reeves1

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2014, 08:05:07 AM »
Looking at that sender.... you for sure will want all new fuel lines !
If you do not replace them, you'll likely fight rust flakes for life ! 

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2014, 10:07:39 AM »
That sender is worth taking a look at. If it doesn't fit just take it back to Advance & get your money back.
'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
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Offline Rob3865

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2014, 12:42:06 PM »
You can get your sending unit rebuilt here if that Advance one does not fit.

http://tristarrradiator.com/

Offline Marlin

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2014, 02:03:04 AM »
Thanks again guys :) Now you can see the kind of rust I'm talking about!

I'll most likely come to a conclusion by the end of next week. I'm hoping that the tank isn't too far gone or too pricey to be professionally repaired, cleaned, and sealed.

bbobcat75, thanks for letting me know about your tank. However I just realized that there might be severe complications in shipping a used petrol tank for safety reasons, let alone getting through customs. I'll have to look into it. Also, does the pinto you're parting out happen to have saddle interior? There's a few interior parts that I'm in need of. Thanks.
1972 Pinto sedan 1600cc

Offline Reeves1

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Offline Pinto5.0

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'73 Sedan (I'll get to it)
'76 Wagon driver
'80 hatch(Restoring to be my son's 1st car)~Callisto
'71 half hatch (bucket list Pinto)~Ghost
'72 sedan 5.0/T5~Lemon Squeeze

Offline Reeves1

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Re: Fuel Tank repair or replacement questions - 1972 Pinto restoration
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2014, 12:30:23 PM »

$89.00 ??!! I'll take 3!!

Actually 10% less than that for you due to the exchange right now.