As some of you know, I "play in the dirt" with my zed and, in line with that need for some of the charity rallies I compete in, I have been prepping for the next one in August. This is www.trek4kidz.com and will cover about 3500kms over the week, with about 85% on dirt, tracks etc. Some details of my entry here www.car240.com.au
While past event day to day distances have been adequately covered with 2 x 10ltr jerry cans on the roof racks along with the spare tyres, this next event has a first day run of nearly 460km with no fuel stops at all, so what I can carry on board is it.
Looking at possible options, I was contemplating fuel cells, adapting a long range fuel tank from something like a statesman or similar or seeing what could be done with a zed tank.
So, me being a little bit more on the DIY approach, i went down the path of an adapted zed tank. While doing this, I also wanted to alleviate the breather pipe issue that was causing air locks and the resultant inability to get a full tank of fuel.
The idea was to source a second fuel tank, make some mods, remove the wheel well and remount the tank. Benefits of using the zed tank was that the fuel filler neck remained as is, fuel sender remained as is and, with any luck, the tank mountings would remain pretty close to "as is".
Like most good plans, there were a few "oh dear" re think moments but ultimately, it all worked out.
Step 2, got the tank cleaned and modified by expanding the main part of the tank that normally sits under the wheel well. In doing this, I had the fellow who did the mods look at extra baffles and a few mods to inlet and breather pipes. The new shape of the tank has been built over the original skin with extra holes in the old top of the original tank to also add some baffling. The breather pipe was remade to be a short sleeve and a (nearly right angle) joiner pipe to connect directly from within the boot through the same area where the rubber breather hose would normally go. The tank was checked with fuel for leaks, rotated and left on various sides to check if any issues. None found at all.
Step 5 With the wheel well gone, the support for one of the tank straps is also removed, so I needed to fabricate something that would address that as well. So, some angle, a bit of work with drill, file, grinder to create a key hole mounting of the inboard strap mounting was created. A flat strap on the floor of the boot provided the support bar to mount this key hole strap to. (not the most elegant but sufficient for now, removable at a later stage while strong enough to withstand the extra load of the larger tank.
Step 6. Recognizing that the tank straps were potentially too short (the tank is a 260 tank and, compared to the 240 unit - it is deeper below the side joining sill) I had to decide to either make new straps altogether or come up with a way to mount the existing straps. The passenger side strap was also definitely too short now with the different mounting point due to the modifications needed sans wheel well. So, after a bit of head scratching (as well as head bumping on various suspension areas - with little hair in the way to cushion the noggin) I made an extension of 20mm square tube with metric nuts welded in each end to suit the existing hanger bolts and a new high tensile bolt up from the fuel strap.
Step 7. After wrestling with the tank under the car and positioning the new breather neck, I ended up making a flap opening in the boot floor close to where the old breather pipe came through, connecting my new right angle breather pipe connector with a short piece of fuel line and hose clamps and leading the new pipe to a direct connection to the fuel filler neck. No kinks, right angles etc. A rubber flap was made to isolate the breather neck pipe, seal off the floor and then secured with again the 6mm captive nuts.
I had about 20lt of fuel in in plastic fuel cans to put back in and then went to the local garage to fill up. Drove up to the premium unleaded and started pumping. When i got to $100 i stopped and through there goes the weekends drinking money.
My estimate of the tank capacity, based on the old tank standard capacity and what would be added in the volume of the new tank area, was approximately 90 to 100 litres. Based on the fuel i used from the cans and the from the bowser, I suspect it is closer to the 100 litre mark.
A few observations:
Working single handed to get a tank in, positioned, located, tested, out again, then back and so on, is not the most friendly thing to do
Likewise, using mounting bolts through floors where bolt head needs securing while doing up nut underneath requires a "creative" approach to tightening them up. Another set of hands is ideal (my wife did assist with a few) but a large magnet and ring spanner strategically placed can also work wonders
A heat gun on the fuel filler neck joiner makes the fitting of the tank neck way easier than wrestling with a stubborn, hard, 40 year old connection.
Wearing some sort/any sort of hat, beanie, anything, makes the difference between a nice smooth, nearly bald, head and one that looks like a hack golfer has taken divots out every 3cms across the scalp.
The zed has been in the garage and with the tank pretty full and sitting now for nearly a week and no visibility of leaks or issues.
I am looking at adding a further high quality fuel filter in the engine bay and likely replacing the fuel sender unit ( i had checked the guauge by earthing the circuit and showed that it worked fine however I should have checked the sender unit as well.)
I will also likely add an extra "emergency strap" as a secondary load support, working on the "just in case" basis.
I will be doing some trial distance runs before we go in August but I think the distance on day one should now be a little easier to accomplish, even if running hard.
In regard to the event, we are supporting the Starlight Foundation as the primary charity and, with the way the event is run, 100% of all donations/sponsorship goes to them, which we found to a great incentive to get involved (The last couple of rallies we did with Camp Quality, lost a bit with paid staff etc, while Trek is all volunteers)
I will be adding a tracking page to www.car240.com.au and will use GPS tracking from the car to provide the route following during the progress of the rally.