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Old 05-11-2017, 11:41 PM   #1
marc silva
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Default Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

I have a problem.

My steering column clamp that is riveted to the gas tank has started to seep fuel. Any opinions,ideas or methods on how to fix it? I don't really want to weld it to the tank and I don't want to use any gas tank seal in case that fails and I do have to weld it to the tank.I have a few ideas but I need some experienced
opinions.

Thanks for the advice, Marc
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:58 PM   #2
RawhideKid
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Do yourself a favor and fix it right by removing the and and solder it up properly and install a late '31 column support.

Anything short of this will backfire on you.

Someone has the moniker of "You never have time to do it right, but always have time to do it over", heed these words.

Last edited by RawhideKid; 05-11-2017 at 11:58 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:33 AM   #3
marc silva
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Thanks. I agree doing things right is the only way to go no matter what it is. I only want to do it once.

I have read the past threads on this problem fix. I didn't realize the bracket was soldered after it was riveted to the tank. I have a large electric soldering iron that I have used for working with heavy thickness material in the past. I will carefully take my tank off and turn it upside down and re-solder it. When I get in my car I purposely do not pull on the steering wheel to get in. I think that it has started to leak because of all the vibration it has been exposed to for all these years and this is just the time it decided to fail.
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

all of those tanks with out the 31 bracket will leak because ever one pulls on the steering colum getting in, fix the problem right, braze or solder bracket to tank, and as rawhidekid said, fix it right and use the 31 bracket, think about it, there is ten gallons of gas right above your feet and inside the cab with you
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:30 AM   #5
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

When I got my car there was a stain around the support, I resoldered it over 40 years ago, still dry
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

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Funny, I never have pulled on the steering wheel when I get in ??

Are all you guys old and fat and can't move?
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

When we restored our 1929 Sport Coupe 40 years ago, we sloshed the gas tank. No problems since. Plus the whole tank is now sealed. Rust, scale, no problem.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Quote:
Originally Posted by pooch View Post
Funny, I never have pulled on the steering wheel when I get in ??

Are all you guys old and fat and can't move?
No, it was the old and fat previous owners, present owners are all fit and trim.


John
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:37 AM   #9
George Miller
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

The support starts leaking from many years of frame flex, from driving on the bad dirt roads. The frame on the A flexes a lot. The support takes a lot of abuse.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:40 AM   #10
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Quote:
Originally Posted by marc silva View Post
Thanks. I agree doing things right is the only way to go no matter what it is. I only want to do it once.

I have read the past threads on this problem fix. I didn't realize the bracket was soldered after it was riveted to the tank. I have a large electric soldering iron that I have used for working with heavy thickness material in the past. I will carefully take my tank off and turn it upside down and re-solder it. When I get in my car I purposely do not pull on the steering wheel to get in. I think that it has started to leak because of all the vibration it has been exposed to for all these years and this is just the time it decided to fail.
Marc, my experience has been that when there is a leak there, you will find the rivet holes have stress cracks radiating from the hole circle. The vibrations are what caused the solder to release. It is my opinion that the only way to keep it from leaking is to weld-up the rivet holes and re-drill them so you have a solid mount for the steering column. Installing a late 31 steering mount really isn't Restoring, -but really is Modifying.
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

I explored this issue at length, and for whatever reason, I could not even determine the proper alloy to use when resoldering. I agonized over this for some time. I had a very minor seep, that did not even drip. Mine is a driver, and since the problem was so minor, and the tank was out, I decided to go with the JB weld solution. I cleaned the area around the mount well down to bare metal. The mount was very solid with no movement. I roughed the metal a bit and applied the JB around the entire mount. I applied enough to allow for nicely shapeing the area after it set well. The area looks very good, and has shown no problem for a year now. I did install the '31 column support at the same time, so there is no stress on the area.

Now I understand this may not be the ideal way to have addressed the problem. As in many things in life it is a risk vs reward world in decision making. I fully respect the cut the tank open and repair solution, but at my age now, I accept it is not a perfect world, and I can live with less than perfection. Your expectations must dictate the solution you use. Many many folks have found the patch solution worked well for them. If I were a high point kind of guy, I would send it to Brent for the best possible solution. In my case the risk of failure was very small and is within my budget constraints.
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Someone repaired my column leak similar to what Russ just posted, but it looks like they used a large soldering iron and soldered all around the bracket, then used the 31 mount. This is on a 29 Tudor. I'll clean up the thick solder and put things back to the original design when I restore the car.
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

I pulled my tank, TIG welded the rivet holes, had a radiator shop coat the inside, and used the '31 style column bracket in place of the tank mount. Re-painted and re-installed over two years now, no issues. Removing the tank, however, was a challenge. The '29 Cabriolet's tank is installed under the cowl, not as a part of, as most other body styles. It required removal of the fire wall and everything on it as well as many interior parts, cowl lamps and mounting brackets.
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:20 PM   #14
Neil Mylar LakewoodCA
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Weren't you guys concerned about gas fumes when sodering?
I recently removed my 29 tudor tank, had it steamed cleaned to remove the gas fumes and then had it sodered.
The biggest challenge was getting the painted cowl welting lined up during the reinstallation.

Last edited by Neil Mylar LakewoodCA; 05-12-2017 at 02:26 PM. Reason: Spell check
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Yeah, I doubt I would solder a tank full of fumes.

One small spark and........

No need to spend money at a radiator shop or steam cleaning.

Just fill it full of water and upend it with the leak at top,

This excludes any air space inside.

I once had a triumph bonneville tank brought to me to repair.

It was unrecognisible as a tank, almost like after it was blown open it was run over by a truck, it was almost flat .

I would not have liked being the guy with his head over it when he went to it with an oxy torch.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:05 PM   #16
marc silva
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Thank you all for your input! I really appreciate it. Since my car is un restored and the crust around the tank welting has patina and I don't want to disturb that if at all possible I am going to try and re solder it in the car. Here's my plan....

1- I will drain the tank and dry it out completely with my air hose and since its been hot here I will let it sit in the sun for a few days to evaporate real good.
2- I will remove the column (I have to do a minor repair to it anyway) then clean
around bracket right above the horseshoe (the wet area) and anywhere it looks like it needs it with a small wire wheel keeping the disturbance to a minimum. (not much seep but enough to smell like gas)
3- I have a commercial heat gun so I will pre-heat the bracket since it is thicker material and its not an open flame. I may pump in car exhaust just to be safe. Depends on the smell of the dry tank. This is not the first fuel tank I have soldered but the first that I didn't want to mess up the paint.
4- I have a heavy duty electric soldering iron that I use for sheet metal soldering so while the bracket is already hot I am thinking that I will be able to use the iron along with flux and solder and I hope it flows like I think it will without disturbing too much of the fuel tank finish and patina.

I feel pretty confident that I can make it work. I just need to take my time. If it turns out not to behave the way I would like it to, I will be very careful and yank it out and turn it upside down and do it on the bench.

There are a few more details of course that I didn't mention but this is the basic idea. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

Post a video, you know, for educational purposes and maybe for an insurance claim... :-)

What type of solder would be used for this? Perhaps put some dry ice in the tank to displace any fumes, and oxygen?
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

My answer to those concerned about a tank exploding while they are soldering it is firstly, soldering won't get hot enough to cause ignition and secondly, from school science classes when I was about 14 years old, combustion needs 3 things to happen ALL AT ONCE. They are the presence of fuel, oxygen and a source of ignition. (You'd have the ignition temperatures if you were welding.) If any one of those things is missing, combustion - read explosion, can't happen. The easiest one to eliminate is oxygen and the easiest way to do that in this scenario is to have an engine running nearby and run a hose from its exhaust into the tank. With the motor running, the tank is full of exhaust fumes, which we know are devoid of oxygen. Run the motor for a few minutes before starting to weld and don't breathe the exhaust.
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:03 PM   #19
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

There is no such thing as a dry tank! Even a tank that has not had gas in it for many years can blow up.
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: Seeping fuel tank at the column mount

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Originally Posted by redmodelt View Post
there is no such thing as a dry tank! Even a tank that has not had gas in it for many years can blow up.
x2!
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