After sorting out the end plate, tackling the filler neck was the next job and following a bit of re-shaping to the lower flange, it went on much more easily than I was expecting. As a precaution, I clamped a couple of pieces of aluminium to the underside of the gauge mounting because the filler neck was very close and I needed something to absorb the heat to stop the solder of the mounting melting again. Finally, the offside end plate went back on. I’d got the hang of the method by then – if it was a perfect joint, painting the tinning paste on both surfaces and melting them together was sufficient to make a sound joint. For a less than perfect mating, tinning each surface separately, then joining with solder was the way forward.
So that was my new trick and I’m obliged to Geo. W. Neale Ltd for supplying the soldering materials and, more importantly, for spending the time on the phone with me to make sure I was familiar with the process – half the battle was won before I started.
One complete fuel tank:
And then a quick jury-rig to make sure it fitted:
Add a couple of shiny bits:
And the first snag shows up. Because I’ve altered the position of the gauge mounting, the 2 fuel pipes from the tap clang into the bottom of the tank and now that the tank lacks a sump (which would have accommodated the length of the feed pipes) I need to think of a fix. The simplest solution would be to put a bit of flexible hose in both the reserve and main feed lines so that the tap flange can screw all the way into the mounting. I should have checked all this but it’s too late to change it now (and I’ve had enough of fuel tanks for the time being). I’ve looked on the internet for ethanol-proof fuel tube and it is available, fortunately.
I still had 3 jobs to do; wash the tank with caustic soda to neutralise the flux and all the other nasties (the surface corrosion took about 5 minutes to form) and then a quick coat of zinc chromate primer. The last job before painting (I would have liked to powder coat but you can do that only with lead-free solder) was to do the leak test – half a litre of diesel and standing the tank on each end for an hour did the trick – that was the most nerve-wracking part of the job really but I was fairly confident of success because the soldering went so well. As it turned out, there were 2 leaks; one from the base of the filler neck and the other from the underneath of the gauge flange – neither of which were that serious. It was a real relief that the ends and the main seam were sound.
Fuel tank straps are next on the agenda. These have special fittings on each end which originally would have been made up in the forge. I can’t do that so I’ll have to fabricate. Which reminds me; I haven’t heard from the laser-cutting people about my bulkhead brackets – maybe everything was in order?
That’d be a first!