This evening after work I finally decided to tackle the gas tank problem.
When I bought the Jeep I was told it had a leak at the gas tank and the seller couldn’t tell me where. He had cranked the engine and we looked at the tank and right beside the exhaust there was what appeared to be a steady drip of what smelled like fuel. I decided at that point to just pull it on the trailer and worry about it when I got home as I knew I’d be stripping most of the Jeep apart over the coming weeks and a leak at the tank didn’t worry me much.
Let’s get started…
The gas tank skid plate has 7 bolts in it with 4 being easily accessible just under the rear cross member and the other three under the Jeep on the other side of the tank. I was able to get all 7 bolts out without incident which surprised me immensely. You see, this jeep has a good deal of rust all over it. I’m already planning to replace most of the body panels and all the floors if I can’t find a decent replacement tub. I’ve already got new front fenders and a new hood if that gives you any indication of the condition. That being said, when I sent to remove the skid plate bolts I was expecting a fight, or at least a struggle. Let me tell you this is one time where being wrong was a really good thing.
Within minutes I had all the nuts off and the tank ready to lower. I put my floor jack and a couple of jack stands under it to help with maneuvering it since I was working by myself. The tank was almost empty so it turned out to be pretty simple.
As I dropped the tank I realized I hadn’t removed the filler neck so as I went to do that I noticed something strange. Just beside the tank on the far side is where the exhaust pipe runs to the rear of the vehicle. About 6 inches back from the end of the exhaust pipe I notice a hole that would be blowing exhaust directly against the tank. As I sat in wonder I began to remember that where I saw this steady drip of fluid was in that exact spot. It wasn’t under the tank and I didn’t see any wet signs on the tank when it was dripping… and after a few more minutes of silent contemplation I resolved that my gas leak was not a gas leak. It was an exhaust leak that is a minor problem and easily fixed. The fluid that was dripping was probably water since the engine had not been run very much in recent days and would make sense it would be blowing out condensation. I hooked everything back up and put a few gallons of gas in the tank and ran it for a while. There was moisture still blown onto the ground behind the exhaust but it most definitely was not fuel directly from the tank.
Woohoo. A problem that turned out to not be the problem I thought it was. I’ll call that a success.