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Old 11-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New Fuel Tank Exige Install

So, I decided to put a new fuel tank into my 2007 Exige. There was absolutely nothing at all wrong with the stock 10 gallon tank. (Nothing except I can still recall the days when I drove a tiny P-car, the '76 912E, that had a 21 gallon tank would do better than 30mpg hwy. )

I'd had done some reading, much of it here at Lotus Talk, and learned about the possibility of fuel starvation in sustained left hand corners, and saw photos of what that could do to a superchared 2zz. I read about swirl pots and such fuel system additions. In the end, I chose to simply go with a larger capacity tank. One with good anti-surge protection built in. When I saw that many of the choices in this catagory weighed less than the stock tank, I was sold. (Even though such things are not cheap.)

Here is the tank I purchased: the aluminum 60L (15.85 gallon) tank offered by Elise-Shop. It looks to be as big as you can go without getting into the bag-tanks. (Which were also very interesting to read about. Great PDF with install instructions here: http://myelise.fr/entretien/entreten...reservoire.pdf )



So, with a garage full of metric tools from my 914 days, no real experince working on a Lotus, and my wife's iPad as a shop manual substitute, I dove in. I originally estimated it should take about 4 good hours to preform the swap. (And, at a qualified shop, it might.) My friends had warned me about the 'british car rule', where things always take 3 time longer than you expect... And the warning proved accurate. Working at a relaxed pace, it took about 12 hours over two days to complete.



Step one was raising the car up. I don't have a lift, but I do have two sets of the big plasic ramps, and a good floor jack, so that got my car off the ground.



Step two involved removing much of the interior. Pulling the seats out is not too bad (Although the passenger side is not much fun to put back in.) The most annoying part is the seat belt cross bar. Once I had the rear speaker enclosures out, I found there is enough room to get a 1/4" socket wrench in there, it just takes a long time to remove the bolts.





Once that was out, I pulled out and cleaned the rear plastic. I also took out the center console, but that turned out to be unnessecary. Then I had to unbolt the driver's side seat belt reel to get clear access to the fuel pump firewall cover.





Then I could disconnect the fuel line, and the sensor and power connectors. Some minor blood loss was experienced due to all the sharp aluminum edges, but that was expected.





The filler tube can be disconnected from the engine compartment, with just a minor amount of contorntionism and swearing.

Next, I had to remove most of the underside aerodynamics and covers. On my car, step one is to take of the CF side skirts. Then the diffuser and engine undertray. Last, the shear panel, which isn't hard, it just has an awful lot of bolts holding it in place.





After that, I disconnected the emergency brake and shifter cables. Both are easy to disconnect, but the shifter cables are hard to see under all the tubes and hoses in the engine compartment. The two big "C" clips I could reach from above once I'd removed the oil cacther pots, but the "R" pins were tough. I was able to move enough of the hoses out of the way to pull one from above, and the second was easier to pull from below the car reaching up.



Getting serious now- I used my floor lack to support the tank while I removed the tank brackets. Then used it to lower the tank to the floor. (It was, of course, full when I did this!) I could then slide it out from uner the car, spilling almost no gas!





Here are some comparison photos of the stock tank and the 60L tank.





I weighed them both to confirm the numbers I'd found online. On my (super accurate!) bathroom scale, dry, and without the pump assembly installed, the new tank was just over 12 lbs, and the original was more than 26 lbs. This seems like a pretty sneaky way to remove mass and gain capacity!

Here is what the room the tank occupies looks like:



Those hard closed cell foam spacers have to come out. That is where the larger tank gains it's volume.

I transfered the stock pump assembly into the new tank. I had no problems pulling it out of the old tank, and, as advertised, it dropped right into the new tank. The only real issue I found with the new tank is that the fill tube is larger diameter than the stock. This could be a benefit for those who also install a larger and faster fill assembly, but it does mean you have to make some sort of adapter to keep the original fill neck. So, I did that, at least for now.

Putting the new tank in was easier than taking the old one out. (Especially since it was empty!) You have to angle it to get it to 'go around the corner' in the frame, but that was not hard. Then I just did all of the above, in reverse!



I drove it around the neighborhood a bit after finishing, and it all looks good. I'm off to Buttonwillow this Friday to give it a proper running in. (As I drive really slowly on track- I'm a complete novice- If you see the burgundy stripes on white, go easy on me!)


I hope this article is useful for someone!

Last edited by Felgacarb; 12-01-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What did you end up doing to adapt the stock fuel neck to the larger tank fill tube?

Nice write up.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Now that's a DIY!

Good job!
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Interesting...so that tank completely solves the fuel starve issue? Not having to run a surge tank would be pretty nice
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how it stops fuel starvation on sweeping left handers though.....I looked on the website and the one internal tank picture showed a basic aluminum box.....

I didn't see any baffle around the fuel pump, but the pic was limited. I know they have foam in it.....(Which I hate as it breaks down eventually and clogs your fuel lines in all the instances I've seen)......and the pic was limited to the far end corner, so maybe they have a small box around the pump. Just having the foam will help with slosh, but I'm not convinced it alone will solve the starvation problem.

I'd like to know if they have internal baffles in the tank before buying and I'm not sure I'd want the foam frankly due to all the problems it eventually caused in other systems I've been involved with.

***EDIT*** From Elise-shop's website: "Internal collector assembly installed with Anti surge check valves" so....it sounds like I was wrong....it's got something besides just foam. I'd like some more detailed pics. For roughly $1K vs. $800 for the surge tank solutions....it would seem a win-win since you get more capacity, lower weight (though the extra fuel at ~8 lbs/gal negates that) and only slightly higher cost.

Sean

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Old 11-29-2012, 07:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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***EDIT*** From Elise-shop's website: "Internal collector assembly installed with Anti surge check valves" so....it sounds like I was wrong....it's got something besides just foam. I'd like some more detailed pics. For roughly $1K vs. $800 for the surge tank solutions....it would seem a win-win since you get more capacity, lower weight (though the extra fuel at ~8 lbs/gal negates that) and only slightly higher cost.

Sean
That was my thinking- I had not heard of the foam breaking down before, I'll have to watch for that. Do you know the average lifespan of the foam?

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What did you end up doing to adapt the stock fuel neck to the larger tank fill tube?
For the filler issue, I picked up some hose that was a large enough diameter to work with the new tank, and go over the existing filler hose. Then I cut the existing hose so that only an inch and a half or so were left, and put the original hose piece back onto the metal filler neck, then the new hose over that. I didn't get any good photos of that, though...
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That was my thinking- I had not heard of the foam breaking down before, I'll have to watch for that. Do you know the average lifespan of the foam?



For the filler issue, I picked up some hose that was a large enough diameter to work with the new tank, and go over the existing filler hose. Then I cut the existing hose so that only an inch and a half or so were left, and put the original hose piece back onto the metal filler neck, then the new hose over that. I didn't get any good photos of that, though...
Thanks for the explanation on the adapter for the filler. The one they sell as an addition is nice but it's another $300 for the neck.

As for average life span of the foam I've used/seen....with 87 octane (some guys were using AV gas, but I don't have direct experience with it)....they last a few years before they start to break down. Not sure if it's the same grade or type of foam in these tanks and I don't know what higher octane fuel would do to it.

HTH,
Sean
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Very nice write up. Theres a post around here that the newer stock tanks (2009+ I think?) don't break down, so replacing an older fuel tank with a new one may be a path to completely resolving the issue as well.

Hows your gas gauge read on that tank?
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Did you do anything about the roll-over valve? According to the Lotus service manual, your stock tank had an internal roll-over valve (evidenced by the external bulge on the top-center of the tank), but it appears that your new tank lacks that valve. Of course you might just choose to go without one (I think it may be a US/Canada-only requirement?).
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hows your gas gauge read on that tank?
I'll have to get back to you on that after tomorrow when I run it down and fill it up a couple of times... The website claims it should work as before...


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Did you do anything about the roll-over valve? According to the Lotus service manual, your stock tank had an internal roll-over valve
I don't know if the new tank has one as well, or not- the website does not say. Hmm...
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The website claims it should work as before..
That bad, huh?

Seriously, thanks for the great demo. I'd be very interested to hear more about how the tank deals (or not) with starvation in left-handlers.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Come up to Thunderhill; that should be a good test for left handers! Good write up; been very interested in either doing this or a FST install.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I did about 300 miles in the car today, 50 on the track. I ran it until the fuel light came on, and had no issues. (of course Buttonwillow doesn't have really big, high speed left turns, so I don't know how much this proves for the more serious drivers...)

Here's how the fuel gauge works now- it shows "full" for about the first five gallons, then drops very slowly to about half tank, and drops at the normal rate (for the stock tank) after that. So it still works OK, but is more non-linear than before.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:11 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Sorry to bump an old thread - I was just curious as to your install and whether or not you had any side effects such as fuel vapors into the cabin?

How is it after 12 months?

thanks!
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I've had this tank installed for 2 years and I will occasionally get a whif of fuel in the cabin after I fill it all the way up and then come to a hard stop with the windows down. Pretty sure it's vapors coming out of the vent in the engine bay.

Other than that, I absolutely love the tank. The larger capacity and aluminum construction is worth the price alone :P
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks - I suspect it'll be added to the list of parts I need fairly quickly

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I've had this tank installed for 2 years and I will occasionally get a whif of fuel in the cabin after I fill it all the way up and then come to a hard stop with the windows down. Pretty sure it's vapors coming out of the vent in the engine bay.

Other than that, I absolutely love the tank. The larger capacity and aluminum construction is worth the price alone :P
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:45 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I've had this tank installed for 2 years and I will occasionally get a whif of fuel in the cabin after I fill it all the way up and then come to a hard stop with the windows down. Pretty sure it's vapors coming out of the vent in the engine bay.

Other than that, I absolutely love the tank. The larger capacity and aluminum construction is worth the price alone :P

My experience thus far has been similar to Banes- I had a gas smell after fill-up for awhile- I tracked it down to a less-than-great seal on the vent line to the tank. Fixed that and the it went completely away. Until I installed my new filler neck, and had to mess with all the hose connections again...

I am loving the tank though- I take the car on weekend trips and stop for fuel no more often than I did in my 2.5 Boxster.

And I don't worry about pushing the car on the track with less than half a tank, at all.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:55 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 12-31-2013, 06:13 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply! Will keep that in mind.

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My experience thus far has been similar to Banes- I had a gas smell after fill-up for awhile- I tracked it down to a less-than-great seal on the vent line to the tank. Fixed that and the it went completely away. Until I installed my new filler neck, and had to mess with all the hose connections again...

I am loving the tank though- I take the car on weekend trips and stop for fuel no more often than I did in my 2.5 Boxster.

And I don't worry about pushing the car on the track with less than half a tank, at all.
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm curious...when you did all this work on replacing the tank did you notice if there were any areas in which stones from the road could enter.

I've had a "rolling sound" in the engine area of the car that started after about 3 years of ownership.

I've wondered if it might be a stone sitting somewhere around the gas tank.
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