Removing a Fuel Tank for Servicing
The procedure for removing a fuel tank varies depending on the vehicle make and year. Always follow the procedure in the vehicle manufacturer's service manual.
Wear safety glasses and do not use a drop light. Liquid falling on the hot glass can cause the bulb to explode. If it is accidentally dropped or has a bad switch or loose connections, it can cause a fire.
- Before removing the tank, remove the battery ground cable to avoid an accidental spark.
- Relieve the fuel system pressure, and drain the fuel tank.
- Gasoline weighs about 7 pounds per gallon. A full tank could easily weigh in excess of 100 pounds. Attempting to remove it while it is full could result in a dangerous gasoline spill or an injury. Remember, gasoline vapor is extremely flammable.
- Raise the vehicle on a hoist, or lift the vehicle with a floor jack and then lower the chassis onto jack stands.
- Use compressed air to blow dirt from the fuel line fittings and wiring connectors.
- Remove the fuel tank wiring harness connector from the body harness connector.
- Remove the ground wire retaining screw from the chassis if there is one.
- Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel tank. If these lines have quick-disconnect fittings, follow the manufacturer's recommended removal procedure in the service manual. Some quick-disconnect fittings are hand releasable, and others require the use of a special tool.
- Wipe the filler pipe and vent pipe hose connections with a shop towel, and then disconnect the hoses from the filler pipe and vent pipe to the fuel tank.
- Unfasten the filler from the tank. If it is a rigid one-piece tube, remove the screws around the outside of the filler neck near the filler cap. If it is a three-piece unit, remove the neoprene hoses after the clamp has been loosened.
Typical location of a fuel tank's filler tube. Courtesy of DaimlerChrysler Corporation.
Do not heat the bolts on the fuel tank straps in order to loosen them. The heat could ignite the fumes.
- Loosen the bolts holding the fuel tank straps to the vehicle until they are about two threads from the end.
Gas tanks should be filled with an inert gas, such as CO2, before any welding takes place. Even if a tank has been thoroughly flushed of gasoline, the tank may still contain flammable vapors. Attempting to weld such a tank may result in an explosion.