Welding Work Saves Fuel Tank (Part Two)



After a saga of frustrating problems restoring our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome’s fuel tank, Andy successfully removed our 60-pound steel tank then cleaned, treated, and sealed the inside and cleaned, treated, painted the outside — though we would have to return to the outside, but I’ll shed more light on why in Part Three of this trilogy because Part Two deals with different next steps …

We were finally moving forward, which means focusing on welding.

For those in absolute terror at hearing the words “fuel” and “welding” side-by-side, I want to assure you Andy made certain there was zero combustion chance. He rinsed the tank so thoroughly he exhausted himself. Seriously. Not only did he rinse the tank with water and cleaner both inside and outside multiple times, but he also let the tank air out to ensure all liquid evaporated.

Hopefully, that eases your mind because it did our welder-friend and hero — Paul with RVA Mobile Welding Services arrived to waving hands from Andy and me, welcoming him back. He helped us by welding our roof supports and roof panels and, just like before, Paul had no hesitation to grab his welding equipment. His job: welding in two threaded bungs …

The first threaded bung was for the fuel-return line for electronic fuel injection (or EFI).

I’ll add EFI was a bit of a hopeful dream Andy seemed to carry with him — and I say this because we had opposing opinions on the matter. Without getting into too much EFI debate (because you can bet that post is on its way soon), Andy was sincerely ready to toss all money at this purchase for a handful of reasons, including making our antique RV more reliable and fuel efficient. On the other hand, I was staunchly against EFI because it comes with an expensive price tag and vehicles have run longer without it than with it. I say this to show that Andy’s decision to have this threaded bung welded in was essentially him keeping his fingers crossed that I would come around.

Back to the welding work though: After Paul expertly welded in one threaded bung, he moved to our second, which was for the drain plug.

The drain plug bung was needed because someone previously glued the drain plug in place so that when we tried to undo it (to drain the fuel before dropping the tank), the plug rounded off.

Strangely enough when Paul attempted to weld on this bung, the joins didn’t fuse — In fact, Paul would immediately burn through the unknown metal when he tried.

This made him investigate why …

Turning on his angle grinder, he noticed the middle area did not spark when the sanding disc went over it.

Steel always sparks so this meant we were left with a strange mix of steel then unknown metal (likely lead) then steel on our tank.

With the metal-mix preventing us from directly welding on the bung, the three of us decided to cut out the area entirely …

Continuing on, Paul smoothed the sharp metal edges …

and then cut a new portion of steel that would replace the part missing from our tank …

Tracing the shape of our mixed-metal circle with a super impressive torch, he burned out a replica for an exact fit …

The last step before welding was grinding down the rough edges on the replacement circle …

Finally, it was time to weld the replacement in place …

With a quick grind to smooth the welds, our hero’s fuel tank work was complete!

“It is true — Not all hero’s wear capes,” Andy said as we waved goodbye together to our friend Paul. “Some wear welding masks.”

I laughed then but only because this was true — Paul seemed to be an essential part of our team, carrying his badass welding equipment to save the day each time.

However, even with Paul’s heavy lifting, we were not quite done with our fuel tank restoration. We still needed to reseal the inside and repaint the outside before reinstalling our tank — and be warned now because that re-installation certainly did not go as planned, but that’s our next story.


Author: L

Hi there! I am the impulsive do-er, the jumper, the one tugging to move past comfort zones to embrace a life of sheer surprise. I am a writer -- a pursuer of stories -- because I believe in the destination over the journey. I am a chaser of sunrises and sunsets and cherisher of the moments between. I have an overwhelming curiosity, an insatiable desire travel, and an obsessive yearn to turn dreams into realities. For all of these reasons, the word that best summarizes who I am is "seeker" -- I am forever a seeker.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.