How to replace the gas tank, the easy way with pics!

Discussion in 'DIY - Do It Yourself Forum' started by Connie, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member

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    Since I have had to do this twice in the past 2 weeks, and since it's a slow day at work today, I figured it would be a great time to do a step-by-step on how to replace the gas tank.

    I have 4 6th gen Accords at the moment, and all 4 of them had developed a fuel leak in the tank at the front seam of the tank, due to rust. Thanks, Ontario!

    The first time I did this, I followed a Haynes manual, which was a bad idea. There are several things it says to do that are completely unnecessary, and difficult due to rust. Especially on salt belt cars. You don't need to remove the sway bar or mess with the rusty fittings under the car.

    I will try and walk you through step-by-step as I get this tank replaced in my black 2000 V6 coupe.


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    Before you lift the car, take the carpet out of the trunk, remove the fuel pump access panel, and disconnect the electrical connector. Then crank the car for 30 seconds or so to relieve the fuel pressure, and disconnect both fuel lines from the fuel pump through the same access panel in the trunk. The manual states to disconnect the fuel lines underneath the car in front of the gas tank, but these will be rusty, making that difficult. The plastic lines run above the tank and are held in place with plastic clips. Because you are disconnecting the lines at the fuel pump, you will need to be careful when lowering the sub-frame. As soon as you can get your hands in there, pull the lines out of the clips and remove the evap lines as well.



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    Get the car off the ground, get the back wheels off, and drain the gas. Lucky me picked this car up for $800 with the tank over half full, so it took a while. Probably don't smoke while the gas is draining. I just picked a soft looking spot on the tank, and hammered a Philips screwdriver through it. I filtered the gas through a few rags and put it in my white 2002 Accord. Waste not, want not!


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    You are going to need to remove the exhaust to give you room to remove the rear sub-frame from the car. You have a few options here. If the flange behind the catalytic converter doesn't look hopelessly rusted, you can disconnect the exhaust here. Salt belt cars will never come apart here, so that won't be an option for many. The second-best option is to remove the downpipes from the manifold. The nuts on mine were very corroded, so that wasn't something I wanted to mess with either. Last resort is just to cut it somewhere and get it out that way. I used a sawzall. Make the cut somewhere straight and with reasonable access underneath the car; it will make your life easier when you are putting everything back together and you need to put on a sleeve and clamp it over your cut. Unless you have a welder, in which case you can just weld it back together afterwards. You can see where I cut mine in the photo above.



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    You need to disconnect the parking brake cables, and get the rear calipers tied up out of your way. I just hung the calipers to the rear springs with some mechanics wire. Removing the emergency brake cables can be tricky; I've found it easiest not to mess with the clip and holder (which is corroded and therefore difficult to remove), and just to unbolt the bracket that holds it to the caliper. It's easier to put back together this way too. The only suspension component you need to remove is the bolts that hold the rear struts to the suspension. Do that. Also remove the black plastic cover in the driver's side wheel well and disconnect the fill and evap lines that go from the filler door to the tank. The clamps will be rusty and break, so have some hose clamps ready for reinstallation. Also disconnect the ABS sensors on both sides of the car.


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    All the bolts you need to take out apart from the large sub-frame bolts and brackets are pictured here. The only thing still holding the sub-frame into the car at this point should be the sub-frame to body bolts. Apparently on I4 cars there are only 4, but I only have V6 cars, so I can't confirm that. There are 8 12mm hex size bolts that hold on the brackets and 4 17mm hex size bolts that go through the sub-frame into the body. Remove all of the small bolts and 2 of the 4 large bolts (opposite corners). Leave the remaining 2 large bolts in there and get a jack to support the sub-frame on the cross member underneath the tank. Then remove the last 2 bolts.


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    Now you can start lowering the sub-frame from the car. Wiggle it as you lower it, because it tends to hang up on the front body to sub-frame bushings and come down crooked if you don't. You will also need to pry the shocks out of the knuckle as it comes down. REMEMBER TO GO SLOW and as soon as you can reach, disconnect the remaining hoses from the evap system and get all of the hoses out of the plastic clips before dropping it right down.


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    The reason you disconnect the lines at the pump is pictured here. These are the fuel lines the manual says to disconnect to remove the sub-frame. They will be fine for a few years if nobody touches them, but messing around trying to unhook them here is asking for trouble as well as potentially having to replace the hard lines as well....this style of connector is nice on a good line, but a freaking nightmare on a rusty line.



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    Now that the sub-frame is out of the car, there is one more problem. The fuel tank strap bolts WILL fight you. There are 4 bolts and you need to remove at least one on each strap. There is a captive nut inside the sub-frame that they are threaded into that is a corrosion magnet. The bolt is much longer than the captive nut's threads, so the exposed threads get bathed in salt and water over time. It is very easy to break the captive nut off. If that happens you will need to cut the head off to remove the bolt and either tap the sub-frame for the next size up or drill a hole through the sub-frame and install a nut and a bolt. I only got one out cleanly, so I just threaded the sub-frame to accept the next size up for the one I broke. You can see the rust on the tank in these photos. Every tank I have ever taken from these cars has rust in exactly the same places.



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    Once the straps are off, the tank can be simply pulled out of the sub-frame. The next step is to get the fuel pump and evap thingy swapped into the new tank and put everything back together.



    I picked up a new tank last night and got the sub-frame ready to go back in the car. I'll hopefully finish this off tonight and get some pics of it going back together. It's really not too bad of a job, even for one person.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
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  2. Blazinqwickly

    Blazinqwickly Well-Known Member

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    Good lord, P.B. blaster is probably one of your best friends helping you fight threw that rust, congrats on getting the tank finally dropped.

    I could not agree more with those lines being a rusty nightmare if you disconnected them, I would not touch them either until money and time are set aside to replace them.

    You definitely had your hands full with tearing that apart, I probably would have had a few choice words with a attitude in one hand and breaker bar in the other hand :henry: .

    Keep up the good work, I love when people chose to fix cars other then just going out and buying another after it has been run into the ground.
    I really wish our society would get back to those values and realize how much we actually benefit from not being a "Throw away society".
     
  3. BlkCurrantKord

    BlkCurrantKord Super Moderator

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    Probably the one thing I hate the most about the design of these cars is the tank placement. It's just a gathering ground for dirty, moisture, and salt in our region.
     
  4. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member

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    Compared to Connie, the white one with 466k on it I did 2 weeks ago, this was a walk in the park corrosion wise. I actually got those rusty connectors apart on Connie without making the lines leak, but it took a whole can of penetrant and about 5 hours with dentist picks to pick enough rust out of the connectors to allow them to be unclipped.

    With disconnecting at the fuel pump and leaving the sway bar in, I had the sub-frame out in less than 2 hours.

    I completely agree with you on your last point though. Our throwaway society is killing the planet. I like to feel like I am helping a little by keeping these old cars working as dailies. One less new car that needs to be produced to serve the same purpose that the old one can do just fine. And it feels good to know you did all the work yourself every time you drive it.
     
  5. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member

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    You're right. It's not that hard to replace, but ALL 4 of my 6Gs had rusted out tanks in the exact same spot this spring. I suppose the cars were never designed to last more than 10 years, so it's annoying but hard to complain. 17 years is longer than the lives of most cars.
     
  6. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member

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    Here is the sub-frame ready to go back into the car. I sprayed some paint on it to try and slow down future rusting; maybe it'll help. I also cleaned up and greased the strut mounting flanges on the knuckle as well as the shocks themselves. This makes lining the shocks up with the knuckles a lot easier. I applied grease to the body to sub-frame bushings as well. Few minutes of prep before jamming it back in saves a lot of fighting with the shocks.



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    As you can see, lots of room to reconnect everything while lifting the sub-frame back in. The fuel lines are supposed to go under the evap hose; they are on top in this pic. I noticed right after I took this picture and put them the right way before lifting any further.



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    After hooking all of the hoses back up, keep lifting until the strut bolts can be reinstalled.



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    After the strut bolts are back in and tight, lift until you can reinstall the large body-to-frame bolts through the brackets. Once these are in, get the jack out of the way and put the 8 smaller bracket bolts back in and tighten everything up.

    That's as far as I got last night, only had an hour or so to mess with it, but the worst is over. Should be able to finish up in another hour or two this evening when I get home.



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    Here's how it sits at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  7. Blazinqwickly

    Blazinqwickly Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the progress and getting that hard part over with, not just functional but new parts always breath so much life into a build/restore.
     
  8. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.
    It's going easier than expected for once, which is nice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  9. dawg316

    dawg316 Well-Known Member

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    man you made that look easy
     
  10. Rusty Accord

    Rusty Accord Well-Known Member

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    WOW, you sure made that look easy. I can't wait until my shoulder heals up so I can get this done myself. Thanks for the write up and pics, as they're a big help. I like the tips about taking the lines off at the pump, versus the rusty frame, and not removing the sway bar. Unfortunately for me, I've got drum brakes on the rear of my sedan, so that means I'll probably have to try and not snap the brake lines when I seperate them as I can't just pull and hang the calipers. I'll have to pull the drums and figure out how to get the cables unattached from the backing plates, but other than those couple of things it should be a similar job. I'll let you know what I run into, and if I remember to I'll post some pics of the difference between the V6 sub and the I4 subframes (disc versus drum too).
    Thanks again for doing the DIY for the tank swap.:favorites13: Sorry to hear you had to do it so many times.
     

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