Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dirty jobs that someone's gotta do

In preparation for starting up the rebuilt engine for the first time I thought I'd better have a look at the gas tank. The car's been sitting for six years, and tanks that sit for years are prone to rust, varnish deposits, gelled gas, and who knows what else. I drained the tank a few years back because it had developed a leak in the hose below the tank, and an empty tank invites rust. Out it came.

I think a little cleanup is in order.

The tank itself didn't look too bad on the outside -- surface rust, but nothing too frightening. Not knowing what to expect, I pulled the fuel gauge sender and prepared myself for the worst. And I found...

Nothing. I wasn't prepared for a clean tank interior. Amazing. The small spot of surface rust above is the worst of it, and it's nothing. I had a look around with a small gooseneck flashlight and a mirror. Remarkably clean. The outside, however, has two spots that are close to rusting through:

I think if I treat it now it'll be alright. Time to place a POR-15 order. And while I'm shopping I'll pick up a new tank filter. The old one disintegrated as I was taking it out.

The tank is stamped "64." A manufacturing date? Maybe the tank was replaced at some point.

One very odd thing I found is this warped sealing surface on the fuel gauge sender:

I can't believe that overtightening the mounting bolts could cause this much distortion. I wonder if it was caused by a tank venting problem? Or maybe someone used a match to see if they were out of gas?

The stain in the middle of the trunk lining was caused by the warped sender. Years of gas sloshing around repeatedly soaked the lining and permanently damaged it. The car always did smell a little gassy on the road. Good thing I was able to find a better liner. I'll take this opportunity to point out another 1962 1500 Ghia oddity: The spare tire access panel is color matched to the car. Beginning in 1963 it was black for all car colors. The same is true of the engine lid. '62 weirdness.

While in the vicinity I got rid of some bubbled paint in the area around the brake fluid reservoir. The old-style rubber reservoir stopper (another '62-only "feature") allowed a long-time leak that ruined the paint and led to rust. When I bought the car in 1994 I cleaned up the brake fluid and rust and threw some rust-inhibitive primer on the worst areas.

The primer was a miserable failure, but luckily the rust hasn't gotten much worse underneath it. Still, one of the uglier spots on the car.

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