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Fuel Tanks Aluminum, Steel, ABS Plastic

Rip VW

Active Member
Ok what is the common material people choose for their fuel tanks. I see people ripping out their fuel cell tanks and replacing with aluminum and steel tanks. What is so bad about an ABS fuel cell? Also, why not steel? I have bought 2 fuel tanks for the T one that is a RCI Abs and the other was an ABS tank for a 33 ford that is also ABS. I have heard people saying a fuel cell is a bad idea. I figured the ABS Cell would be the perfect candidate for the Coupe project. Now it looks like I am going to have to find a smaller tank for my limited space in the trunk of the T. My trunk has shrunk due to the rear kick up in my frame and the curved body sub frame that had to happen to use the 32 frame my T is setting on.

Next question is who makes a good reasonably priced tank I might be able to use in the coupe?
Look at the top of the page, he has is logo there... RPM Give him your dimensions...
I use Alunumn only so I don't have any Rust build up.........I have a Buddy that builds them for me.........
Nothing wrong with ABS if its not visible. Its probably the safest common material in use right now.
That's what the car manufacturers are using.
Steel rusts. It can be used but ABS is better for the price.
Aluminum is fine but more expensive, and not as tough in a wreck. Poor quality welds could be a concern too when exposed to prolonged vibration.

I've actually done a fair amount of fuel tank shopping this year...Speedway has tons of them, but another good source is the marine supply outlets. Boats use different sizes and shapes so they might have something that fits your available space better.

Another solid option is always a tank from another vehicle. That makes it easy to find compatible pumps and plumbing.
Well, I been studying the available tanks Looked at so many I am cross-eyed. I did a lot of measuring in the trunk of the Coupe and finally determined that a 30" by 12" by 9" will fit nicely and it will be possible to remove and install through the trunk opening. I saw some bigger tanks and almost decided to get one of them but remembered I have to install the tank through the trunk opening and I better make sure it fits. So, I tried to find a poly tank with those dimensions but was unsuccessful. Well, let me clarify that I found some poly tanks that fit that dimension, but we are talking $500.00 up. I have found an all-aluminum tank with the correct dimensions I need, and it is 0.100 thick aluminum, and it seems to fit the bill so after a bit more design thoughts I will pull the trigger on that tank.
That brings me to several questions.
What size of fuel line are you running?
what type of fuel line are you running is it bare or braided outside? is it Fuel injection line?
Are you running flexible line from the tank to the front or is it a mix of hard line and flex?
Are there any off the shelf fuel filters with a 3/8 barb inlet and outlet?
Ah many other thoughts on this but these are some questions that came to mind as I am setting here So get your ideas out and let me know what your thoughts are on this.
How much HP will you be making with your engine ?
I would use a 3/8" steel line for the most part and then flex where needed. If you are using an electric pump, then run flex from the tank to the electric pump. If you don't, the tank will be amplify the vibration of the pump and be very noisy.

For fuel line I've been using the Summit braided line, but then you are talking about making up your own AN lines and this can get expensive. But I suppose you could use barb fittings until you get to the engine and then move the AN, this would save money.

3/8 Fuel Filter with barb fittings:

Are you going to use a mechanical or electric pump ?
If electric will it be a dead head (no external pressure regulator) pump or a return style (with external pressure regulator) pump ?
Thanks, Indycars, Good ideas and recommendations. here is where I am now with basic ideas. The jury is out on deadhead regulator vs Bypass regulator. I am running a pair of Edelbrock carbs and as it is known Edelbrock carbs are sensitive to fuel pressure and likes right about 5.5 psi maximum. a deadhead regulator always has a sudden change of pressure momentarily when suddenly called on for more fuel. A bypass regulator may do a better job of keeping the pressure more consistent and cooler and will be plumbed so if I ever want to go F.I. all the plumbing is in place. I am leaning toward this bypass method. Any ideas on Bypass Regulators? While I am thinking about it any thoughts or opinions on fuel pumps? I can see the price of pumps run from affordable to Nasa space rocket fuel pumps costing in the thousands...I got to continue to eat here.

So the basic plan is 3/8 flex from tank to frame rail where there will be a fuel filter then the electric pump. from the pump to the front of the frame next to the engine and a flex to the engine and probably hard lines on the engine. I still need to decide on a pump and a regulator. Open for suggestions!
Yes the return style regulator should provide a more stable pressure over the deadhead style. The 3/8" fuel line is good up to about 500 HP, but after that you would need 1/2" lines.

Below is what I did planning for my fuel system. It's an Excel file and the prices have really changed since I built mine. But if you have access to Excel or you want to install "Open Office" that is free and can open Microsoft files. Feel free to edit the file and make it your own. There are 3 different systems at 3 different price points. Those blue squiggly lines are links that still work, they are just very tiny text since you don't need to read them. The Holley Blue pump does have it's downside if you do some searching, so if you can afford it, go better. If not, remove it every couple of winters and lube the shaft. Mine did finally lock up on mine, so that's what I'm doing now.

Apache OpenOffice - Official Site - The Free and Open Productivity Suite

You will want to put that inline filter after the fuel pump if it's electric. To put a filter before the pump it should be a 100 micron rated so the restriction to fuel flow will be very low. The Wix inline filter is rated at 20 micron. I didn't use the Aeromotive 100 micron filter before the pump, I simply just did NOT have the room. Mount the pump below the fuel level in the tank.

The Mallory regulator in the Excel file is not longer available. I liked it because it had -8AN, O-Ring inlet/outlets and the fittings were included. The newer Mallory is 3/8" NPT and no fittings. Be aware there is no gauge port.

Below is a diagram of my system except I didn't use the pre-filter.

For the return line I didn't have many options since my car was already built. I decided to use some MagDaddys. These do not use refrigerator magnets, these are Neodymium magnets. Just throwing this out there, you will have more options since this is a new car.

I used a Adel clamp and a 1/4"-20 bolt to hold the fuel line.


Just some filter info .....



  • Fuel System Pricing.xlsx
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That’s a good regulator. I have one on my iroc only it’s branded differently. Anyways been on it since early 2000.
Wow excellent info, I like it. I think I will copy your design. It looks like a good simple design. I hadn't thought of a prefilter restriction to the pump but that is something to note. That Wix 33033 filter had caught my attention so I will keep it on the output. I am ready to pull the trigger on the tank and get it here so I can complete the mounts for it. The rest of the stuff will be purchased as needed during the rest of the build. I can see 2 big costs after the tank and that is the pump and regulator.

One more question is where do you locate the regulator? up front near the engine or in the rear near the fuel pump. I can see advantages to both locations, and I can see a few disadvantages to. Well off to spend another hunk of mad money...
One more question is where do you locate the regulator? up front near the engine or in the rear near the fuel pump.
As close to the carburetor as possible. It would be like trying to measure battery voltage across the headlights if the regulator was in the back.

The other question you will eventually ask yourself when you get around to actually installing the system is ...... should the regulator go before or after the carburetor. It's best to plumb it after the carburetor, but it will work either place. This is not a race car, so don't be afraid to plumb it before if that works best in your situation.

For the complete documentation on my system, use the link below.

Component Selection & Design for 500 HP Fuel System

NOTE: Some people don't like aluminum fuel line, but it's so easy to work with. So do your homework with respect to this and decide for yourself. It's in my Excel file and I used it the beginning, but it's all stainless now or Summit braided line SS inner liner.



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Ok I have decided on a Regulator and possibly a fuel pump. I settled on a Holley 12-803BP. A nice compact return type regulator. Like they said the Mallory is not available anymore and this one looks to meet specs.

On the pump side I am looking at a Holley Red fuel pump. I did a lot of reading and read a lot of reviews and I am hoping the pump is improved over the Red pump of 5 or so years ago. The one downside is that people say it is noisy as hell. I looked at the blue, but it is a little overkill for my system! If anyone else has a suggestion on a pump speak now before I pull the trigger on this one...

Now as for the hard line along the frame rail I am still looking into that. I thought about aluminum but here in a coastal environment I am worried about external corrosion with aluminum and also internal corrosion from alcohol laced gasoline. Steel lend itself to rust and corrosion and also a dissimilar metal as all the rest of the system is aluminum. I looked into NICop but it is so expensive, and they seem to sell the stuff in long lengths only. So I am open for suggestions on the line.

All in all, I have made good progress on this design and layout and looking forward to getting all the stuff together and making more progress!
There are some who trash the Holley Red pump, but I have used one for my build and it's been on the road for 6 years with no problems. The noise problem can be mitigated by using rubber "cushion" type mounts. ;)
On the pump side I am looking at a Holley Red fuel pump.
The Holley Red pump is a dead head type of pump. If you look at the specs, the max pressure is 7psi. That's at the pump, with the pressure drop you get about 4-5 psi at the carb.

You can get the Holley Blue pump and regulator combo for $200. Bought separately the would cost $190 (pump) + $109 (Regulator) = $299. This is even cheaper than the Holley Red pump and regulator.

For the hard line you can do what I did and go with Stainless. It's not that much at Amazon, it's only $17 for 72 inches of .....
Stainless Steel 316L Seamless Round Tubing, 3/8" OD, 0.305" ID.

Stainless is harder to bend and flare, so it does take some good tools in this area.

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