Ford Capri 2.8 Fuel Tank Replacement in Aluminium

Its pretty typical with the age of many Capri`s still either on the road or in garages being repaired or restored, that their steel fuel tank is showing signs of corrosion and maybe even perforation.

In this instance  we had been asked to replicate a Ford Capri 2.8 injection fuel tank as the old steel one was too badly corroded.

Fuel tanks were typically pressed or stamped out of sheet metal and flange welded in the days of Ford Capri manufacture. Many fuel tanks were simply “hung” from the chassis or floor pan and suffered with corrosion due to the rear wheels kicking up water, road dirt and the likes onto the mounted fuel tank. Many tanks now days are manufactured from plastics and hence do not suffer with corrosion like the Steel Capri tanks.

Obviously in some instances repair is possible. This usually means stripping the tank, removing any risk of explosion by means of emptying the fuel tank, pressure washing out and then purging and filling the tank with” inert” gas before cutting / patching / welding / repairing the tank.

Over the years I have seen many tanks repaired with “chemical metal”, which eventually still “seep” fuel, not ideal.

So if you are needing repair or replacement of your Ford Capri fuel tank, you know where to come.



Above – bottom pressings and ends tacked up, fuel swirl pot, pick up and return

Image showing top of tank ready for pressure testing

Completed tank with breather pipes fitted and filler flange taped off to stop dirt

getting into tank

Polished and cleaned up.

Any Capri experts will notice the fuel pump mounted on the wrong end of the tank ! oops

Does help if I weld the bottom to the top section of the tank in the correct orientation.

In this instance I ended up cutting the top section off, remaking and re-welding / re-testing.

Wont be making that same mistake again !

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Formula Ford Fuel Tank Modification

I made this fuel tank in aluminium for the local Further Education College when they started a Motorsports course. One of the first cars they purchased for race and testing was a formula ford with 1600cc engine.

The race car itself had been stripped down and various improvements made to it to improve all aspects of the car by students and lecturers .

Original tank with new sender flange hole cut in

The fuel tank itself was originally made with fuel pickup  fuel filler neck and breather and foam filled, no facility had been required for a sender unit. Upon strip and rebuild it was decided this year that they wanted to upgrade the tank to include a fuel level sender.

Sender unit & machined flange

A new sender unit was sourced and a new alloy flange to mount the sender was machined and collected with the tank for mods and fitting.

Now with a tank that has been foam filled to prevent fuel slosh is not as easy to modify as a tank with baffles. Typically you can never get all of the foam out of the tank. As this foam has been soaked in fuel it is very difficult to prevent ignition of the fuel vapours when electric arc welding.


So to modify this tank I needed to mark and hole saw the new aperture for the new fuel sender mounting flange, upside down to any swarf falls out and not into the tank. I cannot just start welding – I had to fill the tank with an inert gas (argon) to remove all the oxygen in the tank.

Filling with argon gas

Argon – an “inert” gas

Argon gas is an inert gas (non-reactive) and is also heavier than air. I f we completely fill the tank with argon gas – even if there is still tank foam and fuel vapours in it the fuel vapours will not explode. I would not recommend anyone try this at home as it can be dangerous and I have seen a tank “blow” and send the welder across the workshop (he was lucky not to be hurt) and the tank ended up ripped apart due to the explosion when the fuel vapours ignited.

Fuel tank foam clearly visible through new hole

 I could not remove all of the foam and hence filling the tank with argon. I prefer to completely empty the tank, wask it out / steam clean it inside and then fill with argon before welding new fittings to a used tank.

Having had experience of welding aluminium tanks that have been used I know that I can get away with filling foam filled ones with argon before attempting welding of new fittings etc.

tacked up sender flange

See above the sender flange in position tacked up and level in the tank, note also the argon gas is still being fed into the tank by the black hose. Please also note that the bottom hose stub (fuel take off stub) has been taped up to prevent heavier argon gas escaping from the bottom of the tank.

New Flange welded in position

New flange welded into position, once this has cooled down its ready for blanking off and pressure testing again just to make sure that there are no pinholes in the weld and potential leaks.

If it is leak free then we need to fit the sender and squash the foam blocks and push back into the tank through the filler neck.

Fit the sender 1st and then push foam back in thro filler neck


Hopefully the college will be happy – and now they can see how much fuel is in the car without using a stick.

Hope the students take care of it and plumb back in neatly :)


For all your Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts Manufacture and Welding / Repairs
Don`t forget to email or call us for all your custom made 1 off bespoke items.
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