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1936 Buick gas tank


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Hi folks,

I have removed my 36 gas tank and found it in surprisingly good shape inside and outside. I see no visible crud/rust/etc., inside and the outside is rust free. Surprised to note 3 different solder places located on the "top" of all places. So, here are some questions:

On the bottom of the filler neck is some kind of foam sealer that keeps out the road grime from following up the neck into the body of the car. Mine has deteriorated badly. What is a good replacement?

Since the inside is in good shape would you still recommend to seal it. There are a number of sealers out there that are impervious to the ethanol gas. POR for one. The local NAPA dealer also has some. Suggestions?

How would you recommend it be painted?

The straps are another story. Try as I might the nuts would not come off with out breaking the threads. Do not believe that I have ever seen flat straps with the ends folded up round and then threaded. I believe I can grind the ends of the straps where the metal is folded some and grind a bolt to fit the contour and then weld it on. Suggestions?

The sending unit was working when I parked the car some 15 years ago. The screws show evidence of prior removal. What is recommended to do with the float. Seal it too? New material?

Thanks,

Tom

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I believe the foam sealer you speak of was originally a foam rubber "doughnut" that has deteriorated during the years, as I recall about a 1/2 inch thick. Without looking I would assume the solder spots are what hold the interior anti sloshing baffles in place. I agree with RonJar on the float replacment. I also would pursue your method of repair for the strap ends, while you could make a simple die and hot roll new ends on a flat strap, why bother for what your doing? Again my personal thoughts. --Bob

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Bob,

The foam is an elongated donut and measures about 1 1/2 inch high and 1 1/2 inch wide. I will look for some close density foam, maybe from an upholstery shop. You are right, it is badly deteriorated. Some actually turned into tar and dripped on the floor under the car, I assume from being in the hot metal garage all these years.

Thanks,

Tom

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I was lucky enough to have some sender units laying around from another project. I took a plastic float off what I believe was a Ford sender. To use the original float from the Buick, the float has to have a hole through the centre to slip onto the float arm. More likely to find to find a plastic float to do the job rather than a brass. You can buy new cork floats from: Tank Cork Floats 1934-41 CF-341 You could ask them if the coating on them will resist alcohol.

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Tom, when I replaced the foam seal pad in my '36 I fabricated a pad to match the shape of the original (what was left of it) using neoprene foam pad material from McMaster Carr. Their part # is 8647K501. The specs for the foam pad are there. I also installed strips of silicone rubber between the tank and the bottom tank hold straps using rubber also from Mc Master Carr. That # is 5812T134. There were no cushion straps originally and you can't see my additions but it make me feel better when I'm torquing down on the tank straps during re-installation. While the tank is out I recommend a couple things. First, with the sending unit out look closely at the fuel pick-up tube soldered to the bottom of the tank. Make sure the tube is not obstructed in any way where it is attached to the tank bottom. There is history of poor soldering jobs at the factory and the tube becoming obstructed. You'll wonder why your fuel pump is fuel starved and not getting sufficient fuel to the carb. Secondly I highly recommend having your sending unit rebuilt. They will install a modern float. After 77 years of use the unit is not accurate at best and may not read above half a tank. You really don't want to get everything reassembled only to discover the unit is not working. You don't want to take the tank back out again. Dave

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Dave,

Thanks for all the useful info. I found the McMaster foam in my book and intend to order today. It is exactly what is needed. My top straps had rubber attached to them with split rivets, and as you said nothing on the bottom straps. I have some reinforced commerical roofing rubber left over from making the front coil spring seat anti squeak pads that I indend to use for both the top and bottom straps. I called Bob"s and he has a plastick float for the sending unit. Where does one send a unit for rebuild? I will look closely at the pick up tube. The drain plug is brass with a screwdriver slot for removal. It shows signs of pliers/vicegrips trying to get it out. I cannot get it loose, even with some carefully applied heat. I got it to move about 1/4 turn but with major brass squeaks and then locks up. I am going to drill it for removal.

Thanks,

Tom

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  • 1 year later...

I had a brand new stainless steel tank fabricated by Rock Valley Antique Auto.

It was pricey, however, never have to worry about it rusting out. In addtion, they were able to precisely locate the filler tube, gas gauge and pickup tube fittings. Brand new stainless straps were fabricated as well. I couldn't be more pleased.

Bob

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  • 8 months later...

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