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Fuel Tank Strap Modifcations


Bluebandit48
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Hi All,

 

We just got back from VIR 24 hour, which for us, ended at about the 11.5 hour mark when one of our drivers had an off track event avoiding a slow moving vehicle. This event happened to rip the fuel tank strap from the sheet metal. The straps are attached by inserting the strap into the floor sheet metal, and twisting it to the proper location. (sorry, not really sure how else to describe it). Anyways, that mounting location broke, and caused the fuel tank to drop and caused a massive leak. We are extremely grateful for the awesome track workers that helped us! We are very lucky that there was not a fire, and the track staff helped make sure of that. 

 

So the question is.... Are we allowed to modify the stock fuel tank strap attachment points? We would like to modify them so that we are able to bolt all of the straps down. I looked in the rules for some clarification, but it seemed like nothing pertained to the mounting of the fuel system itself, unless its a fuel cell. 

 

Thanks for the help!

Earl - 2004 Ford Focus

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2 minutes ago, Team Infiniti said:

I would be less worried about that and more worried about creating too much pinch on the gas tank itself,  in the long term, under stress, a plastic tank will crack if squeezed too hard. 

 

Ideally, the strain on the fuel tank would remain the same, as we would be attempting to keep the same length of strap, just alter the attachment point. 

 

Our goal would be to keep the stock straps, just change how they mount to the car. 

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16 minutes ago, Bluebandit48 said:

 

Ideally, the strain on the fuel tank would remain the same, as we would be attempting to keep the same length of strap, just alter the attachment point. 

 

Our goal would be to keep the stock straps, just change how they mount to the car. 

If you’re not modifying the tank itself then I would go to town adding and strengthening the straps. Safety is your friend in this case

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4 hours ago, enginerd said:

Since it’s already out of the car... and you need to do some fab work anyway... fuel cell. 

 

Tougher to do because of the fuel rules in our series. For fuel limited cars like this he may need the extra capacity a stock system would offer....

 

I would double up on the hardware for the straps, and pound the floor up to allow the tank to sit higher in the body. Shim under the straps or just tighten them more, to raise the tank up so it is not the lowest point. This works on the neons, should work for you as well.

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10 minutes ago, Grufton said:

 

Under strict interpretation, this shouldn't be allowed.

 

If bending the sheetmetal of the body and floor is illegal, lots of cars at VIR would become illegal in the first 2 hours due to the "passing" :)

 

It is still an unmodified tank in the stock location (under the seat). 

 

Many oem tanks hold more than 2 gal over their advertised limit when you alter the tank venting. Well known thing in this series, and about the only way most late 90s and newer fwd cars can have a shot given our fuel rules. If you look at podium cars post race you see very few fuel cells....for a reason.....

 

They also do this and still end up well below the fuel to weight of the top car types. This is most likely why no one seems to care about it much.

Edited by Black Magic
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I don’t think a TAC member should be wink/nudge encouraging potentially unsafe practices that skirt the edge of the rules...

 

Drop in a nice fuel cell, get your legit +2 gallons, and have a far safer fuel system with less fire risk. Having a large fuel leak on track would scare the s*** out of me and I’d switch to a safer system right away.

Edited by enginerd
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1 hour ago, Grufton said:

 

 

Those two statements would seem to contradict each other.

 

The plastic thing that holds the liquid is the same as the day the oem built it, the vents are changed as allowed by the rules. 

 

Uses the same mounting location as OE, same straps, bolts and mount locations on chassis. I suppose you could argue the "fuel tank adjustment screws are not set to oem specs", which they would be screwed in tighter than normal. Would you say your wheels are in the stock location, or would you protest non stock wheel location for a camber change? They have something you can turn to move them as well....

 

I sort of doubt denting a sheetmetal panel and turning two bolts tighter would constitute a vehicle modification in the eyes of tech, but until it gets protested who knows. 

 

To the OP, cars have passed tech and post race impound with reasonable hardware changes to the tank straps. I would even consider doubling up on the straps (run 2x thickness) if you can find a way, i would assume reason would apply if someone tried to protest for that.

 

Edited by Black Magic
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2 hours ago, Black Magic said:

Uses the same mounting location as OE, same straps, bolts and mount locations on chassis. I suppose you could argue the "fuel tank adjustment screws are not set to oem specs", which they would be screwed in tighter than normal. Would you say your wheels are in the stock location, or would you protest non stock wheel location for a camber change? They have something you can turn to move them as well....

 

How about the hole in the typical BMW lower control arm bushing?  Following your logic, it could be moved off-center - it's still located inside the same bracket after all.

 

The point is, you said that you moved the tank, while the rule says you can't move the tank.  FWIW, I could hardly care less where your gas tank is, but I do have a problem when someone in authority is promoting a modification that is clearly contrary to the text of the rule.

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My vote is to put a fuel cell in the car, it has been for a long time. Not only for the added safety, but also for the extra capacity.

 

However, I am just a driver, and a wrench, not the car owner, so that decision is out of my hands. I am also not the one who somehow didn't catch on fire. I am still pretty dumbfounded as to how the car didn't light up. Other drivers on the track were reporting sparks, as well as fuel.

 

The easiest route is to modify the tank straps, weld in some weld nuts to the floor, and throw a stock tank back in it. That should prevent it from ever happening again. No other modifications would be needed, other than the tank straps, and weld nuts on the floor. To me, this seems like a reasonable solution to avoid this happening again. Worst case, we pay a few points for added material. 

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14 hours ago, Grufton said:

 

How about the hole in the typical BMW lower control arm bushing?  Following your logic, it could be moved off-center - it's still located inside the same bracket after all.

 

The point is, you said that you moved the tank, while the rule says you can't move the tank.  FWIW, I could hardly care less where your gas tank is, but I do have a problem when someone in authority is promoting a modification that is clearly contrary to the text of the rule.

 

The off center bushing thing in BMWs....jeez. That is the lexan of 2018...

 

That rule had to be specifically added in clarifications because it doesn't follow the rest of our rulebook norms. FWIW if you cut the lower control arm and change the arm lengths by removing from one leg and adding that chunk to the other, it is free. If you also move all of the lower control arm pickups to match the offset bushing location (by welding) it is currently thought of as free (repurposed, but to anyone savy free). You can also move the bore center of the bushing housing by welding the sleeve on another location of the arm, you just can't have an off center hole in the rubber part.... The bushing thing really is a one off rule to appease a particular "issue".

 

I think the debate is what constitutes "stock location", meaning general like under the rear seat vs moving it to the trunk, or tolerance like "centroid of fuel tank must be within .25" of the x,y and z location of the oem tank". That is where you and i have different interpretation of tolerance on "stock". Tech is still adding to the "clarifications" page, you can always submit a request to clarify tolerance when determining "stock" location.

 

Bluebandit as always check with jay, he is left with the final say. However i would think with all the other issues he has to chase on cars, bringing the romer arm to verify the centroid of your fuel tank is stock +\- 1" would be low on his list. Make it not the lowest part on your car, for your sake and ours, which might not take much. 

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24 minutes ago, Black Magic said:

I think the debate is what constitutes "stock location", meaning general like under the rear seat vs moving it to the trunk, or tolerance like "centroid of fuel tank must be within .25" of the x,y and z location of the oem tank". That is where you and i have different interpretation of tolerance on "stock". Tech is still adding to the "clarifications" page, you can always submit a request to clarify tolerance when determining "stock" location.

 

 

 

Absolutely disagree with your interpretation.   This line of thinking would mean you could move the tank around horizontally and vertically under the car thus moving your weight distribution as a performance result.    That is NOT what the rule says at all or intends.   Stock location means stock location.   It's not hard there is no interpretation necessary.   Where it came from the factory or nothing.   You posting on this forum otherwise does a disservice to the series, and you are on the TAC....    😖    If you have to modify straps to get a tank to mount it has probably been modified or moved.  Additional straps to the OE's are fine and should be 0 points imo.   

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Movable items (free!) to get a "performance result":

1. Battery to the rear and right

2. Driver to the rear and right

3. Engine/trans to the rear and right

4. Fuel cell wherever

 

Moving a gas tank slightly will give much less "performance result", besides being a transient effect as the fuel load changes. Not to mention that raising a fuel tank has a negative effect on C of G, however small.

Edited by mender
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19 hours ago, Black Magic said:

It is still an unmodified tank in the stock location (under the seat). 

 

Many oem tanks hold more than 2 gal over their advertised limit when you alter the tank venting.

 

FYI, you have teams who think blocking off a vent, and adding a second vent on the top of the tank is still an 'unmodified' tank.  So as a TAC member you should beware with saying 'altering the tank venting'

 

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3 minutes ago, mender said:

Movable items (free!) to get a "performance result":

 

3. Engine/trans to the rear and right

 

 

hows that?   non-oe motor mounts are 10 points, non-oe transmission mount is also 10 points.

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2 minutes ago, MoparBoyy said:

 

FYI, you have teams who think blocking off a vent, and adding a second vent on the top of the tank is still an 'unmodified' tank.  So as a TAC member you should beware with saying 'altering the tank venting'

 

 

What the bccr says....

 

9.10.2.1.2. Stock fuel tank vent lines and fill necks may be
 altered and/or relocated.

 

There has been alot of debate on the how.....i have not seen a tech clarification posted on what "relocation" means bit if one has feel free to share. 

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

@Bluebandit48 and @Nosniv 

I was following your progress, and was bummed to see you guys drop out of the race. I texted Evan to see what happened, but never got a response.

Now, after reading what put you out, I'm glad to hear that you guys (and the car) are all alright!!

Stock Focus fuel tank is 13.2 gallons. An ATL 15 gallon cell fits perfectly between a couple of the crossmembers on the Focus. I've installed one in my car, and guided some guys in Texas toward doing the same with theirs. 15 gallons + 1/2 gallon surge tank + filler tube to the stock fill port location in the Focus puts you right at the cusp of doing 2 hour stints at most tracks, other than Road America.

I've got a couple 1" square tube "U" shapes running fore/aft around the cell that would bottom out before the steel can would ever touch the ground, so there's some added protection in that way too.

What did you guys do to resolve the rear wheel bearing issues that occurred at Indy? PM me to answer if you'd like, or I think I may be on some text trails that Evan and I shared, if you've kept them.

 

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1 minute ago, MoparBoyy said:

 

hows that?   non-oe motor mounts are 10 points, non-oe transmission mount is also 10 points.

 

You have to read with an open mind....

 

Move the stock mount. The mount is the rubber part that has mounting holes in your chassis for it.....

 

Move the holes in the chassis....

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4 minutes ago, Black Magic said:

 

What the bccr says....

 

9.10.2.1.2. Stock fuel tank vent lines and fill necks may be
 altered and/or relocated.

 

There has been alot of debate on the how.....i have not seen a tech clarification posted on what "relocation" means bit if one has feel free to share. 

 

correct.  vent LINES can be changed, not the vent location.

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17 minutes ago, Snake said:

 

  You posting on this forum otherwise does a disservice to the series, and you are on the TAC....    😖    If you have to modify straps to get a tank to mount it has probably been modified or moved.  

 

I hope you see this as the difference of opinion that it is. 

 

For the type of fuel tank mounting that OP is asking about, most have a "t" threaded fastener on one end that looks like a bolt. You can tighten that bolt with a socket wrench, and this will raise the tank. You will need to hammer the floor up in places to allow the tank to rise. 

 

Are you suggesting that hitting the floor of the car with a hammer and turning two nuts should constitute a modification that should ban a car? Or even incur points? 

 

I think it is just a matter of viewpoint on what the rules say. Ask mike if you like, his vision has been hammering, fastener adding\mods and cutting will always be free unless another rule specifically bans the "repurposing" for that exact part.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Black Magic said:

 

You have to read with an open mind....

 

Move the stock mount. The mount is the rubber part that has mounting holes in your chassis for it.....

 

Move the holes in the chassis....

 

So the "Mount" is only the rubber part?  is that a TAC ruling?   if so 'Control arm' is only the rubber part too does that mean aftermarket arms with stock rubber is now free?

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