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Fuel tank access hatch time!
http://www.lostjeeps.com/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=90671
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Author:  Mountainman [ Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Fuel tank access hatch time!

Ok, so I forgot to swap the float when I installed my airtex, and so my gauge is about 1/5 inaccurate, and I get a fuel lift on my dash, mostly during cold weather.
I've decided to cut the hatch open, but I only found one thread where they cautioned about how close the tank is.

What I want to know, does our hatch look like this:

https://www.google.com/search?q=rear+fu ... ov3YDA-_EM

And did they just run a bead around the perimeter? Or, can we make it a nice overlapping hatch, or should I prepare to weld or bolt on some tabs?

I'm thinking that I'll cut at a 45 degree angle so that the hatch fits like a pumpkin lid regardless. I'll seal it with spray foam, caulk, or silicone so it can be easily sliced open, but waterproof, and easily resealed if opened.

Any insights are much appreciated. I think this is a no-brainer mod, and that there's no need to worry about it affecting value as it will be invisable, and potentially useful for a future owner.

Author:  TKB4 [ Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

I posted about this several months back and at that time I believe I was told that the US CRDs don't have an access hatch or it could be that after a particular year prior to 2005 they don't have one. Even if ours don't have one still might be worth making one. I didn't pull up carpet etc after was told we don't have the access hatch.

Author:  Mountainman [ Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

I have the carpet removed in mine. The whole area is covered with that interior body coating, and there's an oval depression that's obviously the remnants of a hatch. I'll have to go at it with a chisel first.

Author:  TKB4 [ Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

good luck let us know what you find. I may need the access too.

Author:  Mountainman [ Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

TKB4 wrote:
good luck let us know what you find. I may need the access too.


Thanks

I spent:
-about 10 minutes chiseling the coating off.
-10 minutes cutting the hatch out 1/4" bigger than the recessed hatch area.
-5 minutes filing and sanding sharp edges
-2 minutes hammering the hatch flat so my little hinges would mount nicely and so the hatch slightly overlaps.
-10 minutes drilling and attaching the hinges.

Then I worked on swapping the float arm. Very easy access.

Still need to spray some rustoleum paint to stop corrosion, and the largest gap I have is 1/16", so I'm going to lightly seal it with caulk. Easy enough to open with a knife or screwdriver in a pinch.

The flat hatch isn't strong like the old curved pre-cut body was. If you go this route you need to either build a reinforced hatch base/lid, or you could put a piece of 3/8" OSB or about an 18" square piece of 3/16" steel would work lightly glued in place.
I'm going to have a bench like box built in there that levels the sleeping space as I sleep at the jeep prior to many backcountry pack-ins and outs (beats unpacking my pack and setting up a tent for one night, just to then be delayed in the morning with a wet tent, mildew not good. It'll also double as a hidden compartment to hide my sacred Kimber .308.
This 6" bench will keep the weight of dogs or heavy objects off of the hatch.
I may have to go in to the tank a third time for the dash light, so I'm not sealing this thing up anytime too soon.

As another person mentioned, you have to be extremely careful cutting and drilling as the tank is almost touching the body below. I put some tiny cuts and drill holes in the tank, but not nearly deep enough to matter, phew!

I'll try to add a pic soon.

Author:  WWDiesel [ Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

What about using a boat hatch plate cover? They come in different sizes, screw in, hinged, plastic, metal, etc...

Image

Author:  Mountainman [ Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

That would work well, just need to be big enough to fanagle the float/pump assembly out of there. 12"+ I imagine.

Author:  TKB4 [ Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

Boat hatch is great idea. Does this hatch also give good enough access to install an in tank fuel pump ?

Author:  WWDiesel [ Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

TKB4 wrote:
Boat hatch is great idea. Does this hatch also give good enough access to install an in tank fuel pump ?

They come in different sizes and shapes. They have round ones up to about 8 inches ID.
Some of the square ones would allow plenty of access room to the top of the tank and are water and air tight and quite strong.
I have installed some in boats and they are strong enough for people to walk on so I believe they would hold up to the cargo location in a Jeep.

https://www.westmarine.com/access-hatches

Image

Author:  APC9199 [ Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

I wish I had seen this earlier! I have done this on two CRD's now. The first one I cut pretty significantly into the fuel tank, despite being very careful, which scared the crap out of me once I finally removed the "lid" to realize I was probably spraying sparks down into the tank! Luckily diesel isn't as flammable as gasoline!

All I did to seal mine was cut out a piece of 12ga steel a little larger than the opening and caulk it down. I, of course, removed the sound deadening material from the area to be caulked first. Regarding the access hatches, I think you're going to find that there isn't enough room underneath to affix them properly. The tank is literally touching the body panel that you have to cut through to access it. If you dropped the tank an inch or two and installed the hatch, you could then crank the tank back up into position with some protective foam or something to prevent the screws/rivets from puncturing or rubbing on the tank. If you attempt it, please update us with how it works out. I'd like something a little more sophisticated eventually, if possible.

Glad this worked out OK for you. I don't recommend it because it can be very dangerous if you're not careful!

Author:  Mountainman [ Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fuel tank access hatch time!

APC9199 wrote:
I wish I had seen this earlier! I have done this on two CRD's now. The first one I cut pretty significantly into the fuel tank, despite being very careful, which scared the crap out of me once I finally removed the "lid" to realize I was probably spraying sparks down into the tank! Luckily diesel isn't as flammable as gasoline!

All I did to seal mine was cut out a piece of 12ga steel a little larger than the opening and caulk it down. I, of course, removed the sound deadening material from the area to be caulked first. Regarding the access hatches, I think you're going to find that there isn't enough room underneath to affix them properly. The tank is literally touching the body panel that you have to cut through to access it. If you dropped the tank an inch or two and installed the hatch, you could then crank the tank back up into position with some protective foam or something to prevent the screws/rivets from puncturing or rubbing on the tank. If you attempt it, please update us with how it works out. I'd like something a little more sophisticated eventually, if possible.

Glad this worked out OK for you. I don't recommend it because it can be very dangerous if you're not careful!


I had just enough clearance to put tiny nuts (1/8" thick) for the hinges, so I think the hatch would be fine. You can easily put a slight bend in the body for more clearance also. Tiny hinges, tiny bolts and nuts, and red locktite worked well for me.

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