Ok, I am not one to wait around to replace something worn completely out AFTER it damages other good parts that are connected to it. Case in point: my stock 23 year old fuel tank. Right now, it doesn't leak and I haven't seen any signs of rust in the fuel filter, but how do I tell for sure?
After sitting for about a year, my engine has been rebuilt recently with a brand new $300 Holly carburetor and fuel lines. Not to mention completely rebuilt AOD transmission. I am completely restoring this truck to make it dependable, and I do not want something as simple as an old rusted out fuel tank to contaminate my new fuel system!
So what do you think? Has my fuel tank seen its best days, or do they last indefinetly? Should I go ahead and just replace my 23 year old fuel tank BEFORE it leaks or gets rust in my fuel system, or am I doing more work than I need to? What is the life expectancy of a typical fuel tank?
That's a tough question to answer. It depends on a lot of things. Quality of fuel used over its life, climate, how much it has sat, how much of its life it hasn't been full, etc. It really comes down to how much moisture it will have been exposed to. There's no way to say "23 years old, that means it has X years left." It's pretty common for a fuel tank to last the life of the truck though.
I can understand being paranoid about all your brand new parts, but if you were to see the varnish and crud that will build up inside them as they get used, you probably wouldn't care about the fuel tank anymore. The fuel filter catches most things that would cause a stuck float, etc.
If you're really concerned, you can drop the tank and take it to a radiator shop, and have them clean it out and tell you what came out of it. If this were my truck, I wouldn't worry about it. I am of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" variety especially when fuel tanks aren't cheap, and since the fuel filter offers protection. Your call.
I recently dropped my original front fuel tank on my 1984 to replace the pump... besides some bad gas, the inside of the tank looked great. So if you live in a somewhat dry area, like me, it should be fine. But it really does depend on quite a bit of things.
I wish I were in your boat. My '95 F150 has seeping leaks in both tanks. Really sucks. I don't want to replace two tanks. If they aren't leaking, I would just assume they are fine. Don't run below 1/4 tank, just to avoid sucking up a lot of debris that may be in the tanks.
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