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Old May 1st, 2011, 8:53 PM   #1
syrarch04
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Default Fuel cell leaking

I was all set to start the car for the first time, put gas in tank, and it has a slow but steady leak. Murphy's Law. It seems to be coming from the outlet port. I was worried about it because when I hooked up the fuel line (using -6 braided) the cell's fitting spun fairly free and there seemed to be a bit of gasket hanging from the perimeter. Is there a sealant I can use around this thing to seal it up? I would love to just install a fresh bulkhead fitting, but the opening on the cell is a round 2 1/4" hole, and there is no way I can get my hand through that. I thought about replacing that with a 4x6 fuel safe plate like Pegasus sells, but the freaking thing is $173. I've got two things working against me right now, money(bringing this car back to life is starting to drain me), and time because I have test session I really need to get to this coming weekend. So is there a magic sealant I could use from the outside, or does anyone have another idea?
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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:05 PM   #2
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call Eagle Fuel cells, great folks and can probaly help you.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:07 PM   #3
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I would take the time to fix it right. Gas can burn your backside even when it is not burning! Is the leak coming from the fitting or where the fitting passes through he bleaader?
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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomschoon View Post
call Eagle Fuel cells, great folks and can probaly help you.
I agree. They helped me out and were great to deal with.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:14 PM   #5
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Careful Grasshopper...

A picture would help a lot of us give you advice.
It sounds like you are missing one little $1 part.
At least tell us the make and model of the car and cell.
We want to help, but you haven't provided much info.

Do not think that "little leak" is not a big deal. You need to solve it, but I'm thinking we can help.

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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve zemke View Post
I would take the time to fix it right. Gas can burn your backside even when it is not burning! Is the leak coming from the fitting or where the fitting passes through he bleaader?
It's coming from where the fitting comes through the cell wall. I think.

I agree that I should fix it right, and I will, but I'm just hoping there's something quick I can do to hold it for a couple weeks. I've got a test on the 7th and a race on the 22nd, and after that I've got time off that I could use to do a proper fix.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:19 PM   #7
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Not familiar with a Z-10 fuel cell. Is the leaking fitting on the top? or bottom?

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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:26 PM   #8
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Haha, understood grandmaster Frog! It's a Z10C, but I'm not sure if this is the original cell or not. It's in the side pod and riveted in to make it harder to get to, haha. No idea who made the cell, I haven't drilled all those rivets yet to see any markings, and there's nothing on the bit exposed at the top. Pics:







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Old May 1st, 2011, 9:57 PM   #9
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Are you able to reach into the fuel cell with one hand (and a wrench)? If yes, I'd remove the fitting and and see if you can tell why it was leaking. It might be an easy fix, if the bladder hole is in good shape.

If it's not easy to fix, don't be discouraged. Take your time, fix it, and you'll have plenty of opportunities to race afterwords, with peace of mind. Gasoline burns are painful and if you have a fire it will be bad in many ways. Do your best to take your car to the track in near perfect condition. You'll be glad you did.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:01 PM   #10
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No, no way to get my hand/arm in there, otherwise that's exactly what I'd do. The hole is only 2 1/4". Maybe I should hire a child....
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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:16 PM   #11
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FYI if this is a Solo only car, you don't actually need a fuel cell and you don't need as much capacity as a track race car. That MAY give you some lower cost options IF you have the space (my car did not so I used Eagle to rehab my old cell and make a new one . . . $$$ unfortunately)

Here is a link to a Summit Racing site with some options. 3 gallons is probably enough for Solo if it picks up the last little bit and/or you can add gas at the event if there are a lot of runs or multiple drivers.

http://www.summitracing.com/search/P...s/?Ns=Rank|Asc

If the link doesn't seem to work, go directly to http://www.summitracing.com/

Then search fuel cells and then limit the hits to 3 gallons and go from there to shop or narrow the search further.

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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:40 PM   #12
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I blew those photos up. I kept looking at them. I may be crazy, but it sure looks to me like the female fitting is cross-threaded on the male fitting. I'd take it apart and reassemble.

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Old May 1st, 2011, 10:53 PM   #13
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I should have mentioned it, but the female of the braided line (shiny blue) is not screwed on at the moment, I disconnected it to drain the fuel I put in, and it's just resting on the male in those pics. It's the cell's male (super dirty blue) that I believe is leaking where it passes through the cell wall.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 11:23 PM   #14
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Can you take 2 half nuts, tighten them to the fitting (male part coming from cell) in place of the fitting, and then tighten the half nut on the male part to see if things will seal. Just a thought.

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Old May 2nd, 2011, 7:57 AM   #15
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Can use low pressure compressed air and soapy water brush to troubleshoot.......if it comes to this use DOW 730 sealant, $75 a tube mil-spec fuel system sealant for Bell Helicopters, etc. at Aircraft Spruce and others.....although I like the incorrect assembly angle expressed above
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 8:37 AM   #16
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So Purple Frog, what is the $1 part you thought I might be missing?

Anybody have experience with this stuff? link
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 9:13 AM   #17
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Default Urethane

One of the best, actually sold as a fuel cell sealant / repair by some:
http://www.theepoxysource.com/urethane.htm
D50 is the most common., D85 works better in some locations due to More flexibility.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 9:24 AM   #18
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It appears this union has been seeping/leaking for a while. Given the apparent age of the car this isn't surprising as fuel cells are never maintained, they're only fixed. Can you get a long extension into the hole and, using a variety of crow's feet, angled extensions, wobblies, wrenches taped together, etc. get a purchase on the nut on the backside of the bulkhead fitting to tighten from the outside? You mentioned a child. Women have extremely small hands. I have had to ask my wife to reach into a place with a wrench that I could not get to. All they have to do is hold the wrench still while you tighten. It's an option.

In any event, you have a leak from the cell. Fix it before you run. I would guess it is time for a new or rebuilt cell. Remove that one and take it to the airport in SYR. Go to the FBO and ask who repairs fuel cells at the airport. You may get lucky. Explain you do not want the cell certified, just fixed.
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 3:52 PM   #19
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I haven't seen a Zink before, is that cell in the side pod?

I have a new ATL FC-142 side pod fuel cell that has been stored in a box in my garage that I will probably never get around to using. Check the dimensions from the ATL website and see if it could work. If so, PM me.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 9:30 PM   #20
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Ok, so in case anyone can benefit from this knowledge later, here's what I did.

I unscrewed the fitting's outside nut a bit (I don't think it was fully tightened before which could have contributed to this problem) and squirted in some Seal-All, a gas resistant sealant available at Autozone for $5. I used a plastic syringe to make sure I got it in the gap properly, and tightened the nut down good. I let it cure overnight, and today it is holding fuel perfectly. Whew!
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