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Tanks-To-Pans replacement fuel tank review
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teej
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:09 am    Post subject: Tanks-To-Pans replacement fuel tank review Reply with quote

Just installed a Spectra Premium replacement fuel tank from tanks-to-pans.com. http://www.tanks-to-pans.com/site/823208/page/305723 The part number is VW3C. These are my impressions.

Summary:
Pros:
1. tank has 11mm outlet
2. $210 including shipping and sales tax
3. Decently responsive customer service

Cons:
1. Poor packaging--shipping damage
2. Poor quality control on the machined grommet holes
3. Too many links in the supply chain, unclear what entity I was actually dealing with
4. Not as robust internally as the OEM tank, dimensions may not be exact

The details:

Old tank was resealed by a shop when we bought the van in Dec. 2009. Two years hence the sender seal failed (discovered pinched O-ring). Old OEM tank with 11mm outlet was rusty so decided to replace. Based on info gleaned from this thread http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=277727 and others I wanted to make sure the outlet was 11mm, that and price led me to choose this supplier.

First tank arrived having been banged up in shipping. On the tanks-to-pans website description of the tank, they state that the tanks would be foam wrapped, stretch wrapped, and then boxed. That helped sell me. Alas, not so; tank was loose in the single box, with no edge protection.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Decided I did not want to install it, so contacted them for a replacement. That went OK, but be prepared for dealing with second and third parties. Apparently tanks-to-pans is owned by coast2coastwheels.com, aka coast2coastinternational.com, aka a division of LKQ corporation, aka LKQCorp.com. There was also an email from Spi Distribution Center in the mix. That said, they were responsive to the damaged tank, I ended up talking to a customer service guy in Florida. It seems tanks-to-pans is a new acquistion, they are still trying to get the warehouse packaging and shipping correct, and I was told I am not the first person reporting a shipping damaged tank. They covered return shipping and sent out a new tank before receiving the damaged one.

Anyway I used the wait to do extra stuff: treat underbody rust, fix the sender ground, check brake lines and make sure they were not chafing anywhere.

Second tank arrived one week later. I would suggest inspecting the rolled edges of the grommet holes: One had a huge sharp underside burr that prevented proper grommet seating. The pic is blurry but the burr was roughly half the circumference of the hole, and extended down approx. 2mm.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Couldn't afford to wait anymore, so did some fussy Dremel surgery. The cutoff wheel was larger diam than the hole, so had to reach in through the filler opening and poke the shaft of the wheel through the bad hole and chock it from above. Vacuum nozzle then poked through filler hole, taped in place, and running during the operation to catch debris, that sort of deal. Repeat with small grinding wheel to dress the cut. Seemed a decent fix, here is the after pic:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Prepared, primed, undercoated tank, then installed with new seals from van-cafe (if you care about getting OEM VW seals call Peter first, he sent me aftermarket ones, I asked after the fact and he did verify that they are Viton. He may be switching back to VW. ) They matched the 2 year old VW ones that are now spares.

Tank went in reasonably well, it is a tight fit. Reinstalled the OEM rigid plastic crossover assembly, new 2 years ago, which I had left in place on the hook. It seems the distance between these crossover grommet holes may not be exact to OEM. I did not think to measure first to compare to the old tank, but there is some strain suggesting they are slightly further apart. Probably not a concern for those running soft rubber fuel hose for the crossover balance line. This is what I am wondering about:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I say wondering because it was late, cold, dark, raining, I was spent, and if it leaked on full fill-up I was not prepared to deal with it so I have only put 8 gallons in so far. I will do the full fill up probably today for the true test, hopefully no issue here but there it is. There was no such strain on the old fittings when I removed them.

So that is my experience with tanks-to-pans, hope this may be useful to someone.
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Last edited by teej on Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for doing the research and posting.

I realize the tank is in etc., but is the crossover tube running over top of everything? Thinking cockeyed crossover might be due to it being pushed down ~ mid point by e brake cable or ?

Just a thought. Great of you to take pics of tank flaws and fix.

Neil.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI for anyone who is interested, Van-Cafe is now offering tanks with 12mm outlets for the later vans. I just ordered the last one they had in stock to give to my wife for an xmas gift Laughing
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Last edited by SCM on Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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teej
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanagon Nut wrote:
Thanks for doing the research and posting.

I realize the tank is in etc., but is the crossover tube running over top of everything? Thinking cockeyed crossover might be due to it being pushed down ~ mid point by e brake cable or ?

Just a thought. Great of you to take pics of tank flaws and fix.

Neil.


Thanks Neil, yep, crossover tube is routed correctly, I had read about the need for this. It was actually never removed from vehicle, it is routed correctly and in it's hook. Over e-brake cable, etc.

Filled to about 15gal. today, but did not allow auto-shutoff to engage. So far so good as far as leaks. I can also report that the fuel pump seems a little quieter now. I also went through the EEC system and installed a new charcoal can as part of the service. I am thinking that rusty old tank plus old slightly compromised charcoal can was leading to a bit of fuel pump noise.

SCM: thanks for the van-cafe update, they are a preferred vendor for me, always package things well, ship promptly, and I would have paid a bit more because I like dealing with them, but I did not want the smaller diameter outlet. I wish I had asked them about the larger outlet tank.
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dubbified
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SCM wrote:
FYI for anyone who is interested, Van-Cafe is now offering tanks with 12mm outlets for the older vans. I just ordered the last one they had in stock to give to my wife for an xmas gift Laughing


I wish I could get my lady to be more jazzed about giving/receiving westy parts/upgrades.

*Sigh* not enough time out in it yet.. sadly.
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dubbified wrote:


I wish I could get my lady to be more jazzed about giving/receiving westy parts/upgrades.



wrap them in sexy lingerie and drizzle diamonds over the whole thing
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teej
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought I'd add one more pic showing the manufacturer marking:

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This trademark is the same one I've seen in other posts for tanks purchased from van-cafe and bus depot. It seems bus depot is correct in their assertion that all of these aftermarket tanks are made at the same factory (Taiwan, I think I read somewhere) and just sold under different brand names.

That being the case, it really comes down to vendor choice, price, shipping practices, and getting the size outlet you want. Seems the quality control issues would exist across the board, so ability to quickly resolve a bum tank might also be a factor.
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you may want to replace the vapour hoses (the ones that go to the plastic over floow tanks) with lined 30R9 hoses. the new fuel formulations will rot out the standard non-lined hoses even though they are not regularly immersed in gasoline, they will still rot out, cuasing fuel smells and eventually leaks. the cloth wrapped hoses you have in the photos are likely not lined.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This old thread is still valid but I am linking a newer gas tank post that you may find to be of interest as well.........

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6...mp;start=0

Dave
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