83 K20 Leaking fuel tank

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by meborder, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. meborder

    meborder New Member

    First of all, Hello to everyone!

    I'm currently getting my 83 K20 ready for a snowplow. I'm almost there (long story) and yesterday morning the one fuel tank that works decided to spring a leak. It is leaving a sizeable puddle underneath it and I only put 5 gallons in the tank, so I don't think this is something i can "just live with" ... so something needs to be done.

    Exploring options ....

    #1, patch the tank with some kind of fuel safe epoxy.
    #2, switch left and right tanks
    #3, try to re-route the fuel system so it can pull fuel from the driver's side tank (currently only the driver's side works)
    #4, purchase new tank.

    So, I really don't want to spend a lot of money, but more than that I'm running out of time to get this truck ready for snow.

    I think opt #1 might be a waste of time, it's a sizeable leak and there are probably more to come.
    Option #2 is as twice as much work as #4, but costs next to nothing.
    #4 costs about 80 bucks if i can save the straps.

    I wouldn't mind getting the driver's tank to work, but what i've found with this truck is that to get anything to work you have to replace EVERYTHING.... so I'm not sure how that fuel selector system works, and if there is a valve under the truck, that could get spendy, i'm afraid.

    I wish i could just get a different truck, but this thing runs so good I can't just "throw it away"

    I'm open to ideas and suggestions.

    thanks for any input!
  2. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the club. If a new tank is only $80 I'd go with the new tank. I'm sure the old 28 year old tank has seen better days.
  3. meborder

    meborder New Member

    Anyone ever used "spectra" brand replacement tanks?

    The reviews are pretty good, over all, but there seems to be some small fitment issues from time to time.

    Also, the extra capacity 20gal tank is quite a bit cheaper than the OE 16gal tank. It appears that the larger tank has the same dimensions except that it is slightly longer. The extra capacity could be nice, as i will only be running one tank.

    any thoughts?
  4. ShadowRejects

    ShadowRejects Rockstar 100 Posts

    Welcome to the club!
    If i were you i would do a temporary fix, like duct tape it or JB weld, but for the epoxy to set you will need to completely empty the tank. Then i would buy a new gas tank. Thats just my 0.2.
  5. meborder

    meborder New Member

    Just thought i'd post and update and quick review.

    I ordered a 20gal tank from Spectra, along with new straps. The total was just over $100. A word to the wise, if you are replacing a rusty tank, you will likely need new straps as well. mine were nearly rotted through and snapped when I tried to remove them.

    I had to cut the old fuel lines coming out of the sending unit because they were not long enough to allow the tank to reach the ground without disconnecting them. I did try for about 10 minutes to save the lines, but finally gave up and just cut them. Just as well replace them at the same time anyway.

    Total removal time was probably 2hrs.

    Mounted the new straps to the old brackets wrong the first time. Take note, they are different lengths, not by much, but enough to where they are not interchangeable. The original straps are mounted to the brackets with rivets, so i ground the heads off and punched them through. I mounted the new straps with 1/2" long 1/4-20 bolts with nylon thread lock nuts.

    The spectra tank fit PERFECTLY. Highly recommend this tank as a replacement. Make sure you get the right size, if you got a 16gal (short bed, i assume) the 20gal will not fit ... i got lucky and oredered the right one by accident.

    The new tank comes with a new lock ring and O-ring. I used a dab of Black RTV in four spots around the O-ring to hold it in place while i got the sending unit lowered into the tank. I suppose you wouldnt have to do this, but the last time I didn't, i got to do the whole job over again because the O-ring moved while i was mounting the sending unit. I used the Black stuff because it was the only one that didn'nt warn against using it near gasoline, all the others said not to use it for exposure to gasoline.

    Total replacement time was probably 3hrs.

    All in all, it was a sucessfull project. albeit one i did not want to do.

    If the new tank lasts as long as the old one, it will be the only thing left of the truck :)


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