My fuel tank skid plate was suffering from some rust issues, so I bought a Warrior Products replacement skid plate from 4WD Hardware to replace it.
My good friend & fellow JF member Jerry (JeepsOLot) came over to help me out, and it's a good thing that he did too! The tank & skid came out easily, but this one was a bear getting it back in.
Here's why I had to change it.
And here's the new Warrior Products skid plate. It looks almost identical to the OEM factory skid, until you feel the difference in weight & thickness.
Here is a side profile of the thickness of the factory fuel tank skid.
And here is a side profile of the 12 gauge steel used to build the Warrior Products fuel tank skid.
For those who may not know, the fuel tank is not bolted to the frame.
It is held into the fuel tank skid plate by 2 straps, and then the fuel tank & skid plate are bolted into the frame as an assembly.
First I soaked the tailpipe hanger nut with PB Blaster so I could move the pipe a little to give me some room to maneuver the tank & skid plate assembly.
Then I soaked the three nuts & bolts that attach the front of the skid plate/fuel tank assembly to the crossmember above the rear axle with PB Blaster. These three bolts will require a 1/2" wrench & socket for removal.
Next I soaked the six bolts along the rear crossmember with PB Blaster, they are directly below the tailgate. The nuts on the four shorter bolts hold the skid plate/fuel tank assembly to the frame, and the two longer bolts/nuts are for the straps that attach the tank to the skid plate. These will require a 1/2" deep socket for loosening/removal. I loosened the nuts on the straps, but did not remove the nuts until after the assembly was removed from the Jeep.
While the nuts & bolts were soaking, I removed the two clamps that attach the fuel filler hose & the filler vent hose to the tank.
I removed the fuel delivery & return lines from the hard lines located at the crossmember above the rear axle, on the driver's side. The tank vent line is also attached here as well.
Here's a hint: When I have 2 lines of similar size that both need to be removed, I leave the clamp from 1 hose on the hard line, and then leave the clamp for the other line on the hose itself. That way, you won't mix them up, just match the hose to the line that has/needs the clamp.
Once all these things are done, it's time to remove the seven nuts that are holding the skid plate/fuel tank in the Jeep. Having a helper is good, but with a near empty tank it isn't all that bad. The tank will need to be shifted to the driver's side to allow the passenger side to clear the exhaust pipe. I used a prybar inserted in the exhaust pipe to flex it away from the skid plate a little. Once it gets past the exhaust it can be shifted back to the passenger side so the tank fill & vent line fitting can clear the frame rail. There should be plenty of slack in the lines & wiring to allow the skid plate fuel tank assembly to sit on the ground, unless your Jeep is lifted more the 5"-6" over stock.
Remove the lines at the tank, and unplug the sender/pump wiring.
Now the straps can be removed & the tank pulled out of the skid plate.
My old '91 factory vent tubing was starting to become dry-rotted, so I went to the auto parts store for replacement tubing. The tubing from the vent fitting on each side of the tank was 1/4" going to the "T" fitting. The hose from the "T" fitting going to the hard line at the crossmember was 3/16" tubing.
Do not be tempted to use cheaper tubing, only use tubing designed for fuel systems!
With all the lines inspected/replaced, the tank was fitted into the new skid & the straps attached. Be sure to use the rubber liner between the tank & skid plate.
I inspected my tank thoroughly, and I did find some damage. These cracks in the tank were near where the strap attaches to the skid plate on the passenger side. There is no sign of previous leakage, but I will have to keep an eye on things & start shopping for a replacement tank. It will mean taking the skid down again later, but I really need to replace the fuel pump (bad timing $$-wise right now. ) and I want to do a CJ style tailgate too. These things will also require tank removal.
Now comes the time to reverse the procedure & install the new skid plate/fuel tank assembly. Remember that the fill & vent fitting end of the tank must be in place first. The end on the passenger side goes up last.
When reattaching the fuel fill & vent hoses on the fittings, be sure to arrange the screws on the clamps like these.
This will allow you to tighten them from the rear, between the body & frame. I have a 1" body lift, so if you don't have one this may not work as well.
My skid plate looked just like yours last month. Did the same replacement. My center hole on the new Warrior skid plate didn't match to the one on the frame in the front, so I had to do some drilling. I went with some new fill and vent hoses while I was at it, and some new hose clamps. Straps were not easy to find but I think Morris Off road hooked me up. This was the second time for dropping the tank, the first time was for the fuel pump last year. I did learn something.....The replacement fuel pump from the dealer, looks nothing like the OE, and its only the pump. Its well worth it to just buy the entire assembly as a unit (sending unit, pump, mounting flange, wiring, etc). The pump itself from the dealer would never have fit the OE assembly. I saved myself quite a headache.
1991 YJ, rebuilt 4.0L in spring 2009 at 234,000 miles, no lift yet, slightly offset wheels, 235/75/15 tires for now, rag top, sold the hard top. Over 35,000 miles on the rebuild and counting.
My skid plate looked just like yours last month. Did the same replacement. My center hole on the new Warrior skid plate didn't match to the one on the frame in the front, so I had to do some drilling. WOW! I didn't mention that this one had that issue too because I thought it was just a fluke! Jerry was helping me by handling the leading edge bolts (while I was in charge of the rear bolts) when he said "All the holes don't line up." and I thought it was probably off by a little bit. He assured me it wasn't a little bit & had me look at it. Sure enough, it was off by an inch or so. Using the new skid as a drill guide, Jerry drilled a new hole in the crossmember & installed the 3rd bolt.
I went with some new fill and vent hoses while I was at it, and some new hose clamps. Straps were not easy to find but I think Morris Off road hooked me up. I think I bought one of the last sets of (WAY too expensive!) factory straps a couple of years ago for my wife's '93 YJ. Her straps were fine, but the threads were stripped on the ends. I kept the old ones & plan on welding new bolts onto them one day.
This was the second time for dropping the tank, the first time was for the fuel pump last year. I did learn something.....The replacement fuel pump from the dealer, looks nothing like the OE, and its only the pump. Its well worth it to just buy the entire assembly as a unit (sending unit, pump, mounting flange, wiring, etc). The pump itself from the dealer would never have fit the OE assembly. I saved myself quite a headache. Being as I have already done the "free 20 gallon tank mod" I had planned on buying a whole new sending unit/pump assembly so my gauge would be more accurate. But that's good to know about the "OE pump only" non-fitment issue.
Great write up I have a Kilby fuel tank skid in the garage from x-mas Does that replace the factory skid, or cover it?
did you do the vent mod to get the extra 5 gallon's A long time ago.
Also looks like you need to tighten up the plug on your 35 Nothing to tighten, it's a rubber plug. I hope to get an 8.8 in there this summer (or at least this year) so I won't invest in a replacement cover with a threaded plug.
Originally Posted by Fhajad
How the heck did you get the fill/vent lines pulled off? I tried to pull mine off and they did NOT want to come off. I had to cut them and replace them anyway, so it was good. These came off pretty easy, but some will fight you for sure!
I had such hard issues with it. The tailpipe is a HUGE issue, and mine wasn't even in stock location. Just sits majorly low due to the mounting brackets for it being broken. The tailpipe is a real PITA. I was wishing that I was doing this job on my wife's YJ, her entire exhaust system comes off in 5 minutes!
I know this because I just had it off last summer when I pulled her transmission out.
Well that wasn't too bad! Although I learned something interesting: my skid plate has no straps holding the tank down. It's just sitting there. How bad is that? I mean it hasn't seemed to cause any problems so far... could I just make some straps out of nylon or something?
87 YJ, rebuilt 4.0, dana 30 w/ aussie locker, 8.8 rear end with lsd, 34x10.50 bias swampers, warn 8274, some fancy stuff, some crappy stuff ROLLED, REPAIRS IN PROGRESS
BTW... Do you have any ideas on how to Patch/Seal the tank without having to buy a new one? I've got two lateral cracks in mine (hence the reason for dropping it) on the bottom rear left corner about an inch or two in length a piece.
If you can't be safe, be deadly.
DD: '00 F250 7.3