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Technical What's wrong with original pickup gas tanks?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chevy Gasser, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. Chevy Gasser
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 692

    Chevy Gasser

    I see occaisionally truck owners trying to find a better place for the gas tank, especially in '55-'59 G.M. trucks. They either put them in the beds or try to squeeze them under the truck some where. It can't be that original tanks are not available, any truck parts source has them. Are they seen as dangerous? What's up?
  2. Two things I can think of right away...

    1. If the rubber is old/dried out/cracked you get a nice high from driving around huffing gasoline fumes.

    2. The tanks are usually behind the seat, taking up valuable interior space.

    If you replace the old rubber and make sure your tank has no pinholes, the first problem is a non-issue.

    If you're not a big guy, or don't require ludicrous stereo equipment in your truck, the second isn't an issue either...
  3. henry29
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 2,817


    I have no idea, I've had several trucks with the original tanks in the cab, and have a a 50 and a 68 chevy with the original tanks.
    I have never had a problem with any of them and have never smelled gas fumes while driving them.

    I think some people just like to do things just to be doing them, or someone told them it was bad.
  4. 46stude
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,710


    For most its a safety issue.

    If you're in a collision & the tank ruptures, most would rather the fuel soak the ground than soak them & their passengers.

    Years ago, I had a '64 F250. I smoked back then, & it wasn't a pleasant thought knowing a fuel tank full of gas was sitting there in the cab w/ me & my Marlboro.
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  5. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,008

    Rusty O'Toole

    It bothered me at first, to have the tank in the cab. Then I thought about how bad an accident would have to be, to crush the gas tank and decided the gas tank was the least of my worries. It could get crushed and start a fire way easier under the truck. I have heard of fires caused by gas tanks under the box and in cars, under the trunk, but never heard of a tank inside the cab leaking. In fact they don't even rust since they are inside all the time.
  6. The tank is behind the seat in my '60 F100. I've never really given it much worry. The way I see it, (similar to Rusty O'Toole), if I'm in a bad enough accident that the tank gets ruptured, I'm probably not concerned about leaking gas. Never noticed the smell of gas either.

    I'm short, so I don't even have a complaint about needing more legroom. In fact, my biggest complaint about the tank behind the seat, is that the vinyl from the seat squeaks against the edge of the tank when I go over a bum. (Then again, just about everything squeaks when I go over a bump... :rolleyes:)
  7. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    The safest place for the gas tank is with the passengers as long as it's not leaking. I moved mine to gain a little extra room in the cab and I needed a tank for fuel injection.if there was a fuel injection tank available that was a direct replacement for the behind the seat tank I probably would have gone that way.
  8. In my 53 dodge the stock tank is under the cab on the drivers side with the filler neck sticking out behind the drivers door. I guess they are very prone to shearing off in a rollover but like others have said in the thread, that's really the least of your problems if you're in an accident that bad. Just seems like par for the course of driving something old to me

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  9. uc4me
    Joined: Feb 3, 2006
    Posts: 516


    I changed my tank in my 55 f100 for 3 reasons...

    1. I didn't care for the look of the stock filler neck behind the driver's door.
    2. The stock tank had 12 gallon capacity.
    3. The 23 gallon chevy van tank was less expensive than a repro stock tank

    The filler neck ended up in the rear fender (didn't want to go the floor of the bed filler route)

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  10. Love your wheels. Info on the trim ring please.:)
  11. uc4me
    Joined: Feb 3, 2006
    Posts: 516


  12. In my Deuce pickup the original location of the gas tank was right under your butt in the cab,it served a two fold part,gas tank and seat riser.

    Me being 6'4" tall that was not going to work.

    I relocated the tank with a passenger car style tank out back just like all the coupes,sedans and roadsters. HRP
  13. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,241


    What tail lights are you using?
  14. PKap
    Joined: Jan 5, 2011
    Posts: 592

    from Alberta

    Like the others have said, I moved mine for cab room. In my 53, I have gained over 6" of leg room with a thinner seat back and no tank. Being 6'6, I did not fit with it stock. In the 59 I restored, we left the tank and it's workable, but a little tight for a longer trip.

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  15. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    most of the yuppies around here its the false safety factor .
    I grew up on a farm and drove many old pickups with tanks in the cab ( and rags for gas caps ) , never bothered me a bit , and for seat wise 6'4" tall , had plenty of leg room .
  16. uc4me
    Joined: Feb 3, 2006
    Posts: 516


    49 Kaiser
  17. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,793


    This is always a discussion on the FTE site about moving the gas tank in the '48-56 Ford trucks. I personally think the safest place for the tank is in cab. I'm over 6 foot tall and fit OK in the cab of my stock '49. Even if I took the tank out I wouldn't gain any more room in the cab because my stock seat is already within an inch of the back wall of the cab. The only issue I've had with the tank in the stock location is the sending unit gasket started leaking a few years ago. About 50¢ of cork gasket material and a half hour later it was fixed.
  18. MO_JUNK
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,024

    from Rolla, Mo.

    My tank is still in the original location. One consideration; If you switch to aftermarket gauges, the original tank has only one hole. The gas supply tube and the float are one unit. I could not get the aftermarket sender and supply in the original port. There's another flat surface stamped into the original tank. I mounted a TANKS supply tube in that area. Everything is sealed well and no fumes. I considered mounting a tank between the frame rails behind the rearend. Since my truck was already painted, I chose to modify the original tank and avoid the bodywork to the cab. My seat back is already against the rear of the cab so I wouldn't have gained any legroom. But, it would be nice to additional storage space behind the seat. Sam
  19. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,650


    55-59 chevy pickups the tank doesn't get in the way of the seat, it sits low and back. The only legitimate safety issue I've heard of is if you get rearended, and the bed strips get pushed forward and puncture the tank, it could be a problem. I have the tank in the stock location in my 59 truck that I've been driving since 1977. I put a bigger tank under the rear of the bed on the 57 one ton I built a few years ago.

    You'll do whatever you're comfortable doing. It doesn't matter to me what you choose.
  20. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,793


    Ford had the tank behind the seat from '48-73/74, not sure about the last year. That's a long stretch of time but I've never heard of any stories of the tanks in those trucks bursting into flames in an accident.
  21. Andrew Williams
    Joined: Feb 20, 2007
    Posts: 223

    Andrew Williams

    i have an old dodge sweptline and the only problem is the tank is a bit small 17 gallons. i saw one that someone added large tanks on both sides probably 50 gallons each. mine is still behind the seat. it scares some people, a girl cousin of mine rode in it when she was a teen and heard the gas slosh going around a curve. she said what is that? i told her you're sitting on the gas tank and it freaked her out.
  22. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,650


    72 was the last year for the tank in the cab on Fords. When I worked at the junkard long ago, we got in a 67-72 ford pickup that had been partly burned. There was still gas in the tank in the cab.
  23. My '65 Ford truck still has the tank in the original position behind the seat,at this stage of the game I don't have a problem with it's location although I do need to replace the sending unit gasket but what the heck it's almost 50 years old and probably cork. :rolleyes: HRP
  24. Perceived safety value. It doesn't bother me having the tank behind the seat, but at some point I'd like to take my baby son places. At that point, the tank gets moved to the back. It's one thing to get yourself out of harm's way, it's another to have to unbuckle a child too.
  25. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,549

    from California

    if it is no big deal to have the tank in the cab why did they stop doing it in the 70's?

    everyone of our old cars is a compromise in safety one way or another, this is just another example.
  26. Dan in Pasadena
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Posts: 851

    Dan in Pasadena

    Years ago "60 Minutes" did an "expose" on old truck gas tanks. The rubber connection between the metal fill spout protruding out of the cab and the tank itself get totally hard and brittle. It's mostly no issue UNLESS the truck get a serious side or rear hit then the rubber literally shatters more than tears and the gas sloshes all over the cab interior.

    I remember there was some slo mo film showing the gas going all over the cab. I those days many people smoked so the chance of ignition was high. Also, the old vehicles had rigid steering columns and hard metal dashes with protruding metal knobs so people were more injured in what would today be considered a more minor collision. This made it harder for them to get themselves out of the truck, i.e. a longer time in the cab exposed to fire danger before getting out.

    My '55 Chevy truck still has the tank behind the seat but I WILL be moving a tank to under the bed in the rear.
  27. Dan in Pasadena
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Posts: 851

    Dan in Pasadena

    It IS "a big deal" - unless of course you consider being burned to death minor:rolleyes:

    Totally agree our old cars are less safe than newer cars. I have no problem admitting it, apparently others do. It's part of the price of owning vintage vehicles. They're old machines. More reliable in some ways, less in others, simpler in some ways...but at a cost. I'm ALWAYS going to love old cars but I take these things into consideration.
  28. KJSR
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,208

    from Utah
    1. Utah HAMBers

    I'm going to relocate my in cab-tank and also put a roof rack/cage on similar to a forklift......that will protect me when the sky starts falling.
  29. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,967


    There were a number of gas tank related issues & lawsuits through the years that were well publicized at the time, including the in cab tanks, the 73 & later Chevy tank on the outside of the frame, the Mustang combo tank/trunk floor, Pinto tank, etc. Many of the rear tank issues are related to the filler shearing off and fuel spilling. One report states the safest place for the tank is forward of the rear axle, which a large percentage of late model vehicles have.
  30. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,294

    King ford
    from 08302

    I moved mine because I always had an odor

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