1982 Fiat Spider 2000

Fuel System

The car had had about half a tank of gas in it and over the years this slowly turned into varnish. I finally drained it in 2003 or so and used it in the lawnmower and edger where it burned, if somewhat reluctantly.


Removed the fuel tank. I had to cut the fuel pipe filler line because it had become very hard. Took out the sender and removed all the hoses. The tank was dry with a middling layer of varnish and places of light rust.


I got the POR-15 tank sealing kit and started in on it. (Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures.) There are several chemicals in the kit to be used sequentially. The first is the Marine Clean, which seems to be basically strong degreaser. It cleaned up the varnish fairly well, and to help it out I stuck the nozzle of the pressure washer in the sender and fill holes and let fly. The baffles prevented me from getting to the whole tank in this manner but some is better than none. I also sprayed the supply, return, and vapor tubes. The next ingredient is a mild acid which prepares the metal for the sealer - I applied this and again cleaned out the tank with the pressure washer, and dried it with the blower on the shop-vac. It took quite a bit of blowing with the tank in the sun before I was convinced it was completely dry. Then I dumped the sealer in, rolled it around for a while, and drained it. It was difficult to drain because none of the openings in the tank are located at low points, so finally I turned the tank upside down so it pooled in the corner by the sender hole and sucked it out with the top-side oil changer. I didn't think the oil would mind. (N.B. I did not wear gloves while using the sealer. Do so, especially if you have go to work in the next day or two.) I left it in that position to cure so that any more pooling sealant would be away from the small openings in the tank.


I cleaned the dirt and old foam gasket from outside of the tank and brushed the rusty places down to metal. Then I painted it with POR-15 (remembering to wear gloves this time).

Here's the tank part of the way through the cleaning and brushing:

And now after painting. The POR-15 is so black when wet that it seems to suck all the light from the picture. You can see the gray sealant inside:

I also ordered a new sender today - the old one was rusty, and besides I cut the top plate off to use to seal the sender hole while when applying the sealer to the interior of the tank.


Finished painting the tank and while that dried I took off the pump and filter. The pump is seized, and no wonder:

It looks like it's been under water (as indeed it likely was). I shook some of the junk out of it and I'll see if it can be revived with some soaking. I have a spare from the Mercedes (at least I think it's the same pump) but I'd rather not use it.

Took the battery out and tried to charge it, but no go. I found a battery in the trunk of the 500SEL that I had forgotten about and it seems OK so I'll use it for the time being.


After a lot of pounding and cursing and pressing, I got the mounting bracket off the fuel pump and submerged it in a quart jart of mineral spirits. Hopefully that will loosen it, although from the rocky chunks of stuff coming out of it, I have serious doubts that it will ever be useful. In fact, there is so much grainy stuff coming out, I wonder if someone put sand in my gas tank when the car was parked in the driveway for a few weeks in 2002. I am going to install a strainer (probably just one of the pre-filters from the 300D if I have any left over) to keep from ruining future fuel pumps, especially if my sealing job fails.

I took apart the filler tube and managed to cut off the rest of the rock-hard hose. Installing the new hose had been something of a puzzle on Justin's car - I remember that he spent some time trying to get it on. I had two things working in my favor - my hose was brand new and more pliable, plus soap. I lubed up the upper end of the hose and it slid right on the pipe. There is just enough room in the upper reaches of the fender to reach from underneath the car and screw down the ring clamp.

Then, I put the gas tank in, although I'm going to have to take it out again since my attempt at a home-made gasket from an inner tube failed. But it looks nice.




I received the Ebay fuel pump today. I installed it temporarily with the new filter, hooked up the hoses to the gas tank, and put a couple of gallons in it. Then I hooked up the hold Mercedes battery and cranked away....the engine turned over but nothing happened. I fiddled with it for a while, and then poured enough gas in it to make the reserve light go out (the gas gauge works beautifully at least) and then cranked away, and it started for the first time since 2001 or so.

It ran like crap of course, only on two cylinders at first and then on three. The fourth one never got to firing but the car settled down to a lumpy idle after blowing a cloud of black smoke out. I let it run for a bit and then noticed the return line to the tank was leaking (forgot to tighten it down) so I killed it and disconnected the battery. But progress has been made! I still need to seat the tank properly and tighten down all the screws for the filler pipe and tank.


After a pretty long hiatus, we got back to fixing up the car. The fuel pump was cannibalized for the Brava, and after some electrical issues were mostly patched (and I mean that in the strictest sense of the word), we managed to get some gas in the middle of the Great Austin Fuel Shortage of 2017, and put it in. We hooked up our hotwired ignition and clicked on the AFM and the pump ran, but no gas is coming out of the tank. I poked and prodded and cleaned the pipes but nothing worked. I guess over the years either the interior of the tank corroded enough to block the outlet or that stupid sealant kit caused some issues. At any rate, I ended up ording a new tank, to be delivered soon.