Good news for those who are wondering if a Long Ranger auxiliary fuel tank will fit in a U.S.A. spec JK 4-door... oh yes, like a glove.
It was a long day of work on the XV-JP today. First was the task of uninstalling the auxiliary batteries to make room for the new Long Ranger fuel tank that will be taking up the space where the batteries currently live:
For what it's worth, here's a pic of the storage compartment under the floor in the rear of the EarthRoamer. This is where I intend to put the two group 31 auxiliary batteries- if I can somehow make them fit:
I measured and remeasured this space a couple of times, and I think that if I cut out the floor, cut out the box, fab up a new box about 1/2" deeper, 1" wider, and about 2" longer, not to mention square instead of rounded corners, they'll be a perfect fit. I'll model it up before any cutting though... just to make sure.
Installation of the Long Ranger fuel tank required 4 holes do be drilled through two different chassis cross-members, 2 holes in each. The first hole is required so that a heat shield can be placed to protect the fuel tank from the hot exhaust pipe. Here's a pic of the heat shield in place, batteries out of the way, and the area cleared for installation of the fuel tank:
There are a couple of ways that the installation steps can be altered to break up the work a bit, so that all of your time isn't spent under the truck. One of the steps is to install a breather for the Long Ranger tank. This requires one to cut the factory breather tube, place a little metal fitting to fill the section that you cut out, then attach it all with hose clamps. Sounds easy, right? Well it would be if there was any other way to access this thing. The only access though, is through the left rear taillight hole, and it's difficult to fit both arms in there to do the work. Here's the finished product of that step, looking forward through the taillight hole:
The tank requires a bit of servicing and build-up before it gets installed. The first thing that I did was to thoroughly vacuum out the tank. It was pretty clean in there, but there were a few metal shavings (I suspect from fabrication) in there, so I'm glad I took the time to take this precaution. A bit of time spent in prep is a lot easier than changing out a damaged fuel pump.
Before the tank is mounted, the installer need to add a couple of things- the fuel gauge sender unit, a breather hose between the two high points of the tank, the filler hose to the main tank, and the fuel pump:
The next big step is to test fit the tank. It's hard to maneuver it in there, especially by one's self, and a floor jack came in quite handy. Once the tank is in place, the next step is to drill more holes through the cross-members to mount it, 1 in the front, and 2 in the rear. It's important that the holes are in the correct location, otherwise there may be some driveline interference when you're flexed. Tip: you'll need a very long 3/8" drill bit for the rear right hole.
Once the holes are drilled, you get to practice your skills as a contortionist. This was my least favorite part of the install- you're all crossed up, then your neck, arm, whatever, gets tired, then cramps up and causes you to drop a nut that you were trying to place right into a cutout of the cross-member. Then the whole thing comes out, you retrieve the nut, and start over. meh. As a side note- if you're planning this install, be it known that there's no room for mechanics gloves, and you'll probably cut up your hands really nicely. If your day job is being a hand model or something, you'll probably want to have this tank professionally installed.
Anyways, here's what it'll look like when you *finally* get the thing in:
After you finally get this thing all bolted up, you feel pretty good- it's in! then you remember that you still have some plumbing to do, not to mention that you still have to relocate the emissions goodies. Actually, the emissions goodies are supposed to be relocated prior to final installation. I believe that on a typical JK 4-door that this option would be the best route to go. However, because of several factors of what;s under the EarthRoamer, I though it to be best to save that step until after the tank was in. Hopefully I don't kick myself for this later! Here's the rear of the tank prior to finishing up the plumbing:
A lousy shot, I know, but it was the end of a long day. I'll get some more pics up later this week when I finish the plumbing and emissions goodies re-installation and relocation.