18 Gallons of Lemonade

Once we had stripped the car of the last remaining interior bits, we were ready to tackle another aspect of construction for our endurance racer, the fuel cell. From prior experience we knew that staying out on the track is of the utmost importance. Keeping this haphazard collection of nuts and bolts in one piece is one aspect of that equation, toting around enough gas to keep the engine supplied is another. We knew the stock fuel tank would be inadequate for our super sized requirements, so we super sized the fuel tank. We sourced an 18 gallon monstrosity from the discarded parts pile of a local touring car team and got to work.

We measured where the fuel cell would fit and not interfere with the rear suspension or try to occupy the same space as something that’s important, like a frame rail.

After some quick surgical work with a sawzall, we removed the floorpan and were ready to find a suitable height to place the cell at.

Once the offending floor pan was out of the picture, we started construction of a cradle for the fuel cell. We kept it pretty simple and used 1 inch square tubing. which was constructed into a steel rectangle and we would later bolt the lip of the fuel cell to.

With that portion of the fuel cell installation completed, we turned our attention to actually attaching this miniature super tanker to the car. We knew we wanted the cell to be removable so we could put the car in cold storage (emphasis on cold here in Minnesota) without issue. To accomplish this goal, we extended a portion of the fuel cell cradle so we could weld nuts into the tubing. After welding a few short lengths of square tubing to the car, we could bolt the entire business together and be on our way.

We knew we couldn’t just run a bolt though this tubing either as it would just deform and squish the tubing once a wrench was used. To prevent any issues, we drilled holes and welded in some round tubing to act as a bushing for the bolt.

After locating the best place for the uprights we just made, we loosely bolted them to the cradle and then welded them to the chassis.

With half of the job now complete, we proceeded to measure lengths of tubing that would extend from the uprights to the cradle. Those were then fitted to the cradle and welded once properly located.

Once everything was properly mocked up and fitting in a decent fashion, we removed the fuel cell and finalized the welding for the uprights.

From there, it was a simple matter of drilling the cradle for the fuel cell attachment bolts. After that, everything was bolted in. The fuel cell is located in a decent, but not ideal, location. It would have been nicer to locate it closer to the front of the car so it doesn’t act like a huge pendulum weight when it’s full, but the rear suspension had other plans. It doesn’t hang any lower than the stock tank either, so it should be as safe, if not safer.

3 thoughts on “18 Gallons of Lemonade”

  1. A few tips for Lemons Tech
    1. The fuel cell must be FIA compliant or have a metal fire wall separating the tank from the occupants. You can accomplish this with sheet metal that hinges etc. But what you have now will not pass tech. I have been down that road and mine was brand new but not an FIA compliant tank.
    2. The fuel cell must be supported on the bottom with a frame. I have seen two other cars fail tech due to not having met this requirement. I would just build a frame around it and call it good.

    Hope this helps… The FIA thing is a huge deal and is all over the Lemons Forum for Fuel Cells. I can send you pictures of how we did ours if you want.

    Little Buckaroo

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