Feeling a Little Fuelish

No, that’s not a typo. With the JeepMonster’s construction moving forward, it’s now at the point where I have to make decisions about other things – like the fuel system.

I decided long ago that I wanted as large a fuel tank as I could reasonably fit, because my plans for this beast include lots of travel where I don’t know how close the next fuel stop might be. Knowing also that my mileage will be, um, somewhat less than stellar (especially when traversing dirt roads and trails in lower gears and low range), I decided that I wanted a 40-gallon capacity.

With that in mind, I searched the Interwebz diligently for tanks of that size. I looked at marine tanks. I looked at custom tanks. I looked at dual tanks. I even looked at water tanks! (But only because they popped up in the search results.)

I finally found what I was looking for when I spotted a listing for a 40-gallon steel tank for a 1997 Chevrolet P30 van (aka a Step Van – you know, like they make food trucks and delivery trucks out of) with fuel injection. It’s narrow enough – barely – to fit between my rear fenderwells; it’s low enough – barely – to fit below the *tops* of the fenderwells, and it’s short enough to give me some usable space behind it in my “cargo bed.” And the price was right – around $100, versus $600 or more for a custom tank. So I bought it.

The next step, obviously, was to get the fuel-pickup assembly so I can transfer the 40 gallons of gas from the tank to the engine as needed. It turns out that the throttle-body assembly is different from the multi-port assembly (MPI includes the fuel pump in the tank, while TBI doesn’t). And I couldn’t find a TBI assembly *anywhere*!

I searched high and low on the Interwebz and came up empty (no pun intended). I finally found an exploded-drawing illustration of what I needed at Wholesale GM Parts Online, but not all of the illustrated parts were listed. In fact, none of the parts I needed were listed.

So I printed out the page and went to see my friendly parts guy at the local Chevy stealership. It’s been a while since I was there last, having sold my Chevy van years ago and having a dead Jeep (with the 350 SBC) for 10 years, so it turned out that “my” guy wasn’t there any more. But the gentleman behind the counter was friendly, too, so that was all right. He looked at my illustration, and he looked at his computer screen, and he told me the fuel pickup assembly I needed was discontinued.

Seriously?!?

Yup.

Well, no wonder I can’t find it online. Crap. Now what?

“Chevy parts guy” (not his real name) suggested I try Merle’s Auto Parts. Having no other options, I thanked Chevy parts guy and went to Merle’s.

The gentleman behind the counter at Merle’s was immensely helpful, and friendly, too! He looked and looked and looked but couldn’t find any cross-references from the discontinued part to any other part numbers. (You’d think that a fuel-pickup-and sending-unit assembly would be more-or-less generic, but apparently you’d be wrong. At least in this case.) So he wrote down the AC Delco part number for me and sent me on my way, after recommending that I try LMC Truck online.

I looked at LMC, but they didn’t even have the P30 as an option under Chevrolet, so that was a total zero.

-sigh-

Now what? Am I going to have to go digging in junkyards for one of these?

As a next-to-last resort (I really didn’t want to go junkyarding), I tried a Google search on the part number – and (Ta-Da!) actually found TWO places that carry them (Amazon and eBay). Both of them looked exactly like what I need, and the eBay unit was half the price of the Amazon unit, so I bought it off eBay.

Once I get the tank and the sending-unit-fuel-pickup assembly, and make sure they play well together, I’ll take them over to R&W for fitment. Then we can move on to the next challenge!

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Categories: JeepMonster, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Feeling a Little Fuelish

  1. Miles Weigold

    Dave, Clearly the deeper you get into this the greater the degree of difficulty. I admire your tenacity.

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