Story time: Picking up a gas tank

On my last outing with NW oppo my fuel pump started acting up. I could audibly hear it getting louder and if run for more than 30 minutes or so it started to sound crunchy.

After limping it home, I started a warranty process on the pump. I had a 250iL DW pump, we’ll see what they say about the pump. The plan was to buy a replacement pump and go autocrossing again. A bosch 44 unit would do nicely and would be a nice spare to have while my main pump was being warrantied. Unfortunately Amazon failed to meet their delivery day 2 days in a row so I knew I was not going to make it (I watched the delivery arrive at 3 in the morning in my city, put around all day, fail to deliver, then the driver on the next day passed my house at least 3 times on their “route” before dropping it off late in the evening).


For the price of the pump I could buy an entire new assembly on a modern domestic gas tank that included a sender, pump, hoses, wiring, etc and it would be enclosed in a basket inside of a tank so would be much quieter, so I returned the pump that arrived late and set out to buy a gas tank.

The camaro gas tank is a popular swap, starting in 1999-2002ish they swapped from their metal tank to a plastic unit. That means no rust. Given they use a basket type setup that also means the unit is naturally baffled. The V8 tanks use a returnless type system, but the V6 tanks use a traditional return type system.


This seemed to workout as a lot of people tend to want the V8 setup to go with the donor motor and transmission. My search for the V6 tank started.

For newer parts or popular cars I’ve found going to a recycler is easier than trying to catch one at a pick and pull. I had gone to one across the water in Grapeview before for my power steering setup, but the 2+hour drive was kind of trouble some. I called and they said they had two sitting on a shelf. I found one out in Enumclaw, a call to them and they said to come down and they would pull it for me and grab all the extra bits I was looking for.


It took over an hour to get there. After standing around for a bit waiting for the main guy to get back from lunch he told me the car had been crushed and the system never updated. It was a bummer, but he was nice about it, tried to find another one closeby and we chatted about cars, he had a 4 rotor, yup a 4 rotor engine in his 280z back in the day. Pretty crazy.

Time spent: 1.5 hours

Distance driven: 35 miles

So I called the other yard that had said they had two on a shelf, paid for it over the phone and they said they would have it ready for me in an hour, so I settled in for the long drive across the water.


Time spent: 3 hours

Distance driven: 100 miles

I arrived, and after half an hour or so of waiting, turns out they didn’t know where the tanks were. They had a V8 tank in a firebird that had just arrived, but when the guy went to process the order, the boss interjected and said they couldn’t until Monday. Given it was not a V6 tank and I didn’t want another 4 hour round trip, I decided to just take off with a refund.


To top it off, the GPS seemed to recognize the ferry route as a highway, and given my distraction I didn’t notice until I pulled about a few miles away from the terminal where it was routing me. With the next ferry not due for another hour plus another hour on the ferry I decided to just take the long way around.

Time spent: 6 hours

Distance driven: 200 miles

Looking up the price on the tank, I found it was almost $400 for a replacement unit. That is a lot compared to $50. So back on to searching. It was super frustrating to see that the tanks still popped up as available at the two yards I had went to, but I picked a 3rd. This time in Graham. I called on Wednesday, the guy said they would have it ready by Thursday. So by Saturday I should be good, right? I drove down with the state fair going on there was traffic, so 40 miles turned into a 2 hour ordeal.


Time spent: 8 hours

Distance driven: 240 miles

I found the place and pulled in. Got to the front counter and told them my name and showed them the receipt e-mail. After waiting around the person called me back over, tankless.....


Turns out they shipped my tank to Nevada. WTF........

Apparently they had everything correct, but someone punched in the wrong destination code, so even though the address was less than 15 miles away from where the tank was pulled to the delivery address, the destination code won out and they shipped it to Nevada. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.


I just started laughing, I’m sure that kind of alarmed some people, but at this point I had driven so far and spent two Saturdays to try and save a few hundred. With nothing else I could do I left with a promise from their end to get back to me.

Time spent: 10 hours

Distance driven: 280 miles

They called back and said they could get a V8 tank shipped up, at this point I was really over it, a friend said he gutted the returnless system in his car, so I was going to do the same, I just wanted this tank. I drove down.


Time spent: 11.5 hours

Distance driven: 320 miles

I honestly expected it not to be there. Or for it to have a hole in it or something else equally stupid. It was missing the pads and straps, but at this point, whatever. I picked up the tank to find it had about a quart of fuel in it. With the roll over valve it refused to release the last bit of fuel. So I loaded it into the car. On my way back I stopped for lunch. Returning to the car it reeked of fuel. I rolled down the windows and started the long drive home. Turns out they decided to shut down part of I-5 North. I really hate how they do road construction in this state. In Japan they wait until the middle of the night to start and usually try to finish before the morning traffic. Here they just pick random days. It is so bad at one point when they did construction on the bridge the municipal government set out a notice to not go to work unless absolutely required. With tons of people staying home the DOT announced what a success their zipper merge technique was despite closing 3 lanes of the 4 lane bridge. Ugh I digress.


After sitting in traffic for a while, with the windows down to vent the fumes that had built up in the car. It started to rain. That meant the windows had to come up. @#(*$&*@%^&^$&*%^@*#^$&*@#^$. I made it home.

Time spent: 14.5 hours

Distance driven: 360 miles

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