Repairs, Uncategorized
Comments 11

Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: The Gas Tank Sump and Filter

Prior to attempting to fire up and drive the Jaguar I wanted to make sure we had good clean fuel and that the filter in the fuel tank sump and the seal around the sump were in good shape. When I got the car I noted that there was a little gas that leaked around the sump. A slight tightening of the threaded sump fixed this – but I was leery and wanted to see what I had. In any case, I wanted to drain the tank of any small remnants of fuel – so taking off the sump was the thing to do.

Again – please do not do this if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing. Gasoline is highly flammable and your are basically unplugging your fuel tank. If you have any appreciable quantity of fuel – or are not sure STOP!  If there is any chance of a flame or spark anywhere near STOP! Get a pro to handle this for you.

Now removing the sump is easy – the bottom of the sump is accessible even when the car is on its road wheels. There is a bolt and soft metal washer that unscrews from the bottom and allows gas to drain. The cylinder assembly of the sump has a hex nuthead on the bottom and using a spanner you can simply unscrew the whole cylinder and drop it from the tank. There will be a large  rubber seal at the top of the cylinder and once the cylinder is dropped you will see the fuel feed tube that goes to the electronic fuel pump and the small fabric or metal filter attached to it.

Removing the drain bolt from the bottom of the fuel tank sump on a Jaguar E-type XKE

The fuel sump cylinder removed and the fuel feed tube and filter revealed on a Jaguar E-type XKE

Now, I found that the fabric filter (likely original with the car) simply fell off the fuel feed tube and the rubber seal on the sump was almost completely perished.  The good news is that these are cheap to replace and I got to them before there was any harm done. I replaced to original filter with a stainless steel one. I also got a new rubber sump seal. The other good news was that the small amount of fuel that came from the sump looked very clean and there was not rust or other worrying residue in the sump bottom, filter or the remaining fuel. I repainted the sump, put things together and moved to the next task.

Old andf new fuel sump filters

11 Comments

  1. Patrick Forestell 1966 FHC says

    Where is that small drain/fuel nut ? I see that larger cylinder unit but is there a separate nut for actual draining ?

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    • G M MacDonald says

      Your fuel sump (cylinder at base of tank at rear of car) may well simply have a nut head at the base of the sump cylinder (after market ones may have this somewhat crudely welded to the metal cylinder). In this case you need to put a spanner on that and unscrew the whole cylinder. Any remaining fuel could then drain all over your hands and arms – so make sure the fuel tank it empty. This is a real hazard if there is any fuel in the tank – and if at all in doubt about this or your ability with it – get a pro to handle this. Once the sump is off make sure to check the wire mesh sump filter – and replace with a stainless steel one if it is dodgy or you are unsure of its composition. Good luck! Glen

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  2. Patrick says

    Since Dec last year I have been trying to get that freaking gas tank sump cylinder off ! I have tried so much torque on that pesky bolt head that the body of the car moves ! The cylinder will not budge. I emptied the tank of old gas. Some evidence of rusty-film substance exist on the inner wall surface.

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    • G M MacDonald says

      This is a common problem. If the tank has gone dry for some period of time the old gas forms a varnish. If there is an ingress to the threads it basically glues things up. Just using a socket and long handle will likely wreck something. Now a disclaimer – gas tanks are very dangerous. When empty they can still be explosive due to fumes (quite explosive). If in doubt take it to a pro. So, this is not a prescritoon or instruction – I am mearly recounting experiences. One would obviously NEVER use heat in a situation like a seized gas tank sump. This could cause an explosion pronto. However, a pneumatic impact wrench with a very tight impact socket has often been used get this sump free with a couple of trigger pulls. One WOULD NOT HOLD THE TRIGGER ON – the risk is heat or ruining the brass nut. ONE WOULD NOT USE AN ELECTRIC WRENCH – one would not want any chance of sparks. Remember if there is any remaining gas it will be in that sump. Again – I am suggesting if you have an issue with getting the gas tank sump off or any other fuel related items and you are not experienced please get a pro to do it and save the worry. Good luck.

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      • Patrick says

        Thanks for your response. I have a 18v impact Driver and the 13/16th Impact Socket. I managed to get the old gas out by removing the fuel pump feed piece and using a small cup to manually withdraw the 5 gallons of lead gas. Inside the tank is a this rust colored film on the innards. A local garage will dispose of the old gas. At the moment I cannot jack up the rear to get the space for the 18v impact driver too do it’s thing.

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      • G M MacDonald says

        As I mentioned – one should only use a PNEUMATIC (air driven) impact wrench. An 18v electric one can potentially spark in the contacts or armature. If the sump releases suddenly or ruptures one could have gas hitting a potential ignition source and this could be deadly to the operator. Again – my advise is get a pro to do this as it could be dangerous to the home mechanic.

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      • Patrick says

        Thanks, I misunderstood ! With all the gas removed, is there still a chance of explosion ? By the way, with the top cover removed, the cover itself cannot be taken off due to the long pipe attached to it that I can’t seem to figure out. How did you get that cover off ?

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  3. G M MacDonald says

    Hi Patrick – Fumes in a drained tank can be highly explosive. In addition, if you use the fuel pump to runt he tank dry any remaining gas will collect in the bottom of that sump. Hence you have to be super careful. There is a nut-like head on the base if the sump cylinder and you have to turn that and it turns the whole sump cylinder and unscrews it. Good luck.

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    • Patrick says

      Hi GM,

      That nut (two days ago) perished after frequent 200 foot pounds of torque. So that nut is now well-rounded/damaged; and besides the actual threads that matter are several inches above with the gas tank itself (of course). I lack a rope (or metal strap) type oil filter tool, which I think might do a better job on the troublesome housing nut. After that fuel filter problem is solved (I hope) there are those 4 nuts that hide between the rear axle and the sump’s floor area ! I can feel the bottom two of the 4 nuts but the upper nuts my hand cannot get to. To drain the sump I removed the many small screws that hold that top tank cover and by hand used a small cup to remove 99.7 % of the 30yo lead-gas (a local mech shop) disposed of the old-gas (he had the Pa shop-license to do so). There is a tad fuel left sitting at the very bottom of the above noted gas tank can/filter. I can see the wall within the gas tank and it is covered in rusted old gas film; wet to the touch; so the tank has to come off and get cleaned and painted somehow within. I am on my own on this restoration, although the barn worker can help me get the rebuilt head on the block. In the end I could drive it to a local mech-shop using a small temp-plastic can. However, it would not be running until maybe Sept. Block was fully rebuilt locally and corroded head is near complete (major welding) in Ga.

      Take care,
      Patrick
      1966 FHC

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  4. Mark Daverin says

    Can anyone tell me the best place to get the bow for the convertible top? Or does it come with a replacement top? Any help will be greatly appreciated. THe forum above about the sump will come in handy… The 67 xke I acquired has not moved in 15 years.

    Best regards.

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    • G M MacDonald says

      You will likely have to find the metal bows used (keep an eye on Ebay) or fabricate them (you will need someone to provide a template). A good trim/restoration shop might be able to help. You might drop XK’s Unlimited and email about this. Good luck.

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