Fuel tank skid / fuel pump / Dixon-Bate Tow Jaw - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 19th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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Fuel tank skid / fuel pump / Dixon-Bate Tow Jaw

Finally got this project finished a couple of weekends back. It took quite awhile and there were some setbacks along the way. It started as a project to install a Dixon-Bate tow jaw. I quickly realized that I would have to drop the tank to install the jaw, so I figured that I might as well install a new fuel tank skid while I was at it. Since I was dropping the tank, I also might as well install a new fuel pump, too.

The fuel tank skid came from Stephen Peters (safarirover). It is a great product and a good value. It is made from aluminum; I took mine to the power coaters and had it coated semi-gloss black to match the tire carrier. They did a nice job.

The first complication came when I removed the hex cap screws that hold the skid in place. They were rusty and I had neglected to hose them down with Liquid Wrench in the days leading up to the repair. When I put a wrench on one of them, the head twisted off the body of the bolt. I tried a bolt extractor, only to have that break off in there as well. I ended up grinding the entire square reinforcing plate (including broken bolt) and welding on a new plate that I cut from a piece of steel bar. Once that was welded on, I drilled and tapped it, then painted it to match the crossmember and I was back in business.

Problems continued when I tried to disconnect the fuel lines. The feed line came off without a hitch but the return line had apparently been cross-threaded by the last person to work on them. The threads stripped out and I was left with this mess:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/defende...7624474481858/

After a futile search for a new set of SS fuel lines, I decided to take the "Ron-good" method. I cut the hose and line and used a short piece of flared hard line, along with some fuel-grade tubing and SS hose clamps, and spliced the line.

On a side note, if you are doing this project, you can disconnect the fuel vapor vent line (with the green connector) by bending a section of a wire coat hanger into a "U" and pressing the ends into the fitting. It comes right apart; no special tool needed.

The D-B jaw was also a pain in the ass. A few months back, I estimated the length of the bolts needed to mount the jaw and ordered some from McMaster. Once the fuel tank was out, however, I realized that I had ordered them too long. I re-measured and re-ordered, only to realize that I had neglected to factor in the thickness of my Expeditionware backing plate. Crap. I carefully measured for a third time--the proper length is 100mm, for those that are doing this project--and placed yet another McMaster order and was finally able to install my tow jaw.

For the reinstallation of the skid plate, I sourced some type 316 stainless steel hex cap screws and washers and used a liberal application of anti-seize on these.

Still, the problems continued. Everything was put back together but the truck wouldn't start. I could hear the fuel pump but it wasn't getting fuel. Another de-assembly and re-assembly later, it was determined that the fuel lines were reversed at the fuel pump. Fuck. Lesson learned: don't do these things late at night.

The finished product looks awesome and it was worth the sweat equity.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/defende...7624474481858/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/defende...7624474481858/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/defende...7624474481858/
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  #2  
Old August 19th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Nick Vogel
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Chris, I did the skid plate swap as well, but I didnt drop the tank. Can you enlighten me on what steps you have to take in order to drop it? I am assuming the fill and overfill lines have to be removed from the fill nozzle, ect, but not sure on the order.

The tow jaw looks awesome.
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  #3  
Old August 19th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Nick,

You have to drain the tank (I used a Super Siphon), disconnect the fuel fill and overfill lines, disconnect the vapor vent line, disconnect the fuel lines in front of the tank, and disconnect the fuel pump electrical connector. I don't recall having to do this in any specific order. You may have to tweak the fill nozzle to get the siphon in.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Thanks. Where is the wire harness to the pump located at? Does it have enough slack to move things around without damaging?
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  #5  
Old August 19th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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The harness is right down there by the fuel nozzle. Not hard to get to. There's enough slack. The hardest part is disconnecting the fuel lines. Be very careful and slow. Use line wrenches. Also, it would be wise to hose the fuel skid bolts down with Liquid Wrench penetrating oil for a few days prior to pulling them off.
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  #6  
Old August 25th, 2010, 09:26 AM
MonLand
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Would anyone remember the number and size of the bolts that hold the gas tank skid by any chance? I'd like to stop by tonight and buy some to reinstall the skid/tank and at least make the truck drivable.
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  #7  
Old August 25th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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It's 6 M8 100 pitch I believe.
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  #8  
Old August 25th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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About 1" length? A little longer?
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  #9  
Old August 25th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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I used either 25mm or 30mm M8. I don't remember which, because I ordered both for different things. 1.25mm pitch. McMaster 93635A322, I believe.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 12:45 PM
MonLand
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Looks like I will retap everything. I checked and i have used a 10mm 1.5 pitch tap for the places where the bolts broke... Anyway, finally got stainless steel bolts last night for the reinstall. Of course there was no 30mm and not enough 25mm, so I'll make do with 20mm as well as/or 45mm that I'll likely have to cut.
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  #11  
Old August 27th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonLand View Post
Looks like I will retap everything. I checked and i have used a 10mm 1.5 pitch tap for the places where the bolts broke... Anyway, finally got stainless steel bolts last night for the reinstall. Of course there was no 30mm and not enough 25mm, so I'll make do with 20mm as well as/or 45mm that I'll likely have to cut.
In my experience cutting a SS bolt will result in a rusted fastener faster than using a zinc coated fastener of the correct length!
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Old August 27th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Really? Is stainless steel just a surface treatment? Jeeze... Did not think of that, always thought this was better than zinc plated (and softer) because this was a special alloy.
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  #13  
Old August 28th, 2010, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jefhuf View Post
In my experience cutting a SS bolt will result in a rusted fastener faster than using a zinc coated fastener of the correct length!

Watcha smokin? Correct length bolts is good and all, but SS rusting because you cut it?!

The bigger issue IMO with SS fasteners, is the relatively low shear strength of most of SS bolts of equal size, as compared to 8.8.
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Old August 28th, 2010, 06:56 AM
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The rusting typically occurs because you will be using a ferrous blade (assuming hacksaw or sawzall) and the particles from the blade that wear off during the cut become embedded in the SS and rust. The bolt will not rust through, just have surface rust. This is also why it is recommended that you don't use uncoated or black oxide wrenches on SS. Some people go as far as to have a dedicated kit of chrome plated wrenches just for SS (this is not me!).

Is shear strength really that much of a concern for a skid plate bolt? I know that I had the same thoughts at first which is why mine is currently installed with some class 10.9 bolts but long term I plan to countersink my skid plate holes and use some SS pan head cap screws.

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  #15  
Old August 28th, 2010, 06:55 PM
MonLand
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I'm not worried for the skid plate and SS hardware. I am only mildly concerned with the stock 8.8 bolts on the front bumper since I'm using it for winching. So far so good! not trying to make anything overkill.
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I have an ex MoD and an ex wife. The two no longer conflict with each other.
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  #16  
Old August 29th, 2010, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jefhuf View Post
The rusting typically occurs because you will be using a ferrous blade (assuming hacksaw or sawzall) and the particles from the blade that wear off during the cut become embedded in the SS and rust. The bolt will not rust through, just have surface rust. This is also why it is recommended that you don't use uncoated or black oxide wrenches on SS. Some people go as far as to have a dedicated kit of chrome plated wrenches just for SS (this is not me!).

Is shear strength really that much of a concern for a skid plate bolt? I know that I had the same thoughts at first which is why mine is currently installed with some class 10.9 bolts but long term I plan to countersink my skid plate holes and use some SS pan head cap screws.
So its the residual ferrous material from the cutting disc rather than the SS that rusted...

For most SS fasteners you are replacing with a weaker fastener than what was there before. Perhaps the original bolt spec was overkill for the skid plate. I don't know/care. There seems to be a fascination with replacing fasteners with SS and I don't get it. Proper spec bolts and anti-seize seems like a better option. ymmv
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  #17  
Old September 2nd, 2010, 12:29 AM
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The skid weighs maybe 15 pounds and a full tank of fuel weighs about 90 pounds. Call it 140 pounds for everything. If I recall correctly, there are six bolts on there. I really don't think M8 stainless is going to have any problem supporting that weight.
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