Auxiliary Tanks

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Alex Roux
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Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Alex Roux » 01 Oct 2014 17:35

Hi Guys

I first searched this item as I know it is a fiarly popular topic for thirsty Patrols, but could not find much posted on it recently, so it is a new thread.
For long I have considered the idea of augmenting the fuel capacity on my car.
I know Northern Off road makes good tanks, but I would like to know all the ins and outs.

From what I understand, even if the tank is really good, the mounting can be a big issue and cause of failure.
Metal fatigue on the mountings can creep in when doings lots of corrugated roads.

In summary what I would like to know:
1) Ideal material for the tank (fibre glass, vs Alluminium, what else?)
2) Technique to mount that is off orad / corrugated road proof for exgtensive overlanding
3) Does it have to affect clearance, since I still want to balance the priorities of trail driving and overlanding. Given that I have a 50mm body lift, it may count in my favour. I.e. there is extra space between the tank position currently and the body of the car.
4) What else are typical issues to consider....

Thanks
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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Tinus lotz » 01 Oct 2014 18:21

Alex.....iam going to be stoned again but this is my opinion only....
Look for a place to mount a extra 40l or under the car and leave the standard stuff alone ....put a pump to drop feul in top of main tank when u need it ....
I dont care how good the service of the tank guys are....when you have to take it back for repairs is a problem to me....
Stainless steel cracks ect.
However I haven't heard of problems with standard setup.
If I need more feul I put it in jerry cans if you dont like jerrys ad a extra tank and pump it into your filler hose so if your extra tank fails somewhere in zambia.....you can still get home :mytwocents:

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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Grant » 01 Oct 2014 18:37

Alex,

Do you have the Northern off road tank. I have had mine for about 7 years and did have an issue in the early days but was resolved and no problems since.

The tank is a replacement tank so your old 90lt is removed and there 136lt installed. No problems and works very well. I do around 400 km before the tank moves of the full level.
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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Peter Connan » 01 Oct 2014 19:20

Alex, this whole issue is a tough one.

I like long-range tanks. I think it is the best possible way to carry fuel, as it is low down (centre of gravity), out of the way and out of the cab (less risky/smelly.

But one of my tanks leaks, and I have tried a number of times to find out where, to no affect. There are a number of other things I can do to either fix it or find the leak. For example, there is a special coating/paint that one can pour into the tank, slosh it around and pour out again, or I could do a Liquid Penetrent Axamination. But I have not done so yet.Why not? Because I really don't think it's a big issue. It drips maybe ten drops an hour, which adds up to almost nothing, and in an area where it really doesn't pose a fire hazard. Is this super responsible? probably not, but what the hell.

On the other hand, I got my car with the big tanks already fitted. Total capacity is slightly more than 200l, which gives me a fair reach, and I love it, but I am not sure I would have paid for them if I had to have them made.

To attempt to answer some of your technical questions:
The biggest problem with most aftermarket tanks is that they are designed for the highest possible capacity, and the guys go just a little too far. The shape gets convoluted, making fabrication difficult with lots of welds (high risk of leakage), and affecting the filling (takes longer and needs a particular vehicle angle to fill properly). There is less clearance between the tank and other bits (risk of wearing through), and the mountings are welded directly onto the tank (placing stresses on the tank that the thin sheet-metal they are made from are not great at handling, causing fatgue), instead of hanging the tank in seperate straps.

I am convinced that these design issues are far more important than the material they are made from, and that all these problems can be addressed by intelligent design and by compromising somewhat on the capacity.

However, particularly the last point has a bearing on the materials used. An Aluminium or plastic tank MUST hang, instead of having integral mountings, and really so should stainless steel. My personal favourite is mild steel, but not for Diesel vehicles. Using mild steel, and with lots of stiffening from internal ribbing (which also prevents rapid weight transfer), a mild steel tank can succesfully be made with integral mountings.

My main tank is about 140 litres, is mild steel, does not really affect my clearance angle (it is higher than the line between my axle tube and my towbar frame) and has never given me any trouble. I have measured/drawn it up, and you can have a drawing if you want, but I am not quite prepared to guarantee the accuracy of the mounting hole positions.

The leaky tank is a 60-65l tank fitted where the sub-tank on the Gu is. This is also a mild steel tank with integral mounting points, but these points are very badly designed, and the leak is on or around one of the mounts. I have taken the tank out and filled it with water. No leaks. I have emptied it and compressed it with air to 1.5 Bar. Pressure remains constant for 48 hours. I think it only leaks when hanging by the hangers. A better mount would solve the problem.
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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Kagiso II » 01 Oct 2014 20:22

ek wennnnnnnnnnnnnns Nissan wil weer daai plastiek tenks maak .. Hulle hou net beter as enigiets anders.
Moet bysê - Tyota het goed gedoen met die 180 liter van die Prado .. maar is baie waar wat P C se, hierdie gesweisde goed lol maklik.
Ek en stainless tenks is NIE maats nie =- het nog net sleg ervarings met dit gehad .. selfs die een wat op Boezman is .. klomp kere moes terug vat voor hy reggekom het.
Met THOR het ek gevind 100 litre op die dak werk super, baie goedkoper as n 60 litre SS tenk -- EN jy laai hom net as jy langpad ry. [60 litre by Makro was R800. dwars monteer op dakrak pas nog 2 x 20 liter jerry kanne presies in .. EN ek het met Thor daai Namib trip gedoen .. en dit gemaak :oldtimer: :oldtimer:
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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Tinus lotz » 01 Oct 2014 20:58

Alex kyk bietjie of daar nie nog n plek is vir n spaar tenk nie dan het jy die beste van al die kante ....40l extra by jou 90 en 40 wat jy klaar het.... maak hom met straps vas en pomp oor tot hy leeg is ek is seker jy kan even die volmaak pyp onder vasmaak of so iets :mytwocents:

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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Alex Roux » 02 Oct 2014 20:55

Tinus lotz wrote:Alex kyk bietjie of daar nie nog n plek is vir n spaar tenk nie dan het jy die beste van al die kante ....40l extra by jou 90 en 40 wat jy klaar het.... maak hom met straps vas en pomp oor tot hy leeg is ek is seker jy kan even die volmaak pyp onder vasmaak of so iets :mytwocents:
Met die body lift het ek 'n bietjie meer spasie tussen die bestaande twee tenks en die body. Maar dit opsigself kan nie 'n ekstra tenk beslaan nie. Net dalk groter tenks.
Met die V8 enjin het ek pype wat van beide kante van die enjin af agter toe gaan. Die pype kom bymekaar en loop een pad agter toe by die TC protector plate van PC. So dit maak nie spasie meer nie.
Daar is nog plek onder, maar mens sal mooi moet meet en pas en gaan dink oor die saak.

Ek sien Herrie (Kobus) se bumper laai agter het plek vir 3 jerry kanne. Ekstra 60 liter is handig, dan vat ek nie onnodig meer plek op die dakrak nie.
Maar dan het mens weer nuisance elke keer as mens die deure agter will oopmaak.
Dit is maar wat ek seker op die ou end gaan doen, want ek is nie bereid om risiko op betroubaarheid te vat met die tenks onder die kar nie.
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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Alex Roux » 02 Oct 2014 21:12

Peter Connan wrote:Alex, this whole issue is a tough one.

My main tank is about 140 litres, is mild steel, does not really affect my clearance angle (it is higher than the line between my axle tube and my towbar frame) and has never given me any trouble. I have measured/drawn it up, and you can have a drawing if you want, but I am not quite prepared to guarantee the accuracy of the mounting hole positions.
Thanks, I will keep this option in mind, not quite ready for it though.
So it sounds like, if replacement tanks is the way to go, that it should ideally be mild steel that is mounted by a hanging mechanism (for a bit of flex) - akin to the exhaust's hanging.
I may be able to tweak the design a bit given that I have a bit more space between the tank and the body of the car. But then need to think carefully about the mounting hole positions.

I think much of the fuel range issue is a bit psychological. It certainly gives you more peace of mind knowing how far you still can go. But for some routes through Southern Africa the standard 135 litres total capacity for the petrol engines is only just not enough. Juice spoke of his petrol friend that they had to tow for the last stretch before reaching the next fuel stop in Bots.
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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Tinus lotz » 02 Oct 2014 22:04

Alex 3 jerry kanne op die bumper is n great idee jy kan die arm af haal as jy hom nie nodig het nie......
Ek ook nie krag vir daai tenks wat gaan kraak of breek nie....dis soos om n landie te ry .....wag net om te kyk wanneer hy gaan breek. ....ek is oor dit 95 % gaan jy regkom met 135 liters anders gooi die kanne by :mytwocents:

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Re: Auxiliary Tanks

Post by Kagiso II » 02 Oct 2014 23:18

Is like Thinus says -- most times we tend to carry too much fuel.
As for me, I know where I'm going .. to a point, then it becomes a lot of guess work. Because I go in search of cattle posts and villages.
Thus I had to put extra tank in Boezman -- because the last fuel was Ghanzi .. later Gumare or Esha -- and much later also Shakawe -- which even of late is often without fuel.
BUT that frekkinse stainless steel tank was a BAD experience .. Fortunately the Prado comes with 180 litre capacity -- But if I have to go beyond that reach, I will cary the 60 litre extra tank on the roof [and bviously put it in the main tank as soon as 60 litre is used from the main tank.
Top heavy ?? never bothered me.
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