The day we bought the bus and saw the fuel tank we knew it was something that would need replacing at a later date, but we did expect to get a little more road time out of it than the 6 months we actually have. Although we have owned the bus for longer we only had it on the road for around 6 months.
The main shock came about the fuel tank back around March 2022 when we left to go into a new yard on the same day to enable us to move the vehicle we prepared and aimed to take for MOT. However like many of our best-laid plans, we arrived at the fuel station and start to pump that lovely oil called diesel stood on the offside of the vehicle, quite a happy pumping in over £150 worth of fuel before someone in the team came from the Nearside and said the fuel was coming out as quick as we were pumping the fuel in. We stopped pumping and moved the vehicle off the forecourt to a quiet side road where we could see if it was fuel or just water after being sat around for so long. however you guessed it. There was a small hole between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way up the tank.
This was repaired after an inspection of the rest of the tank which lead us to the opinion that the tank was a sealed unit once this was repaired and we could try again for the MOT on a different day but we would have to monitor the tank and see how it goes.
We are pleased to say then with this repair we passed the MOT on the 22nd of March 2022 there were no visible leaks and we didn’t really use the vehicle until we ran the Newton-le-willows town show shuttle service. On this day we noticed we had a small puddle where we had been parked at the bus stop but it seem to mostly smell and feel of water rather than diesel so again inspected it and could not see anything wrong with the fuel tank apart from it being corroded and in need of replacement.
Fast forward to route filming we filmed 2 routes on one day with no signs of issues the following few days later we went out to film another one and got halfway through when the fuel pump started to show issues and that is in another post. However, when we pulled up to fix the issue we noticed within the few minutes we were there. A large enough puddle under the fuel tank location was on the road and we knew there weren’t any puddles or out we had run through as it was a dry and sunny day so there was no chance it was rainwater coming off the tank. We could also see quite an obvious sweat leak from the side of the tank, The bottom of the tank was wet too at first we thought this was just a splashback when moving so with not much choice we decided on a leak and faulty fuel pump to head back to the yard quickly.
Once back at the yard we let it sit for a day or two then went back to inspect the tank to try and find further leaks or see the place it was leaking from however to our shock it was clear that the tank was sweat leaking from the side and around both straps the only place it seems not to be leaking from was the rear of the tank where the fuel sediment tank was. We went away for a day and had an emergency meeting regarding the plan and the fuel we had inside the tank. It was decided that we would drain it out by slowly destroying the tank and pumping the fuel out.
On the day we decided to drill the tank on the rear where the metal was strongest to prevent a small hole from becoming a massive hole. As a surprise, it took around 2 hours to pump out the fuel which gave us around 110L of diesel that was useable. This process was a rather good and controlled way of getting the fuel out.
Next came the removal of the tank which was a challenge in its only right. Looking at the mounting of the tank they were badly corroded although the straps looked good the mounting for them was not. There are 4 bolts that hold the straps in place we started off well with the first 2 of them turning and came off without any issue really however, there is always a however, the other 2 first one we turned just slightly and it broke off snapping the mount, The 2nd one took a little more force to get it moving and then once we thought it was turning BANG! is sheered clean off leaving the tank fully attached on one side. Even with these bolts broken and removed the straps would not move. As two of the mounts were toast due to the sheering we took the decision to cut the other 2 off further up which would release the tank from its mounts. How wrong it was the tank and straps stayed in place.
Having to move to another option in order to free the tank from the bus we attempted to jack the tank up slightly to put a little strain on the mounts to break it free. What this actually resulted in was the tank bending under the weight of the bus that the tank was lifting up. Plan B was quickly found which was to jack the tank up via the mounts which were enough to break it free slightly. once it was slightly free we put in Plan C which was booting it to giving it a good tug which slowly but surely broke it free from the mounts once it was pulled out we could in the light of day truly see how bad the tank was and was we glad we decided to get it off and drain the fuel as that tank wouldn’t have lasted much longer.
We did have some good news from Town and District Transport Trust who said they had a bus they were scrapping and we could have the fuel tank of that vehicle for £100 however a week later they pulled out of the deal. We then contacted a few different companies with prices ranging from £357 + Vat to the stupid price from ADL for over £1000 + Vat we were like we want a fuel tank, not the bus attached to the tank. This hunt then for a tank has turned into a nightmare.
We decided on the off chance to take a trip the other day to the scrap yards in Barnsley with the expectation of getting a tank off a bus ourselves however within minutes of getting there we asked and they delivered us a tank that was perfect off another dart which took us by surprise we paid £100 for a pretty good tank next we have to do some chassis repair and fit it to the vehicle.
There will be a video coming out soon if it hasn’t already shown the removal of the tank and how much of a pain it was.