Junk in the trunk (and rust, and carpet, and foam, and glue...)

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback gas tank removal Removing the gas tank from an old Mustang isn't really that hard, even for an amateur like me. Part of what made this job sort of memorable was looking around at how bad the trunk area looked before, and how much worse it looked afterwards. There's a lot of surface rust it looks like, but the other nasty part is all the carpet, foam, and all the liquid-nails-like glue that was holding it in place. Remember, these were cheap cars. Before the Eleanor craze of the past decade or so, the fastbacks were not the most popular choice (based on production numbers), either when they were new or even years later when they were well 'used'. Now, they're sort of hard to come by, and they all seem to command a bit of a price premium. It's a fair bet to say very few people are installing residential-grade carpet with Liquid Nails in their classic fastbacks nowadays!

Note to fellow noobs: you need a catch-can for the gas when you drain it - that's obvious. What's not obvious is that there was way more gas than I anticipated when we drained it. My advice - use a container that's obviously too big, because you'll want margin in case your ability to estimate the volume of gas based on 'slosh' is as bad as mine.

So take a look at how we did the gas tank removal, and our first look at the horror that's hiding in the trunk.

Let's just peel back that trunk liner and ... oh, dear...

The trunk mat was covering this mess. Please note the carpet that is glued to the wheelhouses. I've already peeled the carpet off the inside of the quarter panel to find foam and glue.

Looking at the back of the taillight panel we see more glue, foam, rust, and lots of seam sealer. There's even some exposed metal somehow.

Passenger side of taillight panel. More of the same...

It's pretty nasty all the way around. 

First step in making it better - take it all apart. Here's the drain on the tank. Get that catch can handy and twist the drain out. I don't have a picture of the gas draining as I was too busy scrambling for another container as my guess of 'a gallon or two' turned into 4 or 5 gallons. Some of it was fresh gas, but it looked more like slightly used oil when it came out. Safety note #2 - have a 5-gallon gas can or some other large sealed container to put your gas immediately after draining. I know it all sounds obvious, but when you have lots of bad gas just laying around you start to feel the urgency.

Now pop the fuel gauge sender line connector and the fuel pick-up line. No return line since it's an old carbureted car. No fuel injection here!

My Apprentice wrenching on the bolts holding the tank in. Liquid Wrench a few times in the days before we pulled the tank helped - no broken bolts. I had 13 bolts holding the tank in the car. The replacement kits have 11 bolts. I'm thinking I have 'extra' bolts (and holes) in this car.

Next is the filler neck, which is mated to the tank with a length of rubber filler pipe and some clamps.

We have the pop-open gas cap - 4 screws hold in on the outside, but notice that the lower right screw isn't there - it's just a bump...

...because the 5th screw for the gas cap is only accessible from the trunk.

Out comes the filler neck. Keep this and clean it up if possible. You wouldn't guess it's a $35 part just looking at it.

And after a little thump/bump/push from below to separate the tank from what little seam sealer was holding it in place, it comes right out.

"Aw, man, it's as nasty as the floor pans inside the car! This was supposed to be well protected!"

(The trunks are common trouble spots on first gen Mustangs. Prospective buyers would be wise to spend some quality time looking around in here before laying out cash. In our case, we knew it was gross looking, but we figured it was mostly surface rust.)

Looking towards the drivers' side taillight.

Remove the fuel gauge sender line and grommet from the trunk sidewall.

'Extra' piece of rubber weatherstripping. Pretty sure it's not supposed to be here.

And, lastly, the electric fuel pump. These cars originally had mechancial fuel pumps mounted directly to the engine. On mine, there is no mechanical pump, just a cover plate, and instead gas is sent to the motor via this 'assembly' mounted with two bolts under the floor towards the back of the car. The electric pump plus the slapper bars and (rumored) 3.89 gears in the rear end tell me the original owner was clearly into 'spirited driving'. Maybe those mouse nests were made of chewed-up speeding tickets? What's really funny, at least in hindsight, is how much trouble those two mounting holes that were left by this fuel pump will cause me in the near future. On the bright side, I'll get better at butt-welding 20 gauge sheet metal.

All of this gets replaced - mounting hardware and filler neck hose - at about $20. It gets more pricey if you need a new filler neck ($35) and pop-open gas cap ($100!). Remember - save your parts!

Except this. Don't save this. This is gross. Flush it with water so you don't have explosive vapors coming out of  it for days, take lots of pics, and then toss recycle it.

And toss this, too. We're going back to a stock mechanical fuel delivery system. At least, that's the plan right now.  ["I will NOT use aftermarket fuel injection, I will NOT use aftermarket fuel injection, I will NOT use aftermarket fuel injection..."]


Anonymous said…
MAN! That trunk looks DISGUSTING! I cant believe there is actually a car under all that grime and rust! Was any of it so bad that you had to start patching it up with any new metal?