Saturday, 7 November 2009

Refurbishing the Fuel Tanks

IH has three fuel tanks, one in each wing plus the header tank in the nose, and these need some refurbishment and pressure testing before they are refitted. For now I only need to have the nose tank sorted but I'll work on all the tanks as they will all need the same treatment.

Firstly, I bought new fittings for each tank to enable me to fit all new AN fittings throughout the aircraft. The tanks still have their original heavy fittings and also showed some signs of mistreatment around the filler where the pipe has been used unsupported when fueling. So the plan is to weld in new fittings and filler necks and reinforce the area around the filler necks.

The tanks were sent away to a local CAA welding company; the tanks were labelled with the fitting part numbers next to the appropriate existing fittings. The results of the welding are shown below.

Main Tank

Wing Tank
The tanks were also pressure tested by the welding company and all pin holes and cracks welded, so I now have a good set of tanks.
The paint was then stripped from the outside of the tanks using proprietory paint stripper and scotchbright to produce tanks ready for priming.
The tanks were first painted with an acid etch primer and then painted in a white epoxy primer. The nose tank will eventually get a white top coat as well as this is visible within the cockpit. Note that when painting the fitting holes were blanked off to prevent paint getting either inside the tanks or into the fittings threads.

The finished epoxy primed tanks.

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