Trying to remove a fuel pickup from a plastic tank?
Way back when we were having fuel problems with our diesel (read the full story here), we removed one of the 18-gallon Tempo TP-18-T tanks in our Gemini catamaran and wanted to pull the fuel pickup tube to see if it was cracked and thus the cause of an air leak in the fuel system.
It seemed impossible. Everything we could find online said that the metal fitting could not be removed from the plastic; it was permanently attached. And our first attempts to pull or twist it out certainly seemed to confirm that. We found one forum where a guy had cut a circle around the fitting, removed it and then reattached it with a plastic weld, but we wanted to avoid that. And we wanted to avoid buying a new $200 fuel tank — I mean, the pickup might not even be cracked and if it was, surely it was a replaceable part without replacing the whole tank, right?
The answer turned out to be fairly simple. A hair dryer and a pair of Visegrips.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Our tank was used for diesel fuel, which is not explosive. DO NOT use this method on a tank used for gasoline or anything explosive!!
Dave first clamped large Visegrips onto the metal fitting, then we warmed the area where the metal fitting attaches to the plastic for about 30 seconds, using the dryer on high. With the dryer still running, Dave began gently twisting and pulling the metal fitting out — be sure to pull straight out so that you do not deform the opening in the plastic.
In no time at all, it pulled straight out and we were able to see that the pickup tube was NOT the problem. I was very glad we’d figured out a way to check it and hadn’t just bought a new tank!
It was easy to push the metal fitting right back into the plastic neck.
And, for what it’s worth, had the pickup been cracked, collapsed or clogged, it would have been possible to replace that part only.