Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Range Rover P38 fuel pump access

On a Range Rover Classic, and on a Range Rover L322, fuel pump access is a relatively simple task.

Not so on the venerable P38 – for some un-fathomable reason, Land Rover “forgot” to provide us with access.
This means if there are any issues with the pump, or even if access is required just to test circuits etc. the tank has to come out.
The tank is a heavy awkward cumbersome affair, and removal involves the wheel arch liner, filler tube, fuel pipes, vent pipes etc.
There’s no drain to empty it, so syphoning is the only real alternative – not ideal.

I dropped the tank on my project car to change a failed pump, and vowed never to do it again!

So, here’s my solution, which I fitted without the tank coming out – a simple hatch, large enough for the pump to pass through, and providing access to fuel line couplings and electrical connectors.
There’s a frame around the hole permanently fitted to the car, with silicone between it and the body floor.

Onto this is fitted the removable lid, which has a neoprene gasket to ensure a tight seal.

Fasteners are via blind rivet nuts – blind rivet nuts are smooth at the end, and the screws cannot pass through them – this reduces the risk of the fastener chaffing on fuel lines etc.
The aperture cut into the body is trimmed with rubber edging, preventing any risk of injury on sharp edges when withdrawing the pump.

The whole system is covered by the original sound insulation and carpet, which itself is covered by the rear seat in its upright position – day to day, there is no evidence of the modification.

Normally here at OIS, I refrain from chopping pieces off my car, and try and design solutions with minimal impact to the shell – I’m always in mind of the difficulties of removing the modification, and putting the car back to standard, something that one day any owner may want to do.
I’m less fussy about replaceable outer panels (wings, bonnet, doors etc.) but work on the shell is difficult to undo, and so it’s treated with respect.
However, in this instance, there is no alternative to cutting a decent hole in the floor, which in my opinion is probably not reversible once done.

Another point of note is the cutting process – the fuel tank, pipes and wiring are very close to the underside of the floor surface – accidental cutting must be avoided, especially on a petrol car where the risk of spark has serious safety risks - cut with care!

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