Thu Jun 14 2007

Drilling fuel tank fittings

I wasn't totally satisfied with my test of weaving the capacitive sender wire through holes. The edges of the holes were kinda digging into the insulation. So I used a miniature screwdriver to bend the edges of the holes so the wire could pass through more easily. Here's what it looks like. No more problems with the insulation, but it's sure an ugly installation.

Let's see where the wire needs to run on the rib. Hrm...if I drill a series of holes here, they're going to go through the stiffening ring on the left.

Routing the wire this way is nearly as direct, but avoids the stiffening ring.

I'm not sure I want to weave the wire through a bunch of holes. I'm going to wait and consider making some wire clips that are screwed down.

After thinking about it some more, I decided that the simplest, fastest, easiest thing to do is just drill the series of holes and weave the wire through. Who cares if it's ugly...this thing is gonna be sealed up in the tank and noone's ever gonna know. Here are the two ribs with the wire routing holes drilled and stretched out so the edges don't cut the insulation.

Next, I had to decide on placement of the various fittings and connectors on the inboard most rib. Here's what I ended up with. Going from left to right are the fuel pickup (no fitting shown), the return line, the capacitive sender BNC connector, the capacitive sender compensator BNC connector, and finally the vent line on the right.

I drilled all these locations with a #40 drill bit then clamped them to the drill press table and used a series of increasing diameter drill bits to open up the holes.

It actually took quite a while. After about 2 1/2 hours, I had all the fitting and connector holes drilled in both inboard ribs.