In my eyes there’s nothin’ cooler than home-shop problem solving and fabrication—especiall
Recently I received an e mail from a reader by the name of Jack Lee. It seems Jack’s building a ‘57 ½-ton, small window, short bed just as I am. He said that the articles I’ve run so far (regarding my project truck) have been interesting and that they seem to be running parallel to the mods he’s done or is going to be doing on his in the near future. That said, he wanted to pass along an idea he’d seen and performed regarding moving the gas tank from in the cab to the rear of the pickups frame. Jack said that most installs he’d seen in the past involved aftermarket tanks with the filler necks coming up through the bed floors. Jack took a different approach with his and thought it worthy to share.
Jack researched OEM-style replacement gas tanks looking for one that could be used in the rear of the pickups frame and not in the cab like the original. He finally settled on a reproduction ‘87 Chevy Blazer fuel tank from Dorman Products (#576-321) that looked as though it’d work well. This particular choice will give him a 25-gallon capacity plus uses a stock GM sending unit / in-tank fuel pump for his TBI motor, as well.
To make room for the Blazer tank the rear cross members needed to be relocated. The upper shock mount cross member was removed and relocated forward of the axle rather than behind the axle. He turned the member around backwards and bolted it to the top frame flange.
Once Jack researched and found an OEM-style aftermarket tank that’d fit his needs the next
The cross member was then split open at the ends and widened to fit to the lower framerail flange. The rear cross member was turned around backward as well and moved to the rear end of the frame rails with very little modification needed (by turning the member around so that the opening was toward the rear of the truck made bolting the tank retaining straps possible once the tank was in place).
Using some 1x2-inch rectangular tubing three cross members were made. Two will bolt to the top frame flange for the tank to sit against and one in front of the tank will bolt to the bottom flange and will be the front attaching point for the tank straps. With the two cross members above the tank and under the frame flange the tank is spaced downward by an inch making room for the filler neck to clear the bottom of the truck bed while still clearing the frame rail. The front cross member fits in just behind the rear axle cover so things worked out well.
Jack plans to install a gas filler door of some type into the left rear fender, but that will have to wait until he gets to the body work part of the project. Jack’s rebuild project can be viewed in detail at http://home.comcast.net/~57pickup/ .
If you look close at this image you can see where Jack reshaped the front shock crossmembe
Using a few lengths of 1x2-inch rectangular tubing cross member/tank mounting supports wer
With the two cross members above the tank and under the frame flange the tank is spaced do
Jack’s placement of the tank in this manner made room for the filler neck to clear the bot
And here ya have it—a high capacity, affordable alternative to a custom rectangular rear-m