Avanti gas line rust (fire) problem
below. Gary Crabtree
The problem is so potentially
dangerous for owners of at least Studebaker Avantis 9I cannot
speak to the Avanti lls) on which the original fuel lines have rot
been replaced, that I an going to cut and paste from my book the
section where I describe the Problem and the solution - replace
the fuel lines. I aPo1ogize for this being so long, but take this
seriously. It could save your car from burning up or your house or
shop from burning down. It could save some lives. Here goes from
p. 56 of my book: Finally, check the fuel lines at the point where
they pass through the body and spring hanger bracket in front of
the left rear wheel. you will need to remove the wheel to
adequately inspect this area. Notice how both lines are encased in
rubber tubing (at least they will be if the lines are still
original). Apparently the lines were encased in this rubber tubing
to protect them from rocks that might hit them from the tires or
from the rubbing action that might take place inside the bracket.
I am sure that made good sense to
Studebaker engineers, but what they did not count on is that
People like you and me would still be driving these cars almost
forty years later. Over time, moisture has gotten between the
rubber and the tubing and has been the best possible breeding
ground for rust. If your fuel lines in this area have not been
properly replaced, you almost certainty have a disaster just
waiting to happen. remember, the return line is pumping fuel back
to the tank—under pressure—which means that the minute a leak
occurs in that line it could be spraying gas all over the place,
including onto hot, exhaust system parts. Lest you think I am
being an alarmist, do a little test. Carefully cut away about an
inch of the rubber cover at the end behind the rear wheel. What
kind of shape is the steel in there? Mine was almost paper—thin,
and this is not at all unusual on cars still having the original
When you are convinced that it is
time to replace these lines, here is what you will need and how to
do it. First, drain all the fuel out of your tank. Look along the
outer side of the frame in the general area of the driver’s door,
and you should see a brass Tee with a drain plug. Taking all the
common sense precautions, drain the fuel and transfer it to a fuel
storage can. remove all the routing clamps that hold the fuel
lines in place and mark the threaded holes in the frame with chalk
so you can easily find them again when installing the new lines.
It will also help if you will carefully observe the routing of the
line; and if it is to be some months before you install the new
ones, you might want to draw a “map” or take some pictures before
ripping out the old lines.
Now here is what you will need to
replace those lines. For the supply line you will need four pieces
of 3/8” O.D. brake line in the following lengths and sequence
working from back to front: 30”; union; 40”; Tee with drain plug;
60”; union; 20” piece cut to length at the front for the rubber
tubing that goes to the fuel pimp.
For the return fuel line, us three
pieces of 1/4” O.D. Brake line in the following lengths and
sequence, working from back to front: 63” (cut to 55”); union;
12”; union; 60” cut to length at the fuel pump.
It naturally is easier to install
these with the body off, but it can be done with the body on. In
the case of the supply line I found it easiest to work from the
drain Tee to the front and the rear, putting in the necessary
bends as you thread the tubing into place. With the return line, I
cut the 60” piece to 55” and worked from the area where it
connected to the rubber fuel line that goes to the tank return at
the left end of the cross memter, down the side rail through the
spring bracket and then on forward.
If you are a stickler for
authenticity (and that’s the way to maximize Your Avanti’s value),
you will want to install the new pieces of rubber protective hose
on the tubing in front of the rear wheel. Measure the length of
the old protective pieces and buy new rubber tubing of the correct
ID to slip over the l/4” and 3/8” metal tubing. Since both pieces
of tubing have had the fitting end cut off at the rear
cross-member end, you can slip the rubber tubing on from that end
down to the area where it belongs. Use a little silicone grease to
lubricate the pieces if the fit is too tight.
But you are not done until you have
done one more thing. As a safety measure, use hose clamps or black
silicone rubber cement to seal off the area between the protective
rubber tubing and the metal tubing that runs through it. Yes, do
both ends. You do not want this to once again become the breeding
ground for rust. I used the silicone rubber approach so it would
not disturb the appearance of authenticity.
One last detail on the installation
of the steel fuel line. At the left front corner of the engine, do
not let the fuel line touch, either the head or the engine block.
If it does touch, heat will be transferred to the fuel line and
cause gas in the line to boil, thus causing vapor lock. Also avoid
allowing the line to touch the power steer pump body.
Okay, everyone, go check this out on your car now. I will be curious as to how many still have the original cased in rubber tubing in front of the driver's side rear wheel and how many have rusty fuel lines hidden beneath that rubber.
4/5/2005 4:46 PM page 1 of 1
Stan Gundry, Author / Publisher