December 3, 2007

Leak testing the tank! - 1.5 hrs.

This is a big day. One that I've been waiting for. It's time for the moment of truth with this fuel tank. I'm going to get out my fuel tank tester that I bought from Van's, hook it all up, and inflate a balloon by putting a small amount of pressure in the tank. The tank has been sitting in my warm office for a couple of days, and I believe the final application of sealant has cured enough to go ahead with this. The idea is to see if the balloon will stay inflated, and for how long. If the tank has any leaks, it won't hold up for long.

The tank testing kit from Van's is very simple. It has a fitting that screws into the drain flange with an inflator stem on it. So you take out the drain flange's valve, and screw this fitting into the hole. Then you can hook up a bicycle tire pump to the inflator (or your air hose, but BE CAREFUL! It would be easy to put way too much pressure in the tank!). I bought a bag of party balloons and duct-taped one to the vent line. The fuel return line was sealed tightly shut. I also put some duct tape over the fuel cap to make sure there was no leakage there. Then I carefully pumped some air into the tank until the balloon was inflated as you see in these pictures. Now the nervous waiting game begins to see how long the balloon stays inflated.

I decided to leave the tank in the house where the temperature is stable while I monitor it. Others have seen false effects just due to temperature changes or drastic barometric pressure changes. I can minimize those effects and avoid any false indications by leaving it in the house. But I have to find a secure place and not leave it here in the living room. My silly dog wants this balloon!

Meanwhile, I'm going to have to find something to do. I can't sit here and watch this. It's driving me crazy.

UPDATE: 3 days later... Guess what? NO LEAKS!!! YIPPEE!! Not only did the balloon stay inflated for 24 hours, but here it is, 3 days later. I think the convincing period is over. Out of all the little milestones along the way, I can't think of any that feel quite as good as a finished, leak-free tank. It's time to put this thing on the wing for good. My dog Lyla, seen in the background on the right, finally gets this balloon to play with. (she actually got some others the other night... she loves balloons)

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