Check out the details for part 2 of relocating the gas tank in the rear of my Vitara to gain about 7″ of ground clearance behind the rear tires!
Starting up where we left off with Part 1 where we had pulled the gas tank, cut out some crossmembers and cut a HUGE hole in the floor. Now it is time to start putting stuff back together
First thing is first, we need some new crossmembers. The gas tank is about 15 gallons so that comes out to 120ish lbs when full of gas including the tank. So we need some decent support to keep everything from moving around while wheeling.
1 3/4″ by .120 wall tubing is a very common size used for roll cages, bumpers, and other automotive structural projects. It is a handy size to keep around for projects like this. This is also the only size die I have for my tubing bender.
Read more about tubing benders in my other article – Tools of the Trade! Tubing Benders
Relocating the EVAP system
The EVAP system was developed for capturing evaporative emissions and filtering them so the engine recover and use them. This increases fuel mileage and reduces emissions. They also serve to relieve pressure on the tank and vent it to the atmosphere through filters when necessary.
The Evap system on the Tracker/Vitara is under the passenger side floorboard. During my last offroad trip I hit it with rocks a couple of times and put some good dents in it, so it is time for it to get relocated also.
My goal is to get the EVAP system relocated without causing any check engine lights. Being that this is a 2003, it is probably not as sensitive as the newer cars today. There are literally only two wires in one connector that hook to this system (along with a whole slew of hoses). No reason to just throw it out since PJ is still street licensed and there is always a chance I might sell it or emissions laws change.
Notice the extra cross braces in the pic above are an odd yellow color. I literally cut these out of an old piece of bed frame I had gotten for free a long time ago. Metal fabrication doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to take some extra time to come up with creative solutions.
Some time-saving tricks
I like to do stuff myself, however that doesn’t mean that I like to be inefficient about it. It takes FOREVER to make rounded surfaces and drill holes with the tools I have and they always end up looking like crap. So when I go to mount up something, I go straight to my ‘fab stuff’ drawer where I have already purchased a bunch of pre-cut and drilled tabs where all I have to do is weld them on.
There is no reason to spend extra hours making sub assemblies like tabs that could be bought cheaply pre-made. Not to mention the tabs mentioned above are CNC laser cut and are way better than anything I could come up with. It is like cooking, you could crack and shell a bunch of pecans for hours or you could pay a couple of bucks more to get just the nuts ready to use.
Check out Rusty’s Off-Road for a whole bunch of pre-made offroad and fab assembly parts pre-cut HERE
How to make your own brackets
The pre-made tabs don’t work in all situations though, so here is how I made up a tab for the other side of the EVAP system.
Connecting the hoses
Here is an example of using what you have instead of always going on wild goose chases for parts that may or may not exist. The existing EVAP system had this little tee in it where a tiny hose and bigger hose hooked together halfway down a pipe. Since I am removing the pipe, I needed to find a tee that would work but figured I wouldn’t be able to find one at the store. My solution? I just cut the one out that was already there!
So this turned out to be a very long and detailed post. Congratulations if you read this far.
Lifting and relocating the fuel tanks on these little trucks is something that gets asked about pretty often. I wanted to provide all the details in case anybody else wants to try this project out!
All in all, I probably have less than $100 in this entire project mostly in consumables and hoses/clamps. The bigger investment has simply been in man hours which is OK because this is a hobby I enjoy anyways.
Now YOU, go out and work on something. Otherwise stay tuned for Part 3 where this project takes a bit of a turn into something much cooler.