whats your rule for welding close to a fuel tank

  1. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    5,108
    cambridge uk
    just wondering for those that work on lots of cars , how close do you get with welding /grinding until you decide to remove the fuel tank

    was working up front the other day , but noticed the sparks from grinding were probably reaching the tank area
     
  2. minimutly Member

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    500
    Location:
    Pembrokeshire Wales
    Depends if its plastic....
     
  3. CompoSimmonite Member

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    4,273
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    Werrington, Stoke-on-Trent
    Make sure life, car and building insurance is up to date.
     
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  4. The_Yellow_Ardvark

    The_Yellow_Ardvark Member

    Messages:
    11,529
    Location:
    England
    If it can't be removed or filled.
    Fumes will go up quicker than liquid.

    Wrap and protect tank in a fire blanket. Angle to sparks away from the tank.
    Look at ways of attacking the weld from another direction.

    But most modern tanks are easy(ish) to remove.
     
  5. zzr1200

    zzr1200 Working at 650 ft on open steel work

    Messages:
    3,611
    Location:
    Brimington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
    Also depend on the type of welding process being use (arc/gas/mig/tig) and how close you have to weld to the tank, also depends on the fuel diesel or petrol?

    Arc welding 4 inches on diesel, petrol no way, oxy/ace welding petrol fumes are your enemy here, 6 inches heat wise, mig 2/3 inches maybe less and tig not tried it as yet.

    The above distances are my personal comfort zones only and many factors could/would change the above.
     
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  6. Lazurus

    Lazurus Member

    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Norfolk uk
    Be careful if working in a pit had a guy locally who was injured when the fumes lay in the bottom of his pit then ignited - oh and no nylon undies allegedly they can spark!!:o:o
     
  7. mr haynes Member

    Messages:
    317
    Location:
    uk
    Gauntlets are good for being jammed in to protect fuel tanks, or anything else for that matter. Steel plates or even a metal shovel to form a break.
    Cardboard good for catching sparks
     
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  8. The_Yellow_Ardvark

    The_Yellow_Ardvark Member

    Messages:
    11,529
    Location:
    England
    I would be careful with that.
    A few years ago, we had to replace and repair parts of a fire alarm system after a fire in a 3 ramp garage.

    The welder had got a fire watcher, he used some cardboard as a spark arrester. It worked well for that.
    They did a nice job, I saw it.
    They dumped cardboard into the bin, along with other waste.
    No one saw the hot ember.

    A few hours later, open bin, sudden air rush and they had a decent fire.

    It was put out after the use all all their fire extinguishers and no one was hurt.

    But the results of the burn was impressive.
     
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  9. Shoggi

    Shoggi Member

    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Bradford west yorkshire
    I welded the rear chassis on my pajero about 8 inch away from the tank
    I bought some fire blankets for this in advance but being diesel I don't think it would of mattered if I hadn't of bothered using them
    But safety first lol
     
  10. Kent

    Kent Member

    Messages:
    10,002
    Location:
    Bowland, Lanacshire,UK
    Say " thanks but no thanks " near a tank and it comes out along with the fuel lines
     
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  11. the snooper

    the snooper getting older by the day

    Messages:
    20,155
    Location:
    Hull UK
    I've only ever removed them if they were in the way, if you can't smell fuel you should be ok but do try and shield it, I've also welded straight through fuel lines twice in my younger years :laughing:
     
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  12. The_Yellow_Ardvark

    The_Yellow_Ardvark Member

    Messages:
    11,529
    Location:
    England
    Seen that done.
    The Norbert down the road, didn't want to pay for some welding on his Caviller( shows how long ago it was).,
    Brought the kit and set to.
    How hard can it be was his reply.

    Welded through fuel supply, fuel return, brake lines.
    The damage was, as you can, a lot
    3 fire trucks, 2 police car and a lot off people watching.
     
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  13. the snooper

    the snooper getting older by the day

    Messages:
    20,155
    Location:
    Hull UK
    The first lines I went through were plastic and as luck would have it both sealed themselves shut, we thought we had run out of fuel on the way home so didn't even know what had happened until much later on, the second not so lucky, flames pouring into the floor, managed to extinguish it though with no more damage then the fuel line
     
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  14. Pigeon_Droppings2 Member

    Messages:
    2,166
    Location:
    london
    For me the main risk is that I set the garage on fire....then SHMBO would basically never let me do anything on cars ever again...just not worth the risk!

    I think it depends on the tank (steel?), what's in it (diesel/petrol but a full tank?) ....where is it?....on my MR2 the tank was tucked right into the central turret....so basically well out the way and I could easily cover it with a fire blanket held in place with magnets.
     
  15. The_Yellow_Ardvark

    The_Yellow_Ardvark Member

    Messages:
    11,529
    Location:
    England
    The close I ever got was on a Astra Estate.
    The Rear exhaust had failed. Up onto stands, out with the 4.5 grinder, cutting away.
    I looked at the petrol tank, it was wet.

    I soon stopped.
    The fuel tank brackets had foam inserts, they had trapped water and thus the tank was shot.
    .
     
  16. Pigeon_Droppings2 Member

    Messages:
    2,166
    Location:
    london
    As a kid we all cycled round to our neighbour....must have been12 of us....just to watch his garage burn to the ground!

    He was always restoring something....I remember once he painted a car red and it came out with all the wheels red too....no masking up!
     
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  17. the snooper

    the snooper getting older by the day

    Messages:
    20,155
    Location:
    Hull UK
    I knew someone that painted a car I .The cold so he thought it a good idea to have the engine running and the heater to warm up the car, while he was spraying, you can imagine what greeted him when he opened up the car
     
  18. optima21 Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    2,700
    Location:
    halifax, England
    I've welded within about 4 inches of a fuel tank, and used cermic insulation board to cover the area nearest the tank. having said that a few years ago someone decided that they didn't like my car so removed the petrol cap and stuck a rag in the petrol tank and lit it......


    [​IMG]

    .....think that was my lucky day.
     
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  19. Richard.

    Richard. Member

    Messages:
    18,275
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Unless you see there is a risk of actual penetration of the tank or lines I’d be inclined to leave it where it is. Welding close to a tank dose not hurt it unless you physically melt it or put a hole in it. If your not gonna do either then it’s best to leave it in and protect it by means of the advice above.
    Removing the tank is what causes the problems. A careless spill, release of fume, loose hoses flapping about. These are the things most likely to cause you a big issue when welding. While it’s a completely sealed unit on the car it’s much safer to leave it like that and take precautions to protect/avoid it in situ
    If you really think you have no choice but to remove it then I’d be considering not doing it at all.
     
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  20. postie jon Member

    Messages:
    822
    Location:
    Aberdeenshire, Scotland
    dynamic risk assesment. is there a chance this can go wrong ,escalation of fire spread to surrounding areas, safe means of escape, neighbouring properties ,cost to yourself and more importantly your life and those who choose to assist if things go pear shaped. just some of the things to consider before commencing welding next to a potential bomb. seen it all too often, life changing burns and loss of life at worst. an x firefighters personal point of view. :welder:
     
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