getting at Avanti gas tank

Hope you can provide some advice for a friend of mine who has contacted me with an Avanti question (and I don't know much about it).
He has a mid-70s II.....smelling gas inside and I told him that the tank is behind the back seat. He has taken out the back seat and encountered a fibreglass panel that he sez was held in with about 22 screws. Took them out and says the panel now appears to be glued (or bonded) in place. He's afraid to pry it out.
Am I correct that there is no access from under the car? How does he get the panel out without destroying it? I've heard that Avanti tanks are subject to leaks - is it likely to be the tank, lines, connections or ???? It's an extremely low mileage car so we hope it isn't the tank.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Karl
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You may find that the panel is "sealed" with some black putty. Try prying gently at the bottom corners with a putty knife to loosen and work your way around. This was the case on my '67. Chances are the rubber lines are deteriorating, but are available through many Avanti vendors. bs

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Yes, that panel has to come out. There is a caulk like material sealing it somewhat in place but, with a bit of finesse, it can be pried loose. It's just fiberglass so, if it does crack, it is an easy repair and one that will never be seen once the back seat is back in place.
If he has to take the tank completely out, tell him that he needs to drain the tank then go under the car and remove the 90 degree fitting on the bottom of the tank that extends thru the floor. That must be removed in order to slide the tank forward and out.
More times than not, it has been one of the rubber hoses that is old and cracked that is causing the smell, in my experience. Tanks do, however, go bad from time to time. If you end up needing an replacement tank, drop me an e-mail. I have a couple here in stock. I think I even have a couple of those fiberglass firewalls here as well.
On Tue, 27 Jun 2006 07:29:32 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Butt Im Learnin) wrote:

Lee DeLaBarre Daytona62
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Butt Im Learnin wrote:

I agree, the panel just has some sticky sealer, primarily at the bottom. Here's some info on removing the tank, should that be necessary: http://tinyurl.com/zpke4
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My 78 had cracked the seal where the return line comes back into the tank. Quite a atrange looking setup with the coil-looking line zig-zagging back and forth across the car before actually going into the tank.
I used JB Weld to re-seal it...that was 5 years ago and haven't smelled a whiff of it since then.
Bob
WayneC wrote:

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Bigbob62 wrote:

The zig-zag tubing is actually part of the tank's vapor vent system; I believe the zig-zag is meant to minimize or eliminate the possibility of fuel flow/loss through the vent system in the event that you park sideways on a slope with a full tank, or take a corner too fast.
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Many Thanks to all who replied - think we know what and how to do it.
and, Wow, Avanti tanks aren't like a Hawk, are they?!
Karl
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Nothing on a Avanti is as easy as working on another Studebaker, nothing.
Butt Im Learnin wrote:

--
JP/Maryland
Studebaker On the Net http://stude.com
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Yeah, I figured that was the reason. After all, it was designed as a "sports car" and the with the high placement of the tank, they had to take extra precautions not to allow fuel to escape an overflow and make it's way into the passenger compartment. Studebaker didn't actually produce the car long enough to have the problem show up and become a problem in their repair shops.
Now it's a common knowledge thing that gets passed on only in forums like this...and maybe in the Avanti magazine tech section once in a blue moon.
I'm considering converting both our Avantis to fuel injection and I wonder about the capacity of those "coils" to handle fuel under pressure back into the tank. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure the 88 convertible has the same setup on the return line...although the fuel tank is in the same place, the fuel filler is more vertical, being placed on top of the rear fender instead of the side of the roofline, like my coupe.
Bob (Avantis R Us!)
WayneC wrote:

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Another thing to be aware of is that the fuel level in the tank is higher than the fuel pump, a pre-emptive replacement of the diaphragm every couple years is not a bad idea on an Avanti, otherwise an inadvertant engine flush is a distinct possibility. Make sure you park on an upgrade or pinch off the fuel hose when R&Ring the fuel pump.
nate
Bigbob62 wrote:

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Other possibility from engine flush- wife came home some years ago to find gasoline running out of the garage. Seems the fuel pump on her '76 Avanti with the 400 had let go and the entire content of the tank was on the garage floor. Of course, just inside the door from the garage to the house was a utility room with a gas furnace and a gas water heater, both with functioning pilot lights. She grabbed a garden hose and waded into the mess wearing crepe sole shoes which dissolved in the gasoline. But she got it washed out (and into the storm drains- don't tell EPA). Paul Johnson
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N8 know that after watch my Avanti pump gasoline out of the oil filler caps while cranking.
N8N wrote:

--
JP/Maryland
Studebaker On the Net http://stude.com
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John Poulos wrote:

Too bad you cant put a flow control valve like on the hi-tech washing machine hoses that detect ununusal flow and shut off.
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Bigbob62 wrote:

I don't know anything about the 88 setup, but if I were adding fuel injection I wouldn't use the vent line for that, because I think you'd still need a vent line. I'd run a separate line back to the tank, which I'd modify by adding a new nipple for the return line. But I'd research it first, because that return line may need to be extended inside the tank to go to the bottom and to have some sort of baffling at it's end in order to avoid an annoying splashing sound in the passenger compartment!
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