Toyota Tech:
Lifting the Gas Tank for Better Clearance

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Author and Photographs: Scott Drawz August, 2000. Edited by Joe Micciche.

The 4Runner is securely placed on jackstands in a well-ventilated area in preparation for relocating the gas tank.

Are you tired of dragging and bending your Toyota gas tank on the trail? If so, we're going to show you how to relocate your tank on a body-lifted Toyota to gain clearance under and preserve capacity in the tank: In this case, our project vehicle is a 2nd-generation 4Runner used for rockcrawling in the desert southwest.

The stock 4Runner (and pickup) gas tank is located inside the passenger side frame rail, just forward of the rear axle. Although there is a skidplate on the tank, it tends to be a low point on the suspension and is very susceptible to trail damage. We grew tired of dragging the gas tank on our 4Runner, so we sought a good solution to the problem while still retaining the stock components. Our reason for retaining the stock gas tank was that we didn't want to have to modify the fuel filler, filter and pump to fit in a different tank, which also saved some money on the project. The relocation purpose is two-fold: It allows the tank to be considerably higher off the ground, and puts it in a location much less prone to rock damage.

Our 4Runner has a 3 in body lift, which leaves plenty of room to relocate the gas tank up higher. However, this is still a time-consuming project with most of the time spent determining the final new location of the gas tank and its related components. Tools needed for this project include: a cutting torch, a welder, a tubing bender, a Sawzall, an angle grinder, and basic home-mechanic tools. (Additional hoses required for the project are listed below.) The skid plate was actually more difficult to build than was relocating the fuel tank.

Here's a look at some of the custom lines on this mod.

For this project, there are 5 hoses and 4 wires that need to be extended. We decided to use hose and not continue the hardline that the factory setup has, because we felt that high-pressure gas hose was plenty strong. It has worked very well for 6 months now and over 25,000 miles.

The following hose sizes are needed to complete this project:

  • High-pressure fuel injection feed line: 5/16"ID x 6'

  • Low-pressure gas return lines: 1/4"ID x 12'

  • Gas breather hose: 5/8"ID x 3' (heater hose)

  • Heater hose filler tube: 1 3/4"ID x 3'

  • Gas filler hose: 1 3/4"ID x 3' (metal reinforced)

  • The wires can be extended using any wire of the same gauge or larger, but the filler tube may be difficult to locate. We found it at a local auto speciatly shop. Total project cost was approximately US$100.

    The first step of the relocation project was to remove the gas tank. Before doing any work, we placed a fan to blow gas fumes away from the work area, and we had a high-quality fire extinguisher nearby. Then we drained the gas from the tank using the drain plug on the bottom of the tank, and removed the skid plate. We then disconnected the 5 hoses and 4 wires: the high-pressure line can be removed through a panel located under the passenger side rear seat. Finally, we removed the gas tank, and allowed the tank to air out.

    Torching out the crossmember prior to mounting a new one more rearward.

    We then had to cut 1/4" off each mounting flange on the tank. This was necessary for the tank to fit between the frame rails in the rear. Next, we had to remove the rearmost crossmember (don't worry, we added a new one further back). This was done with a cutting torch and cleaned up with the angle grinder. We built some new mounting brackets out of 1 1/2"x 1/4" angle steel. These were clearanced to allow the tank to mount flush up to them, and we also welded studs on to them to allow easy installation.

    The first picture shows the tank in the new location, prior to wrapping up the install. The tank is now located aft of the rear axle, tucked up between the frame rails and protected by skidplating to allow for better clearance and less risk of tank damage.

    To actually locate the tank in the new location, we bolted the brackets to the tank and slid the tank up between the frame rails. This allowed us to test fit the tank and find the location we wanted and scribe a few locating marks on the frame. The brackets were then welded to the frame, and finally the tank was bolted in. Complete?... Well, almost. We then added the hose and wire extensions: all hoses were double-clamped with fuel-injection clamps and wire-tied to the frame for a clean install. Other considerations include adding a new rear crossmember, relocating the exhaust and building a skid plate. We built the skidplate with round 1 1/4" x .095" wall tube, bent and welded to shape. We also installed a 2 1/4" cat-back custom built exhaust system at the same time.


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