by J. Charles Watamess
If you own an Alpine, you may have noticed the fuel line from the tank to the engine is a single piece of formed steel tubing. In most English cars, you will find a piece of flexible hose connects the solid line from the tank to the inlet of the fuel pump. I recently had this line fail right at the fitting where it enters the pump. Fortunately for me, it happened in my driveway and was not serious. However, when it fails, the entire contents of the fuel tank siphon all over the ground.
Last evening, I heard of someone with an Alpine that recently had the same failure. Unbeknownst to the driver, the fuel had spread across the bottom of the car. Upon stopping at a traffic light, it ignited under the hood causing an explosion. The siphoning gasoline fed the fire and the car was completely destroyed.
The easiest solution to this problem is to make a stub piece of tubing for the fuel pump inlet. The main fuel line should be cut back near the frame and a length of neoprene hose should be inserted between the two using high quality clamps. Be careful when cutting the lines. Under no circumstance should you use an incandescent trouble light. A couple of years back, I was removing an inlet line to a fuel pump and splashed some gasoline on a trouble light that broke and set both me and the car on fire. To make matters worse, the continual flow of gasoline fed the fire. In was extremely lucky in being able to extinguish it, but before, I could do so, extensive damage had been done to the car.
It is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher immediately at hand when working on the fuel system.
Editors note: The gasoline in the fuel tanks should be siphoned out before cutting or disconnecting the main fuel line to eliminate draining gasoline on the ground or your garage floor.