Friday, February 7, 2014

FIAtank Redux

We recently had the Art Car back in the shop for an oil service and to diagnose a wiring issue.  While it was here, the FIA tank was pulled for inspection to see if there was any degradation issues after a few years of track-only usage.  It has been installed in the car since 2011 (see here), so it was about time to see how this product was holding up.

After removing and draining the tank, we shipped it back to our friends at Fuel Safe to have them test and inspect it.  In the mean time, we gave a visual inspection to the Plug-n-Play fuel pump that was installed with the tank.  Some light debris was cleaned off the filter and all the connections were double-checked.  We opened the plastic unit to see if there was any debris in there, but it was all clean.

In a few days the tank was back in our hands with this report from Fuel Safe:

1.       Bladder surface was free of cracks, discoloration and was pliable.
2.       Foam baffling was in good shape with little discoloration, pliability was excellent.
3.       Internal check ball valves moved freely and all aluminum parts looked to have no corrosion.
4.       Outer aluminum can was in good shape with no visible cracks.

You can see one of the check ball valves at the bottom of the tank

Excellent news! We were happy to see that our parts were holding up, even in race conditions.  With a clean-bill-of-health, we re-installed the pump and the tank confident that it it should give trouble-free service for at least the next few years.

After picking up the Art Car, the owner went straight to Chuckwalla Raceway.  He set the fastest time of day against some serious Porsches.  Jack is an amazing driver and we are always glad to see him kick some asphalt!

Fuel starvation has been an issue on track for all of the Elise variants.  Our various fuel tank solutions fix the problem at the source.  Adding additional systems like fuel pots/surge tanks creates unnecessary complexities to these cars that can fail.  We recently learned of another client who had his Elise catch fire at Laguna Seca thanks to a failed surge tank.  We believe keeping things simple is the smartest approach with the Lotus - at least for those of us who prefer to drive instead of fix broken cars.    

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