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Author Topic: Fabricating a fuel cell for EFI, bladder-less? Stainless or aluminum?  (Read 12635 times)
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Boostedballs
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« on: August 20, 2014, 01:42:24 PM »

I haven't found much info on the topic of fabricating my own fuel cell for LSR and I have couple of questions.

I would like to build a fuel cell to install in place of the factory 18 gallon stock tank in my Chevy Monza coupe. I plan on running twin 340lph internal pumps mounted to a Fuel Safe fuel plate with screw-on filler cap. I want to cut a hole in the sheet metal of the car to access the filler plate. This will be covered with another piece of sheet metal with gasket, hinge and possibly dzus fasteners or wing nuts.

1. I plan on running gas at Bonneville with a 700 HP turbocharged small block. How many gallons should I design it to hold???
2. Can I use the cell without a bladder?
3. Does it need a second layer of material outside of the cell or will an angle iron "cage" around it suffice?

also- how do you guys feel about aluminum vs. stainless for the cell and fuel lines?
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Freud
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2014, 01:53:01 PM »

Either will work but stay away from butt welds on a square corner.

Note the joints.

FREUD


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Dr Goggles
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2014, 02:00:50 PM »

Stainless.

Lots of people know more about this than me here which partly explains why I have an Al one. Use the right grade and it's way easier.
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Boostedballs
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2014, 02:42:34 PM »

Either will work but stay away from butt welds on a square corner.

Note the joints.

FREUD

Nice looking cell and props to the oxy/cet approach!
Most every aluminum cell I have seen has the welds on the corners. I assume it is more likely to crack with corner welds? I do plan on rubber mounting this thing. I don't have a sheet metal brake to make the bends. Is it a big enough deal that I should invest in one?
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Dynoroom
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2014, 03:12:51 PM »

I've used both, aluminum & stainless, no issues with either except I empty the aluminum take when traveling. The humps & bumps will accelerate the potential to crack an aluminum tank.
My current tank is stainless & holds 3.5 gallons. I also make a bit more power than you so you might do yourself a favor. Leave the stock fuel tank in the car and fill it with water.... for weight over the tires. Then build a small tank for fuel, less fuel = less fire danger in a mishap. 

Photo of current fuel tank added


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Michael LeFevers
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2014, 03:23:37 PM »

Boosted;

If the container contains a flexible bladder, it is a fuel cell. If it is just a container with no internal bladder it is a fuel tank. The word "fuel cell" continues to be misunderstood and misused.

A fuel cell has the ability to deform considerably without rupture and the reticulated (open-pore) foam inside the bladder quenches the flame front, making it less prone to ignite the fuel. The foam also acts as a damper on the fuel, keeping it from sloshing around in the bladder.

Tanks are fine but they should not be confused with fuel cells.

Regards, Neil  Tucson, AZ
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Regards, Neil  Tucson, AZ
Boostedballs
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 04:02:07 PM »

3.5 gallons!? How much fuel do you use on a 5-mile pass? I was thinking that I should go with at least 5 gallons. I want my fuel "tank" to be as small as possible. I want to ditch the stock tank because it is huge and it sticks out under the car and is not mounted on center. It may also interfere with the parachute attachment. ( that's a whole different thread)  rolleyes


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Dynoroom
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2014, 05:16:50 PM »

3.5 gallons!? How much fuel do you use on a 5-mile pass? I was thinking that I should go with at least 5 gallons. I want my fuel "tank" to be as small as possible. I want to ditch the stock tank because it is huge and it sticks out under the car and is not mounted on center. It may also interfere with the parachute attachment. ( that's a whole different thread)  rolleyes

How much fuel on a 5 mile pass?

Well, this is my take...  it all depends...........  tongue

Kidding aside, it depends on how long you idle the engine on line, how much power you make, & how far/long you run at WOT. We already have some idea of the distance, 5 miles, even though you won't be a maximum power the moment you leave the push truck. A simple (I mean basic as other factors can change this) formula for what you need is (BSFC x HP) divided 6.1 for gasoline. This will get you GPH (gallons of fuel per hour) then divide by 60 to get GPM (you guessed it, gallons per minute). Keep in mind that the faster you are the less time on course, the average run at Bonneville is 60 to 90 seconds for 5 miles.
So lets start with BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption) with racing gas. A real good N/A motor can be at .40 or better, for my calcs I use .50 for N/A race motors, .55-.60 for blown gas & .60-.65 turbo gas. So, lets use your 700 hp turbo engine. (.60 x 700 hp) = 420 divided by 6.1 = 68.85 GPH. Now 68.85 divided by 60 = 1.147 or 1.147 gallons per minute. Not much fuel used so not much need for a 5+ gallon tank, unless it makes you feel good.....
Again, this is just a estimate as other factors contribute to how much fuel is used during a run.
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Michael LeFevers
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2014, 06:22:54 PM »

3.5 gallons!? How much fuel do you use on a 5-mile pass? I was thinking that I should go with at least 5 gallons. I want my fuel "tank" to be as small as possible. I want to ditch the stock tank because it is huge and it sticks out under the car and is not mounted on center. It may also interfere with the parachute attachment. ( that's a whole different thread)  rolleyes

How much fuel on a 5 mile pass?

Well, this is my take...  it all depends...........  tongue

Kidding aside, it depends on how long you idle the engine on line, how much power you make, & how far/long you run at WOT. We already have some idea of the distance, 5 miles, even though you won't be a maximum power the moment you leave the push truck. A simple (I mean basic as other factors can change this) formula for what you need is (BSFC x HP) divided 6.1 for gasoline. This will get you GPH (gallons of fuel per hour) then divide by 60 to get GPM (you guessed it, gallons per minute). Keep in mind that the faster you are the less time on course, the average run at Bonneville is 60 to 90 seconds for 5 miles.
So lets start with BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption) with racing gas. A real good N/A motor can be at .40 or better, for my calcs I use .50 for N/A race motors, .55-.60 for blown gas & .60-.65 turbo gas. So, lets use your 700 hp turbo engine. (.60 x 700 hp) = 420 divided by 6.1 = 68.85 GPH. Now 68.85 divided by 60 = 1.147 or 1.147 gallons per minute. Not much fuel used so not much need for a 5+ gallon tank, unless it makes you feel good.....
Again, this is just a estimate as other factors contribute to how much fuel is used during a run.


Wow, thanks for the calculation; it really puts it into perspective. I think 3.5 gal should be plenty! I'll see how it comes out with the available space. I just have to make sure my pump pickups don't run dry.

On a side note: what gas should I use for dyno tuning? I know that elevation will play a big part but I want to start with something close to what I will get at Bonneville.
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2014, 07:01:39 PM »

One other thing I'd consider is do you want to go to the fuel truck every run if you are running in the gas class?

You are planning on qualifying for a record aren't you  smiley.  If so make sure you have enough for a return run or that you can take a bottle to the fuel truck and get your gas and get it sealed and make sure you have Dan or one of the guys from impound there when you re-fuel in impound so that all of the seals can be broken and re-applied in the correct manner.

I'd like to have enough for 3 runs myself but it is your call.  You sure can waste a lot of time and endure embarrassment when you run out on a run after sitting in line for a couple hours.  We hope not to repeat that  cry,

Sum
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GH
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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2014, 07:34:59 PM »

I agree with Sumner, my tank was SS and held 20 gallons. I usually bought 10 gallons, at $15.00 a gal that is $150. Only once did I have to go get some more gas. Is the price higher now?Huh
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Stainless1
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2014, 08:36:45 PM »

I would go with enough fuel to make 3 runs, you will be happier not waiting in the gas line every run...
and if you decide you need to run alcohol or E85 you will have enough capacity for a run.

YMMV  grin
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Stainless
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MSA Bockscar Lakester #1000 my fastest mile 245 and change, 84 ci turbobusa motor... but Corey's 233 MPH H/BFL record is still 3MPH faster than mine.
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2014, 08:38:25 PM »

The above points are well taken, as I said before it depends.....

Now add this to the thought process. I want fresh fuel for my engine every run. ERC A8D racing gas is pushing $20 a gallon, if you break on your run do you want to go home with $200 worth of fuel for your lawn mower? It sure shouldn't be run next year. If we qualify and go to impound we wander on down to the ERC trailer and get Rick Gold (Thanks Rick!) to fill our fuel jug and seal it. Back at impound I ask Mr. Warner (Thanks Dan) to watch as I open sealed fuel jug and add some to my sealed fuel tank. Works for me. But I understand the other opinion. Let me add one more point; we also run at El Mirage, same fuel, same price. We don't need nearly as much running 1.3 miles so like I said it depends.....  cool
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Michael LeFevers
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2014, 06:30:27 PM »

Thanks everyone for the insight!
I think I will shoot for 3-4 gallons, maybe more if I have room. I will run dual internal pumps so I need a little extra to cover the pickups.

How long should I expect use aluminum hard lines on the salt before they need replacement?
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Stainless1
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Robert W. P. "Stainless" Steele Wichita, Kansas



« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2014, 09:35:05 PM »

Our vent line is aluminum.... it has lasted about 20 years... however I would use stainless for hardlines and braided on the ends if the run seems too long for all braided
Just my opinion
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Stainless
Red Hat 228.039, 2001, 65ci, MSA Bockscar Lakester with a little N20 
MSA Bockscar Lakester #1000 my fastest mile 245 and change, 84 ci turbobusa motor... but Corey's 233 MPH H/BFL record is still 3MPH faster than mine.
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