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  #1  
Old 04-13-2014, 06:13 PM
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plbarrett2004 plbarrett2004 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Westminster, MD
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Default Fuel Tank Z-Bracket Mess-up

About a month ago, I made a major mistake on the fuel tanks. Despite clearly labeling all of the z-brackets and the tanks themselves, I installed the left z-brackets on the right tank, and vice versa. I was pretty mortified when I realized what I had done. After consulting Van's, I wasn't that upset anymore. I decided to allow the sealant to set before drilling out the pop rivets. With the sealant set, the pop rivets should be easy to fish out from inside the tank.

Well today I got around to doing just that. The pop-rivets were extremely easy to drill out. Snap the heads off with the punch and then pop the remainder into the tank. But here's where things got difficult. After a good hour and a half of shaking the tanks, using telescoping magnets and fishing with a ball of tape I was able to retrieve only 17 of the 50 pop rivets in the tank. They are not even rattling around anymore. I even tried using a magnet on the outside of the tank to move them around to no avail.

So my question is this. What do I do now? Should I just leave them in there... is there another method to remove them that I haven't thought of, or do I need to remove the whole baffle? I'm kind of inclined to just leave them there... but that might be my frustration talking.

Appreciate the advice in advance!
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2014, 07:36 PM
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blueflyer blueflyer is offline
 
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Default cut access panels in baffle

you could cut access panels in the baffle to reach in between each rib. Sort of like this pic I lifted off VAF to illustrate.

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  #3  
Old 04-13-2014, 07:47 PM
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Flyguytki Flyguytki is offline
 
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Default

another idea would be to fill the tanks with a liquid, this would possibly pick up the remainder rivets and bring them out when you pour it all out. Just an idea.

Water would work but just make sure you get it dry afterwards.

-david
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2014, 08:12 PM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
 
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Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO, Okemos MI
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Default

Can you snake an air hose in there to help blow them around? Maybe with the tank with the opening down you could help them lose with the air hose. If you had a USB camera, you could send it in and look for them. At least you would get a better idea of where they are and if they look "stuck" enough to not worry about them any more. I bought a cheap USB camera on a 30' cable on ebay for about $25 and it works pretty good for the money. It has a light too.

Just trying to think of something. Maybe even a tube attached onto a hose and flush them out? Good luck!
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2014, 08:35 PM
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plbarrett2004 plbarrett2004 is offline
 
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Default

Several great ideas. I'll report back the next time I get in the shop.

Thanks!!
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2014, 10:21 PM
DaAV8R DaAV8R is offline
 
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Default Rivets

I would account for every rivet, even if I had to open up the tanks.
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