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ATL Fuel Cell

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  • ATL Fuel Cell

    Has anyone installed an ATL in their Caterham? How hard is it to do, and what all needs to be considered? It is a 14 gallon cell. My stock tank is about 10 gallons, I believe, so it must take up most of the boot area. The questions I have are: How well does it fit, any additional mounting hardware needed, what connections are needed (in tank pump, etc.). I called ATL, and they didn't have much detail about what it would take to install it.

    I could get one directly from ATL, or the Caterham online store has this:

    http://caterhamparts.co.uk/product.php?id_product=3952

    And the description says it has an intake fuel pump. If this is plug-and-play, I might go with that.

    Anyone installed this tank?

    Thanks,

    Justin

  • #2
    Justin,

    There is a local source for cells in Temecula; previously located in West LA.

    Comment


    • #3
      Stokes had one, but I haven't heard from him in a long time. I don't even know if he still has the car.

      I know that CC sells an Extension Loom to get power to the thing. There would be some fiddly bits for sure, if your car has the same plastic fuel return line & such like. The tank is AN in and out I think

      Doesn't MoPho have one?

      Edit: CC doesn't have any anyway (tank or looms), if their website is to be believed

      Edit 2: Here's a website that has some actual technical information
      Last edited by moosetestbestanden; December 31, 2014, 06:19 PM.
      Chris
      ------------
      A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

      Comment


      • #4
        is the Temecula guy Harmon? i am looking into having him build me one, but he doesn't do a complete install, so I'm not sure how much extra work I'd have to do to get it installed.

        Thanks Chris. I assume that ordering through Caterham, I'd have to wait to have them have one made. It would be great to have something with all the fittings and mounting hardware already engineered.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have one in my car but the PO had it installed by a shop in NJ, so I have no knowledge of what it took to do the install. I use my car as a road car, and it's been in the car for close to 10 years, so take my comments with a grain of salt.....


          .....I hate the fucking thing!


          .
          Last edited by mopho; January 1, 2015, 12:09 PM.
          www.morgansegal.com

          The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

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          • #6
            To elaborate, it has been the source of aggravation with my car, first the foam deteriorated from the pump gas, which clogged up the original internal fuel filter causing my fuel pump to implode, leading to my fuel lines and injectors getting ruined with shards of aluminum. Took months to get that sorted out (not to mention the mystery metal that found it's way into the bellhousing while Doug and I were trying to tune the car after all this, resulting in an engine out job). Ended up having to add two more fuel filters to the system.

            The internal fuel pick up hose kept breaking off

            Now there is a new mystery, car seems to "run out of gas" when the tank is half full. Have taken the tank apart several times and everything is in order, contacted ATL, no one has any idea what's going on.

            Fuel gage is always way off and now not reading at all.

            As you note, it does take up the whole boot, I can fit a tool roll and I can stuff a jacket in there, but that is about it. Since I don't really need the extra fuel range, it's really annoying to lose that space.
            I would have liked to gone back to stock but there was a custom fuel system developed for the tank and I can't justify the cost of redoing everything. It does look great though

            Magnus and I did take the tank out once and it didn't seem like a lot of modification was needed to install it.

            Again, since you use your car for the track, none of this may be relevant.

            I would suggest having an external fuel pump and filter system as well as a shut off valve at the tank, so you have easier access to it, going into the tank to do work is a PITA.
            www.morgansegal.com

            The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the insight, Morgan. The group I want to run with requires a fuel cell, so I will need to do it one way or another. Your point about the external fuel pump makes sense - would be easier to troubleshoot and maintain. If it takes up the whole boot area, I will have to relocate my fire system and the pump for the paddle shifters. Would sure be cool if it were plug and play, but I'm getting the sense that it wont be!

              Justin

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              • #8
                I know you asked about the ATL cell but I happen to have a FuelSafe cell for the last 10 years and I am happy with it. Never replaced the foam so far and the bladder is still holding up with E10 pump gas all the time.
                It was one of batch of Seven compatible cells that Woody Harris (MSI) had custom made. It takes only 8 gallons but at least it does not infringe on the boot space. Was not exactly cheap. I quoted re-bladdering a few years ago and that would have been $1200 and I just kept going. I suppose Fuel Safe would still build such a cell since MSI is no longer in that business. Minor issue is the capacitive fuel level sender that shows different levels depending on the ethanol content.

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                • #9
                  I seem to recall there is an 8 gallon one from ATL as well.
                  www.morgansegal.com

                  The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fuel Cell Westfield pictured on the page. A download of their PDF reveals a number of items, including in--tank pumps and such like, including a 5 gallon tank if weight is more important than range.

                    Edit: Lotus 7 Cell Page.
                    Last edited by moosetestbestanden; January 2, 2015, 08:10 AM.
                    Chris
                    ------------
                    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I believe Woody's special was derived from the above mentioned SA113 Lotus Seven fuel cell. But he had them make it a little bigger to hold another gallon and the filler neck was located to fit the stock fuel cap location in the rear. Not relevant for a race only car but otherwise the filler neck ends in the boot and makes it unusable for storage. I also have the FuelSafe surge chamber with 3 ball valves that goes in the bottom and keeps fuel flow going in corners But the fuel pump is external.

                      Getting that thing vented properly took several attempts. I tried a check valve in the air feed line to prevent fuel dripping out but that led pressure to build up when hot and pushing the filler flap closed. I ended up with separate vents on the left and right hand side and I made a pinhole in the safety flap to release pressure buildup.

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                      • #12
                        I have the ~8 gallon fuel cell which lives under, and is filled from inside, the boot. When buying my barely used Seven, I knew I'd be pulling the foam soon. Sure enough running a few tanks of gas had me buying a new fuel pump. And adding an inline fuel filter. And learning a lot about fuel pressure and routing and stuff.

                        Currently I'm running the cell with no foam, but saved the old foam so I can duplicate the pieces.

                        Fuel gauge? What's that? I dip for level. And the fuel gauge hole in the dashboard now has a nice analog/digital lambda meter so I can see if my laptop tuning map is accurate.

                        It'd be nice to not have to point the fuel filler down and reach into the boot and try to avoid spillage, but between having no visible gas filler cap and a removable steering wheel, I figure anyone stealing the car will be within one hundred miles straight ahead.

                        -russ

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                        • #13
                          FWIW I spoke to FuelSafe last year about this. They said they would fab up a cell if I send them my old tank for them to copy. About $2400 not including shlepping and handling. The bladder is certified for five years, then a replacement is about half the cost of an entirely new cell. So if you need a currently certified cell this gets expensive. Bearing in mind that the stock fuel tank is protected within the car's rear crush zone (aka the fuel tank), I don't see a problem with the original Caterham design...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Michael Murphy View Post
                            FWIW I spoke to FuelSafe last year about this. They said they would fab up a cell if I send them my old tank for them to copy. About $2400 not including shlepping and handling. The bladder is certified for five years, then a replacement is about half the cost of an entirely new cell. So if you need a currently certified cell this gets expensive. Bearing in mind that the stock fuel tank is protected within the car's rear crush zone (aka the fuel tank), I don't see a problem with the original Caterham design...
                            I'm feeling a group buy on the horizon... I'd be interested. Here's an (ancient-ish) build blog of a fella who did the very thing I am considering. Back to you Dubbl M. & Justin?

                            Edit: I'm less concerned about cost than the potential consequences of not incurring cost in the event of an unfortunate circumstance. I won't necessarily need to re-certify, not at my level..
                            Last edited by moosetestbestanden; January 7, 2015, 08:19 PM.
                            Chris
                            ------------
                            A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Michael Murphy View Post
                              ........... Bearing in mind that the stock fuel tank is protected within the car's rear crush zone (aka the fuel tank), I don't see a problem with the original Caterham design...
                              Oh, come on...what can happen to a fuel tank (Caterham or Birkin or whatever)?


                              This was my stock tank after the first rear-ender in 2003 where the spare wheel (yes, I had such a thing at some point) mounting bolt punched a neat hole into the tank. Damn the idiots in Ohio who assembled my car with such a long bolt but this was only one of the many mistakes.
                              Anyway, after this incident I bought the Fuel Safe cell.

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