Building a Fuel Cell Cradle and Feeding Pile House with Fuel

Lately I’ve changed gears on Pile House and I’ve decided to start working on getting Pile House moving under its own power. I decided to order up a plastic fuel cell from Jegs first. Once I began test fitting it at a few different spots on the chassis it was obvious that the only place I could fit it under the bed was behind the rear axle. The original tank on the S10 chassis was just behind the cab, but with how much I’ve lowered the truck the driveshaft would hit the fuel cell now. This meant I needed to make my own mounts for the fuel cell.

I’ve been trying to think ahead more on my builds as I go along and keep in mind that I may need to service the vehicle down the line. For that reason I decided to make a removable “cradle” for the fuel delivery system. I wanted to make something the fuel cell could sit in, the electric fuel pump could bolt to, and I could easily take out by removing a few bolts. I started by taking some 1″x1″ angle steel and welding up a square base that the fuel cell would slip into using the Eastwood TIG 200 AC/DC. I then took some 16 gauge sheet metal and made straps that fit into the grooves in the top of the fuel cell and would bolt together to hold the fuel cell in place. I then TIG welded the base of the straps to the lower fuel cell surround I previously made.

With the fuel cell “contained” I had to figure out how to attach the cradle to the chassis legs in the rear. I decided to use some steel DOM tubing I had kicking around from another project and bend pieces to attach the cradle and chassis. I used a jack to fit the cradle into the place I wanted and used some TIG filler wire to play with the bend I needed to make in the tubing to hang the fuel cell at the height I wanted. I then used the sample TIG wire and the Eastwood Professional Tubing Bender to bend matching radii in the tubing. I once again TIG welded these parts on and was able to hang the fuel cell in place.

Now the I had the fuel cell in place I was able to plumb my fuel system. I stitch welded the bracket for the electric fuel pump to the base of the cradle and hung the fuel pump in place. I then ran the fittings, hoses, and tubing necessary to get fuel to the system. I ran rubber fuel line from the pump to the chassis and then I took one of our Steel 3/8″ Tubing Kits and ran hardline from the rubber hose to just under the firewall of the cab.

After removing the tubing from the chassis I used the Professional Tubing Cutter to cut the tubing down to the desired length. On the engine side I’m also using rubber fuel line to connect to the hardline so I like to put a flare on the tubing to help keep the rubber line seated. I used the Eastwood professional tubing flare tool and flared the first step of a double flare into either end of the line. This makes for a tight fit when slipping the rubber hose onto the hardline and gives a “shoulder for me to put the hose clamp up against to assure the fuel line won’t slip off of the line.

With the fuel system mounted and plumbed I can drill the holes to bolt the fuel cell cradle in the chassis and secure it finally. I plan to eventually build a roll pan that will hide the fuel cell and clean up the rear end of the truck, but that’s down the road a little bit!

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