Parking up behind Stuart’s Land Rover 110 I noticed dripping at the rear, dripping of fluids from either of our Land Rover’s is not a new phenomenon but mostly it occurs from the front. We assume the position and lay under his truck and sure enough the fuel tank is leaking.
We are half way through a 130km off road stage of the Santana Trophy, somewhere south of Ouarzazate (Morocco). A field repair is not going to be possible here but we discuss worse case scenarios of bypassing the tank and running it straight from a Jerry can. At the moment it’s not clear if the seam has gone (which is the typical place) or if the drain plug is the problem, partly because there is fuel everywhere so its difficult to find the source. It’s not gushing out, more of a drip drip so we decide to continue with the stage but a little steadier so we didn’t aggravate it.
We complete the stage with no dramas and as the tank get’s below half full the leak stops, suggesting it might be the seam rather than the drain plug. The local Moroccan mechanics turn up and set about a field repair, removing the fuel guard, jacking the vehicle up then draining the tank into jerry cans. As we sat and watched, we speculated how he would swap cans half way through without spilling diesel everywhere and all over himself, the answer is he went for the spill it everywhere option. Pipes disconnected, bolts removed and the tank was off. They then set about it with a screwdriver and hammer trying to separate the inbuilt protection from the tank, which they finally did while smoking, we watched from a distance.
The tank was then taken off into town for some welding, it returned in the early hours of the morning but a test fill still showed it was leaking so it was taken off again. By 10:30am a welded and now fuel tight tank was back on, filled and ready for todays journey.
As we would later find out when we ran out of fuel, the sender unit was not connected correctly and that somehow they had welded a plate in that halved the size of the tank but failed to mention it, our 80lts tank was now about 45lts.