Getting Tanked

Getting Tanked

Despite the title, this isn’t going to be a blog post filled with tequila shots and beer bongs. Not that we’d ever show that anyway.

While today’s subject matter does involve alcohol and the word ‘tank,’ they’re being utilized in a manner more suited for the automotive sphere. In this case, alcohol refers to methyl alcohol, otherwise known as methanol. It’s part of the water-methanol mix that finds a home with many different forced induction vehicles. When water-meth is injected at high pressures into the intake, it vaporizes and steals away latent heat from the system, cooling the intake charge. Methanol also bumps up the octane rating of your gasoline ever so slightly, and the combination of those two factors allows a vehicle to run more aggressive ignition timing, helping to preserve power where it might otherwise be lost to that heat soak.

What we’re doing today is constructing a water-methanol tank for a customer’s forced induction vehicle. He wants it to be a separate reservoir stored in the rear of the vehicle, within a very specific location, and as a result we need to fabricate something from scratch in order to fit in this not-very-large space. We started by creating a mockup of every side of the tank, then cutting out those sides from a sheet of aluminum.


The floor of the tank, which is the plane pictured above, already has a hole drilled into it as you can see. There will be three more, as well; these holes will serve as mounting points for feet that will secure the water-meth tank to the surrounding panels. We want to make sure it’s absolutely secure, and so we devised this two-part system. The bare aluminum feet will be welded to the floor of the tank and threaded. Then, black rubber mounts will screw into both the bottom of the tank’s feet, as well as the panel that the tank will be sitting in. Nice and secure.


With the floor of the tank more or less complete, we moved on to one of the side walls of the water-meth storage. As we mentioned earlier, it’s going to be a somewhat close fit for everything, as we want to maximize the capacity of the water-meth tank but not make it so big as to be impossible to remove, if necessary. It’s not just the tank sitting in there, though; the pump will be located next to it, as well. In order to make everything fit together nicely, we had to construct a mounting setup on the tank itself to hold the pump in place. We did this by fabricating four concave mounting points on our lathe, which the pump will screw into. Now we have a singular unit that can be moved around, removed for cleaning or perhaps just removed to stare at.


With the majority of the extraneous tank add-ons complete, we set about drilling our next set of holes as well as cutting out the remaining walls of the tank to make sure everything will fit together as our mockup did.


We also have one last large modification to do to the walls of the water-meth tank, namely the top of it. As with most tanks filled with liquid, you’re going to need a place to fill up the tank. That’s why we’re incorporating a latch. This is one of the easier parts to mount, as the majority of the work centers around drilling out a circular hole to fit the latch into.


With everything done for the walls of the water-meth tank, we started tacking them together to see how our free-standing structure looks. So far, so good. Next time we look at this job, we’ll have the final step or two before the final welds are laid down. If you’ve seen our aluminum welding in the past, get ready for some more eye candy coming your way later this week! Have a good one, and we’ll see you right back here tomorrow!


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