Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30

Thread: ATL Fuel Cell

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    459

    Default 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. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Justin,

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    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 31st, 2014 at 05:19 PM.
    Chris
    ------------
    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    459

    Default

    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Walnut Creek and Culver City
    Posts
    777

    Default

    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 1st, 2015 at 11:09 AM.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Walnut Creek and Culver City
    Posts
    777

    Default

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    459

    Default

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Posts
    2,130

    Default

    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.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Walnut Creek and Culver City
    Posts
    777

    Default

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    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 2nd, 2015 at 07:10 AM.
    Chris
    ------------
    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Posts
    2,130

    Default

    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.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    19

    Default

    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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    395

    Default

    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...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    1,622

    Default

    Quote 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 7th, 2015 at 07:19 PM.
    Chris
    ------------
    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Posts
    2,130

    Default

    Quote 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.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    395

    Default

    I have been contemplating a fuel cell for ages but here's where I am stuck -- should I replace the existing tank or go the whole hog and put one of these ( http://www.fuelsafe.com/store/pc108b.html ) on the floor in place of the passenger seat. Even with a fuel cell in the back I fear the consequences of a major shunt. Fuel cells are not intended to do double duty as a crumple zone. Also the weight distribution is bad.

    The racer in me wants the weight distribution and safety advantages of the passenger seat option. My inner cheapskate also likes the price: at under a grand, less than half the price of a Caterham cell. The bladder is a standard unit and therefore a good deal cheaper to replace. Downside is no rides for friends and family.

    WOn't rush into this either way.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    459

    Default

    Fuel cells seem to be quite a PITA! I like the idea of the fuel cell in the passenger foot well. It would be a shame to lose the ability to take passengers in the car, but I rarely do that. And it would be easy to go back to the stock fuel tank if desired. Does there need to be some fire wall between the fuel cell and the driver though?

    I am going to contact Harmon again and see what he can do. I would prefer not having to install a fuel cell, but I would like to drive with VARA this year, and they require a fuel cell. So I am going to have to pick some solution soon.

    Justin

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    395

    Default

    Justin the footwell area is too narrow for a standard Fuel Safe cell unless you go down to 5 gallons which is way too small. The unit I'm looking at is 8 gallons and that's a minimum after you allow for reduced capacity due to baffles and foam. If you're willing to pay for a custom build then you could do anything. MSI built a 35 gallon cell that consumed the entire passenger area. I'm sure the cell would need to be isolated from the driver using some sort of cover to satisfy competition rules.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    459

    Default

    I went ahead and ordered an ATL fuel cell today. 14 gallons, with aluminum tank, fuel probe, sender, and gauge, for $2400. Not cheap, but it looks like the simplest solution. I got it through a U.S. ATL dealer - much easier than trying to go through Caterham UK. With my heavy right foot, I use about 8 gallons an hour on track - so this might even make it through a two hour enduro if I learn to drive! They said about two weeks to build and ship.

    Justin

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    395

    Default

    Cool. Is this a standard Caterham design or a custom build? Would be interested in seeing the specs. At that price, and with 14 gallons, it seems like a good option.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Fuel cell issue
    By mopho in forum Questions and Answers
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: May 13th, 2013, 12:51 PM
  2. Fuel Line
    By jvr in forum Questions and Answers
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: September 26th, 2009, 01:41 PM
  3. Fuel Pump
    By New2 7's in forum Questions and Answers
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: March 11th, 2007, 04:39 PM
  4. Fuel Cell Installed
    By slomove in forum Questions and Answers
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: June 28th, 2004, 08:41 PM
  5. Fuel Cell
    By slomove in forum Questions and Answers
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: April 7th, 2004, 06:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •