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F40 FUEL BLADDERS

Discussion in '288GTO/F40/F50/Enzo/LaFerrari' started by F40LMGTC, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. F40LMGTC

    F40LMGTC Formula 3

    Mar 15, 2005
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    GIL MATTHEWS
    Has any owners of F40's had their fuel bladders replaced?. I have an Australia delivered car (similar to EURO spec F40's) and according to the owners manual, the fuel bladders are meant to be replaced after 10 years. My car is a 1990 model #85034 and I haven't replaced the fuel bladders. The local dealer doesn't seem to know anything about this. There are about 7 x F40's in Australia and none of them have had their fuel bladders replaced.
    I was also wondering if the fuel bladders do leak, do they leak into the fuel tanks which look like they're sealed anyway ?
    Anyone got any info on this ?
    regards...gil
     
  2. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Fuel Cell's don't last indefinitely. If the owners manual lists their life as 10 years I would replace them. I'd also replace fuel lines, fuel pump gaskets and filters. Keep in mind that several manufacturers can make cells using yours as a pattern. I've used ATS and Fuel Safe and am happy with the cells they made for me.

    If the cells fail you can have a very serious fire in a very short time.
     
  3. 360C

    360C F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Especially in an F40 with the tanks in the engine bay.

    Surprised the dealer knows nothing about fuel bladder replacement on an F40. They did my F50 about 6 months ago and I have been meaning to post photos for a while.
     
  4. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    The factory has sent every dealer reminders of the service. If they don't know they are not reading their mail and are being very negligent. The tanks are not sealed and the fire hazard is very real.
     
  5. RED HEAD

    RED HEAD Karting
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    #5 RED HEAD, Aug 10, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
    Mine is a 1990 and I have just replaced the fuel cells this year. This is normally one of the first questions a potential buyer would ask as they should be replaced every 10 years according to the service schedule. whether you do it is up to you. But I don't want to give my insurance company any chance to wriggle should the unthinkable happen...

    Also I am more confident driving or tracking my car knowing I have warrantied tanks fitted.
     
  6. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Whilst this does not help the OP, this topic is precisely one of the distinct advantages of a USA F40 and its aluminum gas tanks. I find it highly appropriate that the F40 in road car guise should be fitted with aluminum tanks and not rubber units, and accordingly Materazzi's suggestion that the USA cars be so-equipped was right on the mark. Perhaps he was also thinking of the EPA & DOT requirements also...
     
  7. greyboxer

    greyboxer F1 World Champ

    Dec 8, 2004
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    My understanding is that in the UK insurance is dependent on proof of in-date fuel bags and many adverts as a result clearly show if new bags have been fitted

    As ever there's already a few interesting threads about this area

    http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=238006

    http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59009

    http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=152624

    At least one of these has contributions from an Australian mechanic suggesting the knowledge does exist in your neck of the woods
     
  8. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Aluminum Fuel tanks have their own problems especially when used with Gasoline blended with Ethanol which causes galvanic corrosion in aluminum tanks because the presence of ethanol will conduct electricity. The hydroscopic property of ethanol causes Aluminium Tanks to corrode and the corrosion particles clog fuel filters, fuel systems, and damage engine components. The corrosion rate can be accelerated under a number of conditions if other contaminating metals are present such as copper which may be picked up from brass fittings or as a low level contaminant in the aluminum alloy.

    Fuel cells are lighter, safer in the case of accidents, and ultimately less costly than repairing engine damage caused by corroded aluminium. This is a real issue in Garage Queens with Aluminium Fuel Tanks.
     
  9. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    All good stuff. But personally I think the USA F40s with their aluminum gas tanks are just fine for the purpose for which Ferrari SpA created them.

    In the last decade of owning, maintaining, and operating them, plus inspecting examples all around the country, I can come with just one item which is somewhat of a manufacturing defect, and it has nothing to do with the gas tanks.

    Personally, I have found USA F40s to be pretty bullet-proof, strong little sports cars indeed, excepting cases of blatant abuse. I have never come across a single USA F40 where there has been engine damage caused by corroded aluminum from the tanks. Not one. Maybe the fuel filters are doing the job they were designed for...

    Additionally, I have seen literally dozens of so-called garage queens brought back to life with the proper maintenance, and then proceed to be driven regularly for thousands of miles with absolutely no issues. I have in fact done this myself. We now know exactly what a USA F40 weighs thanks to Bill S's project (less than an F50 or an Enzo), so aluminum tanks included, the package remains potent. I have not seen owners have any cause whatsoever to swap the aluminum tanks in their USA F40 for rubber items that have to be changed every 10 years.

    Rubber-tanked F40s safer? We have seen many rubber-tanked Eu F40s have big fires, some directly related to cell failure such as the car that was at Michelotto last year, and I can only think of just 2 USA F40 that has suffered a similar fate, and in one case it was because of a heavy crash wherein the fuel lines sheared (and this can happen with any car, including the Enzo, or just about any racing car).

    I suppose there is no perfect system, but change the aluminum tanks in my USA F40 for rubber ones? No time soon.
     
  10. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    There is no question that in date fuel cells are safer than aluminium tanks in a crash. None.

    Gary makes some interesting points about corrosion passing through fuel filters causing engine damage and fire hazards.

    http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=251597
     
  11. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Well, safer or not, USA F40s had aluminum tanks affixed within them for a reason by Ferrari SpA themselves, and with proper maintenance they seemed to have fared very well over the past 17 - 19 years.

    As for comparing a Lamborghini Miura's fuel system with that of a Ferrari F40. Lets just say as an owner of both, and having restored 3 Miura SVs from the ground up, Im confident that the fuel system issues that my Miuras had, are not a concern with my USA F40!
     
  12. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Rust never sleeps.
     
  13. 360C

    360C F1 World Champ
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    The same dealer that Gil mentions rang me to tell me my F50 was due for bladder replacement. I know several F40 owners who also got reminders and I am pretty sure they would have rung Gil.

    My car is the only local F50 (we have 3 in Melbourne) to have the bladders replaced. I don't know how many F40's have been done (if any). Last year the dealer told me to date, no F40 owners had done the bladder replacement. Might have changed in the last 12 months. The first thing to go is the foam anti-surge sponges, not the bladder. They disintegrate and bits go through the fuel system. If you don't do the bladder, I would at least do the foam.
     
  14. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    When the time comes you should do both.
     
  15. 360C

    360C F1 World Champ
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    I did both 6mths ago when they came due; but it would seem few owners here are willing to do so here. Perhaps it is because you can't register or legally drive them on the roads here.
     
  16. F50CHAP

    F50CHAP Karting

    Nov 20, 2007
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    matt
    Slightly off thread but ATL are proposing to manufacture a batch of F50 tanks this Autumn.
     
  17. kverges

    kverges F1 Rookie

    Nov 18, 2003
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    Well I'll add to the mix since I just finished looking at the inside of the tanks on my 1990 USA model car. No signs of corrosion, but the skirt on the fuel pump modules is disintegrating and there was quite a bit of dark debris in the tanks. It could be fuel quality, neglect (10 years and 500 miles or so in that time), or just old age. I really doubt that the tanks themselves are an issue, as I saw none of the white aluminum oxide that is comon to aluminum corrosion, and it is my understanding that, unlike ferrous oxidation, aluminum oxidation tends to adhere to the surface and not flake off.

    It is a street car and I am not putting bladders in it. Are fuel cells safer? Probably so, but they really are a race item and this car will not be raced.
     
  18. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    When the US F 40 tanks were designed Pump gas didn't have Ethanol.

    D. B. Skoropinski
    The Boeing Company, P.O. Box 3999, M/S 73-09, Seattle, Washington 98124-2499
    Energy Fuels, 1996, 10 (1), pp 108–116
    DOI: 10.1021/ef950164e
    Publication Date (Web): January 18, 1996
    Copyright © 1996 American Chemical Society
    AbstractAluminum structures in sealed fuel systems into which dried, deaerated JP-10 had been introduced were found to have corroded after several years in storage. An investigation into the cause of corrosion revealed that the aluminum had been chemically attacked by the weakly acidic alcoholic hydrogen on the ethylene glycol monomethyl ether icing inhibitor additive in the fuel. Under dry, anaerobic conditions, the ethylene glycol monomethyl ether was found to attack each of several aluminum alloys that were tested, even in instances where they had been treated with a chromate conversion coating. Hydrogen gas and aluminum alkoxides have been identified as the primary byproducts of the corrosion reaction. Methane, methanol, ethanol, ethers, and ether alcohols were also observed.

    Beijing aeronautical technology res. cent., material metallography dep., Beijing 100076, CHINE

    Résumé / Abstract
    Corrosion of aircraft aluminum alloy structures has been caused by condensed water in the fuel tank compartments.
     
  19. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #19 Napolis, Aug 11, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
    As for your skirt Ethanol is a problem there as well. Here's a good thread on this issue.


    http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=238006

    As an aside. 20 years ago fuel had more lubricating properties that it does today. This is a issue in FI cars. Modern FI systems take this into account. Older systems ran better on the fuel available when they were designed than they do on modern pump gas. There are several additives that address this as well as keeping modern fuel from breaking down which leads to corrosion. Another thing we do is to add a small amount of go kart racing oil to modern fuel which seems to help.
    (200/1)

    http://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/surv/sta-bil.htm
     
  20. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Very interesting.
     
  21. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    +1
     
  22. F40LMGTC

    F40LMGTC Formula 3

    Mar 15, 2005
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    There seems to be a bit of confusion in Australia and the local dealer. Apparently the fuel bladders aren't on the ferrari parts list and they are actually made by somebody else....somewhere else. I have contacted Ferrari UK to find out just what happens. I would prefer to have "FERRARI" fuel bladders and not some home made brand. I will keep you informed.
    In the mean time, I will take out the fuel bladders and have them tested at the airport. (planes use fuel bladders)
    I guess the main thing, is that I am now in the "replace the fuel bladders" mode
     
  23. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #23 Napolis, Aug 11, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
    Ferrari doesn't make fuel bladders. ATS, Fuel Safe and others do to FIA standards which is what you want. Fuel Cells can't be "tested". Once they're past their date they should be replaced period. Fuel Cells are required in real race cars for a reason.
    In a hard crash they are safer. They're also safer in a hard road crash. European 4 point seat belts are also safer than the US mousetrap belts and 5/6 point belts are even safer. Having survived a head on road collision at a combined speed of 170 miles per hour where the other driver didn't and burned to death I always go for the safest possible equipment.
     
  24. Birel

    Birel Formula 3
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    Sep 12, 2005
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    Technical Information Bulletin # 10 issued May 17th 1994 covers every aspect of this. Importantly, they also recommend a pressure test every 5 years. Frankly, I'm astonished that official Ferrari representatives are ignorant of their own printed bulletins, but there again, maybe I shouldn't be !

    PM me if you want a copy of said bulletin for your records.

    AT.
     
  25. Birel

    Birel Formula 3
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    Sep 12, 2005
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    And the Ferrari part numbers for the Pirelli bladders 137182 & 137183. Possibly superceded items by now, ATL and others do the job.
     

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