K.J. Jones
October 13, 2006
Rick's Hot Rods makes each Alumastealth from 0.100-inch-thick, radius-bent, 5052aluminum. It weighs in at about 28 pounds (empty) and holds 14 gallons of fuel.

What's so cool about a fuel tank, you ask? Well, in this day and age of "big power" in street 'Stangs, one of the keys to attaining and maintaining serious muscle is by having an efficient fuel supply, and doing that starts with having an appropriate container for the fuel. A sumped fuel tank or a fuel cell are the most-popular options. Upgraded fuel lines and rails complete the package.

We're plenty aware there are 'Stangbangers out there who make killer horsepower, let's say 500 or better at the rear wheels, using bone-stock fuel-system components (tank, pump, lines, and so on). While the achievement is commendable and a testament to having a dialed-in fuelsystem, we think those who are still "stuck on stock" for vanity, tank capacity, or tank-location/mounting reasons are also leaving a lot of performance on the table by not having a fuel setup that supports seriously envelope-pushing performance.

The most-popular, poor-man's tactic for trying to make big power with a 'Stang's stock fuel tank is to install a larger pump (usually mounted externally) and a high-flowing fuel pickup to feed it. While this method does work and can save you some dough, it also can be a bit dicey. Thinkabout it: Regardless of the pickup's size, it still draws the fuel from the stock-tank's reservoir, which makes minding your fuel levels critical. With this type of setup, if you're not sitting on at least a half-tank of fuel when you start getting on the gas, you may find yourself dealing with fuel-related problems like vapor lock, pumpcavitation/erratic fuel pressure, and the always dangerous lean condition under load or high boost, which is never a good thing.

The return-style fuel system has long proven itself to be the fuel-supply for street mavens with 'Stangs that pump out the serious horses, and the proper way to set a Pony up with this system has included installing a fuel cell or a stock tank that has been modified with a sump tray, that keeps fuel flowing to the pickup at all times--especially during the hard launches that we're all known for doingfrom time to time, and when you need fuel to be there.

This is important! It's the filler-neck-to-tank gasket/seal (PN F4ZZ-9072-DA) that's an absolute must-have part for installing a fuel tank. This seal is not included with the Alumastealth tank, so the original tank's seal must be recycled or you'll have to make sure you've got a new one--like we had to.

Our discovery of the Alumastealth tank ($1,497.73) was right on time. While the plan for our project T-top coupe was to install Aeromotive's complete Eliminator kit (PN 17106; $2,045.05)--a Fox-ready 1,100 hp fuel system that includes an already-sumped OEM fuel tank, braided lines,rails, regulator, AN fittings, Micron filter, the proven A1000 fuel pump, and everything else needed to complete a big-time fuel system, we decided that swapping the kit's modified stock tank with Rick's Hot Rod's Alumastealth would be a better move for this particular effort. The switch represents exactly what we were talking about when we told you that one of our main goals with the project is to introduce new and good parts for Fox fans to consider in their quest for high-horsepower and "cool-'Stang" gusto.

Rick's Alumastealth covers both criteria quite well with this new fuel tank. It's capable of supporting 1,000-plus horsepower, and it's an absolutely beautiful piece of metalwork. However, some might argue that the real beauty is inside the Alumastealth, where an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump (PN 11101) and 100-Micron pre-filter (PN 12304) share space with the fuel. Actually, we think the tank might be a "first" when it comes to this type of technology for Foxes. Until now, we haven't heard of any other in-tank, fuel-supply setup that steps up to that much hp.

Installation went without a hitch and is plenty doable by any novice or pro 'Stangbanger, as the tank really is a direct replacement for the factory piece. There's a minor amount of wiring necessary for juicing up the sending unit and getting power to the pump. Of course, the fuel-lineand vent plumbing are required, but it's within the realm of completing in a drama-free manner within a two-hour timeframe, especially if you've got fuel in your 'Stang's original tank. If that is the case, we strongly recommend you siphon the fuel out of the tank and into the proper containers before starting the project.

The captions have more of the details, so read on and learn how cool this deal really is.

No, you're not seeing things; that really is Aeromotive's A1000 fuel pump and 100-Micron pre-filter (hidden from view) mounted inside thisradical-new '79-'93 Mustang fuel tank. Rick's Hot Rods of El Paso, Texas, is responsible for this cool fuel container/supplier combination. Thanks to a suggestion from our leader, we're teaming it up with other Aeromotive products to complete the fuel system for our T-top coupe project. There's a lot of cool stuff going on inside this tank thatunfortunately we couldn't capture clear images of, like its walled baffling system, special pickup chamber (picture an internal sump), andthe 5/8-inch-thick, stainless-steel, hard line that snakes throughout the tank between the AN-10 (feed) and the AN-8 (return) fittings on itsfront face. One thing that's really cool about this tank is that it truly exemplifies "out-of-the-box" thinking with its design, parts, andconstruction. It's a package that includes (internally) all the necessary equipment for being the foundation of a high-hp fuel-supplysystem, while presenting an external appearance that doesn't go too far beyond stock.

Each Alumastealth tank comes with an electronic sending unit for a factory or aftermarketfuel-level gauge. This is a simple, three-wire hookup to power, ground, and the gauge itself. We're using EFX wire by Scosche for all of ourcoupe's electrical accessories. In this case, the blue wire represents a 12-volt source and the accessory, and the black wire is ground. Thetank's sender also features an adjustable gain to perfectly calibrate just about any gauge. The AN-8 fitting behind the sending unit is for a vent line, which is not included with the fuel tank and must be plumbed.

Once the factory fuel filler neck is installed and hanging loosely, place the Alumastealth on a jack and pump it up into place (thanks to the guys at Extreme Automotive, we had the luxury of using a twin-post hoist and a transmission jack. This tank installation can also be done in thedriveway, using a good service jack or two guys' worth of muscle to push the tank into place and secure it with the factory tank straps). The endof the filler neck seats perfectly inside the seal, and the wiring for the sending unit is routed up into the trunk via a grommeted factoryhole in the spare-tire well. As you raise the Alumastealth into position, make sure the vent line is draped around the side of the tank and doesn't get stuck on top.

Fuel-pump power is a simple, two-wire connection for power (on an EFI car, any source that's hot when the ignition is turned on) and ground. Our tank came equipped with AN-10 and AN-8 fittings for the main and return lines. However, Aeromotive's fuel system is comprised of AN-8 and AN-6 fittings and hardware. Orme Brothers Hose and Fittings of Northridge, California, is our connection for situations like this, and for justabout any other high-performance plumbing needs. We picked up these two reducer fittings (AN-10 to AN-8, and AN-8 to AN-6) and didn't miss a beat with our tank install. Rick's Hot Rods can install AN fittings of all sizes, so specify what your needs are when you order.

"Wow! What kind of fuel tank is that?!" This is a question we're asked almost incessantly when people get a look at our coupe's new fuel reservoir (hold onto your hats, Rick's also offers this badass fuel tank in stainless steel). We gave the straps a shot of fresh black paint and it really sets off the look against the brushed aluminum tank. With full, sumped-tank functionality (without the sumped look), a fuel pump, and internal fuel lines that are plenty big enough to keep our blown 347 properly fed, this Alumastealth fuel tank by Rick's Hot Rods is exactly what you need to keep the competition guessing when it rolls up behind you.

This is the hose and fittings side of Aeromotive's all-inclusive Eliminator kit, and we used it to complete the fuel-system plumbing in our '86 T-top car. Everything is there for a perfect AN-8 (feed) and AN-6 (return) installation from the tank out back, all the way up to the fuel rails under the hood.

SOURCES

Aeromotive
Dept 5.0
7805 Barton Street
Lenexa, KS 66214
(913) 647-7300
www.aeromotiveinc.com

Extreme Automotive
Dept 5.0
7901 Canoga Ave
Unit F
Canoga Park, CA 91304
(818) 883-8184

Orme Brothers Hose and Fittings
Dept 5.0
18453 Parthenia Pl
Northridge, CA 91325-3323
(877) 676-3277
www.ormebrothers.com

Rick's Hot Rods Inc
Dept 5.0
200 E Sunset
Suite K
El Paso, TX 79922
(915)760-4388
www.customgastanks.com

Scosche Industries
Dept 5.0
1550 Pacific Ave
Oxnard, CA 93033
(800) 363-4490
www.scosche.com