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Fuel Tank Removal on a 1996 Response LX

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I searched around and couldn't find any instructions on how the remove the fuel tank on my 1996 Response LX.

In one article someone suggested that it was hard... Well I can tell you that I am 2 evenings into this project and I am at the point where I am ready to take my Sawzall and reshape the back of the interior.

-- I have drained the tank completely of fuel using a Holley Electric fuel pump.  The fuel was green and sweet smelling. The Engine has not run since 2020. There was fuel preservative in the tank but it did not last for 4 years.

-- I have removed the fuel stem, 2" rubber hose connecting the stem to the tank, 1" vent line, 3/8" supply line and 3/8" return line from the top of the tank. Now the tank moves freely from side to side but not far enough to get an edge of the tank clear the vertical support holding the rear seat back.

-- I removed the four screws that were holding the tank to the stringers. I left the 4 other screws that were screwed into the fuel tank alone (don't need any leaks).

-- There is a 3x3 sump on the bottom of the tank that hits the 3.5'' exhaust tube if I move it to the left and the rudder if I move it to the right (when facing the stern).

-- I put a 2"x4" block under the tank to raise it 1-1/2" and still had the same clearance problems... it was not possible to double the blocks to raise it 3". If I could it would probably clear the rudder. I think I can raise it about 2-1/2" before the top of the tank rubs the underside of the deck.  I'm going to make some 2-1/4" blocks tonight and try again tomorrow.


Q1) Is it necessary to remove the rudder to get the tank out?    (Not Necessary)

Q2) Any Ideas on how to remove the rudder if necessary?




Edited by MoonDawg
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Got any pictures?  I have had the tank out of a SSLXI, but I am not familiar with the Response.

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The 2-1/4" tall blocks were just the ticket I needed!

I placed them under both sides of the tank. The bottom of the tank still did not clear the rudder assembly to the right so I moved the tank to the left and the tank raised high enough to clear the 3-1/2" exhaust tube and provided about 1/2" of clearance from the right side vertical support for the rear chair.

I removed the 2-1/4" blocks from both sides.  The tank was resting on the exhaust tube and lifted the right side.  It slid right out easy-peasy.

Looks pretty good all  cleaned up sitting on my swim step.  https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMMjvfguHi-3yBgBG9Q2_BdM-nlVZn5zYy28tS8

The sending unit has been broken for years. It was a Rochester Gauges 8341-70 J95.  Like everything on this boat the sending unit is no longer made. It was replaced with a Rochester Gauges 9341-A7000. I went to my local marine dealer and they had a similar unit made by Moeller (P/N: 035722-10). I'll need to shorten the shaft to 11 inches but it appears that I would also have to do that on the 9341-A7000 sending unit. The resistance is standard (33 Ohms to 240 Ohms) so the fuel gauge should still work.

The 2" diam rubber gaskets for the  supply line, return line and the vent line are in sorry shape after 28 years.  I called the tank manufacture, Sky Line Industries, they went out of business. I found somewhere on the internet that Smak Plastics had purchased the tank molds.  I called them and they said that they do not make fuel tanks...  I found some 1/8 gasket material in the plumbing department at Lowes so I will be making my own gaskets.  It would be nice if I had found some fuel vapor proof rubber but If I cover them with a thin coating of fuel proof silicone they will likely hold up another 28 years.

Now on to the fuel line replacement and fuel pump.

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I just redid the fuel setup on my 99 sunsetter and ran into the same gasket availability problem as you.

While you can find similar enough gaskets, the low quantity and shipping make them like $30 each.

After seeing other people having success with 3d printed gaskets on small engines, I ended up making my own set for the fuel tank.

(TPU has good fuel resistance, and will see mostly vapor in this use case)

I have STLs for the 4 holes and 5 hole gaskets also a 6 hole for a perko ullage valve. LMK if you want em :)

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10 years ago I had a problem with my fuel pump and found that the pump (Indmar 55-6014) used in 1993-2002 Malibu boats was no longer made.  Indmar had come up with a retrofit kit (Indmar 49-5117) so that you could use the newer pump (Indmar-Pierburg Pump 55-6184) for 2003-2006 boats. The newer pump was smaller in diameter so they had you put a few strips of insulation foam in the clamp to hold the pump body. It did not work very well, every time I looked at the pump it was slipping down and the positive wire was trying its hardest to short out on the block.

The current pump is now encapsulated with rubber. The problem now  is that it too large a diameter to fit in the clamp. I ended up using my disk grinder with a cut-off wheel and shaved the rubber so that there were two flats on opposite sides of the pump. Then I went to the hardware store and purchased two 1/4 x 20 by 1-1/4" long stainless cap screws. The flats allowed the screws clear the pump and screw into the base. It worked well, the pump does not slide up and down. In the end there is a 3/4" gap between the clamp and the base but It does not appear to be a problem.

The next issue is the new pump has a 1/2 inch nipple on the bottom where you attach the source fuel line. My fuel system was 3/4" marine grade fuel line. I put some white lithium grease on the pump and some inside the fuel line. I tried to slide the fuel line on... at that point I knew I was in for a hard time.  I ended up heating up the end of fuel line with my heat shrink gun.  The fuel line slid on after heating it but still some effort was required.

The rest of the fuel line installation went well.  There are five rubber insulated hose clamps that are used to route the supply and return fuel lines along with a ground wire to the stern of the boat. Malibu used #10 - 3/4" stainless Phillips head screws. They were difficult to get out because they were so close to the exhaust tubes and muffler. The fifth clamp, the one closest to the stern, is under the tank which required the removal of the tank.  I purchased some #10-3/4" stainless screws that had a 5/16" hex head to make the job easier next time. You might not even have to remove the tank.

Now on to making those gaskets and re-installing the tank....


Mattmon - thanks for the offer for the STLs !   Unfortunately a 3-d printer is one of the few toys I do not have.  I plan to use a hole saw and stepped drill bit to make my gaskets.  I also found some fuel resistant Permetex Moto-seal for $10 to coat the rubber gasket or even just use to seal the tank without a gasket. 

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This morning I made gaskets and installed them on the tank along with a new fuel sending unit.  The gasket was pretty easy.  I found a 6"x6" square, 1/8" thick piece of rubber to make gaskets with in the Lowe's plumbing section. It was inexpensive about $4.00 for the sheet. 

I used a 2-1/4" hole saw and my battery operated drill to cut a circle out of the rubber gasket material. Once the circle was cut I used a step drill and carefully drilled the pilot hole from the hole saw out to 3/4" to clear the fitting for the tank vent, supply and return lines.  The 4 holes were just a 3/16 standard drill bit. 

Here is a link to the gasket for the tank vent.  https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNJzXeSARHbaQzys4Xb-hULTMEY7IvRuAbJ4i2j

I found some Permetex Motoseal at my local NAPA auto parts store.  I coated both sides of the gasket with the Motoseal to give it some resistance to the fuel vapor.

I installed the new sending unit.  I had to cut the rod down to 7 inches. That was all pretty easy, I slid the float up very carefully because the keepers only move one direction. Then I trimmed the rod with my cut-off wheel .  I coated the gasket that came with the sending unit and mounted it to the tank.

Tomorrow the tank gets reinserted into the boat.  I hope it takes 3 minutes instead of 3 days.


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On 6/19/2024 at 4:18 PM, MoonDawg said:

-- I have removed the fuel stem, 2" rubber hose connecting the stem to the tank,

In this quote are you refering to the gas filler hose?  if so How bad was that to remove?  Did you have to remove the gas cap portion. 

I'm about to to replace my filler hose, but is a 1 -1/2" and only about 8" long. so no bending. It looks like you have to remove the gas cap assembly .

I see that this has gaskets between the deck and the SS plate. 

I have been researching the material to make my own gaskets because its a triangle shape base plate for the gas cap. 

Have you had to do the same? if so what gasket material did you use? 

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I had to remove the fuel stem by that I mean the metal piece on the outside of the boat with a cap that screws on.

like this one on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/CNRAQR-Mirror-Polished-Stainless-Hardware-Caravan/dp/B0CHM3MRZS.

The inside diameter of the hose is 1-1/2" the outside was about 2 inches. It is a marine grade hose that was very stiff and had a metal wire in it.

There was just enough clearance after removing to stem to remove the hose from the tank end.

My stem has three stainless bolts with 5/16" nylock nuts on the end.  I had to use a pair of Vice Grips to get the nuts off while unscrewing the bolts from the top.

My cap did not have a gasket. It was sealed with silicone.

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Thanks for the info, this is exactly what I was wondering.The SS Bolts sounds like a pita.

I only have to deal with the SS wood screw. hopefully they screw back in with a little silicone. 

I have been waiting for summer till the weather heats up so the hose is a little more flexible to aid in removal.

Thanks again


Edited by Rack
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43 minutes ago, Rack said:

I have been waiting for summer till the weather heats up so the hose is a little more flexable to aid in removal.

Temperature isn't going to matter.  It is a very stiff, thick wall hose.  I also removed my filler cap assembly in order to remove the filler hose so I could get my tank out.  It wasn't easy to get the hose off because of access to be able to twist and lift.

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 Everything is back together. I connected the fuel lines added some fresh gas and cranked... there is no fuel pressure at key on. I tested each cylinder for spark and a pulse to the injectors and they all tested good.  I assumed that fuel ring was air locked and the pump is just cavitating. I checked on the internet and found that Corvettes have a circuit to run the fuel pump longer than the 2-3 seconds at key on. So I made a cable to run the pump off the battery... I ran the pump for a few minutes and nothing changed.  I hooked up a Holley electric fuel pump I use for fuel transfer and pushed from the tank forward. still no change.

I was off to Harbor Freight to see if they had anything like a vacuum pump that I could connect to the Schrader valve and remove the air as done in air conditioning. They did have a vacuum pump but it was more than I wanted to pay.  I looked around and found that they had a Maddox Fuel pressure gauge that attached to the Schrader Valve and the other end was a 1/8" male fitting. In the spray paint section they had a metal cup for a gravity feed spray gun.  It looked perfect!  It came with a fitting that was 16mm or 3/8" to connect to the gun.  I stopped by the local hardware store and purchased a couple of fittings to get from 1/8"-1/4", and another from 1/4" to 3/8". I also picked up a 3/8" ball valve to add some height and shut off the fuel flow. 

Here is a picture of the tool installed on the oil dipstick zip ties.  https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipP0NAjaYDXlCHUpDtvabplyTAXFRJgBiCd4ASlV

I got back to the shop and connected it all together I used some zip ties to help hold the cup upright added a cup of fuel to the spray cup and the other end to the Schrader valve. Then I disconnected the line that was connected to the high pressure filter to let the air escape and the fuel to flow.  Within a minute there was fuel at the filter so I let it dribble in and pre-fill the filter. Then I reconnected the fuel line at the filter and went to the front of the engine. I loosened the fittings on each side of the cross bar and let a bit of fuel out.  I cleaned up any fuel spills and turned the key listening for the fuel pump to be energized.  I cycled the key on 3 seconds off 6 seconds about four times to prime the fuel ring and then turned the key to start...  Instant success!

Now off to the lake to do some high speed runs and clear the air out of the fuel system.

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I think I had to cycle the key about thirty times or so to get my pump to prime after I cleaned the tank and put in new fuel lines.  As I recall, I had the Schrader valve open to help it move the air out.

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8 hours ago, MoonDawg said:

I was off to Harbor Freight to see if they had anything like a vacuum pump that I could connect to the Schrader valve and remove the air as done in air conditioning. They did have a vacuum pump but it was more than I wanted to pay.

That doesn't happen very often, just saying ...

  • Like 1
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Posted (edited)

The high speed run was a dismal failure! Launched the boat, it idled great, moved out of the launch ramp area and the engine died... Arg! It acts like air in the line.  The fuel pump is making  awful sounds, so it seems that it may not be able to pull fuel 10 feet from the tank.  It looks like a secondary pump as close as possible to the tank is in order.

In this article

1997sunsetter provides a buy list using the Carter Marine CRT-P61122 fuel pump. Some of the links are already dead and I did not want to reduce the pump entry and exit down to 1/8" after running 3/8 fuel line so I found a different solution for the fittings:

Fuel Pump: Carter P61122


Dual Pin Electrical Connector: SMP  S-697


Stainless Mounting Straps: 1-1/2" Rubber Insulated hose clamps


Input Port fitting: 5/8"-18 IFM to 6AN Male


Output Port Fitting: 3/8-24 IFM to 4AN Male


4AN female to 6AN male expander


6AN female to 3/8" hose barbs (2-pack)



In the vapor lock article they talk about connecting the aux pump to the high pressure pump wiring harness.  The wire is pretty small maybe 18 gauge so I think a better Idea is to connect at the fuel pump relay or even add a second relay if there is not much current capability in the existing relay. Plus I have have 14 gauge marine wire left over from another project so I think I will run that from the relay box to the rear of the boat while I'm waiting on the Aux pump and misc fittings.

Edited by MoonDawg
found a 4AN male output port (3/16" min)
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