Fuel

Work has been endless and literally non-stop. I’m seldom home and when I do manage to allocate some time to be home, it’s usually just to load up the coffee maker and make my lunch for the next day. To be honest, I’ve been a bit of a zombie for the past couple of months and I don’t know when the “break” is going to be. Obviously part of this is my fault as I’ve been spending more of my time on the Triumph. Unfortunately, a lot of my time has been spent running errands, seemingly endless trips to the MTO for plate stickers and ownership transfers and working on things that keep breaking on the Lancer. It’s exhausting and frustrating but these are all things that need to be done.

Dust – Fuel Pressure Regulator

 

Ghost Town – Mocking up Pedals

As mentioned though, my own personal enjoyment is included into my zombie-like state and most recently it has been dedicated to the future fuel system on the Triumph. This is a project that I have been thinking about for a really long time – trying to think of the best way to route the new lines, what I should use for lines, fittings, hoses, a fuel tank/cell, etc. The options are endless and you can easily end up with a fuel system that looks incredible and is capable of feeding a 1000whp beast without any fear of fuel starvation under the most demanding track conditions. I had to give my head a bit of a shake though, I’m feeding a stock little 1.6L that pumps out 114hp, at the crank nonetheless. Still though, overthinking isn’t always the worst thing as once you properly decide on what your needs will be, you can confidently put together a system that will match your needs without fear of failure.

Yellow – New Reservoir is in Order

 

Bent – Brake Lines


So as much as I want a fuel system that has all of that added “bling”, I really can’t bring myself to spend $1500 on a fuel system that is way above the needs of my car. With the addition of extra fittings and lines, there’s always the worry about additional points of fuel leakage… I will be driving a tin can from the early 70’s, I don’t need any more reasons to die in a fiery death. Researching the basic equipment needed for a fuel system, I found that everything can be had for a very reasonable price. Hard and soft lines are cheap, assorted clamps are cheap, hardware is cheap, really the only thing that has a marginal increase in price is an electronic, in-line fuel pump. Even that though, for the amount of pressure that an inexpensive, name brand pump can provide, the price really isn’t bad.

Teeny Tiny – Wee Little Factory Gas Tank

 

Drinking Straw – Fuel Line


I have my eyes on a Walbro fuel pump, capable of providing a sustained 190lph, or Liters per Hour. Online the pump is worth $130 brand new which will include the applicable taxes and shipping in US dollars. Thankfully I have another source for performance parts so I should be able to get it for around the same price in Canadian dollars. For a 5’ length of hard line, flared and with fittings, it’s a measly $8.99 at Canadian Tire. Soft line is very inexpensive as well, costing me $2.99/ft. All I need to do is add a pre-pump fuel filter and I should be off to the races. Well… maybe someday I will be.

These Started Full – No, really…


Initially I was going to run a fuel cell in the car but with the complications of adding a sealed bulkhead to the car, the additional cost and the required modifications to the vehicle, I decided to just keep my factory tank and weld in an additional bung. That’s a topic I should touch on as well – the fuel system itself. The Miata fueling system from factory is a return system, meaning there is one fuel feed line and one fuel return line, both running from the tank to the fuel rail on the intake manifold. The old inline six that came with the Triumph is a return-less system with a mechanical fuel pump, so there are a couple of differences that need to be addressed. Realistically though, the conversion is super simple, all that needs to be done is the addition of one fuel line and the addition of a weld-in bung into the fuel tank for the return line.

Lines – Adding Up


A bigger issue however is the location of the fuel rail and plumbing of the factory Miata fuel lines. The miata fuel rail has its feed and return ports angled in such a way where the lines run in between the runners on the intake manifold. Although it’s a little restricted for space, this works really nicely for plumbing because everything is so nicely tucked away. Unfortunately (sorta) for me, the Miata motor is pushed back really far into the frame so there isn’t much room between the valve cover/head and the firewall. This works great for weight distribution but makes the plumbing a little more difficult for the fuel lines. The fuel tank feed is on the drivers side of the vehicle, while the fuel rail on the Miata motor is located on the passenger side of the vehicle – I had to get creative with the crossover.

In & Out – Fuel Feed and Return

The fuel line size I am using is the same that the Miata came with from factory – it’s standard 5/16” steel flared line. It’s not too terrible to bend with the help of a hand bender but the complexity of the routing I decided to go with makes it a little bit more challenging. I’m not lying, I spent a good hour or two under the car with a light just seeing what my best routing option is on the chassis. I apparently was feeling pretty ambitious and chose a route that follows the factory “flat, inverted V” shaped cutout behind the wheel well, just in front of where the body bolts to the frame. My thinking behind this was that there is absolutely nothing to ever interfere with the fuel lines in this location, no vibration and no FOD (foreign object debris).

Electrical Tape – Many Uses


It took me around four hours from start to finish to get the fuel feed lines bent the way I wanted them but overall I’m pretty happy with the result. In that time, I was able to get my fuel return line started as well. The method isn’t very difficult but its more tedious than anything – measure your length needed, mark the line, measure the approximate angle needed, mark it down for reference, load into the hand bender, give it some muscle and correct as necessary.

Runners – Little Bends


I will be using simple P-clamps to secure the fuel lines to the frame and body where necessary. While I haven’t figured out exactly how I should secure the fuel lines on the two separate entities, my basic idea is to weld a nut onto the body/frame and bolt the lines onto the car. The advantage of this is that with the added height of the nut on the frame, I might be able to get my P-clamps to mount inversely and therefore (hopefully) floating from the frame. This will minimize any vibration against the frame which will again, hopefully, make for a fail-proof system.

Routing – Time Consuming Bends


With the feed line being all bent into shape, all I really need now is a fuel pump and fuel filter. Due to the nature of the factory Triumph routing, there is no possible way to have the feed line stay in the vehicle to add a fuel pump inside the car before exiting the vehicle – the feed bung on the tank protrudes out the bottom of the car. I could do one of two things, either remove the factory bung and weld the opening shut or I could just mount my fuel pump externally. Since I don’t plan on having this car see any harsh weather, I really don’t see an issue in mounting it externally, this will also make the lines much easier to manage as well. Thankfully the Walbro pump also comes with a protective cover to protect it against FOD.

Routing – Nicely Tucked Away


Ideally I will be wiring up a permanent harness on the fuel pump so it is a simple plug and play, rather than use the connectors that utilize the threaded rod and a nut to connect to the pump. This will be super easy to do and will make my future wiring harness a little bit simpler. Just as a side note, I’ve always hated hose clamps – I always find they look messy and junky. However after purchasing properly sized clamps, which are obviously brand new, they actually don’t look bad at all. I think my gripe with them was that usually when I see people put together new lines they buy oversize clamps and tighten them until they fit.

Routing – Multiple Bends


I’ve already purchased the remainder of the lines and fittings I need to finish off all of the routing so the motor will have the potential to hold its own fuel. All that needs to be done now is to dedicate a couple more hours of bending and fitting. I’m honestly amazed at how much a little bit more time and dedication has changed the progress of the car. Rewind time to about a month or so ago and I thought the car was at a standstill.

Front to Back – Overview


What I have learned about all of this is to not get overwhelmed with the amount of time and work that needs to go into a project like this. What I find very discouraging is looking at the “big picture”, it doesn’t work. Instead, I have found more success in breaking down all of the components of the vehicle and tackle one project at a time. Whether it be the frame restoration, suspension, motor swap, differential, driveshaft, cooling system, fuel delivery, exhaust, electronics, etc., just pick one and run with it. The learning is endless and the results that can be achieved are personally very rewarding.

Front to Back – Feed and Return


I think I will be moving onto the electrical system next. I plan on creating my own wiring harness from scratch so nothing is spliced and everything is set up exactly the way I want it to be, with more than four fuses in the entire car. I dissected a Miata wiring harness (both body and engine) and stole all of the connectors off of it. I plan on using very few of the factory connectors and purchasing all new Deutsch connectors. I would also like to add in a slew of relays so everything powers up nicely and more importantly, when I want it to. I don’t want any electrical issues (Lucas, the Prince of Darkness, need not apply).

Bends – Minor Adjustments Needed


I have also managed to get some more brake lines bent for the master cylinder to the distribution manifold. I have a clutch and brake pedal back in the car so I can start positioning my drivers seat exactly where I want it. Things are really, really exciting right now with the Triumph. I can see a future for the car, I can see it on the road. There are a couple of things I need to tackle after the fuel system: electronics, exhaust and then the body. However if I stick to it, I can see this being on the road late next year… Although, I’ve said that before.  I will continue to work hard until this thing is done, the closer I get to completion, the more excited I am about the car. I look at old photos from when the car was still in California – the car has come a long way (punpunpun).

Full Set – Feed and Return

 

Overview – Feed and Return
To anyone reading this blog, I always appreciate the kind comments and compliments that I have been receiving. I have put this whole project together for myself, the blog is just my way to share my passion with those who find stuff like this interesting. Anyone who is willing to read pages and pages of my ranting deserves a very large thank you, I don’t often re-read what I wrote after a post is published. Thank you so much to everyone who reads all of this, who has helped me with the car and who has listened to my constant babbling, thank you for your continuous support, it means a ton to me.

 

– Sean

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