When you begin making modifications to your truck, JEEP, SUV or other vehicle, you may find that you could benefit from having a fuel cell installed. You may come to this conclusion if you need more fuel capacity, your factory fuel tank was damaged for whatever reason or you simply want to boost safety. Whatever your reasons may be, it helps to have a committed team of knowledgeable professionals on your side who can help you make sound fuel cell decisions. That’s where the Truck Works team comes into play.
Truck Works is made up of car and truck enthusiasts—just like you—who enjoy pointing our customers in the right direction as far as aftermarket add-ons are concerned. If you have a moment, we invite you to learn more about fuel cells by perusing the information on this page. If you have specific question or would like to speak directly to a Truck Works associate, please give us a call at (816) 842-4222.
There are essentially three different types of fuel cells: aluminum cells, hard plastic cells and bladder-type cells. Bladder-type fuel cells employ the use of a large rubber bag (the bladder), which securely fits inside a steel box. This rubber bladder serves to absorb the force created by the movement of the fuel while the vehicle is moving. These types of fuel cells are most commonly used in racing vehicles because they are well equipped to absorb the high energy created by harsh movements or impact with other vehicles. If you are not using your vehicle for racing or other competition purposes, any of the three types of fuel cells are viable options.
When installing fuel cells, it’s important to consider the movement and flexing of the chassis that comes along with using an off-road vehicle to its full potential. It is not uncommon for aluminum fuel cells with a thin composition to crack and leak. It’s our experience that flex over a prolonged amount of time can weaken fuel cells’ edges and corners to the point of cracking. This being the case, it’s good to know that fuel cells can come with foam on the inside or without foam. The foam helps keep fuel sloshing to a minimum and offsets the potential for an explosion to occur due to sudden, harsh movements. While this foam only makes up between two and three percent of fuel cells’ total volume, it can stifle oxygen from a fuel fire and absorb an explosion’s energy if these instances were to occur.
Before you buy a new fuel cell for your ride, make sure to check your local DOT laws because, generally speaking, fuel cells are not approved according DOT standards and thus may not be street legal in all locations.
As you know, it’s not enough to simply install your fuel cell. After you’ve mounted it, you have to see about plumbing it to the fuel-injection system or the carburetor. To achieve this, you can install an external in-line electrical fuel pump, which is one of the most common ways to address plumbing. Some fuel cell manufacturers even have complete pump sets that go inside fuel cells. You should also know there are differences in filler openings, depending on the particular type of fuel cell. Fortunately, there are multiple extensions and necks available to accommodate these differences and varying fill point locations on different vehicles.
For off-roading vehicles that experience a number of heavy changes in vehicle attitude, the location of the fuel pickup is crucial. In most cases, fuel cells featuring a dropped sump in the rear are viable options. On the other hand, you may also choose a fuel cell that employs multiple pickup points within the cell itself. To monitor fuel consumption, you may choose a fuel cell that accepts a fuel-sending unit.
You need to be sure to use a rollover check valve regardless of the type of fuel cell you choose. Doing this will keep fuel from seeping out of the cell if you roll over while off-roading or rock crawling. Please note that with Truck Works, you don’t need to worry about any of this because we conveniently handle the installation process; we just want you to know how everything works!
Certain fuel cells tend to wear down thanks to fuel additives and prolonged storage of those additives. If you would like to know if your selected fuel cell is vulnerable to such degradation, be sure to ask the supplier or one of the experts here at Truck Works. To ensure your fuel cell is in good working order, it’s wise to inspect it or have it inspected from time to time. Such inspections allow you to see that the check valve, seals and gaskets are functioning properly and at capacity. Also, you should clean or replace fuel cells’ pickup screens on an as-needed basis. Additionally, plastic-type fuel cells last approximately three years, so replacement may be necessary after this amount of time has passed. Further, you should replace rubber bladders at least every five years.
It’s essential to ground your fuel cell to your vehicle’s frame in addition to properly wiring it to the power it needs to function. Grounding your fuel cell to the frame hinders the buildup static electricity from fuel sloshing inside the cell, which is great because this buildup could cause a fuel explosion.
Overall, your fuel cell should give you dependable fuel storage and enhanced traveling capacity. Results, of course, will depend on your rig’s setup and your particular requirements. If you’re ready to have a fuel cell installed, have any questions about fuel cells, need brand recommendations or would like additional information, please reach out to Truck Works today! Simply contact us here or call us at (816) 842-4222, and a Truck Works representative will gladly address your inquiry in a timely manner!