going that extra mile or two – VW Early Bay meets VW Split screen combo

One of my plans for a upgrade in 2015 was to try and increase the capacity of my VW campers original fuel tank. Although nothing is wrong with the original tank itself, the original capacity is fairly small (40 litres/8.8 gallons), so on a long run or road trip, you end up having to make fairly frequent fuel stops at the petrol station to fill up! There are a couple of companies that make modern upgrade tanks that can be used to increase the capacity by an extra 10 litres to 50 litres, but its a fairly modest increase in capacity for the costs involved, and a modern looking shiny aluminium tank would look a bit odd in my fairly stock Canterbury Pitt camper!

original 1955 to 1967 VW split screen fuel tank painted and looking like new!
original 1955 to 1967 VW split screen fuel tank painted and looking like new!

Fortunately there is another option! As is often the way with vintage VW campers, there was a one year only option (August 1971>) VW Early Bay fuel tank that both had a larger capacity (65 litres/14.3 gallons) and would fit into the available space behind the engine without major modifications!

clean space above the engine bay where the fuel tank fits
clean space above the engine bay where the fuel tank fits

The trouble with ‘one year only’ options is by their nature, they are few and far between so pretty difficult to get hold of! But after posting a few wanted adverts on a variety of VW website/forums such as the Split screen van club (SSVC) and the Early Bay forum, I eventually managed to initially identify the right type of tank I was after, and then eventually track one down!

dusty old August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank
dusty old August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank

The August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank itself was a bit grubby externally, with some evidence of ‘surface rust’ underneath (apparently a common issue from the location of the tank and the Early Bay construction). Inside, the tank was in great shape, so hopefully it would just need media blasting on the outside to clean it all up and then get it prepped for painting before getting fitted and connected in my camper.

August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank with some evidence of ‘surface rust’ underneath
August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank with some evidence of ‘surface rust’ underneath

Apart from extending the original split screen fuel tank holding straps and adding additional pipework to join the tank to the filler neck, there will be a few other extras that will be needed to complete the crossover transformation, such as a new fuel tank to body seal, a new fuel valve kit and filter.

parts list diagram for an August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank (top pic)
parts list diagram for an August 1971 VW Early Bay fuel tank (top pic)

I can get these bits ordered whilst the tank gets sent off to get media blasted and cleaned up ready for painting…

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