Rick’s Tanks Builds Our ’64 Chevy C10 a Custom Fuel Tank

By Todd Ryden

“Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, Rick’s built a custom stainless tank for our truck …”

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We apologize to Marty Robbins and any fans, but we couldn’t resist humming the line from his gun-slinging ballad “El Paso,” which is famously set at Rosa’s Cantina (still in operation). In fact, if you were to stagger out of Rosa’s after a couple tacos and cold ones, Rick’s Tanks is just a few clicks up the road.

02 Rick’s builds bolt in and custom stainless steel tanks
Rick’s builds bolt-in and custom stainless steel tanks. For our C10 application we provided a detailed CAD drawing that they used to confirm the measurements. They also have a Custom Tank Template to download from their website to help you walk through the measurement process for your custom tank.

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Rick’s has been building high-quality stainless steel tanks for 25 years and continues to hand-make direct-fit and custom tanks. When they started, custom-built stainless tanks were reserved for high-end builds, for the most part, but Rick’s was on the forefront of tanks specifically built for EFI with the pumps mounted in the tanks. The Pro Touring and race community loved them for their work on fuel pickups and custom baffling.

03 The process starts with a fresh piece of 14 gauge 308 stainless steel cut to length then formed in one of two pressbrakes
The process starts with a fresh piece of 14-gauge, 308 stainless steel cut to length then formed in one of two press/brakes.

In the case of our ’64 Chevy project we decided to have a custom tank built that would mount under the bed but high in the rails to keep its appearance minimized while adding clearance for exhaust routing. For custom builds, Rick’s has a template to download, or you can send a CAD drawing of your own. They’ve even received cardboard mock-ups before! If you can dream it, they can build it.

04 This piece will form the top of the tank
This piece will form the top of the tank.

All of Rick’s custom tanks are formed from 14-gauge 304 stainless steel sourced in the U.S. They are assembled and welded one at a time by a single craftsman from start to finish. Unless specified, most of the tanks are fitted with a modified fifth-gen Camaro SS fuel pump module that provides OEM reliability and is set up for a returnless fuel pump system, saving the need to run a return line from the engine to the tank. They also install a tube-style sending unit to match most any gauge.

05 The larger bottom section of the tank was formed on a CNC pressbrake
The larger bottom section of the tank was formed on a CNC press/brake.

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Our tank was pretty straightforward with a single pump, but with 25 years of experience, Rick’s has seen it all, including dual pumps, corner pickups, weird forms, and reservoirs for off-road racing and more. To get an idea on the process, we stood watch as our tank took shape and we can also report that it fit into our framerails just perfectly!

06 Measurements are constantly checked and confirmed through the hand formed process
Measurements are constantly checked and confirmed through the hand-formed process.

The only downside of our tank is it is going to be covered up by the bed—so now’s your chance to check it out.

07 Once formed to the proper depth the remaining steel was cut off with a plasma cutter to achieve the proper height when mated to the top panel
Once formed to the proper depth, the remaining steel was cut off with a plasma cutter to achieve the proper height when mated to the top panel. This is especially important on our application as the rear is 1-inch deeper than the front edge.
08 The top and bottom portions of the tank are trimmed and prepped for TIG welding assembly
The top and bottom portions of the tank are trimmed and prepped for TIG welding assembly.
09 Working off our diagram the positions of the sending unit filler and pump module are all carefully laid out
Working off our diagram, the positions of the sending unit, filler, and pump module are all carefully laid out on the top panel of the tank along with two vents positioned in the rear corners.
10 The pump module hole is cut with a plasma cutter and then prepped for the pump module mounting ring
The pump module hole is cut with a plasma cutter and then prepped for the pump module mounting ring.
11 The top panel of the tank receives substantial bracing to add strength and rigidity to the assembly
The top panel of the tank receives substantial bracing to add strength and rigidity to the assembly before…
12 the mounts for the sending unit filler and pump module are tacked in place
…the mounts for the sending unit, filler, and pump module are tacked in place.
13 a second stainless panel is welded to the bottom of the tank
Back to the bottom section, a second stainless panel is welded to the bottom of the tank, adding strength and providing secure mount for the side panel brackets and a mount location for the pump module. This is also an important part of the final, clean, weld-free appearance underneath.
14 The top and bottom panels are spot welded together then all of the measurements are confirmed again
The top and bottom panels are spot welded together then all of the measurements are confirmed again. Note the pump module bracket in place to secure the assembly from any side-to-side movement.
15 With the top bottom and internals of the tank all in place
With the top, bottom, and internals of the tank all in place…
16 the side panels are laser cut and also tacked into position
…the side panels are laser cut and also tacked into position.
17 The mounting brackets were tacked into position
The mounting brackets were tacked into position followed by an overall measure…
18 an overall measure and check before final welding begins
…and check before final welding begins.
19 The final welding is a slow process that takes place in short intervals to different areas to minimize distortion
The final welding is a slow process that takes place in short intervals to different areas to minimize distortion. No robotics here as it is all hand-welded by talented craftsmen. The different colors are the reaction to heat and amperage changes that occur during the process.
20 Rick’s uses a fifth gen Camaro SS pump module that is set up for returnless operation
Rick’s uses a fifth-gen Camaro SS pump module that is set up for returnless operation, saving you the hassle of running a return line to the tank.
21 the module with a 60 psi regulator and install a 6AN fitting adapter on the outlet
They modify the module with a 60-psi regulator and install a -6AN fitting adapter on the outlet.
22 Rick’s stocks a number of different length tube style sending units with different resistance values to match your application
Rick’s stocks a number of different-length, tube-style sending units with different resistance values to match your application. Filler tubes can also be specified to meet your requirements.

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Rick’s Tanks Builds Our ’64 Chevy C10 a Custom Fuel Tank.

ctp april 2024

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