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Fuel cell installation


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I’m working to get my 420R eligible to race in the HSR series, they have all the usual safeties as a requirement to enter, all of which I already have with the exception of the fuel cell. It’s taken almost a year to get the cell and parts due to the supply chain disruptions in the UK plus not knowing whether to keep the internal fuel pump vs getting an external one and a bunch of other stuff that I really have no business trying to make decisions on. I couldn’t find any fuel cell installation posts anywhere (maybe someone knows of a place?) so I figured I’d document this attempt. Here’s the shipment from Caterham of parts and the certificate from ATL...

CBD804A5-6DE6-4FFD-8156-65192F2B9DAD.thumb.jpeg.d120db6519560e8552a32a2142810fc1.jpeg

I have no clue right now what the pumps mount to and how the lines are plumbed. Definitely not the straight swap I was hoping for, but it’ll be a fun challenge. Gonna start the install after a VIR track day next week.
 

This is the parts list...

Stock code

Quantity per

Description

1221310053

2.000000

BRACKET COIL & ROVER FUEL

30T043A

2.000000

ADAPTOR-FUEL FILTER TO

380T0001A

1.000000

FUEL HOSE - PUMP/FILTER TO FUEL RAIL

5249970000

1.000000

FUEL PUMP-REMOTE VX RACE

73013

1.000000

BOOT BOARD-99>DD(H/COMB)-

73014/55

1.000000

55 LITRE FUEL BAG TANK-UN

73015/55

1.000000

55 LITRE BOX FOR BAG TANK

73052R

2.000000

BOLT-FUEL TANK RETAINING-

73055R

1.000000

BRAIDED FUELLINE-TANK/PUM

73213

1.000000

FUEL PIPE-INJECTION ROVER

76151

1.000000

EXTENSION-FUEL PUMP-ROVER

79714

1.000000

BOOT BOARD-90> DE DION

EDP9976

2.000000

O-RING-FUEL FILTER ADAPTE

GFE7020

1.000000

FUEL FILTER-RACE INJECTION (+ROVER)

HEF7-6-5

1.000000

FUEL UNION-FOR BAG TANK

WG17

1.000000

GROMMET-H'BRAKE CABLE IN

WKB100250

1.000000

FUEL PIPE ASSY-FILTER TO

ZFT04K

1.000000

HARDWARE FUEL SYSTEM

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Group 11X I think, some of the cars in that group are 10 seconds a lap faster, the 420R is not really going to be competitive, it’s just an excuse to hang out with some neat folks and amazing cars at iconic tracks.

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Definitely there are Caterhams around the US with fuel cells.  No one ever documented the installation to my knowledge.  If you feel uncertain about doing it yourself, a good race shop could help.

 

If you are still in existing 420 engine spec then why not reuse the in tank fuel pump? Its a solution that works and saves you money of buying something extra.  

 

 

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Bruce Beachman (Beachman Racing) installed the fuel cell on my Caterham, so may be a useful resource.

 

I recently had it rebuilt. All customized as it is a 21 gallon tank. Not cheap. For instance, the top of the tank alone, with the filler cap was $1,800. I think the total cost, including installation (2x as there were glitches), was around $8K. That included a new tank, liner and foam. It does not include the cost of redoing the fuel system which was a separate adventure ($$$$)

Off the shelf parts would have helped.

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6 hours ago, Croc said:

Definitely there are Caterhams around the US with fuel cells.  No one ever documented the installation to my knowledge.  If you feel uncertain about doing it yourself, a good race shop could help.

 

If you are still in existing 420 engine spec then why not reuse the in tank fuel pump? Its a solution that works and saves you money of buying something extra.  

 

 

Caterham said the internal fuel pump cannot be used with the fuel cell, so I got a new external one that they use for their race spec 420R. I took a peek inside the new tank and it’s full of this sponge material so maybe that’s why, dunno. The parts list doesn’t seem complete, I can’t see how the pump and filter connect right now, plus the new tank is much larger than the existing, so the aluminum honeycomb is going to have to come out, which means the roll cage has to come out, which means the rear dampers have to come out lol. ThIs is not going to be quick or easy.

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4 hours ago, Kitcat said:

Bruce Beachman (Beachman Racing) installed the fuel cell on my Caterham, so may be a useful resource.

 

I recently had it rebuilt. All customized as it is a 21 gallon tank. Not cheap. For instance, the top of the tank alone, with the filler cap was $1,800. I think the total cost, including installation (2x as there were glitches), was around $8K. That included a new tank, liner and foam. It does not include the cost of redoing the fuel system which was a separate adventure ($$$$)

Off the shelf parts would have helped.

Yikes! Yeah I’m trying to replicate the Caterham factory installation with as much of their parts as possible, I think I’m most of the way there with the materials with the exception of odds and ends like off the shelf mounting hardware and maybe fuel hose.

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Eeek!  That is more involved than I thought it would be.  Bit surprised to hear the honeycomb has to come out - interesting.  

 

The sponge is fire retardent foam.  So yes that would stop an in-tank pump from working.  

 

Edited to add:  Kitcat has a very different installation from the Caterham fuel cell.  Far more bespoke and professional than the average Caterham given it was originally built for a 24 hour race.  

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/29/2021 at 9:23 PM, Kitcat said:

Bruce Beachman (Beachman Racing) installed the fuel cell on my Caterham, so may be a useful resource.

 

I recently had it rebuilt. All customized as it is a 21 gallon tank. Not cheap. For instance, the top of the tank alone, with the filler cap was $1,800. I think the total cost, including installation (2x as there were glitches), was around $8K. That included a new tank, liner and foam. It does not include the cost of redoing the fuel system which was a separate adventure ($$$$)

Off the shelf parts would have helped.

Sounds a bit expensive job.

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Started the disassembly…straight forward so far though the aluminum honeycomb doesn’t come out of the top, hopefully it drops down after the tank is removed. Anyone know how to remove the fuel line shown in the pic below??

14B29765-011D-485F-ADE3-03BC08F90DDE.thumb.jpeg.40f5590c2ca2d30340c1198d61f562aa.jpeg

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The old tank is removed. There aren't many technical points to note for disassembly except that the tank is lifted out not lowered, so the roll cage and dampers needed to be removed to allow aluminum honeycomb and then tank removal. One item that is unknown right now is whether the drivetrain needs to be removed to allow fuel pipe installation. The existing fuel pipe is mounted under the topside of the tunnel so it's pretty much inaccessible without removing the drivetrain. The hope right now is the new pipe can be installed without having to do this. Cross fingers!

 

For the installation I'm waiting on 3 bits of info from Caterham to move forward...

1. New tank mounting: The old fuel tank was 91cm wide, the new bag tank container is 80cm wide. So the lower black tank brackets on the car are too wide for the new tank (55mm gap each side), see picture below. I've asked what the correct mount method for the underside is.

image.png.16b5b98f246de1af4c590915f9c22f4b.png

 

2. Electrical Wiring: The original tank had a ford/rover pump and tank level sensor which was connected with a 6 pin connector with 4 wires to the tank. The new tank has a Bosch external pump and no tank level, and 2 wires for the pump only. See pics below. The questions to Caterham are: a. Do I keep relay AU5A-9D370-FC and existing wiring intact? (I believe yes) b. Which of the 4 wires connect to the 2 pump wires? (I think pink and yellow).

image.png.5efe8cd4b5ac749eef57310dc09f003b.pngimage.png.4c5b5ba88de331a0229585040e7119f0.png

Original 6 pin connector with 4 wires:

•Pink/White

•Black

•Green/Black

•Yellow/White

 

3. Pump and Filter Mount Location, plumbing: I've asked Caterham for info about where they normally mount the pump and filter, plus pics of the plumbing. I really have no clue about this part.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Caterham sent 3 pics of a bag tank installation that's in for service right now....

The first pic shows a pressure regulator (yellow part) with return to tank and presumably line to rail but cannot be seen. The metallic part before that looks like a sampling device (I guess they have that in the UK). I don't believe that'll be needed in the US unless someone thinks otherwise. Caterham did not include either of these parts in the original shipment so this has spawned more questions.

image0.thumb.jpeg.cecca99c94181933ac2b776541fc0c48.jpeg

This is the mount location for the pump, which is very helpful. No filter though, another question.

image3.thumb.jpeg.bc106623c2effc4600a21a8d89507c91.jpeg

Bottom up view of pump installation. It mounts to the tank box.

image1.thumb.jpeg.4ac63e6d869dd24060e5b7dba7ee0580.jpeg

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