• Forum membership has its advantages....

fuel cells


Well-Known Member
ive got a couple fuel cell questions....
i've got the opportunity to pick one up, out of a circle track car, for way cheap...but it's not steel, it's some type of plastic...polyethylene. the pick up is in the bottom right corner of the tank, for all those lefts i make....whaddaya think-if i had a nice aluminum skidplate/shield under it??? would it work??okay, how about it being legal here in ca?? i talked to 2 different fab shops, and got 2 different answers. one said it can be made street/smog legal quite easily, one said it can't be done.....
what do our collective minds say on this one???


Krittro Campbell
The reason some places will not smog it, is becasue of the filler cap. If you attach the a factory cap on the end of the filler hose there should be no problems. The reason is that if you dont have a restriction cap, you can use other than unleaded gas and they dont want you to do that. That is the only reason I can think of. I know if you have the stock tank and you take off the filler and they find out, they will reject it.


- users no longer part of the rdc family -

There is no reason that if you hook up all the smog goodies that it wouldn't be legal.. Just make all the same connections your stock tank has.



Well-Known Member
kriter is right they are supposed to check the fuel filler cap thats really the only problem

its not speeding unless its a triple digit<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by vwguy on 08/05/01 06:09 PM (server time).</FONT></P>


Well-Known Member
thanks for the help everybody. nobody sees any type of a problem with it being plastic and not steel, right?? seems like it'd be a bit lighter that way, which my 4 tired cylinders will appreciate (it's going in a toyota). why would one of the prominent fabricator guys here in socal tell me that a fuel cell would never pass smog, and it wouldn't and couldn't be street legal?? he fully advised me against it, unless i knew someone in the smog check business.


Well-Known Member
Up in Bakersfield, cells will not pass smog. My neighbor wanted to put a cell in the bed of his low rider Toyota truck due to the clearance problems when he dumps the air bags. When he grinds, he didn't want to puncture the tank. He found out from others that have put cells in that they wont pass the visual and in most cases won't pass the tank emissions test on OBD II (97 and later) vehicles.

If you plan to put one in your truck, make sure that all the emissions related equipment is installed on the tank fill plate the same as your original tank as well as any that may be on the filler neck. I know that 96 and later GM products have a closed system with a MAP type of sensor on the tank to measure difference in pressure. During a OBD II drive cycle, tank vent solenoid at the charcoal cannister closes off the vent and the system pulls a vacuum. Computer measures whether vacuum is lost during test cycle to see if there are leaks that would let vapor escape. If test fails, check engine light comes on and history is saved in computer memory.

I don't know if any other brands do the same, but they all have to do some type of vapor test on 97 and later models. Just check out everything carefully before you do it. If you have a good smog shop that you use, ask him if he thinks it will pass. Remember to keep your stock parts just in case. Hope this helps.


Well-Known Member
Many of the newer cars are using plastic tanks from the factory.
SAAB has used a plastic tank sence the early eighties.
I would put it in a metal can for off-road use if you do use it.
Also the JAZ fuel cells are plastic in a metal can. I know you can get them without the can too.

<font color=red>Cameron</font color=red>
<font color=yellow>BRAT Racing # 936</font color=yellow>


Well-Known Member
If you are in California the smog laws are stricter. CA has a visual inspection and if they see they something that is not factory they won't pass it, they won't even test it. When I was trying to get my MDR class 1450 smogged I couldn't find anyone to even put it on the machine. I called C.A.R.B. (California Air Resources Board) and they told me that if it wasn't factory on the vehicle they won't pass it. I had everything for the smog hooked up including the stock airbox and preheat tube. I finally found a shop that would test it and overlook the fuel cell. It still cost me $250 for everything. The trick is to find a shop willing to test it, but legally they are supposed to fail the visual and not hook it up to the machine.

Good luck


- users no longer part of the rdc family -
I guess this just proves how bogus the smog laws are. They are in place to keep the aitr clean right? So why if you have made all the factory connections is there a problem hooking it to the machine? And if the numbers are good then why doesn't it pass?

Just keep in mind that every county has its own laws on smog. I would call around or go to a few local smog stations. Ask them what they think.

The fuel tank is nothing more than a freaking box!!!! I would like someone to explain to me how changing it to a different shape and/or the construction material effects the vapors released into the air via eveporation or exhaust gases... And when I say that I mean with all the stock connections and fuel cap.



Well-Known Member
i agree with that its just a different shaped or type box what the heck
we should actually try to see what we can do to change this crap because its rediculus

its not speeding unless its a triple digit


Well-Known Member
They do it to keep the decision out of the hands of the poorly trained monkies that do most smog checks. They wanted to get rid of the grey area where "its not stock, but I think it will work."
The way it was before, they thought is was too easy to get away with too much. Now, in California, if its not stock or has no CARB#, its not supposed to pass the visual inspection and not
supposed to be tested. We all know it sucks and most times doesn't make sense, but enjoy it while you can cuz it looks like its only gonna get worse.

Matt Nelson
Team Kwik Racing
It seems like they would like it better because they are constructed better then crappy plastic stock tanks. It makes driving a safer thing. I bet that if you put a fuel cell into a Pinto and rear ended it that it wouldn't blow up like they do with the stock tanks! I am sure that there are enough shops around and you should be able to get someone to overlook it. After all it seems like when you go somewhere and have a nice truck the people are really nice to you and hook you up.

Go Big Or Go Home


Well-Known Member
Gary, put the cell in and do your best to make it "legal". but keep youe old tank totally intact and if the give you smack come smog time just strap it in the bed and hook it up. I have to kinda lay my stock airbox on its side (the hood wont even close) but its all there and kinda hooked up and they pass it. Also, let your fingers do the walking and call around, you'll find somebody who understands and ,as long as its really legal, should pass you. I just build my tank and it uses the stock filler and vapor return, even the stock pump and sender, but i will still probavly get crap next time.


Gabe Lara

Well-Known Member
You may want to check around with fab shops as well, and see who they deal with for smog....
Alot of times they have/ know smog guys that are familiar with the type of set-ups that come out of the fab shops, and won't be too harsh on the visual, because they are familiar whats found on a pre-runner, and know the extent of the regulations, and how they would apply to us.