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  • Fuel cell options

    Considering going from factory tank with surge tank set-up to a fuel cell in the near future. The ATL brand well cell seems to be a nice option considering it fits neatly into the spare tire well without cutting the trunk floor. I do have some concerns due to the 12 gallon size though and was wondering if 12 gallons is going to be enough? I wanted to run some longer races and am concerned if it is going to be large enough. Anyone running this set-up or another set-up that can give me your thoughts on the size etc.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    JimmyP is running that setup...has been for years.

    All I can tell you is that I have thought about doing the same for years but still haven't quite got there.

    There is another BMW oriented "well cell" that ATL sells that holds 17 gallons, but it is very expensive.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep, Thats what I have. It was basically a poor mans way of emulating what the factory did. I think I did mine back in 98 or 99

      My Gruppe A car has a custom round Premier Fuel Cell in the spare tire well, with a really nice punched aluminum cover and the pretty standard BMW Gruppe A swirl pot with Facet lift pump and Bosch 044 high pressure pump. Works great. Can run it actually dry.

      The much cheaper simpler version is what I did in my club race car.
      ATL Well Cell (12 gallons) with a Bosch 044 pump tucked up under the drivers side rear seat. Because the 044 is mounted lower than the cell combined with a Russel one way valve I negated the need for a lift pump.
      I used a ATL 3 door surge tank inside the Well Cell to replace the beautiful Gruppe A swirl pot. I can run it down t pretty much empty I have no complaints. I made (or had made) and .090 aluminum hat box to go over the Well Cell to make it SCCA legal "container.

      My car with a hot 2.3 (although not 2.3 1988 Gruppe A spec like Eric's) achieves about 10 MPG in race conditions. Obviously that varies a bit due to the track and how many yellow laps, etc.
      Thats the metric I go by for my car. I only race in SCCA sprint races so I generally only run 5-ish gallons in there any way.
      I'll fill it up to the top for DEs or lapping days, but when we race I run 5 gallons and thats plenty for a sprint.

      If you want any more info just ask. I highly recommend it though. The fuel system is so greatly simplified with the cell and I "never" have to worry about fuel starvation or uncovering the pickup unless I have run it down to nothing.

      HTH
      jimmy p
      jimmy p.
      87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
      88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
      88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
      92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
      98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
      04 Ford F350 - V10

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks guy's for the excellent info.I found out my old factory tank is starting to corrode and instead of buying a new one I could put that money towards a better solution. That would also open up the under seat area for trans and a diff cooler in the future!

        Jimmy P, Are you still using the factory hard lines to carry the fuel up to the engine? If so how are you connecting the an hard lines to them? If not what are you using?

        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey Curtis,
          No factory lines of any kind remain in my car.
          Fuel was all converted to -6 JIC feed and return.

          I have changed it a bit over the years, but the basics of the project are still the same as the install that was covered on Gustave's old site which I think has been re-hosted a few times by a few different people.
          I'm not sure where that currently resides (if anywhere).
          I'd do it over again in a second. I love the simplicity of the system.
          jimmy p.
          87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
          88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
          88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
          92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
          98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
          04 Ford F350 - V10

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
            Hey Curtis,
            No factory lines of any kind remain in my car.
            Fuel was all converted to -6 JIC feed and return.

            I have changed it a bit over the years, but the basics of the project are still the same as the install that was covered on Gustave's old site which I think has been re-hosted a few times by a few different people.
            I'm not sure where that currently resides (if anywhere).
            I'd do it over again in a second. I love the simplicity of the system.
            Sounds like the way to go. Thanks for the advice! I will try to post my progress as this project moves along.

            Comment


            • #7
              Do you have to replace the bladder periodically on the well cells?

              Comment


              • #8
                I think that depends on your rule making body.
                Technically I think they "can" have a "certified" lifespan in that they have a build date stamped on them. If your sanctioning body requires a lifespan on cells thats how it would be determined. However a 6 year old could figure out a way to change the date on the stamp if one so desired... Not that anyone would ever do anything like that...

                There is no bladder in a Well Cell like in a traditional Steel Box and bladder cell, the Well Cell "is" the bladder. If your Rule Making Body requires it you build a container to go around it.

                I have re-foamed mine a couple times but the cell itself has never been "changed" since its purchase, nor has anyone with my preferred sanctioning body ever checked its date. YMMV.

                The Premier cell in my Gruppe A car is original to the car and similarly I have re-foamed it over the years but the cell itself is still as fuel tight as the day it was new, same as my ATL Well Cell.

                Also FWIW when I have re-foamed both cells over the years,,, none of the foam that I removed showed the slightest amount of deterioration when I took it out, It easily could have continued on, I threw away perfectly good cell foam on several accounts. Again,,, YMMV.
                Last edited by jimmy p.; 08-16-2017, 05:49 PM.
                jimmy p.
                87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                04 Ford F350 - V10

                Comment


                • #9
                  Jimmy -- reading this today and wanted to clarify what you wrote in post #3

                  is your Bosch 044 gravity fed from the well cell? Have any pics of your setup you would be willing to share? I ordered my well cell today!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yep it is. When I bought my 044 pump they were not as readily available as they are now, so I called a Bosch Motorsport outlet in Long Island. The guy I spoke to told me the 044 (and pumps like it) pushed way better than they sucked so thats part of the reason why many people use a lift pump with it.
                    By mounting mine below the cell and using the one way valve I have not used or needed to use a lift pump ever at least not that I have noticed in all the years I have been driving that car.
                    If it was mounted above the cell like the standard Gruppe A configuration I would have used a lift pump.

                    I probbaly have some pics somewhere, I took a bunch way back when I did it that were on Gustaves site, but I don't know if thats still out there somewhere.
                    If you shoot me your email address I'll either find some or take some when I put it on the lift to prep for Labor Day race.
                    Last edited by jimmy p.; 08-24-2017, 05:35 PM.
                    jimmy p.
                    87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                    88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                    88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                    92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                    98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                    04 Ford F350 - V10

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
                      Yep, Thats what I have. It was basically a poor mans way of emulating what the factory did. I think I did mine back in 98 or 99

                      My Gruppe A car has a custom round Premier Fuel Cell in the spare tire well, with a really nice punched aluminum cover and the pretty standard BMW Gruppe A swirl pot with Facet lift pump and Bosch 044 high pressure pump. Works great. Can run it actually dry.

                      The much cheaper simpler version is what I did in my club race car.
                      ATL Well Cell (12 gallons) with a Bosch 044 pump tucked up under the drivers side rear seat. Because the 044 is mounted lower than the cell combined with a Russel one way valve I negated the need for a lift pump.
                      I used a ATL 3 door surge tank inside the Well Cell to replace the beautiful Gruppe A swirl pot. I can run it down t pretty much empty I have no complaints. I made (or had made) and .090 aluminum hat box to go over the Well Cell to make it SCCA legal "container.

                      My car with a hot 2.3 (although not 2.3 1988 Gruppe A spec like Eric's) achieves about 10 MPG in race conditions. Obviously that varies a bit due to the track and how many yellow laps, etc.
                      Thats the metric I go by for my car. I only race in SCCA sprint races so I generally only run 5-ish gallons in there any way.
                      I'll fill it up to the top for DEs or lapping days, but when we race I run 5 gallons and thats plenty for a sprint.

                      If you want any more info just ask. I highly recommend it though. The fuel system is so greatly simplified with the cell and I "never" have to worry about fuel starvation or uncovering the pickup unless I have run it down to nothing.

                      HTH
                      jimmy p
                      Jimmy.... Where exactly is the one way fuel valve located? Is it just before the fuel pump or after?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It is the first connection on the feed line out of the cell.
                        The pickup comes from surge tank through the fill plate, then a -6 90, connected directly to the one way Russel valve, then to a short feed line to Filter which is bracketed to the trunk floor, out of he filter to a bulkhead fitting in the trunk floor and down to feed the 044 mounted under the drivers side rear passengers butt.
                        Last edited by jimmy p.; 10-23-2017, 02:54 PM.
                        jimmy p.
                        87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                        88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                        88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                        92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                        98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                        04 Ford F350 - V10

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So the auction from the 044 alone is enough to make it a gravity feed? Still a little foggy on how you never have starvation. Does your well cell have the ATL black box with the hose placed in it?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes the one way valve keeps the supply side of the 044 primed which allows it to pull fuel easily as soon as I hit the breakers.

                            As I posted above I can run it virtually dry,

                            Yes using the cheaper "black box" ATL 3 door surge tank in the cell.
                            At least back when I bought my cell there was a more expensive more "pro" option on the surge tanks that at the time the likes of PTG were using but those options were significantly more and even the sales guy at ATL said would provide a marginal improvement for a hobby racer.
                            jimmy p.
                            87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                            88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                            88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                            92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                            98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                            04 Ford F350 - V10

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
                              It is the first connection on the feed line out of the cell.
                              The pickup comes from surge tank through the fill plate, then a -6 90, connected directly to the one way Russel valve, then to a short feed line to Filter which is bracketed to the trunk floor, out of he filter to a bulkhead fitting in the trunk floor and down to feed the 044 mounted under the drivers side rear passengers butt.
                              Perfect! Thanks for the clarification Jimmy! I just ordered the ATL well cell, ATL fuel level sender and adapters for connecting an 044 pump. Once I get the cell I will see how I am going to configure everything and order the other fittings.
                              As for any starvation issues I was looking at Holly's new "hydromat" to put in the bottom of the cell at the end of the pickup tube. Have you seen this product? your thoughts?

                              Comment

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