I continued working on cosmetic stuff while I was waiting for my car to go into the shop. I painted the rear quarter interior trim panels. I also painted the ash tray and trim that goes across the top of the dash pad. Then I spoke with the mechanic who is going to work on my car. He asked me why I’m not driving it yet. I pointed out that he had told me to hold off on installing the gas tank until he could work on the rusted trunk drop off. Eventually he convinced me that I could install the gas tank without caulking it. That would allow me to test drive the car but make it easy to remove the gas tank again for the rust repair. The other bonus is that I could possibly drive the car to his shop and save myself the towing charge. After some thought I realized that this was a good plan.
I went ahead and bolted the tank into place without using the strip caulk that goes between the tank and the trunk. Then I made a trip to the local gas station with my lawn mower gas can in hand and purchased a couple of gallons of gas.I poured the gas into the tank and noticed a slow drip coming from the fuel gauge sending unit. I drained the tank and removed the sending unit. After checking the o-ring I reinstalled the sending unit and poured the gas back into the tank. It still leaked. Time to drain the tank once again and check the sending unit. This time I used some light grease to hold everything in place and tried again. It still leaked. By this point i was getting good at the drill of filling and draining the tank.
I was getting a little frustrated but decided to give it another try. This time I used some silicone to hold the o-ring in place. I reassembled everything and tried again. It still leaked. I drained the gas and disassembled it once again. Finally I carefully cleaned everything and applied a liberal amount of silicone sealer to the o-ring, the gas tank, and the sending unit. After reassembly I added what I had left of my gas. This time there was no leak. I started the engine and let it run for about 5 minutes to make sure gas was flowing from the tank and the gas level was actually up to the sending unit. No leaks and the engine continued to run which indicated gas was flowing from the tank.
Now I felt I was ready to attempt a very short test drive. or so I thought. I got in the car and put my foot on the brake pedal. It sank right to the floor. The car had no brakes. So now I had another project to tackle. Diagnosing the failed brakes. That was now next on my list of things to fix.