RC Nightmare Community Blog

MacGyver: Plastic Bottle Gas Tank

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation.  Let’s say one night, after you have just broken in your brand new nitro truck, you go out racing with your buddy instead of sleeping. Let’s say you guys had a blast and in a moment of excitement you turned your Nitro truck abruptly into a concrete lamp post, head on, at top speed!?… hypothetically of course! What kind of shape would you expect your truck to be in??

Expect it to be in this kind of shape!! :(

Items to note:

  • Shocks all bent out of shape
  • Front tires popped off rims
  • Bent/Broken plastic parts
  • Transmission that just ain’t right
  • Alumninum frames bent 90 degrees inwards :(
  • A gas tank that seems off somehow! :(

Most of the bent broken parts were able to be bent back or salvaged. The gas tank however was shattered into tiny shards of plastic! No biggie, just order a replacement, right!? But wait! What if you were impatient and/or wanted to MacGyver something together from an empty plastic bottle/pen ink tubes/hot glue??? Well, you’re in luck!

Find a bottle that will just fit into the cavity of your truck. It does not have to be a perfect fit just close enough will do. I used an empty contact cleaning solution bottle. The height of the bottle can be taller than what you need. Make sure the bottle has its cap. Get a pen that has run out of ink or a couple new pens that have an empty long bit at the end of its ink tube – these will be the tap points. Make sure the ink tubes no longer have any ink in them. You will need 2 pieces about an inch in length.

Remove the remains of the original gas tank and separate the fuel tubes. Dry fit the bottle in the place of the gas tank and determine if it will rub/block any mechanical motion. Once you find a good location/position, mark the maximum height you can accept. Cut the bottle along its circumference at this marking. This will be the bottom of your tank.

Cut the bottle top about 3/4 – 1 inch from the top. This will become the top of your tank. In the end you should have the bottle cut into three pieces. The top part will fit over the bottom part quite well with some coercion but to make it fit better, score the top is a few places about 1/2 inch from the cut line.

Determine where you want the fuel and exhaust vent lines to go. The fuel line should go as low on the tank as possible. The exhaust should be in a higher location that isn’t going to be submerged in fuel.

Drill holes that are just large enough to squeeze the empty ink tubes through.  This will minimize leaks. Squeeze the ink tubs through and hold it in place with some hot glue around the tube on the inside of the bottle. Position the tubes where you want them and keep the contraption from moving while the glue hardens. You do not need to stick the pen tubes in too far…just enough to clear the mound of hot glue. (sample picture used a Q-tip)

Once the tubes have been glued in place; dry fit the top of the tank with its bottom. You should be able to get the top on in a short period of time at this point. If not, practice a few times.

Trace the inner circumference of the top piece with a bead of hot glue. Quickly install the top onto the bottom being careful not to let the top deform too much from the heat. Let the glue harden.

Attach the fuel/vent lines to the bottle-tank and install into your truck.  Be sure the tilt the bottle so that the fuel tap is always going to be the lowest part of the tank in the truck – this will help fuel flow.

There you have it! Good as new! A makeshift fuel tank from items around the house that will let you get back to having fun! Fill’er up!

A down side to the bottle-tank is that there is no fuel pump to get the fuel through the fuel line. Well, it is in a plastic bottle… with the cap on, pinch the vent line and squeeze the bottle a few times. If that does not get the fuel through the line, you could attach some clean fuel line tube to the vent tap and blow?! ;)

8 thoughts on “MacGyver: Plastic Bottle Gas Tank

  1. Austin Dugan says:

    DUDE! You could have saved me $30 on a new tank if I had read this sooner. I ordered a new tank for my Team Assosciated Monster GT 4.6 because my friend’s Savage XL 5.9 landed on it! The tank shattered and a bunch of fuel leaked out over dry weeds and grass. Im surprised it didn’t start a fire. Thanks man. If this happens again, Ill save some $ on a new tank! Bottles are more flexible anyways.

  2. jeremy says:

    lol yea man, Van is super cheap lol. He makes things out of nothing and constantly blows my mind.

  3. Allan says:

    Yeah, when my tank exploded it spewed fuel all over the place with shards of plastic but no fire…*shrug* ;)
    When you try this keep an eye on the type of plastic the bottle is made of. The contacts solution bottle I used just happened to be HDPE or #2 (in the recycle symbol) which is the same type of plastic the fuel bottle is made of. I would stay away from the brittle plastics found in those clear water bottles…had a mini oil spill on some brittle plastic which actually broke down the plastic over a few days.. :(

    It was either wait a few days for a new tank to be ordered and pay for it or build something in about 1/2 hour lol :)

  4. alex says:

    well this is really help full. i would have never thought to use anything other then an actual fuel tank built for it.. there is only one think that could make it better… duct tape

  5. Allan says:

    LOL….How could I have forgotten?! Duct tape makes everything better! ;)

  6. kjgddfd says:

    it is so cool

  7. Bigmooi says:

    this is a very cool build, I would just add make sure after you build the tank it is air tight, because if you have a air leak you will make your motor run lean and cause major damage to it over time. Another thought is that if you start having problems keeping a tune on your engine it may be caused by an air leak anywhere in the system after a hard crash. So make sure you check over the whole system after a big accident.

  8. Leprachaun48 says:

    Sounds like a winner to me. I think my tank is bad. Will have to try this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>