With the decision firmly made to press on with exporting the car, the preparation for export could begin in earnest. One of the first tasks that needed tackling was to replace the fuel hose of death on the Fiat X1/9!
Fuel Hose of Death
Sometime back in the early 2000’s the UK started to see the arrival of cheap fuel hose in to motor factors and auto stores. The hose has all the regulatory markings and while it’s on the shelf, seems to age pretty well. Once it starts to see regular pump fuel, degradation happens incredibly quickly.
My long term automotive friend, Rich, first noted the perishing hose through his TVR restoration business Southways Automotive. He’s posted some pretty shocking images of failing hoses, ready to fail and send fuel all over the engine bay. In fact over the last few years, there has been an increasing number of ‘fuel hose of death’ related classic car burnouts.
The 2015 dated Fiat X1/9 fuel hose
The fuel hose on the Fiat X1/9 is by far the worst example I have personally seen. The cracks where obvious even on a passing glance. I had expected the hose would be quite old given the scale of deterioration and the very low mileage the car had travelled in 10 years. I was rather shocked by the reality.
Amazingly this heavily cracked hose is less than 5 years and 1000 miles old! Quite how this hose was being sold in the UK into 2015 I doubt I will ever understand, and it’s likely still being sold from auto factors even today. I suspect the route cause of the failure is the increasing level of ethanol in UK fuel, coupled with a lack of liner in this cheap hose.
Gates Barricade Fuel Hose
The solution is to change out the hoses for something branded and from a reputable source. Southways Automotive has been a long time supporter of using Gates Barricade fuel hose, and I’m a convert to it as well. It’s not as cheap as the fuel hose of death at £10 per meter, but compared to the ocst of loosing your classic, its pretty good value.
With the green writing and textured finish, it does have the installed appearance of a hose pipe. For me, this is a small price to pay for basic safety. The textured finish also seems to make the hose easier to slide through rubber mounts and guides.
Installing to the Fiat X1/9
One other aspect of the fuel hoses that had me a little concerned was the use of incorrect hose fittings. It’s not an unusual thing to see on a car of this age, coolant hose clamps used on fuel hose. The traditional ‘Jubilee’ or worm drive clamp doesn’t exert even pressure on the clamped area, often resulting in the need for over clamping. On fuel hose, this typically results in splitting at the point of excess pressure and results in premature failure. Easily resolved by the use of fuel hose clamps.
Interestingly the return hose isn’t showing the same degredation, but I assume it does not usually sit with fuel in it. In the longer term this will also be replaced with the right sized Gates Barricade hose once I’ve ordered it in.
Continuing the Export Preparation
Changing the fuel hose has been a quick, if expensive, task to complete. Next up will be to examine the coolant circuit, a cheap but laborious task. Hopefully, it will go as smoothly and exorcising the ‘fuel hose of death’!