So, the gas tank on my 2003 FWD Base Vibe with 190K miles is leaking gas (for the third time). The first two leaks were a small hose fitting comes of the back of the tank - first, it rusted the whole way around the fitting, and I patched it with the 2-part gas tolerant epoxy. Then, it started rusting and leaking around that patch, and I extended the patch size. Now, it seems to be leaking somewhere off the top of the tank (but not visible from the access hole under the back seat. To retain my title as the cheapest person on earth, I'd like to change the tank myself. There are new metal Ebay tanks for $180, and pull it yourself tanks at a junkyard near me for $50. This leads to a bunch of questions:
1) How hard is changing the tank - rusty bolts? humanly impossible plastic hose clips which refuse to release the hose from the tank/fuel pump/evap canister?
2) Would you even consider a junkyard metal tank from the same rustbelt towns in western Pennsylvania?
3) Can you swap in a 2005-2008 plastic tank? Is it the same fuel pump with the same gaskets as the metal tanks? If I pulled a plastic tank AND its fuel pump does is save me a little work or lotta work?
4) Should I just take it to local mechanic (not dealer) and eat the $750 he wants to change the tank?
I have 190K miles on original fuel pump and no signs of trouble, and unlike some of my other cars, I don't have to drop the tank if/when the fuel pump finally dies - just pull the back seat, so I'm not feeling the need to swap fuel pump just because I'm dropping the tank.
Any input appreciated. State inspection is by the end of September, and the leak/smell is bad enough that the station is likely gonna fail me (plus that little check engine light.