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Not sure where I left off or what you have read.
The gasket must be installed into the tank opening first! It tucks in and fits snugly before you ever think about sliding the fuel pump in after.
There are notches so that it only fits one way. And then a locating tab again on the pump so it only fits one way.
The gasket does not go onto the pump before the pump slips into the gas tank opening.
It would take a heap of damage before you required a new gas tank. There are no nuts holding anything to the tank.
Let me know if this is enough for you, or ask more specific questions?
When done properly, there is no forcing necessary. Just finesse.
I read several of your posts regarding installing the fuel pump gasket in an e46...you reference item #14 in a separate thread, nut I can't seem to find that thread. I'm having the same trouble as others in that fuel is leaking from the top of the fuel pump (at the ring)....Indy shop says the threads are toast and I need to buy a new gas tank for $1k but I think they just aren't seating the gasket correctly. Any advice is much appreciated.