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How Do You Guys Clean Your Gas Tanks?


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#16 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted May 31, 2014 - 11:25 AM

I have cleaned out probably a dozen metal small engine gas tanks in the past couple of years, 1 or 2 wound up being leakers by the time I got them clean (and thus "junk")  none has been this nasty inside as the one that I am presently working on.
Most so far I just did the "fill with battery acid and let soak" anywhere from a few hours to overnite....

I have yet to try electrolysis  that does seem interesting for sure.

 

So far this one I have tried all of the below on this 1 tank over the past 3-4 days

 

put about 1 qt of Muriatic acid in, slosh a bit, let sit a few hours upright  with the acid in it  That came out the nastiest looking, but the tank inside looked untouched.

 

put 2 qts of "the Works" in, let sit on edge a couple hours, then on one side overnite, then the other side all day while I was at work,  came home and sloshed a bit, let sit a couple hours on its other edge, then upside down, pour out, rinse, inspect.

This too came out real nasty looking and seemed to put the largest "dent" in getting it clean. the solution was probably saturated with grunge and just could not hold anymore in solution.

 

Put the rest of the gallon of Muriatic in it, (about 2-1/2 to 3 quarts) and add about 1-1/2-2 qts water to "cut" it 

let sit about 4 hours 

Didn't come out very dirty compared to previous soakings also didn't make much of a difference. Tank looks good except for the bottom few inches, this part still looks untouched. but now on the edge closest to the cap (can't see other edge on account of baffle) it looks like a heavy layer of rusty varnish that is keeled over like a coating that is peeling away. To my knowledge this tank had never been previously coated with anything. probably just a bad layer of varnish left, I'm guessing.

I had this tank given to me about 3-4 years ago by a buddy that moved away and "was gonna scrap anything that he offered me that I refused to take" as he cleaned out his old place...  several  things that he told me to take that I set aside because I didn't want, that I found in the bed of my truck when I got home from a day of helping him pack and clean..... wow

 

Last nite I filled it to the brim with battery acid.  I just emptied it, rinsed it, no change. This batch of battery acid, I salvaged from a couple of old car batteries before they got junked a couple of years ago,  and have cleaned probably 6-8 tanks with the same batch of acid in that time....   getting weak maybe?

 

Just 15 minutes ago I poured what Lacquer thinner I had here, in. No more than a pint. Hardware store quality.  I then went and got my surely weakened from new, (well used) Berrymans carb dip  and poured that in on top of the lacquer thinner.   probably about 2 quarts there, definitely enough to cover the portion of the tank that still looks so nasty. I'll let that sit a while and see what that does.
I got front brakes, an oil change, some radiator hoses to change on the old Durango along with some AC work, so I'll pour this stuff off after that and see what it looks like.

 

These style tanks have gone thru the roof in cost, even used on Feebay.  Some of the plastic ones aren't that cheap either.

so as long as I don't eat a hole in it before I get it clean it'll probably be worth salvaging.

this is the last one I have laying around any more. I hope to be able to use it on my Swisher Trailmower that I brought home last weekend. It has a transplanted engine but no tank. If it cleans up and doesn't wind up leaking I will make a pair of brackets to mount it, already got those built, in my head.

I gave away the tank I probably should have used on this mower a couple weeks ago to a neighbor who had been asking for a gas tank for a project for a while,  one that I did not even know I had 

that was a plastic Tecumseh 1-gallon tank like they usd on most of their snowblower engines.
Hmmm I set that one next to the garage door and never told him that I'd put it there... I wonder if he even knows it's there yet?

Naaah  can't do that, I don't wanna be an "Indian giver"...


Edited by dodge trucker, May 31, 2014 - 11:27 AM.


#17 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2014 - 09:50 PM

arrrgh  maybe I shoulda sent this one off; now I'm back to a quart of fresh "the Works"  again I'm down to a strip about 1-1/2 wide at the very bottom.... I have NEVER had one this much of a pain in the a#s to get clean

a quart is more than enough to cover the remaining nasty portion with the tank sitting upight


Edited by dodge trucker, June 02, 2014 - 09:51 PM.


#18 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 03, 2014 - 07:57 AM

Another vote for a product called Kreem - I get it from a motorcycle dealer in town. One kit is enough to do several motorcycle sized tanks...

 

Biggest thing with ANY of the coatings is to get the tank clean first. First "bath" with hot soapy water and a handful of old lug nuts, shake from time to time and let it soak for a few hours. This gets rid of the heavy rust scale and any oil/crud film that would keep the etch (part 2) from converting the metal surface.

Then use the supplied metal etch overnight, turning the tank a few times so all surfaces get covered. Rinse, flush/dry and apply the plastic like coating.

 

For SMALL rust holes in the tank, you can enlarge the hole to stronger metal and screw a suitable sized machine screw into the hole. Use jbweld or a gas-proof permatex gasket maker as a sealer under/around the screw head. Not pretty, but effective... I usually would do that before coating the inside of the tank, so the sealer coats the inside as well. Most of the sealers wont work long term on a rusted through hole by themselves..... 

 

I HAVE cut and tig welded patches on rare motorcycle tanks before, but it's a pain to go through and welding on GASOLINE tanks takes a few prep safety steps as well! Usually easier, and not that expensive to just find a new tank.....


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#19 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted June 03, 2014 - 05:36 PM

Another vote for a product called Kreem - I get it from a motorcycle dealer in town. One kit is enough to do several motorcycle sized tanks...

 

Biggest thing with ANY of the coatings is to get the tank clean first. First "bath" with hot soapy water and a handful of old lug nuts, shake from time to time and let it soak for a few hours. This gets rid of the heavy rust scale and any oil/crud film that would keep the etch (part 2) from converting the metal surface.

Then use the supplied metal etch overnight, turning the tank a few times so all surfaces get covered. Rinse, flush/dry and apply the plastic like coating.

 

For SMALL rust holes in the tank, you can enlarge the hole to stronger metal and screw a suitable sized machine screw into the hole. Use jbweld or a gas-proof permatex gasket maker as a sealer under/around the screw head. Not pretty, but effective... I usually would do that before coating the inside of the tank, so the sealer coats the inside as well. Most of the sealers wont work long term on a rusted through hole by themselves..... 

 

I HAVE cut and tig welded patches on rare motorcycle tanks before, but it's a pain to go through and welding on GASOLINE tanks takes a few prep safety steps as well! Usually easier, and not that expensive to just find a new tank.....

thanks for the ideas,  I have used KREEM once about 10 years ago it appeared to "take" fine though shortly afterwards I started to hear complaints about that particular product having more of a tendency to peel and plug lines, fittings etc.  this was a '76 Honduh CB 360 that I had for a while  that I used to get my motorcycle license then sold for something a little bigger  I sold the bike to a co worker at a former job. That tank was pretty nasty,  as nasty as it was though I do not remember having nearly the issue I am with my current tank getting it cleaned out;

 

The next time I used either POR 15 or KBS (I forget which)  and a quart went a long ways, I did several quart-1/2 gallon sized tanks mostly  carb mount style Briggs ones;  that stuff seemed to hold up fine as well... it has depended what I have been able to get locally (or saw at the latest swap meet that I happened to be at)   at the time I needed it  I was going to do the tank in my 78 Fury and I remember talking about this at the time because I only drive the car in good weather but thinking back I don't remember if I did or didn't when I had it out to replace the sending unit... these days if I can tell you what I ate yesterday it seems I'm doing good.

 

the last stuff I used was the bill Hirsch  coating stuff... seemed like the same as the POR/KBS  to me. Again  I did about 3-4 smaller tanks   with the Bill Hirsch stuff and as I remember the rest of the can dried up on me before I could use it all up.

 

after I went and bought the Kreem for that motorcycle, I started hearing about the Red Kote  and periodically still do. so when I saw that O'Reillys only  5 miles from me actually carries that stuff I figured I'd try that this time since it's the product I have heard the most about   Each time I've bought a quart of what ever sealer I've used I've done the gas tanks on everything I have with a metal tank at that time.... 

 

but again I have never had a tank that has fought me so bad to come clean as the one that I am working on now.... nor do I remember any of the tanks I have done in the past having had a baffle in them...  but I know that if I see a patch of crap on the fill cap side of the baffle I'd b hard pressed to think the other side of the baffle isn't at least as bad. I don't know if the handful of BBs, nails etc would work in there with this baffle in the way.

 

I found 2 more jugs of hardware store lacquer thinner in my other garage and this morning I dumped the latest round of toilet bowl cleaner out, flushed it with the garden hose and then put the remains of one of my new found jugs of thinner in to absorb what water didn't just pour out, and set the tank with the thinner inside in the bed of my truck for my ride to work...after I got home I dumped this out and what's left on the bottom of the tank must be all varnish because this has done a better job at getting the (rest of) the tank clean, than the last couple of substances that I have soaked the tank in.... I could have bought a good used tank for what I have spent trying to clean this one out/ but part of keeping going on this tank is frustration, the "I ain't gonna let this thing beat me" thing... and the "run what you brung" mentality, using what I have laying here before looking to buy something else.

I have had them spring leaks on me having put less than half the effort as I have out to this tank so it must be a good one. 

 

The shutoff screwed into the bottom of the tank was plugged solid, now it flows free... (on the opposite side of that baffle) but for fear of it being eaten up and not wanting to seal any longer because of all that I have thrown at this thing I do have a new shutoff here that will be going in once it's done....


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#20 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted July 31, 2014 - 02:06 PM

What was the end result? Good Luck, Rick



#21 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted August 08, 2014 - 06:08 PM

What was the end result? Good Luck, Rick

been doing other things this tank has been sitting.  Last thing I did to it was to pour my old gallon of Berrymans carb dip into it and let it sit a couple days occasionally turning it so it all got "treated"  then poured it out and rinsed it out with lacquer thinner. Then I kinda forgot about it for like a couple weeks, as I work on other things. When I got back to it the tank had a light coating of rust  I think they call it "flash rust". 

In the past when  cleaning tanks that an overnite soaking of battery acid alone has done the cleaning job,  (I did try that with this one a couple different times with no luck, it was so bad)  within 24 hours of the acid flush  the tanks seem to be rusted worse than this one was after the Berrymans and lacquer thinner, then sitting as mentioned above.  I thinned some Red Kote about 2/3-1/3 with MEK and coated the tank a couple times with it,, each time letting the excess drip out into an extra pint paint can. After that I did it again with another batch this time I didnt thin it as much. I cannot see behind the baffle but what I can see looks great. It has been about 10 days since I touched it, again. I used about 8-10 oz total of the Red Kote for a tank that is either 1-1/2 or 2 gallons not yet sure of the capacity.  Now to build a saddle bracket so I can mount it to the machine and then I can plumb it, and see what happens....


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