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Any tips for keeping a fuel tank from rusting ?

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#1 Alc ONLINE  



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Posted October 17, 2017 - 05:47 AM

I was going to try starting the DB Tri-Trac and the fuel tank was empty and rusty  . Once before I removed the tank and cleaned it, I don't even remember how but no chemicals maybe mineral sprits or parts cleaner with some nuts and washers . Anyway , I haven't had it running for some time now . Any tips on how you would keep this rust from coming back  ?  It's in a unheated garage , concert floor . 

#2 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted October 17, 2017 - 06:31 AM

My Tri-Trac sat outside with the gas cap off for 2 decades or more.  Plus the entire tractor was submerged in a flood in that time. 

When I sandblasted the tank it was Swiss Cheese on the bottom.  Lots of holes!  With a thin layer of J.B. Weld across the bottom I had its major holes sealed enough to hold a tank sealer.


"My brand" of tank sealer is "U.S.Standard" from the makers of POR-15.  I have it in many tanks and never had a problem afterwards.  The sealer actually keeps the gas in good shape longer because it can't get to the metal.  With a little gas stabilizer,  you are good for 5 years or more.  Even Ethanol doesn't phase it.


I've also used this sealer on slightly rusty tanks with the same great results and many tanks that were de-rusted with vinegar or a dip in the hot tank for a weekend at the local engine rebuilding shop.


Its not cheap but it is permanent!  If I'm going to fix it I'm going to do it right and only do it once.


I'll include a pic of the can.  Quarts are about $40.  Pints also available. 

Also a pic of the inside of a formerly VERY rusty military Jeep gas tank I fixed for the local museum.

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Edited by Gtractor, October 17, 2017 - 06:32 AM.

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#3 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2017 - 06:32 AM

I have found over the passed 50 years that Marvel Mystery Oil in my gas really helps clean and cool the internals of the engine and protects the fuel system from corrosion for a couple of years. It leaves a light film on everything it touches. If you leave gas with MMO in the engine, the shelac that eventually forms , never fully hardens and dissolves easily. Good Luck, Rick

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#4 EricFromPa ONLINE  



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Posted October 17, 2017 - 03:46 PM

Por15 tank liner is the good stuff. and fairly inexpensive.  https://www.amazon.c...G6D1KGY52HDHGHB


Red-Kote fuel tank liner sealer is also a good. But costs around $40. https://www.amazon.c...gas tank sealer


The Evapo-Rust stuff is Amazing for removing rust in tanks.



I used Muratic acid a few times and it is THE BEST for eating ALL of the rust out of a tank (Only takes 10-15minutes of soaking) BUT it does flash rust very very very quickly if the acid is not neutralized the Second that you dump it out. You will actually See the rust grow and within a few minutes it will be worse than what it was before you treated it.


The old gravel and mineral spirits trick is safe and works pretty darn good but kinda hard to get the chunks cleaned out afterwards. Especially a tank with a baffle like the metal IH Cub Cadet tanks. But once you get it clean and if the tank doesn't leak they normally do not rust very quick if you keep good gas in them. The gas will pickle the inside of the tank to some extent.  


Use Por15 if you have any doubt that it will rust again or if there is still some rust in the tank. The stuff will even seal small pin holes and a leaky seam if you coat it a couple times.    

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Posted October 17, 2017 - 06:41 PM

Once you clean the tank, coat it with motor oil if you aren't going to run/use the machine for an extended time.

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#6 Alc ONLINE  



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Posted October 18, 2017 - 05:17 AM

I didn't even think of coating the inside of the tank because it's not that bad but that would end the problem . The only thing is it doesn't leak now so if I don't put it on right I might have more problems if it starts to come off

#7 Bob E OFFLINE  

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Posted October 18, 2017 - 06:42 AM

Keep it full.

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#8 Jazz OFFLINE  

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Posted October 22, 2017 - 08:47 AM

Rinse with phosphoric acid. Its available in small containers. Permatex Rust Dissolver Gel is phosphoric acid.  

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#9 chieffan OFFLINE  

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Posted October 23, 2017 - 06:00 PM

​Rust needs air to form.  Like Bob E said - Keep it Full year around.

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#10 JBRamsey OFFLINE  

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Posted October 29, 2017 - 08:23 PM

Agreed. Keep it full.

A full tank doesn't allow condensation to form from temperature changes.
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