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Old 05-26-2008, 10:10 PM   #1
Joe Tx
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Default White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Need to clean out a gas tank on my '64 Triumph Spitfire and I read in a spitfire forum that filling the tank with cheap white vinegar and letting it set for about 48 hours would clean out the rust. Never used this. Wondering if any one has used this with success. It's a 10 gallon tank and H.E.B. sells it for $1.65 per gallon. So price doesn't sound unreasonable if it works. Thanks for your help. Joe.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:16 PM   #2
WQ59B
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

I never tried white vinegar on rust, but I can tell you it did a hellva job cleaning up a set of white vinyl buckets for me once.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:23 PM   #3
Rex Schimmer
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

I have used diluted muratic acid (swimming pool acid) on several tanks and had good luck. It really disolves the rust and etches the inside of the tank. Probably would only need a couple of gallons but you would need to slosh it around until the inside is shiney. Then wash it out with lots of water to neutralize the acid and then slosh around a gallon of WD40 to get the water out and protect the etched steel.

Now you need to do something with the acid also. What I have done is not legal so I won't tell you.

Rex
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:24 PM   #4
Frank
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Yeah, vinegar for rust removal is pretty common. Lots of threads on the subject if you search on it.

Some say the white vinegar doesn't work quite as well as cider vinegar, but it still works.

Never tried a gas tank before though. I don't know if all the old varnish and gas will affect the performance of the vinegar. If it were me, put in 2-4 gallons, let it sit for a couple of days. Slosh it around now and then to help it. Drain it out, strain it, and pour it back in and rotate the tank so its soaking a different area for a while and repeat.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:24 PM   #5
Flat Ernie
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

I use muriatic acid to eat the rust, flush & neutralize with water & baking soda. When dry, I rinse with phosphoric acid. I flush this with denatured alcohol.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:28 PM   #6
sic944t
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

CLR from the infomercials works very well you can get it at home depot pour in shake wait shake wait shake wait you know for a long while but its pretty mellow stuff so it wont burn you or tear the hell outta the metal but a hour of time and it will be nice and clean
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:31 PM   #7
Joe Tx
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

was told that some gas tank have solder and the muratic acid would disolve it and cause leaks. I know I used it on a little Honda minitrail tank and didn't think to take off the bottom pedcock. The acid completely dissolved the pedcock. Think it was pewter or aluminum. I would think it would hurt the solder also??? Joe.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:50 PM   #8
timebandit
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Do you have access to a cement mixer? Strap you gas tank to the drum, and
fill the gas tank half full with water and corse sand/ gravel. Let it tumble for about an hour.
It will come out clean and rust free. Clean it out with water, then flush with aceton.
Use your favorite tank sealer afterwards.
Works great.
-TT
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:59 PM   #9
plym_46
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

cider vinegar and white vinegar are the same as far as acid stregth is concerned about 5 %. If you go to a commercial restaurant place, you might be able to find some stronger and cheaper. Phosporic acid for etching concrete works fine also. CLR has less active ingredient (phosphoric acid) than coke its only saving grace is that it has some surfactants to allow it to cling to stuff. other wise its a waste of money.

Vinegar is cheap and effective and easy to dispose of.
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Old 05-27-2008, 12:23 AM   #10
56sedandelivery
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Although Muiatic acid will remove rust it also removes the galvization. You will need to neutralize it with baking soda as others have recommended. You'll also need to use some sort of tank sealer after, especially if it was galvinized,otherwise it will rust again (most gasoline fuels now have some % of alcohol) If the tank does'nt have any baffles in it, I think tumbling with some abrasive (sand/gravel) would work well without the hazards of acids; but harder to clean out afterward.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:24 AM   #11
325w
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Denatured alcohol will clean the old sludge from the tank. Half full and slosh. Empty pour back thru a rag to filter repeat.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Everything the others have said is true.

Consider a flush with mild degreaser before adding the vinegar. Any petroleum film will act as a masking agent for the process.

You'll need a VIGOROUS rinse afterward. And adding a large temporary fuel filter might be a good idea. Along with carrying a spare and the tools to change said temporary filter.

good luck
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:06 AM   #13
AusRodder
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Depending on how much time you have to clean the rust out,Id recommend MOLASSES...yep the syruppy mess from the local farm produce!!! Its an old trick passed down through the generations.We have a 44 gallon drum out back with 10 litres of molasses in the 44 gallons of water....parts are simply immersed in this for about a week or so and come out like new!The rustiest steel comes out like brand new (obviously it wont replace pitted parts but it completely cleans the rust away)Ive done a couple tanks like this too....remove from car,fill with water and dump in 4 litres...one week later,good as gold...obviously tank needs to be completely rinsed and dried out with methylated spirit before being replaced in car and filled with fuel...
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:07 AM   #14
Mike Rouse
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

I have used toilet bowl cleaner. Just put it in slosh it around for a couple of minutes. Leave it in there for about 30 more minutes. Then rinse it out with very hot water and blow out with the exhaust from the shop vac.
Worked for me.
Mike
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:24 AM   #15
X--GASSER
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

I've used the muriatic acid on tanks before and have had good results.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:59 AM   #16
5window
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Quote:
Originally Posted by plym_46 View Post
cider vinegar and white vinegar are the same as far as acid stregth is concerned about 5 %. If you go to a commercial restaurant place, you might be able to find some stronger and cheaper. Phosporic acid for etching concrete works fine also. CLR has less active ingredient (phosphoric acid) than coke its only saving grace is that it has some surfactants to allow it to cling to stuff. other wise its a waste of money.

Vinegar is cheap and effective and easy to dispose of.
Keep in mind that while vinegar is 5% acid, it's also 95% water-so you'll need to dry and coat the inside of your tank very quickly or it will rust again. Also remember to always add acid to water and not water to acid if you are using something stronger.
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #17
Joe Tx
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Thanks for all your responses. Gives me a lot of good information. Joe.
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:13 PM   #18
Anarchy Choppers
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Quote:
Originally Posted by timebandit View Post
Do you have access to a cement mixer? Strap you gas tank to the drum, and
fill the gas tank half full with water and corse sand/ gravel. Let it tumble for about an hour.
It will come out clean and rust free. Clean it out with water, then flush with aceton.
Use your favorite tank sealer afterwards.
Works great.
-TT
You DONT want to use sand or rocks. How are you going to get all of that crap out?

Use a hand full of nuts as you can get them out with a magnet. Plus they will have more weight to them and help break the big stuff loose.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:35 PM   #19
Artie B
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

I just did the tank in my 65 wagon. I used muriatic acid and a piece of chain to slush around and knock off the rust. Then we flushed with hot water and repeated.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:44 PM   #20
Customline Vicky
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Default Re: White vinegar for cleaning gas tank???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarchy Choppers View Post
You DONT want to use sand or rocks. How are you going to get all of that crap out?

Use a hand full of nuts as you can get them out with a magnet. Plus they will have more weight to them and help break the big stuff loose.
Guy that did mine put a chain in there and sloshed it around. I guess it would have worked but the tank was too far gone. Got a new one.
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