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Cleaning out an old gas tank - tips?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by montclaire, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. montclaire
    Joined: Jul 24, 2007
    Posts: 495

    montclaire
    Member

    I'm getting another can in a couple weeks, and it has not been started in around three years time. The former owner has already warned me that the tank is going to need to be cleaned out. It's an exposed tank, so it's painted, and I'd rather not remove it from the car. Are there any decent products out there that will break down the varnish? I thought about some kerosene, thoughts?
     
  2. Big T
    Joined: Aug 29, 2006
    Posts: 637

    Big T
    Member
    from Florida

  3. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,280

    chaddilac
    Member

    Seems like it'll be a little tough to clean a tank without removing it from the car?
     
  4. Aman
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,525

    Aman
    Member
    from Texas

    Be very careful around old gas. I worked on a boat with old gas, cleaning the fuel system and such, it made me sick as shit so do it in a well ventilated area. Use a fan or something to blow the fumes away from you.
     
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  5. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 25,810

    porknbeaner
    Member

    Exactly.

    I had the tank from the Belair boiled, cost me 40 bucks.

    Summit raceing has some stuff that they sell as part of their tank coating process. Pretty good stuff, I don't know what its made of but it works real well.

    I have also used denatured alcohol it works pretty well also. But it is best to remove the tank so you can give it a good shake.
     
  6. montclaire
    Joined: Jul 24, 2007
    Posts: 495

    montclaire
    Member

    Yeah, if it looks like I can get it out without a lot of problems, I'll pull it. I'm used to working on ones that aren't seen once they're mounted, so you don't have to be as careful. I'll check those links, thanks. I don't know how rusty it would be, I'm expecting more varnish and gum build up at this point.
     
  7. docauto
    Joined: Dec 1, 2006
    Posts: 777

    docauto
    Member
    from So Cal

    acetone will cut the varnish, but be careful around paint, it'll destroy it.
     
  8. Section 8
    Joined: Mar 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,050

    Section 8
    Member
    from AZ

    3 years is nothing.
    Does liquid gas come out when you pull the line?

    I'd drain it. Refill it to the top with fresh gas. Let it sit as long as possible. Drain that gas and use it in your newer car. Refill it and watch your filters.
     
  9. flatheadjohn
    Joined: Jul 27, 2006
    Posts: 144

    flatheadjohn
    BANNED

    Acetone works very well in dissolving old lacquered gas. I used it in my wife's Mustang that had been sitting for six years with no cap on it, the lacquered gas even rotted the brass float for the fuel tank sending unit! Another product you can try is Berryman's B-12 Chemtool in the gallon can, that is if you can get it. I couldn't get any here in Commiefornia because the environazis won't allow it to be sold in the gallon containers, but it works faster in dissolving the goo. Removing the fuel will be necessary though!
     
  10. montclaire
    Joined: Jul 24, 2007
    Posts: 495

    montclaire
    Member

    I haven't seen it yet, it's about a thousand miles away right now. If it doesn't look that bad, I'm more inclined to a liquid fix. Hell, my grandfather ran his on turpentine during the war cause of fuel rationing, I think it'll be ok.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Section 8
    Joined: Mar 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,050

    Section 8
    Member
    from AZ


    Are you towing it home? If so, I'd put that fresh gas in before you head home - 1000 miles of sloshing will really help.
     
  12. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,280

    chaddilac
    Member

    Yea if that's the case, dump a chain in with it... it'll clean the rust of the sides as it sloshes!
     
  13. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,236

    oldrelics
    Member
    from Calgary

    I had the goopiest tank on my '40 Ford, thick hard varnish and sludge. Poured 5 gallon pail of Methyl Hydrate in and sloshed it around for a week and came out spotless to my amazement.
    Most industrial supply places carry the Methyl Hydrate in 5 gallon pails.
    You will need tank removed....
     
  14. 1935olds
    Joined: Oct 21, 2006
    Posts: 70

    1935olds
    Member

    I have used muratic acid (used for cleaning swimming pools) and it works great. It will eat the varnish and rust right out of the tank. Wear heavy gloves, it smells like shit when you are done with it too. Yeah it toxic and deadly but it works good.
     
  15. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,587

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    If the thing runs, rig up a Moon tank for temporary duty, pour a bunch of acetone into main tank, and slosh it by driving some.
    One person a knew rigged an electric fuel pump to circulate the cleaning solution through a big filter and back into the tank being cleaned...
     
  16. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,250

    dave lewis
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    3 gallons of white vinegar and an electric fuel pump to recirculate it for about 3 or 4 hours will cut the varnish pretty well. flush thoroughly with water after and then a couple of gallons of methanol will finish it up..
    I have used this method a few times with good sucess.
    Dave
     
  17. dante81_98
    Joined: Sep 26, 2005
    Posts: 487

    dante81_98
    Member
    1. A-D Truckers

    What is this boiling of the tank? Who would do such a thing? I have a tank that has sat with no cap for 20+ years that I am sure needs a good cleaning.

    Thanks,
    Chad
     
  18. BIGREDTODD
    Joined: Jan 9, 2007
    Posts: 2,771

    BIGREDTODD
    ALLIANCE MEMBER


    Really good for cleaning the rust off of old tools. Home Depot has a box with 2, 1 gallon plastic bottles for like $9. Good ventilation is a must though...and gloves.
     
  19. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,859

    JohnEvans
    Member
    from Phoenix AZ

    Well first get a old horse trough ,fill with water . Build a big fire under it,throw the tank in and add seasoning to taste!! LOL
    Really a radiator shop has hot chemical tanks that they use to clean radiators mostly. But they also clean fuel tanks so the can repair them.
     
  20. elwood blues
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 462

    elwood blues
    Member
    from Boise ID

    If its not really bad you might try seafoam its found at napa and it has always worked for me but be warned you will go threw fuel filters like its cool.
     
  21. norby48
    Joined: Dec 21, 2004
    Posts: 712

    norby48
    Member

    i never had any long-term luck with on the car shortcuts. I was putting a new filter on my 56 buick every other week. What worked very well was the Bill Hirsch kit. I did my 51 chevy in 1999 and it is still running fine today. maybe 10,000 miles. http://www.hirschauto.com/
    Norb
     
  22. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 3,607

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from texas

    Put denatured alcohol in it. Little over half full. Tow it home and drain. Filter the fluid and pour it back in. Tow it around some more. You won't believe how the stuff cuts the crud. Cheep and non toxic. Low flash point.
     
  23. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 3,607

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from texas

    Use denatured alcohol in the tank while towing it home. Drain then filter and reuse several times. Towing is a good way to move the stuff around. You won't believe how much stuff it will remove. Non toxic and not real dangerous. You can buy it at the ACE.e.
     

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