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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
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    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
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    Big T Member

  3. chaddilac
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    chaddilac Member

    Seems like it'll be a little tough to clean a tank without removing it from the car?
  4. Aman
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    Aman Member

    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
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    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
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    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
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    docauto Member

    acetone will cut the varnish, but be careful around paint, it'll destroy it.
  8. Section 8
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    Section 8 Member

    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
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    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
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    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
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    Section 8 Member


    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
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    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
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    oldrelics Member

    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
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    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
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    Bruce Lancaster
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    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
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    dave lewis
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    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
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    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
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    BIGREDTODD
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    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
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    JohnEvans Member

    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
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    elwood blues Member

    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
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    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
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    325w
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    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
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    325w
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    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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