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Cleaning a RUSTY gas tank !!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by FANTM58, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. FANTM58
    Joined: Apr 24, 2009
    Posts: 397


    I found this on a motorcycle site.
    I was going to try it on an old boat fuel cell , but did not need to.
    But it looks promising, and I will try it on another project.
    has anyone on here tried this ?
    if so, how were the results ?

    Attached Files:

  2. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 21,154

    Jalopy Joker

    also, do a search here for thread: What is the right way to clean out a gas tank?
  3. I can't read that article on my phone, but I have had excellent luck with the following:

    First, you are going to need 2 gallons of MetalPrep (phosphoric acid) from your local autobody supply, and an old 110V water heater element. If you don't have an old one, a new one can be had for about $15 from an appliance parts store.

    Start by emptying the tank and remove it from the car, then get as much of the crap out of it that you can through rinsing, etc. Fuel filler and sending unit holes are the best access points you're going to have.

    Once you get the tank reasonably clean, seal up everything but the filler, and add your MetalPrep and fill the tank the rest of the way with hot water. Once the tank is full, carefully submerge your water heater element into the filler neck, be sure to leave the wired connections outside of the tank and away from the liquid. Then stand back and drink a couple of beers while watching to see if the temperature of your acid mixture gets too hot. It shouldn' should get plenty hot, but just right before the boiling point. If it boils over, you're going to need to top it back off, and then switch the heater element on and off every couple of hours to keep it as hot as you can without letting it boil over.

    And that's it! Let her sit with the acid mixture in it for about 12 hours or so, and when you're all done your rusty old tank will be new clean grey metal on the inside. Be sure to thoroughly coat the inside of the tank with WD40 or diesel, or a similar preservative when you're done, so it doesn't flash rust. I have had great success with this approach.

    Also, please be careful! I hope I don't have to spell it out, but when playing with electricity and water, there is a shock risk, so insulate your connections well, and keep them out of the water.
  4. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,482

    from Hampsha

    This guy gives the basic electrochemical basis of all reactions.
    He's got a good feel for it too!

    The reactions taking place in the tank, are reducing the corroded steel when done properly.
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  5. Hotrodhog
    Joined: Aug 11, 2011
    Posts: 169


    Don't know why you need heat? may speed up the process. Phosphoric acid works at normal temps too. Muriatic acid available at hardware stores and building centers works too (Hydrochloric Acid), I mix the muriatic acid (31.5% as bottled) at 45:1 with water, I can derust anything in about 3 days....quicker if you reduce the water. Just works out nice 1 gal muriatic and 45 gal water in a plastic 55 gal barrel.
  6. Thanks for posting this. I was planning to clean and seal a CB350 tank tonight!

    I'll try this method first before proceeding with the POR15 tank kit I bought for it.

  7. Cerberus
    Joined: May 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,380


    NEATTO! I wonder if this technique would remove the rust on wire wheels?
  8. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,152

    from Florida

    I just pickup a product at napa $30 bucks called RED COAT, it is a gas tank sealer, first rinse the tank, clean the tank with muratic acid then coat the inside of the tank slowly spinning the tank so the red coat will cover the entire inside.Let dry 12 hours and ready to use.

  9. Oldsmell
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 48


    I heard if you dump a bunch of BB's in the tank and shake it around for a while it will help break up the for old dirtbikes.
  10. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 1,770

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    Drywall screws.... the sharp edges de-scale it in no time flat without etching the metal.;)
  11. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,354

    from Soquel, CA

    I put a 6' length of chain in the tank with a gallon of a 5 to 1 mix of water and Marine Clean. Shake shake shake till it's clean. Rinse and pour in the rust killer mix and shake again. Rinse and leave in the sun to dry inside then seal it.
  12. Blackmaria60
    Joined: Apr 30, 2008
    Posts: 533


    Dang it, now I want to take the tank off my '55.....this is how it starts!
  13. CurbFeeler
    Joined: Apr 18, 2012
    Posts: 15


    Remove tank, put some handfuls of lead buckshot in it, drive it around in back of pick-up truck (or big ass car trunk) till clean , or until you forget about it.
  14. SquireDon
    Joined: Aug 8, 2010
    Posts: 600

    from Oregon

  15. Roger Walling
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,139

    Roger Walling

    I took the fuel sender off of my 56 F750 tank up after sitting for 20 years.

    There was a 1/2 tank of gas when it sat for the 20 years, now the lower 1/2 is black with crud, the top all rust.

    I washed it with a very strong detergent,ZEP "Steam and clean", with the aid of my 1500 lb pressure washer.

    I then made a strong mixture of water and ZEP "Steam and clean" and let it sit over night.

    The next day it was clean as a whistle, no rust at all!.

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