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How to Dissolve Old Gas Varnish?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by V7, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. V7
    Joined: Oct 8, 2006
    Posts: 142


    Does anyone know how to dissolve the sticky,carmel like varnish that old gas will leave in a gas tank ? Part two of this question is how do you responsibly dispose of ten plus gallons of old gas and/or are there any uses for it?Thanks.
    V7 (Steve)
  2. SquashThatFly
    Joined: Nov 24, 2005
    Posts: 723


    do the neighbors have a pool?
    Paint Guru likes this.
  3. Kustomkarma
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 898


    To answer your first question, I would try calling around to different radiator shops in your area as some of them may do gas tank work as well. I just dropped my tank off to have the old residue "boiled out" over the next couple of weeks. They should be able to fix any small holes while they're at it. As for the old gas, try contacting your city's solid waste department to see if they offer a recycling or disposal program. I just dropped off about 8 gallons or so at my county landfill for them to properly dispose of it as it's definitely not something you want seeping into the ground or water supply.
  4. Goztrider
    Joined: Feb 17, 2007
    Posts: 3,067

    from Tulsa, OK

    Unless it is completely trashed, we always used the old gas to run in lawnmowers and equipment that it doesn't matter in. I know you're not supposed to do that, but I had a mower that lasted more than 15 years running on old crappy gas - if it was too bad, we'd even dilute it a bit.

    If that doesn't work, the 4th of July is just around the corner. Stick it in a bucket and toss in a match and enjoy the show.
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  5. A radiator shop can boil out the tank. Not all do it though.

    Last time I had 10 gallons or so of really bad gas, I poured it out of the tank and into a 55 gallon drum.

    Used it for parts cleaner for a day or so. Two days later it had evaporated..
  6. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,398

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    You can try denatured alcohol - it's about the only thing I've found that will attack the gum, but it's slow. I've tried mineral spirits, brake cleaner, carb cleaner, acetone, good gas - only denatured alcohol has any effect on it...

    ...but if you can find a rad shop to do it reasonably, do it. Trick is, the EPA is all over rad shops & it's getting expensive (at least around here) to have a tank boiled...
  7. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,651


    i used about 3 gallons of acetone on my wifes merc it had 30 yr old gas in it, let it sit and did some sloshing with some nails in it and it cleaned up nice. that shit stinks too don t get any on yr hands!!
  8. Bugman
    Joined: Nov 17, 2001
    Posts: 3,484


    Lacquer thinner works ok. 'Course then you have to dispose of the dirty lacquer thinner too...
  9. overspray
    Joined: Jan 14, 2003
    Posts: 1,225


    Lacquer thinner (cheap grade) or acetone, which is in lacquer thinner in varying quantities. It works for soaking carbs too, when you don't have carb cleaner.

  10. Frank
    Joined: Jul 30, 2004
    Posts: 2,321


    EPA recommends diluting the old gas with new gas and just use it up. I had 5 gallons that I used up by adding 1 gallon of old to every 10 gallons of new gas I had in my tank. Siphon it out though so you don't get all of the gunk from it.
  11. 52pickup
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 847

    from Tucson, Az

    after you get the old gas out of it, go buy a couple bottles of pure lye drain cleaner, the ones that say 100% lye on the bottle. Pour a bottle of lye in the tank and fill with water. one 16oz bottle is usually a pretty good mix for a gas tank, you might add another half bottle. Leave it for at least 24 hours, if you go a little longer you might not have to do a second treatment. The lye wont attack the metal like an acid will, but it will dissolve the goo and gunk in the bottom of gas tanks. To dispose, put it out in a shallow container and let it evaporate off.

    It works, I've used this method on 6 cars now, a couple had more than 1" of goo at the bottom of the tank. One other suggestion, seal up all the holes in the top of the tank, including the filler, so you can slosh it around, it will help. Also, don't get the lye mix on you, it will burn, maybe not right away, but you'll feel it eventually.
  12. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 4,401


    DO NOT use that old gasoline in your lawn mower. I recently used old gas in the mower and it started losing power as the carbuerator got clogged up. Fortunately a can of carb cleaner restored the power to normal.
  13. I have done the "ration it out over a few tanks" to get ris of old foul gas, as Frank suggested.
  14. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 3,555


    weed control; spray it on the weeds, not the ground.

    also good on wasp nests.
  15. I have developed the best way to get rid from the gum in your old gas tank without removing it from your car. Do it in the well ventilating area, preferably outside of your garage. Just fill the tank up (about 1/4 of its capacity) with E85 and (here is the trick) recirculate it within the tank by using external electric gas pump (12V) with the filter and with the in and out vinyl tubes. Outlet tube should reach E85 fuel through the tank's filler pipe while inlet tube should just be inserted into gas tank filler pipe alongside with the outlet tube. Be sure that plastic tubes can be used with E85 gas. Turn on the pump and circulate gas for at least 4 hours. Than unscrew gas tank plug and empty dirty gas into a bucket. Dispose it as it requires by law in your area. You will see how dark this liquid will be. If necessary, repeat this procedure again. After you see that out-coming liquid is clean flush your tank thoroughly with the regular gas. This is it. Needless to say that you are dealing with the flammable liquid and thus you must observe all the requirements and regulations in your area. Consult with your local FD.:)
  16. I recommend taking the tank to a radiator shop and let them boil it out in their hot tank over night,I've done this a number of times in the past.

    The old gas is good for weed control used in a pump sprayer or you can use it to start your next bonfire. HRP
  17. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,758


    Sea Foam will clean varnish up real well.


    I use it mixed with gasoline for carb cleaner these days.
    Lone Star Mopar likes this.
  18. B Ramsey
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 532

    B Ramsey

    I burn it in a smudge pot.
  19. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,900


    To get rid of it ask a cop for they have an area where people losing gasoline and park your car there.
    belair likes this.
  20. I had 15 gallons of 3 year old gasoline, smelled real bad. Gave it to a guy with a Flex Fuel GMC and he just added it to his tank five gallons at a time. I imagine the O/P has gotten rid of it by now.
  21. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,113


    Saw a post where somebody chained their tank to a concrete mixer and threw in a chain, let it roll around and knock it all loose.

    I had to drain a half tank of race gas outta an off topic drag car, that sat all winter, mower ran real good for a few years on 110 octane.
  22. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    I am lucky having been in the hazardous materials transport field for years , I just take it to my friends at the tank wash ( has to be a chemical one , not food grade ) and they hot caustic wash it ( this stuff strips epoxy), solvent wash it or both and steam it for me plus dispose of the old gas ( ussually they put it in the spotting horses fuel tank ( diesel) or put it in the petroleum waste container to be recycled if its real bad . costs me $100 but tank is spotless and fume free when I pick it up . and its all disposed of legally .. and they also can remove the undercoating on the outside with the steam lance for a little more

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