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Projects Making a fuel tank from an old hot water heater - possible?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by vintage_mpg, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. mkubacak
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 182

    mkubacak
    Member

    I think you have Eastern Colorado and Western Colorado confused.
     
  2. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 5,606

    Budget36
    Member


    Yes
     
  3. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,935

    5window
    Member

    This tank, plus 150 pounds of gas, would be some serious ballast.It's a cool tank, but not for a hot rod build.
     
  4. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,935

    5window
    Member

    Too much Coors.
     
  5. vintage_mpg
    Joined: Jan 4, 2014
    Posts: 47

    vintage_mpg
    Member

    So - the top part of the tank would be visible. Sitting sideways behind my rear seat, you'd be able to look in and see the rivets, the patina'd verbiage on the tank, etc. That's all you'd see - but no more. Wouldn't be able to see any clear glass fuel line running along the end of the tank; that will be tucked in tight.

    Perhaps I should cut this tank in half, lengthwise, and lay that OVER a newly-constructed tank. Would be half the weight, would still show all the cool factor stuff, but would address all the other issues I keep bumping into.

    How much would a custom aluminum/steel tank cost? That can't be cheap, can it? What would that solve - the flaking galvanized issue would be gone, but.....I'd still have no fuel gauge, would still be building/buying a large, custom fuel tank that would add the same 150 lbs of fuel - but I'd save several pounds in the lighter tank material. Am I thinking correctly here?

    Worth starting over on the fuel tank, you think?
     
  6. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 908

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    When you're building a hot rod, weight needs to be a prime consideration. Power to weight ratio is key. Adding unnecessary weight hurts your power to weight ratio. When selecting materials and parts, select the lightest and smallests that will do the job. That big heavy tank is not what you need on a hot rod.
     
    vintage_mpg likes this.
  7. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 908

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    kidcampbell71 and vintage_mpg like this.
  8. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,055

    Dick Stevens
    Member

    That tank would look right at home in a rat rod, not good for a hot rod!
     
    LWEL9226, vintage_mpg and Budget36 like this.
  9. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 5,606

    Budget36
    Member

    Damg, here's the deal and I will bow out after this
    Ya
    'all can see where it was cut in half?

    So then welded up.

    Nice.

    So the inside will curl, will happen. an get a blaster in there and shine it up like a mirror...nice.

    So now as the coating begings to continuos peel, live with it. Carry a 50 pack of fuel filters. No one ever cut or welded on ga;valized metal before?

    I'm out, sure the op will be fine ...
     
    vintage_mpg likes this.
  10. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,668

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    Bad idea... The inside of that tank is all flaked from water.
     
    rusty valley likes this.
  11. mkubacak
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 182

    mkubacak
    Member

    Gotta love that Colorado Coolaid.
     
  12. vintage_mpg
    Joined: Jan 4, 2014
    Posts: 47

    vintage_mpg
    Member

    Well Budget, I will humbly concede to your knowledge. You have not only given me a lesson in metallurgy, you did it patiently while I did my darndest to force this round peg (tank!) into a square hole.

    Check out these pics. Please ignore the spider webs and crappy photography; I'm using my cell phone.


    There it is: the white flaky stuff you accurately predicted.

    Crap. Back to square one.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  13. vintage_mpg
    Joined: Jan 4, 2014
    Posts: 47

    vintage_mpg
    Member

    Will that flaking continue forever?

    Or can I pressure wash/sand blast it to a stable edge?
     
  14. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 5,606

    Budget36
    Member

    I don't think I'd waste my time. Honestly it would make a cool planter, a few legs, flowers/etc.

    Now for sure the last thing I'll say:)

    Why do you think someone had it for sale?

    My guess is someone was told "I wouldn't use that as a gas tank".
     
    vintage_mpg likes this.
  15. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,197

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    I don't know about US practice, but water heaters here have had copper inner pressure vessels for ages. That and lack of provision for an electrical resistance element and connection suggest that it isn't a water heater.

    Galvanizing over the rivets means it was hot-dip galvanized. I've often specified hot-dip galvanizing to one-off steel items, and if there are 40'-long galvanizing tanks in Cape Town there will certainly be ones in Colorado. You should have no problem getting it regalvanized. The tank would be heavy if it has already survived hot-dip galvanizing once without warping.

    I'd say it's too heavy for anything but a large speedster e.g. American LaFrance etc., but I'd paint it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
    vintage_mpg likes this.
  16. vintage_mpg
    Joined: Jan 4, 2014
    Posts: 47

    vintage_mpg
    Member

    That's something I've not thought of. Perhaps it can simply be galvanized a second time, and then it would work perfectly for my needs.

    Great idea. I'll make a few phone calls come Monday morning....
     
  17. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,691

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    I made a gas tank for a old CJ Jeep one time from a 5 gallon water tank of some kind. Worked OK, but I never street drove it, only yard and woods use. Had to change the filter a lot, crud just kept stopping it up.
     
  18. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,935

    5window
    Member

    You bowed out one post too late :)
     
    Budget36 likes this.
  19. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,055

    Dick Stevens
    Member

    Are you building a hot rod or a rat rod?
     
  20. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,935

    5window
    Member

    I think this thread is about half a post away from being closed.. It is a cool old tank. It is not a cool old hot rod tank.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
    vintage_mpg likes this.

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