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Safely cutting out a Model A fuel tank?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wideglide74, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. I need to remove the fuel tank/dash from my A bone and was looking for advice on doing it safely, the tank has been 5 years without fuel. I am looking to cut the tank portion out and use only the cowl top portion as I've purchased a 32 style dash and a beautiful old instrument panel and would like the space under the dash for wiring and such.

    Attached Files:

  2. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883


    Take if off the car. I used a reciprocating saw with fine tooth count. If you're real careful you can get around the baffles inside. I cut mine at slow speed, but there wasn't any sort of fuel in there. Fill it with water first if you're worried.
  3. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,122


    I fill the tank with water and then when it is out I invert it a let it set in the sun coming through a window and then blow it out with a Hair Dryer. Expect some setiment in the bottom. You can wash it out using rubbing alchohol or another agent of your chosing.
  4. remove tank from car, flush with water, then run a hose from a clean running modern car's exhaust into the tank, run till out side of tank is warm. it will then be safe to cut...unless there is a sludge build up in the bottom of the tank. i do this procedure on all the tanks i weld/fix/cut but in one case there was a lot of build up that had trapped fumes under it. i made the first hole then as i started to make the second the sparks hit the trapped fumes. 8 foot fireball out the first hole.

  5. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,689


    Do a search, this was a topic of discussion about a month ago.
  6. bobbyb
    Joined: Jun 28, 2009
    Posts: 151

    from ohio

    Are you sure your tank don't bolt in??? Some "A's" do. In the photo it looks like bolts along the firewall at that first seam. That is where mine bolted in and also along the kick panels inside the car.
  7. all A tanks unbolt and can be removed.
  8. Grudge
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 435


    Just did this on Sunday. Mine has been empty for about 3 months with the cap off but still smelled strong enough for me to worry about how to do it.

    First I rinsed with water, a full tank + sloshing it around. Did this twice.

    Next I used a carbide hole saw and put a bunch of holes in the part I was cutting out. My logic was that if there was a 'poof', I wanted to minimize pressure build up. You might say drilling holes could spark, and yeah, you're probably right. I was suited up pretty well with ear/eye/hand protection.

    Strapped it to a table and (still suited up) put a propane torch in each hole I drilled. Was totally fine. Then proceeded to finish it with combination cut-off wheel and plasma cutter.

    BTW, it killed me a little to cut up a nice-ish tank.

    Attached Files:

  9. 32Tudor396
    Joined: Sep 14, 2010
    Posts: 181


    From a welders point of view....Purge tank with nitrogen or argon.I have welded tanks up this way.
    I watched a underground fuel tank from an abandoned gas station get cut in two with a chop saw once for transport....The guy doin the cutting had a gauge to monitor fumes (lel) which he forces out for 2 hrs with a large fan.There were 6 inches of gas/old stale water in tank.
    The purge is the safest.... removes all oxygen!
  10. You can buy the panel from Brooksville Roadsters pretty darn cheap. They do not make new Model"A" gas tanks. You can sell the tank real easy and probably buy the panel and be money ahead. The new panel will not require filling the nozzle for fueling the Model "A".
  11. bunker hill bullet
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 48

    bunker hill bullet
    from indiana

    I've been told brookville will trade you a new panel for your old tank. If its in good working condition. I don't know that for fact. Give them a call

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  12. I dig out my safest pair of flip flops, remove my saftey glasses so I can see what I'm doing. Sometimes when my pomade runs dry I like to use sterno gel to keep my hair out of my eyes. Seems to keep it all in place while I'm working in tight places or upside down.
    Oh, next... fire up torch, and cut!

    Water also works well, or is handy to keep around incase your neighbors have a fire cause their dumb and careless. I find it tends to rust the sheet metal though. I like old traditional rust verse todays light pale color rust. Good luck.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  13. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    My tank was cut by me, and Ive done many..

    but many here will tell you that your gonna die doing it.

    use your head, and read up on how its done.
  14. Dry ice, thats how they purged my 10,000 gal gas tanks when the removed them.
  15. Find one that's already rotted out on the bottom and swap them out.
  16. There is nobody manufacturing model "A" tanks. Good ones are hard to find.
  17. Low Fat 38
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 75

    Low Fat 38
    from Norton,Ma

    Gary, Nice job on your tank. Thanks for posting
  18. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,162


    Good tanks should get sold for the $150.00 or so they go for. I bought an original cut off 30-31 top at Hershey many years ago for $10.00, one of my best buys ever. Bob
  19. carmuts
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 874


    Too bad you are in Canada or I would cut the bottom of a tank out for you, sand it down and trade tanks. Your good 28-29 tank for one that has already been cut out. I have one with over 20 pin holes in the bottom that is not likely fixable. The one that I have put some time in for my delivery came off of a fordor and had pits around the filler neck where the felt was along with a couple of pinholes in the pits. I soldered the pin holes closed and filled the pits, but would much rather have a better tank. Rod

    Attached Files:

  20. The fuel tank removal went very well, I am quite content with the results

    Four steps:

    Good dish soap and hot water wash

    Drill and few holes and cut two large "windows" with a jig/reciprocating saw

    Rough trim with a zip disc

    Scribe a clean line around the left over edge leaving 1/2" of "lip or rib" and re-cut to line and tidy up with a sanding disc

    I left the rib to prevent the cowl top turning into an oil can.

    Attached Files:

  21. Bikertrash
    Joined: Aug 29, 2007
    Posts: 150

    from Boise

    It looks great! I'll admit my stupidity and ask, "What the hell is a zip disc"? I'm assuming that it's a metal cutting blade on a grinder? Thanks for posting and saving my eyebrows.

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