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welding a gas tank

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ben'sAuto, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. insane1
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 26

    from Ennis TX

    LMAO on that !!!! That put a great image in my head !!!!!!!!!!

    As for the tank the best thing that I know of, and have done is to have the tank steamed cleaned. That will elimanate any any all fumes then you can go to town.

    Now as for a story, My dad used to weld tanker trucks while he was in the army(1960's). They would weld on them completly full of gas if the area was down low ( yea, fuck you! ). Says they did that all the time. But if it was up towards the top they would fill it with water.
    One time while welding one side of a big tanker filled with water they blew the whole otherside open.

    Now a couple of months ago I needed to cut a 2" hole in the top of a tank. Problem was it was on a late model dually with a full tank of gas. I already had the bed off, and didnt want to pull the tank. I went really slow w/a hole saw, and was still neverous.
  2. kustombuilder
    Joined: Sep 18, 2002
    Posts: 7,754

    from Novi, MI

    WELD IT!!! explosions are cool!!! ...seriously. it should be fine. the sparks from cuttin it up did'nt light it off did they??? weld that bitch. TIG would be best but use what ya got. MIG will be fine if your careful.
  3. I guess you guys didn't read Smokey Yunick's book.
    The part about cutting up old fuel drums,and the resulting explosions.

    Or you could ask Billy Lane what happened to the
    David Mann poster that used to be on the wall in his shop.
    Something about a big fireball while he was cutting a tank apart.
  4. yblock292
    Joined: Oct 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,937


    take it to a radiator shop and for $25 they will clean it out, cheap insurance!Just cut a model A tank which had fresh gas in it, got it back from the shop no fumes no boom!
  5. Please Excuse my interuption. I was Recently BLOWN up by a exposing that was caused by welding NEAR a gas tank..

    I was welding the bed sides of the truck im building. Spark went right down the filler neck which was open but with a Glove stuck inside. The blast was so powerful it shot me back 15 feet.
    Flames went up my chest. Was able to stop drop and roll ( Thanks Fire marshals from Kiddy school!).
    15% of my body was in 3 degree burns. Spent a night at the burn center... Was laied out for 10 days..

    Luckly 11 days later i was finishing welding the bed side. Gotta get back on the horse..

    Purge the tank with argon, wash it out with soapy water. FIll the tank with water or full gas... Either of these will help....
  6. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,354

    Six Ball
    from Nevada

    Man, we do a lot of dangerous shit,it's amazing how much of it we get away with! Good luck to you all!
  7. 29 sedanman
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 2,282

    29 sedanman
    from Indy

    You have most likely already spent $50 on this so far between sheet metal screws, JB weld, and Por 15 and the tank is still a piece of shit. You have countless hours cleaning it and countless hours of worrying about it and after all of that you still dont know if it will hold gas and perform like you want it to.

    There comes a time when we all have to decide when to quit being cheap and do shit right. There are certain things you dont skimp on, Brakes, Steering, Insurance, and stuff that can blow you up.

    Lookaround the house and find some shit to sell and go buy a new tank. If it is your brothers tank just tell him you are not working on it unless you fix it right.
  8. I didn't read all the posts but I wanted to give a bit of advice that I hadn't noticed. Whether you weld it or have someone else weld it before you install the tank plug all the holes and, using 4 to 7 psi, pressurize the tank and soap and water the weld while checking for bubbles. I have welded several tanks and had no problem as long as you think it through. With MIG you will most likely find at least one pin hole in the weld that you will have to fix and it is better to find it before you fill it with gas and then have to start the whole process over again. The first tank that I had a "professional" fix leaked like a sieve when I reinstalled it in the truck. What a huge pain in the ass!! good luck Jaysin
  9. rusty48
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 467


    I cut the filler tube and welded it on a tank,filled it completely full of water and MIGed it.drain it out and be sure it's clean inside set it in the sun be sure it's good and dry before you use it.
  10. Fe26
    Joined: Dec 25, 2006
    Posts: 543


    If a new tank is readily available then get it. I used to build custom motorbike tanks and repair old ones in my spare time, and I used to charge like a wounded bull for welding repairs. The technique I used was to pour about a 1/2 gallon of Carbon-Tetra-Hydro-Chloride into the tank, then put the cap back on, wait ten minutes, take the cap off and place a damp rag over the filler hole, then start the repairs, cutting and welding. (It was all brazed in those days as the portable Mig hadn't been made yet). C-T-H-C works by absorbing oxygen into into the liquid, (you never leave an open bottle around).
    When the job is cold you pour the liquid through a seive to remove any debris and pour it back in the bottle ready for next time. Rinse the tank with hot water, then.... figure out the cost of the job, add your age, then double the amount. You have to be paid well to do this work, the fellow I took over this work from was a proffesional welder 20 years + who had a gas tank explode,
    he lost half his face and sustained awful burns to his neck and throat, he never worked again. BTW he used to wash the tanks in soapy water, then fill with water when welding.
  11. SO-AZ
    Joined: Oct 20, 2006
    Posts: 201

    from Tucson

    A couple of days ago a guy in Tucson "filled the tank with water" and tried to drill a hole in it. He is in the burn center in Phoenix with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 50% of his body. Must have been the air (fume) bubble trapped above the water.
  12. 29 sedanman
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 2,282

    29 sedanman
    from Indy

    Just curious what you decided to do. Are you still with us? I hope you got your problem solved and are still OK.

    Update us on how things worked out.
  13. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    ask your self these questions first.
    1. can i buy a new or good used tank?
    2. do i feel lucky? ya ?

    this is a 15 gallon fuel of the worlds most volitile things to weld could blow your head clean off!.. you gotta ask your self, was that 15 gallons or just some fumes? in the excitement of it all i have forgot too..ya gotta ask yourself..Do you feel lucky? well...? do ya...punk?
    sorry just got done watchin old clint do his thing in dirty harry
  14. sliderule67
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 367

    from Houston

    The standard method in industry is to steam out piping and equipment prior to welding (hours), and they weld with inert gas, usually Nitrogen, inside if they can. They also have explosivity meters that detect anything that will burn. I know this isn't readily adaptable to auto shop work, but that's what the pros do. If you can find somebody with a steam jenny you can run at low rate for several hours, that should do the trick. Welding with diesel exhaust inside (no Oxygen) is also helpful.
  15. tg33chevy
    Joined: Jun 24, 2006
    Posts: 17

    from texas

    I used to take my gas tanks to the radiator shop to have them cleaned because they used caustic soda in there cleaning tanks. The last one I did the radiator shop told me to use Muratic acid and rinse out with baking soda in water. It worked great and didn`t cost so much.
  16. Louie S.
    Joined: Apr 18, 2007
    Posts: 644

    Louie S.

    I welded one yesterday, put an argon purge on for thirty minutes prior to welding and I am typing today.
  17. 1BadAction
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 7


    well... leave it to the HAMB to give me the information I needed.

    I think I'll be buying a tank. :eek:
  18. Solder the patch on with an old heat sink iron. Don't use a torch on the tank.
    If you do close your eyes real hard, I hear that protects you from the blast.
    We used to clean them out with Muratic acid, called a 'Magnus bath' cant use that anymore so flow water through it for a day, then soak with caustic soda, then flush again. Still dont weld or put a torch on the fucker.
  19. senior fried
    Joined: Jul 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,032

    senior fried

    I let the wife weld my tank about a month ago, I haven't seen her since !
  20. MIKE-3137
    Joined: Feb 19, 2003
    Posts: 1,578


    Check with NASA, they might have seen her from the space shuttle.:D
  21. When I was in the car repair bizz I was very young and slightly crazy. I used to weld tanks but I had to give it all up. I've seen tanks come and tanks go and some blow. The water thing is not so bad but it WILL blow up. All the fumes come to the top but the more room the water takes up the less the precussion when the explosion takes place. Just make sure the tank is against the wall so it can't take off like a missle. And the noise it will make is kinda like dropping a lit CHERRYBOMB into water. That kinda of explosive thudd. So go ahead and light that torch>>>>.
  22. toddc
    Joined: Nov 25, 2007
    Posts: 981


    CARBON MONOXIDE IS FUCKIN DEADLY! If you must, use carbon dioxide ( CO2 ).

    If you use carbon monoxide you WILL die.
  23. AHH Shit. I forgot the most important part. It's that damn 50/50 rule. You know the air force did that study and now they call it the 50/50-10 rule. That means there's only a 10% chance that the 50% choice will come true. So if you think there's a 50% chance that you won't get blown up your only 10% correct>>>>.
  24. bloodyjack
    Joined: Aug 29, 2007
    Posts: 649


    Yeah when the dude welded my moterbike gas tank he just stuck it on the exhaust pipe of his running truck for 5 mins worked fine and I had ridden it there full of gas.
  25. f6fhellcat00
    Joined: Nov 20, 2005
    Posts: 21


    Id never put exhaust pipe in the tank how do you think flame throwers work? If the car happens to be running rich hello bomb!!
  26. gnarlytyler
    Joined: Feb 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,004


    Well I can contribute alittle something.. my 65 chysler got a big carjack shaped dent in it(dont ask) and so I took it out, rinsed it with water alot.. left the hose in and let it run.. it killed all the grass for 5ft around it days later.. anyway.. after that I cut a hole in it with a 4" cutter around the area that was dented, pounded it straight, took it to the radiator shop, the guy boiled it and did his thing, brazed it shut for me and that was that.. would I do it again... nope.. was I lucky.. yeah... the new gas tank for the car was $320+ bucks, was I cheap.. yes.. am I still.. yes.. but I dont think I have much luck stored away so I'll buy a new one next time.. especially after reading this thread.

    btw I would of welded it myself but didn't know how to weld back then. and that was prob a good thing too.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,204

    from Ramona CA

    The common sense response for me too!

    A new or used tank a few bucks....not being able to wipe your ass becasue you now have a stump instead of a hand....what the word I am looking for. oH!...DUMBASS!

    BTW they do make some tank putty that will hold IF you cannot locate a tank.
  28. Ole Pork
    Joined: Sep 4, 2006
    Posts: 581

    Ole Pork

    I used to live next door to some folks who had a radiator /tank repair shop. After thorough cleaning and purging for a couple hours he would weld a tank. He purged and continued w/carbon mono from an 8 hp Briggs motor. Of course it was well ventilated, as carbon mono is deadly.( but it won't allow combustion) The guy never had a problem...
  29. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,264

    Deuce Daddy Don

    I agree with "WATER MY ASS", I've done some tanks with water & they have a tenancy to BURP, others were "DRY" when brought to my shop, I purged with CO2 from my MIG machine for 5 minutes, passed a torch over the opening with CO2 still purging, & upon receiving no flame, proceeded to patch hole with MIG.--------Don
  30. Billet
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 275


    My 2cents goes with five-deuce-chevy- his post was short and sweet- but maybe it also assumes too much- he suggests filling the tank with CO2/argon AND allowing the gas to continue to flow at a rate of 20 cfh (cubic feet per hour) for a hour. Which requires a regulator/flow valve. It might be more than you want to screw around with... I use the CO2/argon method on locomotive fuel tanks and it still makes your ass pucker when you're welding on the tank... Good Luck!

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