Cleaning The Gas Tank

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Bill Everett
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Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by Bill Everett » Fri May 14, 2021 3:09 pm

I finally found a way to raise the body so we could remove the gas tank for cleaning...I asked my son Bailey to see what he could figure out!

We have a new fuel tank, but it has some minor rust on the inside near where the baffle(s) were welded.

I'm asking for your thoughts how to best deal with this; beads, beads with diesel fuel, Muriatic Acid, Acetone, or any mixture of these.

Also, any thoughts on how to shake the gas tank if we use just beads?

Any input is appreciated.
Model T Gas Tank Removal.jpg
Model T Gas Tank Removal-1.jpg

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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by got10carz » Fri May 14, 2021 3:35 pm

I just did the tanks on my 68 Harley. Vinegar, left in 24 hours. Flush with pressure washer and repeat if necessary.

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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by Dallas Landers » Fri May 14, 2021 3:38 pm

I have seen tanks strapped to tractor tires to roll screws or beads around inside the tank. Also inside an inner tube in a cloths dryer. Good luck with that one and the wife.

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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by varmint » Fri May 14, 2021 4:19 pm

If you can see the rust, then physical removal is the first step, whether it be by wire brush on a drill, or a scraper. The big pieces are too much and/or too expensive for the chemical step. We sit rusty parts in vinegar for as much as a week. My wife likes vinegar better than any chemical she ever bought to remove rust.
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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by Harry Lillo » Fri May 14, 2021 7:46 pm

I am sure most are aware that there is regular household vinegar and then double strength cleaning vinegar.
I use the Allen brand here in Canada which is 10% acetic acid by volume.
It cuts much quicker than the household brands from the supermarket.
Home Depot carries it here with their cleaning supplies.

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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by TXGOAT2 » Sat May 15, 2021 9:07 am

Wal Mart once carried "pickling vinegar" ad may still do so. Tractor Supply has "canning vinegar". The products I've seen are in gallon jugs and labeled 10% acid and located near the canning supplies. Wal Mart used to be much more of a general store than is now the case. Tractor Supply still offers chickens, cow cube, and goat supplies, sooooo....

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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat May 15, 2021 9:39 am

I am going to assume the rust you're seeing is pretty much surface rust and not flaking, cancerous rust. I'm also assuming it is a mere fraction of the total surface area of the tank.

If that is correct, I'd advise to leave it alone, make sure your sediment bowl has a good screen and drain it periodically (I doubt that much will show up). If you are running a Holley G, NH, Kingston, or any other puddle-type carb, it will digest the dusty rust fine, and no harm will come to the engine in the process. A jetted carb like a Stromberg is another story.

Any acid which is anything other than a phosphoric acid can easily create surface rusting orders of magnitude beyond what you will remove without extensive flushing and neutralizing. Use evaporust or some similar stuff and you'll have flash-rust everywhere in short order. Some sheet metal has a protective coating and if your tank is made from such material, an acid, no mater how mild will remove it and expose the remainder of the interior to be more prone to oxidation.

Keeping the tank "dry" by using the sediment bowl as designed will keep the rust from propagating and will wash away any collected particulate.

Not everything short of "perfect" is necessarily a problem. It would be nice if the rust wasn't there, but to me, you're not describing something that would cause me any alarm.
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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by John.Zibell » Sat May 15, 2021 10:09 am

Find a radiator shop that can hot tank the fuel tank, then coat with ethanol resistant liner. Be sure to have that shop mask off the threaded areas so the liner doesn't foul the threads. Then paint the exterior of the tank. Since no one is making tanks any more this should make it last for a very long time. I did that for my car.
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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by TRDxB2 » Sat May 15, 2021 11:46 am

Bill Everett wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 3:09 pm

We have a new fuel tank, but it has some minor rust on the inside near where the baffle(s) were welded.
Since its new I wouldn't expect that you need to do more than just using "cleaning" vinegar. As suggested something with a concentration between 10%-20%.
This site explains many different ways to clean a tank (pros/cons and alternatives). ... a_gas_tank
1 Abrasives; 2 Acids [2.1 Hydrochloric (Muriatic) Acid; 2.2 Phosphoric Acid; 2.3 Behr Concrete Etcher and Rust Remover; 2.4 Vinegar; 2.5 Coca-Cola; 2.6 The Works (toilet bowl cleaner)]; 3 Battery and Washing Soda/Electrolysis; 4 Kreem; 5 POR-15; 6 Evapo-rust ; 7 Wood Bleach ( Oxalic Acid );
For Vinegar
Vinegar can be used to clean rust from the inside of a gas tank because it contains acetic acid. This can be accomplished by filling the gas tank with water and then draining that. Next, plug the hole where the petcock goes, and fill the tank with the vinegar, leaving it in overnight to dissolve the rust. After pouring out the vinegar, rinse the tank with water. Next fill it with water and a small amount of baking soda to neutralize the acid. After 15 minutes, rinse the tank with water again and continue rinsing until the water you pour out of the tank is completely clear. At this point it is important to make sure the tank has no more water in it. This can be accomplished by getting as much water out as possible, adding WD-40 or rubbing alcohol to the tank, and rinsing it out with gasoline. Immediately fill the tank with premix to prevent further rusting.

Premix is a mixture of gasoline and two-stroke oil used in two-stroke engines. Common ratios for mixing gas with oil include 50:1, 40:1 and 32:1 (i.e., 50, 40, or 32 parts gasoline per 1 part oil). This link explains how to mix and even has a calculator for the size of tank
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Re: Cleaning The Gas Tank

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat May 15, 2021 1:01 pm

It doesn't sound like your tank needs the tractor wheel treatment, but for those going that route I would put a chain inside rather than gravel, screws, or other abrasives I've seen suggested. It's a lot easier to remove one intact item instead of dozens or hundreds of little separate bits.
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