Cleaning old gas tank - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-30-2009, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Cleaning old gas tank

My new project is an 89 yamaha TW200. It has 700 miles on it, probly the original oil, and has sat for at least 15 years.

The gas tank has a really thick layer of old gas goo on the inside. Rust is pretty minimal but it's there also. I need a few ideas to clean it out without using any kind of coating (like kreem or por-15). I can't bring myself to use products like those when I have longevity in mind.

I've read using different types of acid to wash it out. Or acitone and a chain? IDK. If I use some type of acid do I need to seal the tank or just rinse/dry then fill with gas?

Ideas? Thanks in advance.

Craig.

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post #2 of 21 Old 07-30-2009, 06:20 AM
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For very mild cleaning of motorcycle tanks, I've used vinegar, just pour a gallon in, fill it up the rest of the way with water, and let it set for a day. For tanks with a little more rust, go to a farm supply store and buy "Milkstone remover" or "The Must for Rust" from a Home improvement store. After using these products, rinse really well with water and then coat the inside with a light oil to prevent it from flash rusting, and then keep the tank full all the time.

As far as coatings go for fuel tanks, I've tried a few, and the only one I will ever use again is the POR-15 kit. This really works good, but you must use the complete tank restore kit (has 3 or 4 different components.) It is absoutely a permanent fix when done correctly, and the tank will never rust again.

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post #3 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 05:12 AM
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Get yourself about a quart of saftey clean (parts cleaner) and a box of BB's.
Pour into tank after sealing off outlets let sit for awhile and shake / swiril BB's around in tank. Did it on a tank for a '49 Pan-head. Worked mint.!!!

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post #4 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 08:49 AM
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For our boat's gas tank i used sulfuric acid and a box of sheetrock screws.

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post #5 of 21 Old 08-02-2009, 06:35 AM
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Shop for a replacement tank.

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post #6 of 21 Old 12-11-2009, 04:40 AM
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Anyone have any other suggestions?

Milk-stone remover....hmmmmm......never heard of it.

I put naval jelly and water into mine and walked away for a day to rather disappointing results. I put it back in there and am thinking about checking it in several days.

Mine has significant rust but I was trying to avoid POR-15 or Kreem if I can....

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post #7 of 21 Old 12-11-2009, 11:10 AM
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OK found me some Milkstone remover.

It is phosphoric acid.....Yikes.

Hey OldFordGuy are you still in there? What ratios did you use? How long did you soak it for?

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post #8 of 21 Old 12-11-2009, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FXS View Post
Get yourself about a quart of saftey clean (parts cleaner) and a box of BB's.
Pour into tank after sealing off outlets let sit for awhile and shake / swiril BB's around in tank. Did it on a tank for a '49 Pan-head. Worked mint.!!!
stones, nuts, bb's - dang gpz tanks have so many nooks & crannies it takes forever to get them all out and I wasn't happy with the results anyway.
I figured I was going to keep it for a long time so I sent it to Moyer Tank Renew for restoration then had it repainted.

Soaking it in the ultrasonic parts cleaner/cooker at the hotrod shop works pretty well too and often leaves the paint intact. They use it to clean blocks & heads.

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post #9 of 21 Old 12-11-2009, 06:09 PM
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The absolute best way (IMO) to remove rust/old gas is muratic acid. You don't need BB's or screws or whatever. Just find a way to plug the tank and pour a mixture of muratic acid and water into tank and it will do all the work for you. The mixture depends on how long you have to clean tank. A 70/30 mix will clean it in about a day, maybe 2. When it's done soaking, pour out the mix and all the rust/gunk will come out with it. You will be left with a perfectly clean tank...raw etched metal. Of course you will have to be ready with the coating or it will rust again in no time at all. Only problem you may have is getting someone to sell you the acid. Laws vary by state. Crackheads use the stuff to make meth so you may have a hard time getting any. Where I live they will only sell a pint. They also take all your personal information.

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post #10 of 21 Old 12-11-2009, 08:43 PM
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Naval Jelly. about 4 to 6 ounces. First get rid of the sludge with mineral spirits or kerosene then rinse with water. Shake large nuts and bolts around inside if rust is worse than you thought. Take the naval jelly and add to two quarts of water (add acid to water) mix it up. Place in tank. Finish filling tank with water. Let it sit overnight. neutralize with solution of baking soda - let sit for an hour or so - rinse with water really well. Coat inside with WD 40 until ready to use....

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post #11 of 21 Old 12-11-2009, 08:47 PM
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in all cases if you are gonna be messing with acid MAKE SURE AND HAVE SEVERAL BOXES OF BAKING SODA HANDY...

carry on........



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post #12 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR. J View Post
Naval Jelly. about 4 to 6 ounces. First get rid of the sludge with mineral spirits or kerosene then rinse with water. Shake large nuts and bolts around inside if rust is worse than you thought. Take the naval jelly and add to two quarts of water (add acid to water) mix it up. Place in tank. Finish filling tank with water. Let it sit overnight. neutralize with solution of baking soda - let sit for an hour or so - rinse with water really well. Coat inside with WD 40 until ready to use....

I dumped a whole bottle in, approx. 8oz.

Perhaps I am impatient but after about 15 hours, progress was minimal.

I poured the solution back in and I'm gonna check it on Monday, but I have my doubts.

Muriatic acid eh? I can get it. I use it to clean the filters in my pump staion semi-annually. That stuff is wicked. It's a thought.

The thing with neutralizing it is that you will create a "cake" in your gas tank that might be a real thrill to remove. Probably best to neutralize in a bucket after removal. Just thinking out loud here.......

I'm guessing muriatic acid or Milkstone....not sure how close they are chemically but they are probably more aggressive than naval jelly.

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post #13 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 07:22 AM
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 08:55 AM
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Another way to get rust off metal parts is to soak them in plain household type Vinegar. Use the vinegar straight as it comes from the bottle. Place the part in a glass or plastic container and cover with Vinegar. Check the parts after 24 hours. The surface of the part may look black but just put it under running water and a light brushing will clean it up. It will eat the zinc out of brass or aluminum alloys, though...its a great way to de-galvanize steel.

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post #15 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 09:01 AM
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Another way to get rust off metal parts is to soak them in plain household type Vinegar. Use the vinegar straight as it comes from the bottle. Place the part in a glass or plastic container and cover with Vinegar. Check the parts after 24 hours. The surface of the part may look black but just put it under running water and a light brushing will clean it up. It will eat the zinc out of brass or aluminum alloys, though...its a great way to de-galvanize steel.


vinegar is a mild acid........



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post #16 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 09:05 AM
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Thanks Mike....seems like opinions are like belly buttons.....everyone has one.

I will probably stand pat on my Naval Jelly for a few days and if that doesn't work I'll move to Phosphoric acid (Milkstone remover).

I'm still torn about the POR-15, it's not gonna break the bank but it isn't cheap either. My rationalization is that the inside of a tank is bare metal to begin with.........

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post #17 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Pacojerte View Post


vinegar is a mild acid........
Yes, and it won't eat the concrete floor of your garage like muratic acid....of course it's also not as good for disposing of pesky dead bodies when you're in need...

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post #18 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 09:16 AM
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Yes, and it won't eat the concrete floor of your garage like muratic acid....of course it's also not as good for disposing of pesky dead bodies when you're in need...
the muratic acid don't really "eat" the floor... it just cleans it... really well....

and muratic isn't strong enough to dispose of a body... you need sulfuric at the minimum or a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric know as "aqua regia" the only acid known that can dissolve gold and platinum... it is used to etch glass... *(bad stuff... wear gloves)

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Aqua regia or aqua regis (Latin for royal water or king's water) is a highly corrosive, fuming yellow or red solution, also called nitro-hydrochloric acid. The mixture is formed by freshly mixing concentrated nitric acid and concentrated hydrochloric acid, usually in a volumetric ratio of 1:3 respectively. It was so named because it can dissolve the so-called "royal metals," or noble metals, gold and platinum. However, tantalum, iridium, osmium, titanium and a few other metals are capable of withstanding chemical attack from it.


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post #19 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Pacojerte View Post
the muratic acid don't really "eat" the floor... it just cleans it... really well....

and muratic isn't strong enough to dispose of a body... you need sulfuric at the minimum or a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric know as "aqua regia" the only acid known that can dissolve gold and platinum... it is used to etch glass... *(bad stuff... wear gloves)
well, better acid gives better results body disposal-wise (or so I've been told)
If you mix muratic acid with iodine crystals you can make a hell of a good fire, though...I think I may have been listening to too much Mr Wizard...





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post #20 of 21 Old 12-12-2009, 06:08 PM
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Naval jelly is phosphoric acid. The idea is to remove the loose rust with nuts and washers and a whole lot of shaking going on.... I use ear protection. The sludge needs to be removed with a solvent. Usually you don't have much rust and sludge. Overnight should be enough for the diluted naval jelly to do its' job. The idea is to stabalize the rust. We have had a tank that was rusted badly enough that the naval jelly ate through the metal. Obviously the tank was no good. I am not a fan of the coatings for tanks. There is a product called rusteco that has gotten good reviews.

Muratic acid is hydrochloric acid. I like to dip my aluminum carbs in those for about 3 seconds then rinse like a mad man. It makes them dark - which I think looks good on the cafe bikes...

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post #21 of 21 Old 12-17-2009, 02:25 PM
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Having used both POR15 and Kreem, I would go with the POR15. Follow the directions carefully. You must evenly keep rotating the tank at the different steps to ensure proper/cleaning coating. The nuts and bolts are a great additional step before the phosphoric acid cleaning step. It's time consuming to do right, but the results are better than a new tank because the coating is durable and won't rust.

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