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Cleaning rust out of old gas tank


Bullett

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This may be a tired topic, but I want to clean the rust out of the R26's gas tank and get the old bike fixed up a bit. There was a red coating in the tank that I think has partially deteriorated.

 

I've received a number of suggestions for cleaning out the rust, phosphoric acid (?) or muriatic acid then to coat the clean surface with an epoxy or possibly some other substance.

 

It seems like there are tons of options. Sounds like it could be a pretty dirty job. eek.gif

 

What do you think, should I do this myself (and make Jan help) or send it out?

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Old time fix.

Handful of pebbles. Put them in the tank. Start agitating the tank. Shake the hell out of it. The stones knock off the rust from the inside of the tank. Rinse, Repeat. It works. Then you can line the tank. thumbsup.gif

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First wash out with water than add some gravel.Strap the tank with bungie cords to your tractor or truck and go for a slow ride.Presto!A clean tank.I have done this several times it works great.And cheap!

 

 

Cletus

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Thanks guys. I tried putting some pebbles into the tank, stuck a rag in for the gas cap and shook it a bit. this knocked quite a bit of rust out. There are not really any big flakes, more a fine dust, and I'm thinking I might just put some rocks in it and stick it in the trunk of my Miata, turning it (the tank grin.gif) every day, and see what happens lurker.giflurker.giflurker.gif

 

Hmmm, I haven't taken the Miata up the canyon since I got the RT (slight exaggeration, Miata has been up once since the RT's joined the family). Maybe it's due for a little spin. cool.gif

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  • 2 months later...

I restored a R60 a few years ago and used a product called POR-15. It stands for paint over rust. It has the same procedure as the Kreem Coat stuff but I think it turned out better. Caution!!!!! be sure that when you get to the step that calls for drying your tank before pouring in the final hardener, that the tank is really dry. I used a hair dryer to dry the tank. I put it in the top of the tank and had the petcock removed. I let the dryer run for around an hour. the tank got hot but was dry. I tell you this because I talked to the company and was warned to do this or the final step would not harden if water was present. Look at POR-15.com for the kit.

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Thanks Carl. I saw that product on the internet and was curious about it. Now that its starting to get cold I need to move forward with my little project.

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Thanks Carl. I saw that product on the internet and was curious about it. Now that its starting to get cold I need to move forward with my little project.

 

I have used POR-15 motorcycle tank repair kits to repair four fuel tanks now. The first one I did (over five years ago) had pinhole leaks across the bottom before treatment. Not only did POR-15 clear the rust it repaired the leaks. It is still fuel-tight and rust free to this day. Highly recommended.

 

Andy

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Thanks for that Andy because I have just got that very kit for my Ariel's tank from Frost.co.uk. There is no leak but the rust inside dose need treating before I do have a problem.

Steve

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I get my kits from Frost as well, prepare for many, many catalogues grin.gif

 

Be sure to read the instructions through befeore starting - the whole process will take a couple of days (to allow drying time)

 

Andy

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As far as the cleaning: Put a couple handfuls of nuts and bolts in the tank and seal up the filler with duct tape. Wrap the tank in an old blanket and bind up with the duct tape. Place the tank in the dryer with the HEAT OFF!!!. Run for a few hours. Works good. I cleaned a Triumph tank like this and did not coat it. If you have any rust pinholes then you must have it soldered or brazed up. The coating will hold the pinholes for a while but not forever. \

Good Luck

Cheers

Steve

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Thanks Carl. I saw that product on the internet and was curious about it. Now that its starting to get cold I need to move forward with my little project.

 

Sharon

 

Look this product over. This company specializes in marine equipment cleaning. We used to hand deliver MC tanks to them in Long Beach, but now they are marketing their product.

http://www.rusteco.com/

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  • 3 weeks later...

Back a few years ago, I bought an old tank from the salvage yard, all rusted up.

Guy at the salvage yard offered to clean it up for me...

He used Muriatic acid (swimming pool acid).

Dont think I would recommend it as the chemical reaction gives off some nasty (very toxic) by products, but it sure made the tank shine!!

Mebbe all you chemists out there can elaborate on the rust + acid combination makes ?? and some nasty gas...

Afterward, just flooding the tank with water removed all the rust and acid byproduct. It just left clean metal in the inside without damaging the actual tank material.....

YMMV.....

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Thanks Mark. I'll ask "Mr. Science," (that's "Twisties" to you) what it produces. If he can't figure it out off the top of his head. I'll see if I can make him look it up or cipher it out on paper. grin.gif I have to admit that it was sheer luck that I passed my chemistry classes tongue.gif and I have no idea what muriatic acid and rust produces.

 

Thanks for the suggestion. Since I'm still in procrastination mode (there's really no room in the garage; plus, its really cold and we don't have heat in our garage. Really.), I haven't gotten started. I sure would like to get it back together before Spring, though. crazy.gif

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Muratic Acid is really just diluted Hydrochloric Acid (HCl). HCl is very corrosive, especially to metals. You normally cannot even use stainless steel piping at high concentrations. You must use fiberglass pipe and special plastics. The iron oxide dissolves a little better than the steel, but the tank itself will eventually dissolve as well.

 

You biggest fear with gasses being released are either chlorine gas, or hydrogen. The first is highly toxic, the second is of course highly flamable. HCl vapors will dissolve pretty much anything including lung tissue and your corneas.

 

Wear goggles, rubber gloves, and have a hose available. If you get it on your clothing, remove the clothing immediately before it touches your skin.

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Thanks for the suggestion.

Dont think I would recommend it as the chemical reaction gives off some nasty (very toxic) by products

See bold quote. Just relaying an observation that sounds very much like a course of action not to take. That Chlorine gas is nuttin to mess with on purpose....

 

Good luck. grin.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...

I ordered the POR 15 kit and will be doing the tank on my /6. I have to remove the old sealer first. POR sells a product for this. I hope it works well. I will post my results in about a weel or so.

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Thanks Mark. I'll ask "Mr. Science," (that's "Twisties" to you) what it produces. If he can't figure it out off the top of his head. I'll see if I can make him look it up or cipher it out on paper. grin.gif I have to admit that it was sheer luck that I passed my chemistry classes tongue.gif and I have no idea what muriatic acid and rust produces.

 

Thanks for the suggestion. Since I'm still in procrastination mode (there's really no room in the garage; plus, its really cold and we don't have heat in our garage. Really.), I haven't gotten started. I sure would like to get it back together before Spring, though. crazy.gif

 

Muriatic acid and hydrochloric acid are just two names for the same thing. The product is hydrogen chloride gas dissolved in water. The choice of name has nothing to do with concentration, e.g. it is wrong to assume that because a product is labeled muriatic acid that it is dilute. Muriatic acid is simply an historic name for the stuff that is still used sometimes in commercial products.

 

Because hydrochloric acid (HClaq)is a gas dissolved in water, it evolves some fumes, e.g. some of the hydrogen chloride gas (HClg) evaporates. These fumes are quite toxic, therefore these products should used with adequate ventilation. Now the fact is, HCLg has a very high affinity for water, so nothing is going to come bubbling out like CO2 from a cola, but still, keep HCLaq products tightly closed, store in areas with ventilation, do not store near bases or other incomptables, and use it with good ventilation. Also, be aware that the fumes are absorbed by the skin, so while you must avoid direct contact with the stuff, you don't need direct contact to experience irritation, particularly of the eyes and mucous membranes. Wash after use! While I'm on the subject of safety and proper handling, a few more points:

 

Wear rubber gloves and eye protection,

If you will be diluting the stuff, always add acid to water, not water to acid.

 

Now, as to what is happening when you treat your steel tank with HCLaq. There are two principal reactions that are taking place.

 

First, the rust, Fe2O3, (and some tank material)is dissolving: 6 HCLaq + 2 Fe2O3 + Fe goes to 3 FeCl2 + 3H2O No gasses are evolved in this reaction, and the products are not particularly toxic.

 

The other reaction is that of HCLaq with Fe (your tank). In this reaction hydrogen gas is produced:

 

2 HCLaq + Fe goes to H2 + FeCl2

 

The hydrogen gas is not particularly toxic, but is a fire and explosion hazard. You are not producing large quantities in this application, so as long you have your ventilation in place, you shouldn't have any problems. You are dissolving tank material, but the dissolution of the rust is typically the faster reaction, so in practice, HCLaq is the cleaner of choice.

 

To summarize the gasses that evolve when you do this are HCLg and H2. The HClg is just from the normal evaporation of HCLg from HCLaq.

 

You need to avoid contact with the product and solutions of it, you need to work with good ventilation, you need to wear at least rubber gloves and eye protection. You should wash after use. Always add acid to water, never add water to acid (getting this wrong is very dangerous and can result in an explosion).

 

HCLaq can be neutralized with baking soda. A lot of gas and some heat will result. So long as you are working in a ventilated area with reasonably small quantities of acid, you should have no problems. It takes a lot of baking soda though. Just going from memory, and kinda guessing, I would say have two or three boxes of supermarket baking soda for a quart of concentrated HCLaq. Clean up spills with this, and neutralize waste before disposing of it. Add baking soda very slowly at first until you see how it goes.

 

Jan

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The POR 15 motorcycle tank kit is great and very easy to use. It takes some time, but at only $49 including shipping, it is well worth it. The inside of the tank was as shiny as the day it was manufactured some 32 years ago after adding the first step.

 

I highly recommend it. thumbsup.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK, I've ordered the POR 15 tank kit. I'm hoping for a break in the weather to get out in the garage and get this done (well, in the next two months or so).

 

Thanks everybody for your suggestions and guidance.

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Slartidbartfast

Rather than nuts and bolts or pebbles, try using a length of dog chain inside the tank. It is MUCH easier to get out afterwards.

 

Also, for a really gentle way to eat out the rust without damaging the metal or paint, try a 10% solution of molasses and let it sit for a week or so in a warm place (or much longer in a cool place). Do not bring it into the house as it will STINK! but it works quite well. The guys who are restoring REALLY eaten up old machinery will also use electrolysis in a molasses solution, which I have not tried but have heard can work wonders.

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  • 2 months later...

FINALLY! A decent weather day. At least two week-ends when I thought I would be able to get this done. It snowed both week-ends. Dang it!

 

Any way, I finally finished my tank coating project. It messed up the paint on the tank, so now I will have to get the bike---or at least the tank--- painted.

 

I think it worked pretty well. I had a hard time getting the old red kote (or whatever it was) out of there. There are still a couple of remnants I didn't see until AFTER, I applied the new coating. eek.gif

 

I also lubricated the clutch cable and front brake cable; installed a new center stand spring (Geez, I couldn't believe how difficult this was); installed new screws on the horn and reinstalled it; and painted the horn mounting bracket.

 

This is gonna be fuuuuunnnn!!! cool.gif

 

When we get back from Mexico--I'll put in the battery, check the fluids, add some fuel, and . . . see if it starts. grin.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
LandonBlueRT
Check out "KREEM" products. Lots of sources if you punch into google "Kreem gas tank". It is a messy job. Some usage guide here:

http://reviews.ebay.com/How-to-use-the-K...T:-1:LISTINGS:2

 

I followed the old tank instructions given by Kreem including tossing in a handful of nuts and bolts during the cleaning process and it worked well. I couldn't believe the crap that came of the tank after shaking those nuts and bolts around for a few minutes.

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