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Old 05-19-2020, 10:04 AM   #1
Tjfoster
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Default Gas tank cleaning

I have a 30 coupe that has set for 40 years doing a frame up restoration wanting to clean the gas tank have it off the car and has primer on it. How's the best way to clean it inside?

Last edited by Tjfoster; 05-19-2020 at 11:11 AM. Reason: Had a question on inside or outside
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:50 AM   #2
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

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Originally Posted by Tjfoster View Post
I have a 30 coupe that has set for 40 years doing a frame up restoration wanting to clean the gas tank have it off the car and has primer on it. How's the best way to clean it?
Clean what part of the gas tank, ...and exactly what are you needing to remove? Are you wanting to clean the outside or the inside, ...and are you cleaning the primer paint, the metal, some rust, -or something else??
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

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Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
Clean what part of the gas tank, ...and exactly what are you needing to remove? Are you wanting to clean the outside or the inside, ...and are you cleaning the primer paint, the metal, some rust, -or something else??
The inside
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:12 AM   #4
Dave in MN
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

Good thing you only have the tank in primer. Cleaning and coating system components can be damaging to top coat paint.
There are solutions available to pour in the tank and "slosh" around. The solutions work with limitations. If there is a build-up of rust, you may need to cut open the tank to properly clean it.
Two of three cars I own have had the "solution" method of cleaning and subsequent coating applied. The coating is holding up without any flaking as evidenced by a clean internal filter above the shutoff and at the carburetor.
I used a cleaner, metal etch and sealer marketed by Bill Hirsch. I just checked his website, the "AUTOMOTIVE FUEL TANK REPAIR KIT" is exactly what I used in both Model A's.
Note: With one of the tanks, I placed two handful's of 1/4" steel hex nuts in the tank and shook the tank in a multitude of orientations to cause the nuts to strike the inside surfaces. I was able to get lots of debris loose with this method. I was 25 years younger when I did this and it was hard then. The tanks are not light when shaking them.
Hope you have success...Good Day!

Last edited by Dave in MN; 05-19-2020 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

what Dave said with the with the hex nutz.


strap the tank on a HF cement mixer and run it for several hours.............
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:20 PM   #6
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

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what Dave said with the with the hex nutz.


strap the tank on a HF cement mixer and run it for several hours.............

So how do you boys get the nuts in behind the baffles, ...and then get them out? When you look at the picture below, you will see there ain't no room between the baffles and the tank walls.

I can't begin to tell you how many tanks we get in that has random debris that either is, -or has been partially glued down with the sealer. Then the debris come loose and there is a bare spot that looks just like the shape of a rock or a hex nut where that bare metal began to rust. THEN the rust starts spreading under the tank sealer and now you have a mess going on.

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Old 05-19-2020, 05:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

well Brent- aint doin a 100 pt car, but it is better then a rusty tank...........


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Old 05-19-2020, 05:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

I'm not a fan of the tank sealers. I'd give a go with some Evapo-rust or such first and see how it looks after a couple of go rounds with that. Decent chance that adding a pencil filter in the fuel shut off after using the Evapo-rust would do the trick.
If you have a build up of varnished fuel in the tank put in a couple quarts of carburetor cleaner and slosh that around and rinse first before using a rust dissolving solution.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

I was told by someone that the blue Dawn dishwashing soap and water will get rid of the varnished gas what do you all think about that?
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

"Then the debris come loose and there is a bare spot that looks just like the shape of a rock or a hex nut where that bare metal began to rust."

Brent, You made me laugh at my own expense.."looks just like the shape of a rock or a hex nut" Touche! That was funny! Thanks! Point taken.

I know you are right but sometimes we just do what we do and just have dumb luck on our side. Worked that way in my case anyway with the two tanks, 28 years on the pickup and 98k miles over 23 years on the Phaeton.
Good Day!

Follow up: Both of my tanks were 28-29 and I would swear the nuts made it into the outboard side of the baffles. I completed some searches of a 1930 tank and I think the baffles are different than a 28-29 if the photos posted are correct. More research is needed to confirm on my side. Brent, you would know if there is enough space for the small nuts to pass over the top of the baffles.

Last edited by Dave in MN; 05-20-2020 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

If you want it done right and completely clean, send it to Brent's shop. You will receive a tank that looks like new and good for another 100 years.
I have had three tanks done in his shop. All great work, no problems.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

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Originally Posted by 1crosscut View Post
I'm not a fan of the tank sealers. I'd give a go with some Evapo-rust or such first and see how it looks after a couple of go rounds with that. Decent chance that adding a pencil filter in the fuel shut off after using the Evapo-rust would do the trick.
If you have a build up of varnished fuel in the tank put in a couple quarts of carburetor cleaner and slosh that around and rinse first before using a rust dissolving solution.


I agree.


I recently cleaned a tank for a car I am restoring. I was going to use Rust911because it is a lot cheaper and does the same thing.


The instructions said that the part should first de-greased to remove any hydrocarbon. I looked inside and saw some old fuel deposits in the bottom so I first cleaned the tank using the Metal Cleaner Rust911 also sells.


It also comes in concentrated form. I put in 1 gal. of the concentrated metal cleaner and filled the tank to the top with water and let it soak for about a week. Every so often, I would shake the tank just to stir up the stuff.


After a week when I drained it, I washed it out with a little dish soap and water and let it dry our in the sun. for a day.


Before I added the rust911, I looked inside with a good flash light and the inside was sparkling clean. You could see the Tern Plating inside and no rust or deposits. I for go the rust 911. This tank did not have any rust, it was just dirty.


I have used this same stuff in another tank on a Model A I recently bought. This tank came out clean but did have just a few places that were rusty. I used Rust911 and took care of the rust deposits.


I always use a in the tank strainer and have had no problems.


The Rust911 metal cleaner and Rust 911 itself will not harm paint and most of the time, I think it will solve the problem without the need to remove the tank, have it cleaned and then have to paint it before you re-install it.


This is my experience.


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Old 05-20-2020, 08:41 AM   #13
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Gas tank cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1crosscut View Post
I'm not a fan of the tank sealers. I'd give a go with some Evapo-rust or such first and see how it looks after a couple of go rounds with that. Decent chance that adding a pencil filter in the fuel shut off after using the Evapo-rust would do the trick.
If you have a build up of varnished fuel in the tank put in a couple quarts of carburetor cleaner and slosh that around and rinse first before using a rust dissolving solution.

Two thoughts on this. While you may not like sealers, let me share what I have found on these...

1) The factory Terne finish is a very thin coating to prevent the metal of the tank from rusting. Two things tend to cause it to fail, -one being that it just wears away as the gas sloshes during driving, --and second, it begins to release from the metal as rust creeps & forms underneath of it. Without any way to seal the bare metal of the tank baffles or walls, rust begins to reform which causes more carburetor issues and before you know it, you are back to the same problem. So even if you soak the tank in some type of pickling solution, the rust will soon return.

2) Often times we find tanks that were sealed in which the owner states the sealer has failed however when they are cut open, we find the tank was never sealed thoroughly. The pictures below are a good example. Notice how the floor and roof areas of the tank are thoroughly coated yet the baffles were not coated. The sealer didn't fail. The person that sealed the tank failed.


The underlying issue is you cannot properly seal a tank unless ALL of the metal is clean. By clean, ...fragments of the original Terne coating must be removed too. Also, any bits of old gas varnish or sealer(s) must be removed. Additionally, any residue from a rust converter must be removed if a sealer is expected to adhere. In the perfect world, being able to mediablast ALL of the internal metal 'textures' the metal allowing the sealer to have a better mechanical bond. This adds longevity to the sealer too.

The other thing we see that is always an issue is one quart of sealer is not enough to coat all the pieces of metal. The only way to ensure the tank internals are completely coated to the proper mil thickness is to fill the tank completely with sealer and then rotate 360 in all directions before draining. So even if you were to fill the tank full, you are still needing to purchase 5 gallons of sealer. Unfortunately, once the sealer has been exposed to the air, it begins the solidification process unless you can store it by refilling a container and vacuum the container to remove any air. Then be able to seal it from any air until the sealer is reused. I tend to think that much of this is beyond the wheelhouse of the average restorer.


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File Type: jpg 3031GasTankSealer2.jpg (150.5 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpg 3031GasTankSealer1.jpg (151.9 KB, 82 views)
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