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Old 02-27-2013, 12:11 AM   post #1 of 20
4micaman
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Default Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Picked up a, new to me, Power Wheel (pictured below). The tank is in pretty bad shape inside. At first, I thought the bottom was coated with varnish but, it appears to be mostly rust. Decided so after using a long screw driver to lightly scape the bottom when my first soaking with mineral spirits didn't come out as dirty as I'd expected (soaked about 8 hours).

What did scrape out was certainly rusty scale. I've gone through several phases with rocks/drywall screws/machine screws with a bit of a DIY degreaser (super washing soda and tap water), the net result was extremely rust colored water being poured out after each cycle. However, at the rate it's going, I could be repeating this process for weeks!

So, thought I'd try some distilled white vinegar over-night. After filling the tank, noticed the label said it was diluted to 5% with water but, not expecting to much from such a weak solution.

Now, instead of going out to buy a gallon of muriatic acid, I have some concrete floor stain left over from a previous job. Looked up the MSDS on it (Kemiko brand - cola colored) and here's what it lists as ingredients:

Code:
Ferrous chloride   7758-94-3   15 - 20%

Hydrochloric acid   7647-01-0   5 - 10%

Chromic chloride, basic   50925-66-1   1 - 5%
My guess is, the Ferrous Chloride gives it color and the Chromic Chloride is a catalyst. The Hydrochloric is what were aiming for! So, here lies the quandary:

Are the first and third ingredients going to cause any problems? Hoping someone else may have used this type of acid in a pinch and know for sure... not being a chemist myself.

And secondly, will 5-10% Hydrochloric acid be enough? Muriatic Acid's (Crown brand @ Lowes) MSDS lists the acid content @ 25-35% mix with water.

Of course, I'm open to other suggestions for a remedy too.
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Steve

Current Equipment:
Mahindra 4110 with most standard attachments and then some.
Yazoo Master Mower 62 CH25S
John Deere 118
Western Auto 'Wizard' 5HP RT Tiller (GIS 2130 A38)


Project equipment:

Power Wheel - A one wheel plow
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:36 AM   post #2 of 20
edgesr
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

If possible I would use electrolysis to clean the tank. The following are links to a series of 4 youtube videos on how it is done on a small motorcycle tank.
Mike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCpJR...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmpDt...hannel&list=UL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_PgA...hannel&list=UL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcLYP...feature=relmfu
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:59 PM   post #3 of 20
4micaman
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Electrolysis was one of the methods I found before my attempts but wasn't sure/convinced it would work.

I'll have a look at the videos you suggested - Appreciate it!
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:01 PM   post #4 of 20
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Acids would probably erode the little thin cup at the top of the tank, as well as damaginf the glue that bonds the top and bottom halves of the tank together...

only sure fire way is to clean it up, and do a coating inside, like they use on ATV/Cycle tanks...
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:40 PM   post #5 of 20
4micaman
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Quote:
Originally Posted by RED-85-Z51 View Post
Acids would probably erode the little thin cup at the top of the tank, as well as damaginf the glue that bonds the top and bottom halves of the tank together...

only sure fire way is to clean it up, and do a coating inside, like they use on ATV/Cycle tanks...
I seem to recall reading that someone took their tank to a radiator shop to have it boiled out. IIRC, they found the bowl on the bottom of the tank. Perhaps that shop used Muriatic Acid instead of a lye solution.

Just checked the tank after soaking almost 24 hours with the vinegar. The vinegar appears nearly as clear as when I poured it in! Heck, better luck was had with my diy degreaser and rocks/screws.

Will have to see what sort of contraption can be mangled together for Electrolysis. As a last resort, before replacing the tank, the acids may come into play.

As the tank sits now, it holds liquid as it should. Knock on wood I don't muck this thing up!
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:37 AM   post #6 of 20
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

A fellow that modifies old Honda 350 bikes for racing uses lengths of chain and a solution to clean up the insides of the tank. He then uses a two part coating mix. He says he can get two or three tanks cleaned with the chain(s) and one cleaning 'solution' before it wears out, and can coat about the same number of tanks using the epoxy(?) mix, rolling the tank in all positions with covers in the gas cap and the equalizing tube openings.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:44 PM   post #7 of 20
mrcaptainbob
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

I'd tape up all except the fill port and toss in some square nuts and square headed bolts. Count them first! Rattle them around with some kerosene. Dump it out and count the pieces. Rinse with water. Rinse with MEK. Pour in some Red Kote and slosh around until the entire inside is coated red. Drain off the excess back into the can and wait at least a day. You'll never have rust as a problem again. In my area Red Kote can be purchased at Auto Zone. I highly recommend that stuff.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:37 AM   post #8 of 20
RED-85-Z51
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Before I sold it, I used to have an electric concrete mixing drum. I took a few 5hp briggs tanks, duct taped the ports, wrapped it in an old beach towel, and wrapped ducttape around it, and tossed it in for a while, with random nuts and bolts in the tank.

It was either going to come out in peices, or clean...

but it was incredibly noisy and people complained.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:09 AM   post #9 of 20
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Red: "but it was incredibly noisy and people complained."

Need more towels.... or a buncha old tennis balls to cushion the tanks. Wrap each tank individually in its own towel. They don't need the shock of hitting the inside of the mixer drum, just the 'slosh' back and forth.
I expect that an old clothes dryer would do the same, and it could be quieter because it might still be in its cabinet. Either disconnect the heating element or don't connect the gas fitting. A gas dryer would be easier to connect as it only requires 120VAC for the motor vs the 220 for an electric.
I would not invest a lot into an old dryer for this purpose as I think they are pretty much available for zero cost in c-list if you watch.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:44 PM   post #10 of 20
rons old ford
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

I have the tank from my Ford 125, and took it to a cycle shop to be cleaned. They said they had a hard time because it had baffles in it. Their idea was to shake it with beads inside to loosen anything. It cam back just as dirty, but this stuff is real dirt, like powdered clay. We get that a lot around here. Clogged the cutoff fitting after a while, and then I noticed some powdered clay in the fuel filter. Not sure what to do next.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:46 PM   post #11 of 20
4micaman
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcaptainbob View Post
Rinse with MEK. Pour in some Red Kote and slosh around until the entire inside is coated red. Drain off the excess back into the can and wait at least a day. You'll never have rust as a problem again. In my area Red Kote can be purchased at Auto Zone. I highly recommend that stuff.
Is MEK fast drying and that's why you suggest using it? If so, I have some Toluene I could use instead.

As for the Red Kote, I'd read of it in my research for this tank cleaning process. After you suggested it, I found it at O'reilly's but Autozone appears to no longer carry it. If I decide to use a tank liner/sealer, it's now between red kote and por15.

Thanks for the advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RED-85-Z51 View Post
It was either going to come out in peices, or clean...
The former is the part I'm dead-set on avoiding. It sucks being broke!


Update:

Left the tank with vinegar thinking it just needed more time to work at the rust. When the top was removed a strong varnished gas odor slapped me upside the head! Guessing now my *cough* assumptiom of it being strictly rust on the bottom was wrrr wrrrrrong. After doing more research on vinegar I found this on wisegeek:

Quote:
Industrially, acetic acid is used in a wide range of processes. It is also used in chemical production and research, in settings where people have need for a weak acid. Like other acids, acetic acid is corrosive for many substances, and it can be involved in a variety of chemical reactions. Acetic acid is used as a solvent, a reagent, a catalyst, and a pesticide. It can be used in the preparation of paints, varnishes, and glazes, and in medical treatment, as for example in the treatment of jellyfish stings.
At this point, we'll top it off with vinegar just below the line where the cup attaches to the top, and let it sit.

Thanks folks - all the shared wisedom is appreciated!
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Current Equipment:
Mahindra 4110 with most standard attachments and then some.
Yazoo Master Mower 62 CH25S
John Deere 118
Western Auto 'Wizard' 5HP RT Tiller (GIS 2130 A38)


Project equipment:

Power Wheel - A one wheel plow

Last edited by 4micaman; 03-01-2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:55 PM   post #12 of 20
4micaman
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Quote:
Originally Posted by rons old ford View Post
I have the tank from my Ford 125, and took it to a cycle shop to be cleaned. They said they had a hard time because it had baffles in it. Their idea was to shake it with beads inside to loosen anything. It cam back just as dirty, but this stuff is real dirt, like powdered clay. We get that a lot around here. Clogged the cutoff fitting after a while, and then I noticed some powdered clay in the fuel filter. Not sure what to do next.
Obviously, I'm not speaking from experience. But, having read many threads and articles on the matter, in your case; you may be limited to electrolysis or an acid bath.

As for baffles being in a tank that holds less than 50 gallons boggles my mind. It seems as weird as some tanks having foam in them to prevent sloshing.
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Current Equipment:
Mahindra 4110 with most standard attachments and then some.
Yazoo Master Mower 62 CH25S
John Deere 118
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Project equipment:

Power Wheel - A one wheel plow
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:26 PM   post #13 of 20
mrcaptainbob
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

Yeah, the MEK is quick drying and leaves no residue. I did a few tanks around here. One was for a neighbor's tractor. It was so severely rusted that the glass bowl filled inside of five minutes running from the crud. It's about a 15 G tank. Power washed the worst out, then did the kerosene and bolts thing to loosen anything that my be easily loosened, then the MEK thing. One wall that faced the battery had some rather large pin holes. JB welded that area after serious wire brushing and facing with a soft window screen material. The Red Kote came next. THis ws about six or so years ago. Maybe seven. THe glass bowl is still clear and the project was FAR cheaper than trying to dig up a used tank for that old tractor beast. And that may have had similar issues anyway! Years ago I used the aircraft stuff called Sloshing Compound. It was pricey stuff, hard to find and worked great. Until our gasoline integrity started getting compromised. Red Kote claims to be impervious to most new grades of fuel. This tractor tank alone is a testimonial (to me) of how good it is. It's just a one part liquid and is very easy to use.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:04 AM   post #14 of 20
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Thumbs up Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

I worked for a elderly man in high school that had a mower shop, he would clean them with pebbles a little kerosene. put that in seal it up and put in a old paint shaker for 5 min. most would come out shiny inside.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:58 PM   post #15 of 20
4micaman
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Default Re: Gas Tank cleaning quandray

To update this "quandry" - now a quagmire! In other words, SNAFU!

Seems the tank was not only coated in varnish but rust as well. My final clean out today I see clean metal (clear signs of pitting) but, with vigorous shaking by hand and the combination of drywall screws, I've butchered the tank.

I count 4 pin holes on the bottom of the tank itself and the cup/reservoir has many more than that. *smacks forehead*
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Current Equipment:
Mahindra 4110 with most standard attachments and then some.
Yazoo Master Mower 62 CH25S
John Deere 118
Western Auto 'Wizard' 5HP RT Tiller (GIS 2130 A38)


Project equipment:

Power Wheel - A one wheel plow
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