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How to clean a fuel tank


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First you need to determine if it has baffles in the tank.  If it has baffles it makes it harder to put something hard (pebbles, chain, ect.) in it to shake around.  If it does not have baffles in it you can put pebbles, or nuts and bolts, or chains in it along with a solvent (kerosene,  toluene) and then mount the tank so it can be rotated (someone used a cement mixer) or hang it from a tree and swing it.  You then need to seal it with one of the tank sealers on the market.  There are several good threads that go into more detail on the forum which you can find through a search.

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Unless you blast it, no kind of abrading the inside will not remove all the rust. Chains are smooth. Any gravel you put in must be crushed rock - road metal in other words - with no fines. Nuts and bolts? Hmmm.

 

I think the best way is to do it chemically. Evaporust seems to be a very good way, but it is pricey in our part of the world. Fill it with 10% molasses and leave it for two or three months will work after you have degreased it. You might even do it electrolytically, but keeping the anode from touching the cathode (the tank) will be difficult. It will also be hard to get enough anode in there!

 

If you just want to degrease it, caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide) works well. It will strip the paint off nicely too. It will also strip off your skin so wear gloves, rubber or plastic apron and face mask!

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