AHa

Red Cote Arrrrgh!!!!

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So back in the early 90's the gas tank in my 1940 Chevrolet PU sprang a leak and my mechanic sealed it with some gas tank sealer. Fast forward to this year and the leak returned. So I went out and bought some MEK, stripped the old sealer out, and proceeded to recoat with Red Cote. I read where one guy thinned the Red Cote out and put two thin coats on instead of just one. I thought that was a good idea so I thinned the sealer, poured it in the tank, sloshed it about, and poured it back out. I looked in the tank and everything was well coated but an hour later it looked like there was air trapped in the rust and the air had escaped leaving small round areas with no sealer visible. So I thinned the remaining Red Cote and repeated the process. The problem began when the temperature had risen and the sun had chased my shade away. The second coat puddled inside the tank before I could get it back out. Red Cote will not dry once it has puddled and the gas will leach it out and gum up the carb. So now I had to restrip the tank of Red Cote because it had puddled. I am now pouring in the acetone, sloshing it about, and pouring it back out but each time I repeat this process, the acetone comes out red. Damon Industries informs me that all the Red Cote has to be removed because it will not stick to itself once you have tried to remove it. I am so frustrated with the whole process I can't see straight. It is looking like I'm going to have to buy 16 gallons of Acetone at $20 per gal, fill the tank up, then drain it out to get all the Red Cote out of the tank. I don't know if anybody makes replacement tanks for 1940 Chevrolet trucks. My tank overall is in good shape and I coated the outside bottom of the tank with POR 15 and there is no leak in the tank anymore. I just can't seem to get the Red Cote stripped out. I did a lot of research before choosing Red Cote and couldn't find any warnings not to use it in warmer weather. So there you go.

1940 chevy.jpg

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You can buy a reproduction (new) tank from "Chassis Engineering" for $250.00.

OR you could make a set of "saddle tanks" from a pair of pony kegs yourself and mount them to the running boards.

If they held beer, they must be clean inside.

 

Mike in Colorado

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There is a radiator shop in Denver NC that will soak and strip a gas tank.  Not sure how their process would work on red Côte, but might be worth asking.  They did a tank for me in 2014, and I think it was around  $100, including some type of red sealer applied after the process.

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I've had good success with Red Cote just following the directions on the can. 

 

It has been sold by Clark's Corvair parts for years. I've done new and used tanks. No issues.

 

Been in my 8N tank for 15 years, with 10% ethanol sitting in there for those 15 years. Yes, it is the "new" alcohol resistant Red Cote.

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Is that a mullet haircut that the guy in the red sweater has?   Mullet's and old trucks seem to go together in the early 1990s

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7 hours ago, FLYER15015 said:

You can buy a reproduction (new) tank from "Chassis Engineering" for $250.00.

Mike in Colorado

 

I agree. I personally think that coating a tank is a last resort strategy when you can't find a reproduction tank. I've had it done twice and won't ever do it again if I can help it. $250 seems like a very reasonable price for peace of mind.

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If you had used it without thinning, it probably would have worked as expected. 

The technical specs explain what happened:

 "Red-Kote dries faster than many other sealers saving you time." 

"You can reduce time further by thinning with Acetone and using two thin coats instead of one thick coat." 

 

 

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So I finally got all, the Red Cote out of the tank and resealed it. Red Cote may be the best gas tank sealer out there but it is extremely finicky. I noticed that even at 65 degrees it started skimming over quickly so it is a quick dry sealer and there is no time to dawdle. I suspect my experience is atypical but a word of caution is deserved. NEVER try to seal the tank when it is warm.

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OK, I have failed again. To recap, I had the tank sealed some thirty years ago and the sealer failed this year. I stripped the old sealer out using MEK, but the tank was clean other than the sealer. After stripping the metal was clean except for some surface rust. After treating with the Red Cote the first try I could see the tank was well coated but after a couple of hours there was spots with no sealer. Today, I recoated the tank after stripping the Red Coat out and again after sealing everything was well coated but after work I came home to find dry spots in the sealer. Something is chasing the Red Cote away. My next strategy is to restrip the tank and use some metal prep.

 

I can't find a replacement tank for a 1940 Chevy pick up. The 1940 is really a one off year. The 39 is different and the 41 is different. Plenty of places sell 1940 car tanks.

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I have also seen procedures where a panel is cut out of the tank; sufficient in size to allow the interior surface to be cleaned and scraped by hand.  When all is clean, then the panel is welded back in place.  I was ready to do this on one of my projects, but then was able to scope the inside walls of the tank, and learned that after sitting for 50-plus years, it was remarkably clean inside, and needed no attention.

 

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The reason I chose Red Kote is because of the many great reviews. Also the fact I could buy it at my local Oreillys. All the other coatings have some detractors and must be ordered. I am not saying my problem is Red Kote's fault; I don't know what problem I'm having yet but I think it is prudent to document the problem for other people trying to coat their tanks.

 

I spoke with Damon Industries again this morning. The Chemist does not know what is happening but agrees that something is not allowing the Red Kote to adhere to the tank and the result is the Red Kote is repelled from those areas. She is recommending a 30 minute bath in Hydrochloric acid, 4 to 1 ratio, with a quick wash of Acetone afterwards. She said to never use phosphoric acid. So, I am getting pretty good at this now. Maybe I should start a business.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)

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I've been very satisfied many times with Gas Tank Renu. They cut open the tank, sandblast it inside and out, re-coat it, and give you a lifetime guarantee. Drop it off, pick it up three days later, ready to install. $400. If the tank is out of sight, it's the only way I'll try to use an old tank. Their exterior coating is textured so it's not appropriate for visible tanks but they'll do just the inside but can't offer the warranty. You're clearly having adhesion problems, there's surface rust in there, nothing you pour in there and slosh around yourself is going to be 100% effective. You're going to spend a bunch more time and aggravation trying to get it right in your driveway. I know $400 can seem like a lot of money, but given that I never have to ever think about it again (this is where someone chimes in and says Gas Tank Renu failed that one time and they wouldn't honor their warranty and they also killed his mother) it's worth it to me every single time.

 

What's your time worth? What's peace of mind worth?

 

Just a satisfied customer (we've had them do more than 20 tanks for us without ever having a problem).

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

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Thanks Matt. You are right on so many levels but I'm invested in this process now. It's me against the tank and I can't give up. Its a man thing. I'm sure you can understand. It is really foolish on my part but isn't that what it means to be a man?

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13 minutes ago, AHa said:

Thanks Matt. You are right on so many levels but I'm invested in this process now. It's me against the tank and I can't give up. Its a man thing. I'm sure you can understand. It is really foolish on my part but isn't that what it means to be a man?

 

That's the sunk cost fallacy talking. Do you want results and to drive your truck, or do you want to fight a war whose outcome is still uncertain? I understand getting invested in stupid stuff (I might be the king of such undertakings), but sooner or later you have to choose a different path to success if the one you're on isn't getting you there. Don't conflate manliness with foolishness. There are plenty of smart yet manly men, but not a whole lot of manly fools.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Just buy a new tank.  These trucks are well supported by vendors due to their popularity.  The stripping alone would run you more than the cost of a new tank, and add pollutants to the world we live in.  Just my 2 cents.

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Ok, I was wrong, I can buy a new tank for my truck. A google search turned up nothing but a call to Jim Carter produced a new tank for $380 with $180 shipping to my location.

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All right, I want to revisit this subject with my comrades out there. I finally took the tank to a radiator repair shop that said they could soak the tank over a weekend and get all the rust out of it, then solder up the holes and they recommended no sealer. They said just keep the tank full of gas and you will have no problems. Sadly, two weeks later the tank has been soaked over a weekend but the rust did not come off, at least not enough that it could be soldered up and they called me to pick it up. I am tempted to pick up some POR 15 from a local supplier and seal the bottom of the tank first, sealing the pinholes, then seal the inside. I'm at my wits end with this tank. My friends out there in internetville are telling me prewar cars are coming down in value precipituosly and I am hesitant to put $500 in a new tank. To start, I don't have the disposable income to justify it and I am already investing in another project.

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Gas Tank Renu. Period. How much time and effort have you already wasted? You could be driving your car by now.


Do it right the first time and it's not only faster, but often cheaper.

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I understand completely but gas tank renu is a minmum of $500.

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Ok, its time for an update on the gas tank saga. To date I have stripped the tank out with MEK, coated it with Red Cote but it failed, stripped again this time with Acetone and another coat of Red Cote but the red Cote failed a second time. I stripped the Red Cote out a second time. The Red Cote was interacting with something in the tank and although I had perfect coverage when I fist coated, one hour later there were bare spots in the coverage. Red Cote recommended an acid wash to take out the rust but the acid didn't do anything. I set the tank aside not realizing the acid would continue to work and though I only had a couple of rust spots originally, now the inside of the tank was all rust. A radiator shop I had used before thought they could strip the tank by dipping it so I took it to them but after two weeks they told me they could not fix it. I then took it to a friend who is an extraordinary welder but he said he couldn't fix it. This time I decided to use POR 15. There is a wide range of instructions on how to use the product so I called the factory tech. He told me to buy the cleaner/degreaser and wash out the tank thoroughly, regardless of what had been done before. Wash that out thoroughly with water and thoroughly dry the tank with a heat gun. Then use the metal ready, thoroughly soaking all the inside of the tank. Then wash that out with water and dry the tank out again with a heat gun. Then pour in the gas tank sealer and roll the tank until all sides are coated. I finished that a few moments ago and I have good coverage over all the tank I can see. Just for double measure, I painted the bottom of the tank with gas tank sealer. To date I have about $200 in the repair.

 

I've had this truck for 30 years now. It is not restored and pretty much just like I found it. I use it for work around my property. It has always been garage kept.

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Don't be in too big a rush.......leave the tank as open as you can and set it in the sun so it cures properly.

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