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We soak ours in purple power for several days,after a good pressure washing..then evaporate turning the tank so the whole tank gets a good coating.wash again and sealed with Hirsh.

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I did mine in my 1930 Packard about 4 years ago when I bought the car. Car ran fine before I did it but had pretty much sat with little use for decades on an off because it was a "show car" and previous owners didn't want to drive it to stop the polished finish on the paint, frame, plating etc.from getting weathered.  I don't care about awards of any kind at all and drive my cars  so wanted to make sure the inside of the tank was clean.

Remove the tank - take to get it boiled out at a shop ( radiator shop is ok but make sure they have done some old car work before) once it is cleaned that way, get clean gravel and put in the tank , seal the tank openings ( sending unit is the first thing you remove after you get the tank out of the car) with duct tape and then shake the tank around for as long as you can to let the gravel work against any possible rust. DO this several times for about a 20-30 minute period ( helps if you have a friend on the other end) .

dump out the gravel and with compressed air ( 60lbs plus) blow out the tank from any opening you can find. Try and look into the tank with a light to see anything on the walls of the tank. Then pour in evaporust and follow the instructions as to length of time to leave it ( over night , then flip the tank to get the other side inside the tank). Dump out the evaporust and thoroughly rinse out the residue from that. blow dry with the compressed air. Buy some gas tank sealer ( Hirsch stuff from NJ is good) and seal as per instructions. Make sure you let it dry thoroughly!!

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I used the POR15 fuel tank kit about 20 years ago (no problems since) on my 27 Chev the tank was pretty ordinary I followed the instructions and I got loads of rubbish out of it. The  only thing different to the instructions that I did was the couple of hand fulls of blue stone I put in the tank while cleaning and shaking the tank to give a bit of extra abrasive action.  On the strength of how well it worked the first time I have just completed 2 more tanks for my recently acquired 26 Chevs.

Cheers Ben

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15 hours ago, Walt G said:

Remove the tank - take to get it boiled out at a shop ( radiator shop is ok but make sure they have done some old car work before)

 

If you can find a radiator shop that is the best way. Once boiled out they can cut it open and check how badly pitted it is. It may need sections welded in. Gas tank sealer will not help structurally.

We did a Bentley tank once that was divided into a number of interconnected chambers. Without cutting the top off it never would have been right.

 

I used to sell a lot of Hirsch tank sealer in the 1990;s at flea markets. I always recommended two quarts for good coverage. Model A Ford tanks were hard to do as well as some larger ones. I would ask the buyer if he thought he had a friend who might need it. I offered two quarts and recommended they do the job together, just be sure to do yours first. They always bought two. They would have a big smile and the hair in their ears would curl at the thought.

Bernie

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16 hours ago, Walt G said:

I did mine in my 1930 Packard about 4 years ago when I bought the car. Car ran fine before I did it but had pretty much sat with little use for decades on an off because it was a "show car" and previous owners didn't want to drive it to stop the polished finish on the paint, frame, plating etc.from getting weathered.  I don't care about awards of any kind at all and drive my cars  so wanted to make sure the inside of the tank was clean.

Remove the tank - take to get it boiled out at a shop ( radiator shop is ok but make sure they have done some old car work before) once it is cleaned that way, get clean gravel and put in the tank , seal the tank openings ( sending unit is the first thing you remove after you get the tank out of the car) with duct tape and then shake the tank around for as long as you can to let the gravel work against any possible rust. DO this several times for about a 20-30 minute period ( helps if you have a friend on the other end) .

dump out the gravel and with compressed air ( 60lbs plus) blow out the tank from any opening you can find. Try and look into the tank with a light to see anything on the walls of the tank. Then pour in evaporust and follow the instructions as to length of time to leave it ( over night , then flip the tank to get the other side inside the tank). Dump out the evaporust and thoroughly rinse out the residue from that. blow dry with the compressed air. Buy some gas tank sealer ( Hirsch stuff from NJ is good) and seal as per instructions. Make sure you let it dry thoroughly!!


Even with a helper, standing there shaking it is a tough chore.  Using an old tire with the right size opening, inserting the tank in it and rolling it around would take off some of the strain.  Gloves required.

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Lacquer thinner or Acetone will take out the gum and residue left behind from the fuel. Muriatic acid will take out the rust but you need a warm day and need to do it outside. Not more than 30 minutes. Have a water hose ready to wash it out. Don't smell it. And don't mix them. one chemical at a time. Then put some steel nuts in it so that you can retrieve them with a magnet. If you have an old cement mixer you strap it to the barrel to spin it to tumble the nuts. If you don't have rust and the galvanize plating is nice after using the lacquer thinner, I would just use it. If you have rust the go the rest of the way with a good grade of sealer. If your not up to the task, let the pros deal with it. If it has heavy rust don't be surprised  if you find holes. 

  

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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I have used muriatic acid as well on another tank, worked well but chose to go have the tank boiled out on my Packard due to the thing that Dandy Dave mentioned - do not smell it . As also mentioned wear gloves!

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A friend once said that he put a steel chain into his gas tank, put the tank in the bed of his pickup, and then drove around for a few days!  (I assume he poured some sort of cleaning solvent in, as well.)

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For less than $300.00 you can get a new gas tank. No issues with trying to clean it and hope it will clean and not leak. The first thing I did was replace the gas tanks on my 1941's when I got them. The best insurance policy.

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20 years ago, I needed help with the gas tank for my 1946 GMC pickup. It was shedding rust like the carona virus (sorry) and clogging the fuel filter. I searched the internet, quite new to me then, and could not find a new tank. I did stumble upon a franchise known as Gas Tank Renu. There was a representative very close to my office in Rockville, MD. I dropped it off with only a vague notion of what they would do. A few days later I returned and was quite surprised that they had cut it open, cooked it like a radiator; and then coated it inside and out with their proprietary materials. Well, 20 years later, the tank is still fine and the fuel filter never gets clogged. That particular franchise has closed, but there are a few remaining here and there. If a new tank is not available, I would do this again. Like sausage and legislation, you probably don’t want to be around while it’s being done.

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2 hours ago, old car fan said:

I do not understand how a chain or gravel will work with a tank with baffles,most do.

It will not work. On the rolled tanks with flat ends I cut both ends out leaving a 1/2 inch flange. Clean out the muck , sandblast it clean, make new ends and soldier them in. Seal with gas tank sealer. The few tanks Ive done , I gutted them of baffles. The tank is on the back and haven't ever heard a slosh.... I don't hear Model A Fords  tanks slosh either.

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Don't use gravel! I made that mistake with my first car. It may be years before you get all the dirt out that went in with that gravel (yes, I used clean gravel).

 

Dandy Dave has the right idea if you are going to try and save it. Nuts and bolts should work fine, are sharper than chain, will roll around baffles, and you would be able to tell when you got them all out. Getting them all out might be a little fiddly, but possible. Wash the old varnish out too with something that will cut it, like lacquer thinner.

 

If you have the option of a new tank, great. Not all old cars have that option, and years ago almost none of them did. I still revived a lot of old cars. Clean it out the best you can and put a sock on the fuel pickup if there is none. It is really amazing how screwed up a tank can be and work just fine if there is a sock on the fuel pickup. The entire tank acts like a sediment bowl. Heavy stuff like rust just falls off of the pickup when you stop driving. Does it make it back up there? Maybe. Maybe not. Crud that weighs less would have an easier time plugging your sock. How much is in there? I don't know. Just drive it. If there is still a problem after cleaning the tank, then you have to do something radical like having the tank cut open and boiled, or replacing it.

 

I don't believe in tank sealers. If it were possible to just slosh something around on a surface that has been rusty, and have the rust not grow and push the coating off, then why aren't we doing that to the OUTSIDE of our cars? That idea doesn't work outside where you can see it, but it is supposed to work inside a tank where you cant even see if the surface is completely clean? IMHO sealed tanks are a ticking time bomb.

 

Try taking the tank off of a car that is working just fine sometime and look inside. They are all full of crap. Condensation forms in the top and causes rust. The rust rains down, as does the water, and since the gas sits on top of the water, there will be a rust spot in the bottom too. You will also find a bunch of beige crud left over from the leaded gas days, and dirt. Before fuel injection was common, gas from the pump may not have been completely clean either. The inside of a typical old car gas tank probably looks even worse today, because Ethanol causes rust, not that there was any shortage of rust before...

 

Where you get into trouble is trying to catch all that crud in an inline filter, or that little filter in your sediment bowl. It will seem to plug every 10 feet, while a sock would have kept it in the tank, and more than likely kept supplying fuel.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Den41Buick said:

For less than $300.00 you can get a new gas tank. No issues with trying to clean it and hope it will clean and not leak. The first thing I did was replace the gas tanks on my 1941's when I got them. The best insurance policy.

 

 

I had the extreme misfortune to not have reproduction tanks available when I addressed my gas tank issues on two of my cars. Since I'd never recoated a tank before and I'd heard it was easy to do it wrong, I paid some professional restorers to do it. And that was very expensive. And while the recoat has been functional, it was less optimal than a replacement tank, which I could've put in myself. Easily.

 

I now see that a repro tank is available for one of my cars, and it's price is about 60% of what I paid a guy to coat the tank...FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!

 

If for some reason you live out of the country and that means you can't get a repro tank or it makes the shipping prohibitive, I understand that. In all other cases I can think of, I'd replace the tank with a new reproduction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The better sealer’s  have  a  etcher  or primer  you use  first then  put the sealer in.

If I have holes I solder therm up first. you have to the area where you are  going to  patch clean .

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I am going to do a traditional way here as a start.

4 liters of vinegar with 6 liters of water, pour them in , leave them for 24 hours, then shake it and wash it.

will do all sides of tank this way for 3 times and see, 

what do u think ?

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Vinegar will cut lime out of a plugged radiator. Not sure about it doing much on rust or varnish. I would not use water at all. If anything, straight up. Water will do noting but dilute it and will not cut the old varnish but may take some rust out.  

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1 hour ago, Dandy Dave said:

Vinegar will cut lime out of a plugged radiator. Not sure about it doing much on rust or varnish. I would not use water at all. If anything, straight up. Water will do noting but dilute it and will not cut the old varnish but may take some rust out.  


should I leave vinegar for 24 hours?  How long should I leave it inside tank ?

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There are a number of previous threads on this -- you should have a look.

 

In terms of drying the tank, think about how an air compressor works. Compressing the air heats it up, and condenses the water vapor. That's why you have to drain the compressor tank regularly. Anyway, when you blow hot compressed air into the gas tank, that moisturized air hits the cooler metal surface of the tank and the water condenses onto that metal, and keeps doing so until the metal finally heats up to the temperature of the compressed air. Adding moisture to a tank that you're trying to dry out doesn't make sense. 

 

Instead, use a common vacuum cleaner.  Insert a long vacuum wand or hose deep into the fuel filler or sending unit opening, and turn the vacuum on. It will draw in air that's the same temperature as the tank itself. Air will enter through the remaining openings in the tank -- the filler pipe, drain plug hole and sending unit opening. Then just walk away. Absent a rainy day, the tank will dry in no time -- typically a half hour or so. 

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On 4/23/2020 at 9:12 AM, Selim said:


should I leave vinegar for 24 hours?  How long should I leave it inside tank ?

I personally would not use vinegar or anything water based. I have high pressured washed the inside of some tanks some times but do it in the summer with a hot sunny day to get all of the water / moisture out. Tanks naturally condense water in certain weather conditions. The fuller you keep a tank with fuel, The less condensation you will get. Dandy Dave.

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Quote,

"Instead, use a common vacuum cleaner.  Insert a long vacuum wand or hose deep into the fuel filler or sending unit opening, and turn the vacuum on. It will draw in air that's the same temperature as the tank itself. Air will enter through the remaining openings in the tank -- the filler pipe, drain plug hole and sending unit opening. Then just walk away. Absent a rainy day, the tank will dry in no time -- typically a half hour or so. " 🤯

 

 You may not have to walk away if there are any gas fumes in the tank, when they hit the electric motor, you will be blown away.

 Use the exhaust hose instead of the vacuum!

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The ONLY way to properly clean and evaluate a 80 year old gas tank is to cut it open. We regularly cut the top of the tanks open and sand blast them so we can determine if the tank or the baffles are structurally sound. Often times there are Pitts 2/3 of the way through the entire bottom, which means a new tank or a half patch is required. Shortcuts on tanks never pay, and you problems will never end. If the tanks is not terrible some of the modern tanks renew services are fine. Most of the time we just make a new tank. While expensive, it’s usually the best solution. We can then convert the sending unit to a modern and accurate sending unit that only costs 25 dollars. Try finding a decent used unit for a Cadillac or Packard.....almost impossible, and very expensive. On total restorations, we don’t test radiators or inspect gas tanks, we install new ones regardless of cost.........it’s the only correct solution.

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Back in the 1980's the Corvair club had an exploding vacuum cleaner competition. One of the members was evacuating a fuel tank with a vacuum clean that used a brush and armature motor that used the exiting air to cool the motor. He wrote an article and the competition was the next logical step. http://clubs.hemmings.com/nvce/VacuumCleanerContest.html

 

I was a member of the national Corvair club at the time, but I didn't want to risk losing my Electrolux emblems. I needed them for the '62 Electra 4 door convertible I had built.

 

When I want to do a job like that or move something heavy I go up to the convenient store and wait for a likely looking couple of guys to drive in and offer them 20 bucks.

William Sanderson

 

 

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, Dandy Dave said:

I personally would not use vinegar or anything water based. I have high pressured washed the inside of some tanks some times but do it in the summer with a hot sunny day to get all of the water / moisture out. Tanks naturally condense water in certain weather conditions. The fuller you keep a tank with fuel, The less condensation you will get. Dandy Dave.

y not vinegar? would it help by any mean get the rust out? vinegar without water I mean?

 

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No. I would not use vinegar. As I said before, vinegar will not cut the gun and varnish.   Edinmass is right. Often the only solution is a new tank. I've cut some apart myself and sandblasted the insides and made patches. If you make the patch out of copper and then solder them with lead to the steel you have just created a battery. Eventually that will eat at the tank also. Nothing is really better than the amount of Galvanize that was originally on the metal when the tank was made. Some tanks I have had from tractors are still like new inside even after 90 or 100 years because the Galvanize coating was nice and thick. Dandy Dave!  

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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Up around here we have those cottage industries where people with skills practice their crafts.

 

Three old gals make some good fuel system treatment. I think one is a shirt tail relative.

Macbeth/Witches/Cauldron (608330) Framed Prints, Wall Art, Posters

 

A guy down near the lake makes his own brand penetrating oil and pretty good horseradish.

 

Vinegar? Never tried that.

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2 hours ago, Dandy Dave said:

No. I would not use vinegar. As I said before, vinegar will not cut the gun and varnish.   Edinmass is right. Often the only solution is a new tank. I've cut some apart myself and sandblasted the insides and made patches. If you make the patch out of copper and then solder them with lead to the steel you have just created a battery. Eventually that will eat at the tank also. Nothing is really better than the amount of Galvanize that was originally on the metal when the tank was made. Some tanks I have had from tractors are still like new inside even after 90 or 100 years because the Galvanize coating was nice and thick. Dandy Dave!  

 

When I had a new tank made for my '15 truck because the old one was rusted beyond repair, I had the new one zinc hot dipped.  It turned out looking just like an original tank and will not rust anywhere anymore.  Could have had a stainless steel tank made, but would not look correct and with the hot zinc dip, both would outlast me.

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