How to clean out old gas tank?????? - RC Groups
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Jun 13, 2003, 11:59 PM
Gravity sucks.
mrittinger's Avatar

How to clean out old gas tank??????

Pulled the tank from the old mans hotrod (Been sitting a LOOOONG time ), and the thing has ton of gunk in the tank. Looks really bad. Pick up is plugged. Gas was brown and smells more like varnish. Tank was custom made to fit in rear of the '29 Ford Lowboy.
Any ideas on how to salvage this certain tank and clean the gunk out??????

Jun 14, 2003, 01:36 AM
Heli Bouncer
Looooeeee!'s Avatar
Hoo boy!!

First off Mark, wash your hands well if you've been handling this stuff.

Your dad ran lead spiked premium gas in this rig right? Tetraethyl lead is probably a goodly percentage of this goop, cleaning it out would take something along the lines of many, many, gallons of laquer thinner, but where would you dispose of this toxic slop afterwards?
Jun 14, 2003, 02:47 AM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar
Yellow pages.
Jun 14, 2003, 06:05 AM
Registered User
You need to find someone who can A: steam clean the tank and B: dispose of the sludge in a proper manner. because you do not want to get tetra ethyl lead on your skin, not if you want to see your daughters marry you dont!

After proper cleaning I would put a bottle of metholated spirits (it's hydroscopic) into the first tank or two that you run through it. and keep the tank full.
Last edited by Oneson1; Jun 14, 2003 at 06:08 AM.
Jun 14, 2003, 07:30 AM
Gravity sucks.
mrittinger's Avatar
The tank had regular gas with a lead additive in it, so I'm not sure its as toxic as you think it is, thought it may be.
What to look under in the yellow pages?
I emptied the fuel into gas cans. There is a hazzardous waste dump not far from here to dispose of it.
What do you think about kerosene, or brake fluid to eat the gunk off??? Or should I just get a newer plastic tank?
Jun 14, 2003, 07:46 AM
Useful Idiot
Most high octane leaded fuel had max 4 g/gallon lead (about 0.1%). TEL is fairly high boiling point so will not have evaporated to the same degree as gasoline. Oneson's suggestion to use steam seems sensible, though it's a job that would better done professionally, in view of health hazards.
Jun 14, 2003, 10:42 AM
Registered User
Here in OZ we used to take the tanks out of our rally cars to a company that proffessionally cleaned industrial tanks of all sorts, they came back spotless and fumeless, we were running avgas at that time. So we could start every season happy about our fuel systems (we did all the other stuff as well, like replacing all the lines, filters and stripping and rebuilding the webber carbies. But as it's a hot rod, perhaps , like my brothers, you need a polished 9 gallon stainless steel beer keg as a tank. V classy !!

Last edited by Oneson1; Jun 14, 2003 at 10:44 AM.
Jun 14, 2003, 12:00 PM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar
"What to look under in the yellow pages?"

'T' for tanks.
(sorry, couldn't help myself)
But seriously, I'd take it in for one of those 'dip' acid baths.
Last edited by William A; Mar 03, 2014 at 04:25 PM.
Jun 14, 2003, 02:37 PM
Gravity sucks.
mrittinger's Avatar
I called a radiator shop that a hot rodder here reccomended, it's about $75.00 to dip it clean. Sounds fair, as if I got a plastic tank I would have to modify the setup and attachment of the tank, adding to the cost over the $100.oo plastic tank.
I'll try the radiator dipping, and if that doesnt go, I'll buy a newer square tank.
Jun 15, 2003, 04:29 PM
Registered User
The old acid dip treatment will clean it up very well-there is/was a large outfit doing this downriver from us off of Eureka and I-275.

You might also have good luck by filling the tank with antifreeze (old stuff that needs to be recycled, of course) and heating it up to a boil for a few hours.

In any event you will want to go to a good motorcycle shop and get a Tank Kreme kit to coat and seal the insides. Otherwise you'll start to rust up and plug the little galleries and jets in your carbueretors, or if you leave it long enough the tank will rust through.

Jun 16, 2003, 06:14 AM
Registered User
Mike C's Avatar
I had a tank that had started to rust on an old truck back in the 80's. It kept clogging the fuel filter every 1,000 miles or so. I took the tank off and carried it to a radiator shop. The guy either cut or used a grinder to make a small hole in the top of the tank on one of the corners and cleaned it out. I don't know how he cleaned it, I was just amazed that he cut a hole in the tank and the fumes didn't ignite! After cleaning he brazed the hole shut and it worked great from then until we sold the truck a few years later. It wasn't very expensive, it seems like it was around $40 in 80's money. Good luck
Jun 16, 2003, 11:22 PM
Registered User
The Other Dave's Avatar
Dave Campbell is exactly right about this.

After you get it cleaned out get the tank kreme stuff and seal
the tank off so even if the cleaning doesn't get it all out
it will seal it off.

I have done this on 5 or 6 different cars with great results.

Never had a plugged jet or fuel filter after that.