How to clean rust from a gas tank - Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-01-2012, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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How to clean rust from a gas tank

I have read several suggestions on how to clean the inside of a rusty fuel tank. Here is my method which came to me while working part time in a dive shop. As an avid scuba diver our air tanks must be cleaned and certified routinely.

Find a local dive shop that tumbles (cleans) air tanks. Purchase a quart jar of scuba tank tumbling media, it is a very hard substance in pieces that resemble mouse droppings. It is dustless and will not break down under harsh chemical conditions. No dive shops, its available on-line.

Drain the tank of any remaining liquids, fill about a 3rd full with water, my tank is 3.2 gallons so I put in a gallon, then add 2 cups of media, then shake, shake, shake! (I sometimes add a cap full of simple green as well to help with fuel resin build-up) You should drain through a screen so you can re-use this media, the media is large enough not to get lodged in tight corners, is dustless, washes clean with water.

If you don't plan on using the tank right away once the tank is empty and blown out with an air hose I take a cup of clean engine oil and coat the inside to prevent any flash rust, you can always rinse that with clean fuel prior to installation, or try some of the many coat and seal products which have been mentioned here.

Let me know if you have any questions, if its good enough for breathable oxygen, its good enough for our fuel tanks.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-01-2012, 08:34 PM
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That sounds like a great idea.

I wonder if there is a way to attach the tank to some sort of shaker to make the process less manual. Maybe a paint mixer.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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I have thought about this also, I think a paint shake might be a little too violent, possibly design some sort of rotissiere that you could clamp it in that rolls it over and over.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 12:26 AM
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Sounds like an interesting technique. Thanks for sharing!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 07:04 AM
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Instead of engine oil, use WD40, or Corrosion x.
Corrosion X has been performing a lot better than WD40 with me.
You can also use Sea Foam. Sea Foam is harmless and will be absorbed by the gasoline and burned.
It's also a fuel stabilizer, so a bit of water won't harm the engine.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 10:47 AM
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I have never heard of this technique, but then again scuba diving in North Dakota is not the most popular sport. Thanks for the tip.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 10:49 PM
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I've heard of pennies being used in a similar technique. I was going to try it out, but I was scared of not being able to get them back out due to a lip on the inside.

I would be more comfortable using things the size of small Ball Bearings so they can just come out of the fuel tap (Once it is removed that is)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 03:15 PM
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Screws work, too.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2013, 03:33 PM
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Use electrolysis, i used it on a totally rusted on the inside of my gas tank, took the rust off within four hours of using it. seal the gas tank after you remove all the gas out of it. then you need arm and hammer wash powder and put that in with the water i believe its a table spoon per gallon. make sure you have solid connection points with your gas tank and your battery charger. connect the ground to anywhere on the gas tank then put the piece of steel into the water making sure it does not touch any part of the gas tank, turn it on and let it go. should clear it right out
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 07:24 PM
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i've attached a tank to a electric cement mixer to tumble it. but the dive stuff sounds better then a bunch of nuts and bolts
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-27-2013, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondaxl250250 View Post
Use electrolysis, i used it on a totally rusted on the inside of my gas tank, took the rust off within four hours of using it. seal the gas tank after you remove all the gas out of it. then you need arm and hammer wash powder and put that in with the water i believe its a table spoon per gallon. make sure you have solid connection points with your gas tank and your battery charger. connect the ground to anywhere on the gas tank then put the piece of steel into the water making sure it does not touch any part of the gas tank, turn it on and let it go. should clear it right out
I have read about doing this on so many different threads/sites, makes me want to buy a bike with a rusty tank just to try it.
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