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Old 07-13-2012, 08:51 PM   #1
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Default What is the best method to remove rust in gas tank?

I have a 30 yr old Honda cm400 and I want to clean the tank out and remove any rust deposits to avoid anything getting into my carbs & engine. My local Honda dealer referred me to a local welding business that would clean it for around $80. But, after watching a few youtube videos, I realized you can clean the tank out cheaply using some type of gravel or washers/bolts. Can I effectively clean the tank out using gravel (aquarium gravel) or washers? If so, how would i rinse the tank out (water, gas,..)? Also, I saw something about evapo-rust. Would using this be better? I want my tank to stay clean and rust-free as long as possible. Is it necassary to seal the tank and, if so, how do i go about doing it? If anyone can give me some suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated. And, the biggest question: would it be better to just pay the 80 and have a professional do it or is the job a simple one and the 80 a rip-off?
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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$80 sounds like a pretty good deal, as long as the job is done right.

There is usually a lot of labor and time involved on getting a rusty tank clean again. Simply shaking around some washers or gravel could take hours to get a tank completely clean. My arms hurt just thinking about it.

A chemical treatment or electrolysis should produce better results.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:09 AM   #3
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I follow the belief if rusted line/coat it. Some of the brands hope all are correct. POR-15, Kreem, Caldwell Redcote to mention a few. I choose to have it professionally done for $70. a few years ago and was well pleased. I mention the brands to compare cost of just the product(s) needed. Best reviews I have heard from POR-15 and worst Kreem. Good luck.

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Old 07-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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Check with a radiator/fuel tank repair shop, they do it for a living. I've had tanks cleaned and coated with RedKote by Davis Radiator in Uhrichsville Ohio, under $50 back then. They are the pros, they have the equipment, chemicals, and methods to do it far better than I. Both my tanks needed soldering too, which they did.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:39 AM   #5
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So cleaning the fuel tank is a two part process: cleaning the rust deposits and then lining the tank to help prevent rust from developing? How important is it to line a tank and how easy is it for tanks to rust when they're stored in a garage under a cover and not ridden in rain and with gas always in the tank? Is lining really necessary?

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Old 07-16-2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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I also have a CM400, but mine is a C... and a hardtail... and has almost no remnants of the Honda it once was... but gets lots of looks! and trophies in car shows.

Anyway, when I redid mine a couple years ago, I also had some rust in the tank. Aquarium gravel is best in my opinion because for the most part, these stones are cleaned and recleaned and because they are, a lot of the sharp edges are rounded off.

I use a product called Kreem. It is a 3 step process and works really well for this.

The first step is a metal-etching acid (that you dilute with water). If you have real heavy rust, add your aquarium gravel to this step (this step will actually remove a decent amount of rust by itself).
Add the acid to the tank and then top it off with water (after you've plugged all the ports and holes, etc.). Slosh this around for a bit and let it sit for 20 minutes on each side (so that you get good contact on all surfaces). Drain this solution into a suitable container.

Then rinse the heck out of the thing with good clean water- making sure you rinse out all the debris and stones you may have added. drain as much water out as you can.

The 2nd product is a moisture remover. You want to get this in as soon as you can so that the water you just put on the freshly prepped surface in the tank doesn't cause it to flash-rust. If you wait even a few minutes, surface rust will begin to form and that's no good for the coating.
Slosh this stuff around kind of violently inside the tank and it will "pick up" any water that is left in the tank.

The 3rd step is the white creamy sealer coating. Dump this in the tank and rotate the tank around slowly so you can get a thin coating on the entire inside surface. Then you let it sit on the bottom for 10 minutes or so. Then rotate it all around slowly again and leave it sit on one side for 10 minutes. Rotate it around again and leave it sit on the other side for 10 minutes. Finally, rotate it all around again and leave it sit on its top for 10 minutes.

Drain out any excess fluid and let the tank sit for at least 24 hours so it can cure. You want to avoid putting a real thick coating in any one place, so you need to be attentive and not let it go over the 10 minutes (a couple minutes wont' hurt- an hour might). Make sure your petcock fitting and vent holes are open and you're good to go.

The kit costs about $40-45 at most retailers.

If you can get it done and done right for $80, I'd say that's $40 well spent because it is a little time consuming.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:08 PM   #7
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Thanks jscustoms. I am going to call the place that does it tomorrow morning and make sure they use a similar process (one of the places i called today just use BB pellets and shake it up without actually coating or sealing the tank). If this other place does it right, I will just pay the $80 or so - I'm ready to get out there and start riding. Thanks for the replies!
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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No problem. I don't mind doing it myself because I can do it as I'm working on other stuff in my shop and I don't have to take a whole day out of my weekend or anything.

Actually most tanks from the factory have some sort of coating in them nowadays. I wouldn't trust-especially an older one- tank without sealing it. Too much work and too much time to put a nice paint job on something to find a pin hole even after you pressure tested it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:16 PM   #9
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By the way, check out the "most beautiful bike" contest from the home page and go to the "chopper" thread if you'd like to see some pics of my cm...
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:45 PM   #10
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Very nice bike js. You're right: it doesn't look like a cm400 anymore lol.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:53 PM   #11
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Ok, so I took my fuel tank in to a welding/ radiator shop today. The guy told me they sandblast the insides to get them cleaned out. This seems like a sure-fire way to get the tank clean, right? And then they coat the tank with 1 or 2 layers of sealer. The guy said he says it's the way he's always done it and he's never had any problems..
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:59 PM   #12
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Sounds like a good deal to me!
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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So do you think sandblasting the tank is a better method than the traditional method of using acids? I'm not even sure how he's gunna get the gun inside the tank and if it will cover the entire inside of it..
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:54 PM   #14
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sandblasting will effectively do the same thing. basically what you need to do is remove all the rust, make sure the surface is not perfectly smooth (so the liner has something to grab a hold of) and then line the tank to prevent further rust.

I'm not sure how he would get a gun inside the tank, either, but if he's been doing it for any length of time, I bet he's figured out some tricks. You could always ask him to let you see the tank before he lines it to make sure it's clean and free of any rust.

I personally think the acid is the better way to go for a couple of reasons. 1- it can get into all the little crevices and tight spots that might be hard to get at with the blaster. 2- you don't have the risk of leaving sand or glass beads in the tank when it's done.
One potential drawback or benefit (depending on how you look at it) with sandblasting is that if there are any parts of the tank that are thin, the blaster will likely blow through it. Good because it can show you potential problem areas. Bad because if it's thick enough to hold and then sealed, you could use it for years with no problem, but not with the hole they just blew in it.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:09 PM   #15
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JScustoms, I just realized you're from Jersey Shore. I'm also from Jersey Shore! I actually just had my carbs cleaned and that's why i want to get the tank cleaned up; I took the tank to Condo's Welding in Mill Hall. What types of services does JScustoms do?
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:18 PM   #16
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If you guys re-line fuel tanks, I can call up Condos and get the tank back if they havent started yet. That way i can get it lined without taking the chance of getting a hole in the tank from sandblasting it. Let me know.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:32 PM   #17
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Wow! Small world. I pretty much use the Kreem system exclusively. Have never had any issues with it.

I do all service and repair on bikes from oil changes and tires to full engine rebuilds. I am working in getting a station license to do inspections. Hope to have that all in place by the end of the year (remember I'm dealing with the state here...)

Check out my website for all details, etc. www.jscustomscycles.com
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:33 PM   #18
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If you buy the kit from me and have me clean and reline the tank, you're looking at about $125 total.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:55 PM   #19
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I thought you would already have the kit. It's alright. That's pretty cool though. I'm suprised I never heard of JScustoms. I'm actually considering getting the tank painted after i get it sealed (while it's drained). I'm thinking like a flat black. How much would I be looking at to get it painted? Also, do you have any parts remaining from your cm400 chopper? I am specifically looking for the two side covers, centerstand (if you replaced it), and the fuel cap cover.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:59 PM   #20
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I have the kits in stock. One kit does one tank basically. I haven't done any advertising-haven't had to. All of my business is word of mouth.

While its off is definitely the time to paint it. I no longer do my own paint work in-house. Takes up too much time and shop space. But I do have a guy that does all my paint on my custom bikes now.

You're actually in luck. I held on to the aide covers ans the original seat because it was in good shape. Center stand is long gone (I don't THINK I saved that). I actually kept the stock tank in mine, so the cap is in use.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:07 PM   #21
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Just checked to verify, but I do indeed have the side covers. The one is pretty nice. The other is structurally sound, but the sticker has peeled some. Neither have any cracks or anything like that.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:23 PM   #22
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The cheapest ones I found on eBay were $20 + $9.80 shipping. I'll sell you both for $30.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:35 PM   #23
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I may only need one side cover - the plastic tabs to fasten it to the bike broke off. But I may need both. I have a 400e so i want to make sure they'll fit. And I wasn't referring to the actual gas cap; i was referring to the cover that goes over the gas cap. Also, could you give me a rough estimate of getting the tank and the side covers painted black (or blue)?
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:42 PM   #24
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If I remember correctly, the frames for all the cm 400's were the same. The letter designation was only applicable to slight differences in the engine. But I have no problem if you want to fit them up to make sure they fit.

I will get an idea and let you know about paint cost. Flat black, correct? Flat blue or gloss blue?
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:43 PM   #25
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P.S. my gas cap doesn't have a cover over it. Just the cap with a little cap over the key cylinder.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:57 PM   #26
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Oh. Well my bike (and I'm pretty sure all other cm400 models) come with a cap that flips and locks over the gas cap (just google an image of the bone and you'll see what I'm talking about). I preferrably want a flat black or flat blue but I'd go with a gloss if it's any cheaper.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:17 PM   #27
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I'll price it out both ways. I think the eggshell clear (flat) is a little bit more than standard clear but not by a whole lot.

Mine doesn't have the cover you speak of. I've seen it and know what you're talking about, but mine never had one. It looks like this:

http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isc...60&bih=559#i=1
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:28 PM   #28
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Ok, I see what you're talking about. The reason I was asking bc I bought my bike without that cover (and there is a bracket around the cap that looks awkward).
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:30 PM   #29
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I bet it does! Another option is to see if my cap will for yours and if so, shave off the bracket prior to paint.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:32 PM   #30
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*fit*
If it does, then you could get that style cap and clean up the looks if the top of the tank.

If you want to keep the cover, I'd recommend getting that painted at the same time so everything matches perfectly.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:41 AM   #31
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I got in touch with my painter dude. He said that the eggshell clear is simply standard clear with an additive to make the finish flat rather than glossy. Additive isn't much.

For flat black- he also said you can go semi-gloss too if that might be what you'd want- you're looking at around $450. That's stripping the tank to bare metal and stripping the old paint off the side covers. Using a good epoxy primer that will be a top notch base and then the base coat and clear coat. And he doesn't skimp out on clear. He put 12 coats of clear on a tank for one of my personal bikes. Blue would be a little more because of the base coat cost, which also depends on the color you want. Base coat prices are all over the place.

Also, this guy uses nothing but top shelf PPG quality stuff. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also the best... cheaper than doing it twice with some budget brand because the product didn't hold up....
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:18 PM   #32
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I did this three-step treatment (rust remover acid, neutralizer, and then coat of Por-15.) It took me most of a Saturday and yes, my arms were very sore. But it worked so well that it was worth it. From the inside it looks like I have a totally new gas tank. I just bought the whole treatment set as a kit at the auto parts store.

My one recommendation would be to make sure the gas cap and the drain (where the petcock is) are sealed up tight so that the chemicals don't leak all over you/your paint job. I took the gasket out of the gas cap too so that wouldn't get ruined just in case. Duct tape worked really well at sealing up the holes but you'll have to change the tape for each step of the process.

Use a good pair of heavy-duty rubber gloves and make sure you wear eye protection. You can definitely do this yourself.

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Old 07-19-2012, 08:18 PM   #33
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JScustoms, i'm sure it's top quality paint but I don't want to
spend that right now; maybe in future though. When I get a break from
work in the next couple days or next week sometime, I'll give you a call and come get those side covers from
you. I don't have my side covers with me now
but when I get a chance to go look at them, I'll let you know if I need both or just one.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:28 AM   #34
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I hear ya on the price. If you're looking for cheap and you can spray evenly, WalMart sells black paint and flat clear in a spray can. I've done this before when I wanted to just get something covered and it holds up alright. Have to be careful to not drip gas on it and so on, but it does the job if you just want it to be one color and look decent.

I'm in the shop Mon- Fri 9-5. Call before you stop in case I have to run out for parts or something just to make sure I'm around.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:30 PM   #35
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Yea, maybe I'll just spray it for now. I bought the bike in rough condition for 300$ so it's not grade A. I just want to get it running correctly andif I decide I like riding it, I may look into upgrading it, etc. I'll give you a call next week about those covers. Thx
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:52 PM   #36
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I cleaned out a rusty toaster tank a few months ago. We put pennies and nickels inside the tank to knock the rust loose--just shake it up--takes some time and elbow grease, but worked well. Then I diluted some acid to attack what was left. After the acid bath, I mixed up a baking soda solution to neutralize any acid left inside the tank. An after thought I had was to use rust inhibitor/converter "after or instead" of the acid and baking soda treatment.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #37
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honda, how did those side covers work for you??
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:51 AM   #38
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In order to remove rust from gas tank, start by removing the gas and remove the rust by re-galvanize and coating. Make it clean and after removing rust keeps the tank full for no space of air and rust in it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:37 PM   #39
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Kbs Cycle tank sealer. Clears the rust off, down to bare metal. Comes with a sealant that prevents more rust. 35 bucks, most car parts stores sell em.
http://m.summitracing.com/parts/kco-52000
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