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Thread: How to: Clean gas tank?
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    How to: Clean gas tank?

     



    This darn 1990 P60 van I'm working on:

    I pulled the tank again because a rubber line kinked, and the sending unit is still flakey.

    This time I completely drained it, and it has a layer of sludge in the bottom.

    What are some alternatives for cleaning? I know the subject has come up before, but a quick search revealed nothing. I was going to pressure wash it, but it has baffles, and I'd only get the middle clean.

    Thanks.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
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  2. #2
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    i use a short piece of chain when i want to derust an old tank .. tie a string on it so you can get it back out then shake rattle and roll the tank .. iv`e never dealt with sludge ...
    iv`e used up all my sick days at work .. can i call in dead ?

  3. #3
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    A chemist has recommended MEK. But I don't know where to get it or how to dispose of it after.

    I guess I could just burn it, like I did the 15 gallons of bad gas. I put it in a 35 gallon drum and lit it. I was concerned it would light off with a big bang, but no. It sure did burn for hours though, and left a sludge on the bottom that won't burn. I even mixed some gas back in it, but the gas burned off leaving the sludge. I'll probably pour it in my waste oil. Before the EPA, such stuff made good weed killer.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  4. #4
    rspears's Avatar
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    You can get MEK at any hardware store that has a line of solvents, like Lowe's, Home Depot, ACE - https://www.lowes.com/pd/Crown-128-f...ne-MEK/3024048 The price varies WIDELY from store to store. Not saying it's the answer, but giving you a source.
    Roger
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  5. #5
    NTFDAY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebird77clone View Post
    But I don't know Before the EPA, such stuff made good weed killer.

    It still makes good weed killer, the epa has been declawed.
    johnboy likes this.
    Ken Thomas
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  6. #6
    36 sedan's Avatar
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    Some radiator repair shops can boil your tank, far better than any chemicals you can slosh around in it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebird77clone View Post
    I'll probably pour it in my waste oil. Before the EPA, such stuff made good weed killer.
    Yeah, we don't really need clean water, some folks actually used to drink water! But I guess it's better to be killin' weeds.
    I could write a reply but there's no point... I'm more likely to be invisible..

  8. #8
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    Water will rust your pipes. Stick to beer or wine.

    I thought maybe the slodge wasn't burning off because it wasn't getting enough air in the bottom of the barrel. So, I tried again with a small pot. I mixed some gas in and lit it, and it burned to a carbon cake.

    I'm going to call some radiator shops.
    34_40 likes this.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  9. #9
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    I found a radiator shop that will do it: $350, yeow!

    I'm trying a couple gallons of MEK. I'll let you know.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebird77clone View Post
    I found a radiator shop that will do it: $350, yeow!

    I'm trying a couple gallons of MEK. I'll let you know.
    JMHO, MEK evaporates too fast and is very harmful to you. Zep makes a heavy duty cleaner called 505, it will amaze you how fast it cuts through motor grease, crime, exc.. I've had great success with Zep 505, I use it all the time and a gallon of 505 is less than 10 bucks (cheaper than MEK). Pour it in slosh it around for a few minutes and rinse it out with hot water, repeat as necessary.

    BTW, $350 to boil a tank is more than 300 too much, time to find another radiator shop..
    NTFDAY likes this.

  11. #11
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    ospho and pea gravel or course sand . just dont let it dry. rinse well while wet.
    NTFDAY likes this.

  12. #12
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    I've got the tank sealed, so it won't evaporate.

    The MEK is sure enough pricey, I'll give you that, but it's sure enough cutting through the crud.

    I gotta find someone with tiny hands and long arms, to reach in the hole and feed chain past the baffle on the one side. Then with a section of chain in each side, and a the tank well grounded, I'll slosh it around with the chains to help churn up and dissolve the goo. I'll do it early morning while it's nice and cool, the MEK will be slightly less volatile that way. I'm thinking to purge the air with argon/ CO2 as well. Explosions are bad.

    I'd like the idea of pea gravel, but I can't imagine how I would ever get it all out. The chains will be easy, just hook them with a clothes hanger and gently pull.
    Last edited by firebird77clone; 05-17-2017 at 08:19 AM.
    .
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    EG

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebird77clone View Post
    I'm thinking to purge the air with argon/ CO2 as well. Explosions are bad.
    MEK is NASTY and you really don't want to be breathing the vapors or soaking skin with it.

    For purging I would suggest you follow the procedure used for aircraft drop tanks that need work. AFTER you've dumped the tank and properly disposed of the liquid, fill it with water, then push your garden hose down into the tank and turn on the water to overflow at one GPM or so, then leave it alone for a minimum of 12 hours. Air/gas purge can trap pockets of MEK - no way to guarantee it's all flushed away.
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  14. #14
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    one spark from your chain and your going to get a very expensive and painful lesson on solvents.

  15. #15
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    The argon/CO2 purge is to get the oxygen out of the tank, before I start sloshing around the chain. With everything grounded, static cannot build. Even in the extremely unlikely event the chain would spark, with the oxygen purged nothing would happen.

    After I drain the tank, I'll leave it open to air and in the sun. It's 90*+ ambient right now, in a couple hours the tank will be perfectly dry. MEK is extremely volatile, it will cook off quick. A blast with compressed air and it'll be good to go.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

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