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Tank cleaning / derusting
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cocorico
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November 11, 2015 - 4:24 pm
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Hi, I was just reading ** Please log in to view ** and thought it might be of some use to anyone thinking of cleaning out their tank.

Good article, but I think his advice on disposal needs reinforcing with 'use plenty of fresh water at the same time to dilute it'.

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RichardinNZ
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November 12, 2015 - 9:28 am
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Great article, very useful, but.....

'I usually do the work in my carpet slippers, T-shirt and no gloves without any problems, but I know I am taking a slight risk and perform the task with extra care. Just be careful.'

If that's all he is wearing he certainly would need to be careful 🙂

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RMT
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November 22, 2015 - 8:43 pm
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I use a process that involves degreaseing and then remove the rust using citric acid followed by drying and coating in WD40. The problem is I do this on a purpose built machine that works like a tumble dryer but the citric acid is powerful stuff at rust removal but being a food stuff is cheap and easy to dispose of.

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BarnsleyBantam
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December 20, 2015 - 10:43 am
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Fill the tank with the cheapest coca cola you can get - Aldi/Lidl - about 29p for 2 litre bottle.

Did mine great after wasting weeks and gallons of much more expensive vinegar.

Plus if you tip it back into the bottle through a piece of old cotton shirt in a funnel you can still give it to the kids and they can’t tell the difference.

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flintdog
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December 20, 2015 - 12:44 pm
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so u think coke would b best as i want 2 clean a tank 4 4 start work on it

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BarnsleyBantam
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December 20, 2015 - 3:26 pm
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All I know is I did the vinegar soak, nuts and bolts in the tumble dryer etc and still had flakes of tank coating, rust and stuff blocking everything.

I then filled it with coke after a friend told me they'd tried everything to free a seized stud in a jaguar cylinder head and tried coke as a last resort after he was told to try it.

I left it over a weekend and the amount of «censored» that came out of it was unbelievable.

I just thought for about 50p it was worth a try and it worked.

I suppose it depends what state the tank is in but an old petrol tank is an old petrol tank.

It's not a lot of money if it doesn't work, and the kids can still drink it!

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ros77oo
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December 20, 2015 - 3:40 pm
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Ive had good results with vinegar but I left it in the tank for 3-4 weeks.

I came across a post about using Oxalic acid.....

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I got some off ebay and it worked really well and only took a day to do, its worth a go.

Cheers

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flintdog
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December 20, 2015 - 5:27 pm
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tank pretty good just  would like 2 clean b4 paint job sand plasted it 2 day came up ok 20151220_165708.jpg

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RMT
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December 20, 2015 - 6:26 pm
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As part of my job I had to develop a process to clean rusty petrol tanks and the crucial thing I discovered is that even a rusty tank has the residue of the evaporated fuel coating the inside. I found that to make the derusting process more effective it is essential to clean the tank first I use an undiluted degreaser followed by an acid.

I wonder if people are finding that the second attempt at rust removal works better because the first attempt simply removes the fuel residue

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BarnsleyBantam
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December 21, 2015 - 12:34 pm
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Hello flintdog,

I might be at cross purposes here.

I thought you meant cleaning the inside of the tank.

Do you mean clean the outside before you spray it?

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flintdog
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December 21, 2015 - 1:39 pm
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no want 2 clean inside b4 paint it there is some red rust not a lot 

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Derek's D5
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December 21, 2015 - 2:00 pm
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Did mine with strong vinegar and it looked clean. But that was last year and I do get a few rust flakes coming through now. Have a fuel filter but despite this I have got a fine dust getting through to the float chamber. Might try the cheap cola. Never mind giving it to the kids, I'll have that with some Sailor Jerry's! rofl

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cocorico
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December 21, 2015 - 2:21 pm
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Dookie said
... I'll have that with some Sailor Jerry's! rofl

Mind the fumes don't send you groggy. wink

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Piquet
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July 2, 2016 - 11:59 pm
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Having lost a very thin early D7 tank through being eaten away by Caustic Soda and a less than successful attempt on a D3 with vinegar (OK with light rusting but mine was too heavily rusted) I tried another approach on the same D3 tank here.

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Basically Citric acid but with added extras.

I'm not a complete idiot ............................................ some parts are missing.

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Megga
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January 23, 2019 - 6:57 am
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Got to do my tank (inside) just going to try the shake shake method, worked well in the past.

Worth mentioning that most of the links shared, my computer blocks them ( works computer though) so I cant see them.

As with rust, I have tried cola and white vinegar on old nuts and bolts. I did this on a side by side test, the vinegar worked well, but I found the cola useless, but saying that, it was diet cola.

   

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DGBland
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March 27, 2019 - 9:48 am
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I think I will try spirit of salts to clean out the tank on my Bantam. What mix of water and spirit of salts should I use and how long should I leave it to work?

Thanks David

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GlenAnderson
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March 27, 2019 - 2:37 pm
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DGBland said
I think I will try spirit of salts to clean out the tank on my Bantam. What mix of water and spirit of salts should I use and how long should I leave it to work?

Thanks David  

The instructions above suggest 500 ml of 40% acid is enough. 

Done in three stages:

 

First, about a pint (568 ml) of water initially, with 1/3 of the acid (166 ml) and agitated thoroughly them left for ten minutes. 

Second, another 1/3 of the acid, repeat agitation and standing. 

Finally, the remaining 1/3, repeat agitation, standing and then drain and rinse thoroughly. 

Should be doable in under an hour. 

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Concretecow
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April 28, 2019 - 9:51 pm
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I've been trying this over the last few days.  It's working like a charm. I say working, because I'm going to give the acid stage another go (my rust was very thick and very stubborn).  

Firstly, I'd say it's worth taking the time for the caustic soda "gunge removal" stage, as this really allows the Spirit of salts (as it's still rather quaintly referred to - Hydrochloric acid to you and me) to attack the rust.  Aggressive a chemical though it is, it doesn't really touch oil or grease ("gunge"). I left the caustic solution in there for about 5 days in the end, with no ill effects, agitating a couple of times a day.  I would add a caution about disposal.  Hold the tank low down when you tip the solution out.  You don't want it to splash up onto your skin, and it will eat your clothes.  If you're not wearing gloves, and you get it on your hands, wash it off with lots of water.  That soapy feel when you rub your fingers together, that's saponification - the caustic turning the fat in your skin into soap.  This can generally be considered a BAD THING embarassedand no substitute for Imperial Leather.  

I fitted a steel bolt in the petrol tap hole.  I'm certain the fine brass mesh of the filter wouldn't survive.  For the acid stage, I can't stress the warning enough - ALWAYS POUR IN THE WATER FIRST, THEN THE ACID.  The tank gets quite hot with the addition of the Spirit of salts to the pint of water, but don't panic.  Have a large bucket of water handy to rinse out any spillage, and the whole operation is best conducted in a plastic container in case of pinholes or leaks.  Also have a well soaked rag to mop up anything that drips from under the rim of the filler cap as you release the pressure build up.  This is particularly important if you have a half decent paint job that you want to preserve.

The other posts about using vinegar and coke etc., I'm sure work to a degree, but there's no substitute for using the stronger chemical versions - all perfectly safe if you wear an apron/overalls, gloves and safety glasses, and have copious amounts of fresh water to hand to swill down any spillage.  Always wash the chemical off yourself first, and worry about your precious tank afterwards.  

I'm sceptical about using a tank liner, I'm concerned that if it breaks down, it'll be harder to clean the tank in the future but I shan't be etching with phosphoric acid either.  My grandchildren will just have to de-rust it again in another 70 odd years. rofl

The chemicals (caustic and acid (enough for 2 treatments) are available for about £15 from a well know online retailer named after a South American river.  A little more expensive than Asda vinegar or Aldi phosphoric acid, sorry, I mean cola, but they do a better job.  I'd certainly encourage anyone to try it.  As we speak, the tank is undergoing a final drying process at the back of the airing cupboard.  My wife doesn't know, but I'm worried the faint smell of petrol might give it away.  I just need it thoroughly dry to prevent any further corrosion before I attack with acid again next weekend.

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BSAdave
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April 30, 2019 - 8:22 am
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Sounds well dodgy to me , Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of Hydrochloric acid may cause eye, nose, and respiratory tract irritation and inflammation and pulmonary edema .

Use this method at your own risk. I prefer to use the much safer method of rust removal using Electrolysis, clean and no nasty chemicals involved the waste product can be disposed legally down the drains.

Each to there own.

D1 D3 D5 D7 Suzuki TS 125, Yamaha YDS7 250

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BASIL
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April 30, 2019 - 9:59 am
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Hi, I use warm caustic soda solution and a battery charger usually derusts a tank in less than an hour without any problems. Regards Basil.

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