Author Topic: Clean that rusty gas tank!  (Read 105767 times)

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Offline ksmith0034

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Clean that rusty gas tank!
« on: May 10, 2007, 12:24:35 pm »
I havent tried this but it sound GREAT!

"Cleaned 2 tanks using the following method, and was shocked at the results. Plus it was a lot of fun. Everyone that saw it eventually did their tanks as well. Cost 50 cents for the salt, and a buck for the rebar I used.

Mix 1/2 canister (about 13 oz) of common table salt with 3 gallons of water.

Block the petcock and sending unit holes, then fill the tank right up to the filler neck so that all inside metal is covered with the salt water. Use fresh water to fill as needed. You will add extra salt later.

Make an electrode out of something steel (I used some 18" x 3/8" rebar I had laying around). This will go into tank, and must NOT touch anything metal in or on the tank. Use a plastic funnel at filler neck to prevent touching, and use a wad of tape at bottom of rod to prevent touching. Make sure tape goes up far enough so that tank hump does not touch rod.

Use a "manual" battery charger of at least 10 amps.

Connect negative cable clamp to rod.
Connect positive clamp to tank. I used the tank mounting bolt.
(flow is positive to negative, so rust will leave positive charged tank and go to negative charged rod).

Turn on the charger and adjust your charging rate to get as close to 9 or 10 amps as possible. Add more salt to increase charge. I had to use almost all of the canister to get near 9 or 10 amps draw on each tank.

You will see bubbles forming and the water will turn brown.

First tank was spotless in about an hour!
Jaws did drop! We expected something to happen, but nothing this good.
Second tanks was rough, and it took about 3 hours cooking before it too was spotless. This second tank was for a ninja, and the dealer told him tank was junk and could not be cleaned or used. WRONG! 6 months later it is still like new.

You can reuse the solution. Turn off charger, remove rod, empty tank, and look at results. Pour solution back in and restart process if needed. It's cheap enough to use a fresh batch each time.

Watch the rod. The second tank ate away the rod at one spot about 80% through. Change if needed.

I found this by searching various methods. Google and see similar methods. Most describe sodawash instead of salt, but it takes longer. Salt works!

No sealing of either tank was needed. Rust was removed, not metal.
Where there was rust, there is now a darkened scar.

When done, rinse dry and coat tank right away. Tank will start to rust again very fast. I used tranny fluid to coat tank.

WARNING: I think this creates a type of Chlorine gas, so don't stand above the tank, looking into it while cooking and breath the fumes. Be smart and use normal precautions. (well ventilated area outdoors, etc)."
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tmht

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 12:37:04 pm »
I have used this method recently. I have a couple of things to add though.

1. You should still use the chain/nuts and bolts, shake it around bit first. It leave less for the electrolosis to take care of.

2. Keep an eye on the ammeter, when the current starts to drop, do not add more salt to the solution. Turn off the charger, remove your electrode and sand all of the black crud off of it to give you more steel and less iron oxide for the remaining "rust" to bond to. Re-connect and continue.

3. Make sure you rinse the tank VERY WELL. We all know what salt does to steel.

4. Dry the tank very well and make sure to coat it with some WD40 if you are going to store it for a while before use.

snoop

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2007, 07:43:12 am »
This method works perfect.  WOW.  I had a gas tank that was sitting for 30 years with moisture inside.  I can see silver inside the pitting. That is how well this works.  It does produce a chlorine gas.  The gas looks like dry ice steaming.

Offline Hope

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2007, 11:07:30 am »
Quote
Use a "manual" battery charger of at least 10 amps.

Are you using a car battery charger or a motorcycle battery (trickle) charger?

I think I might try this for a spare I am going to have painted.  Thanks for the info!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 11:09:48 am by Hope »

tmht

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2007, 11:21:25 am »
Quote
Use a "manual" battery charger of at least 10 amps.

Are you using a car battery charger or a motorcycle battery (trickle) charger?

I think I might try this for a spare I am going to have painted.  Thanks for the info!

Car charger, a trickle charger would take forever.

snoop

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 01:47:03 pm »
What about just a plug from the wall?

Offline merc2dogs

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2007, 02:27:44 pm »
What about just a plug from the wall?

 you need a DC source, AC would tend to cycle the rust removal from the tank to the bar and back again.

 Many other 'chemicals' work for the electrolite, washing soda,baking soda etc, someone claimed to have used flat cola, main criteria is that it is conductive.

Ken.

tmht

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 03:09:20 pm »
What about just a plug from the wall?

 you need a DC source, AC would tend to cycle the rust removal from the tank to the bar and back again.

 Many other 'chemicals' work for the electrolite, washing soda,baking soda etc, someone claimed to have used flat cola, main criteria is that it is conductive.

Ken.

white vinegar works as well.

dudeman750

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2007, 06:19:35 pm »
friend of mine pours bb's in them and shakes them for a while.

snoop

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2007, 08:14:50 am »
I used a 6amp charger, it took 2 hours.

Offline merc2dogs

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2007, 09:44:57 am »
I used a 6amp charger, it took 2 hours.

 Hmmm...
 I've got a 100 amp charger.....

 I wonder if there is an actual relation (amp/time), or if it's more dependant on surface area.

Ken.

Offline Tim.

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2007, 04:13:36 pm »
Oh c'mon, let's see some before and after pics!
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Offline mrbreeze

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2007, 09:53:23 pm »
YEAH!!!!!!.....pics please?..... I have a tank that I would like to restore and I like this idea better than acid.
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Offline CrisPDuk

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2007, 11:18:18 pm »
I used a 6amp charger, it took 2 hours.

 Hmmm...
 I've got a 100 amp charger.....

 I wonder if there is an actual relation (amp/time), or if it's more dependant on surface area.

Ken.

There is definitely a relationship between the quality of the finish and the amperage used, the lower the better. This is why quality plating cannot be rushed. I suspect there will also be a point as you increase the current where more of it will go into boiling your fluid than aiding the chemical reaction.
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tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2007, 10:06:01 am »
YEAH!!!!!!.....pics please?..... I have a tank that I would like to restore and I like this idea better than acid.

If I remember my chemistry correctly one of the byproducts of this electrolytic process is hydrochloric acid.
That's where the chlorine smell comes from.

A small amount of Muriatic acid (brick cleaner) would more than likely also speed up the process.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2007, 10:08:13 am by tbone »

tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2007, 10:14:34 am »
Here's another thought. After it's clean and rinsed, dissolve a pound or two of copper sulphate
in water, substitute the steel rod for a clean copper rod and reverse the polarity. The copper rod
would slowly dissolve and re- deposit itself on the walls of the tank.

Hmm, a copper plated tank interior. I've got a rusty old Jerry can I may just try this on!

pyro139

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2007, 12:47:06 pm »
chemistry class was so long ago for got about this process,
would it also work if we stuck entire tank in water bucket and a rod in bucket away from tank?
what metal's would work?
some one said vinegar, would salt or vinagar be better and if vinagar how much?

can some one try the copper platting fright now? ;D a copper plated tank be cool or mabe we can silver or gold plate it :D ::)

pyro139

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2007, 12:56:16 pm »
also noticed the lower amp example gave faster result, so guess my 1amp charger shou;ld still work.

tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2007, 01:10:21 pm »
chemistry class was so long ago for got about this process,
would it also work if we stuck entire tank in water bucket and a rod in bucket away from tank?
what metal's would work?
some one said vinegar, would salt or vinagar be better and if vinagar how much?

can some one try the copper platting fright now? ;D a copper plated tank be cool or mabe we can silver or gold plate it :D ::)

It wouldn't work it the rod were on the outside. Unless you were to clean the outside of the tank. The current would only travel from the outside of the tank. :(

I'm going to set up a metal can and try the idea out myself this week.  8)

pyro139

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2007, 01:14:06 pm »
interesting rusty headers and other rusty stuff, as for using this to electro plate what chemical for chrome? ::)

pyro139

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2007, 01:18:09 pm »
lol, crazy idea can i use some one's pool to de rust my entire bike at one go? ::) :o

tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2007, 01:29:37 pm »
interesting rusty headers and other rusty stuff, as for using this to electro plate what chemical for chrome? ::)

Decorative chrome requires a three step process. First is a base coat of copper plating. Second is nickel plating over the copper and finally the chrome goes over the nickel plating. Lots of cleaning and buffing in between and some very nasty chemicals. Most of the time it's cheaper to just send it out. Most platers are looking for the extra work anyway.

pyro139

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2007, 04:21:44 pm »
was thinking copper still oxidizes, not same as steel but still wouldnt want it in our fuel supply's what if nickle plate inside tank instead of copper.

tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2007, 05:18:28 pm »
Believe it or not in certain environments nickel will oxidize worse than the copper.
Organic solvents raise havoc with nickel. Copper does oxidize but tends to stop after
a sufficient patina is developed. Much in the same way that brass does. Brass is an alloy
of copper and bronze with traces of other various metals. Seems to hold up quite well
in the presence of gasoline.

Copper is a fairly easy home brewed plating pickle unlike many other metals.

pyro139

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2007, 06:35:22 pm »
well let us know how test goes, we may put kream and por15 out of jobs :D
i'll be electrolyising my tank on monday then will give a coat cream, if copper plating good at later date plan on stripping paint again to pull a dent, then may cappoer plate inside at that time.
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