Author Topic: Clean that rusty gas tank!  (Read 105766 times)

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tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #50 on: May 29, 2007, 07:51:58 pm »
Would this method work with painted parts, or would it remove the paint also?

The paint will act as an insulator and block the flow of electrical current so, no, and no.

 
I also have another question on this method. I just got a 400F that sat for 6 years with a rusty turpentine mix in the tank. I've tried to get all of the flaked off rust out, but it's difficult with the filler neck. Should I use a shop vac or something to get as much of it as I can out before trying the gunk for the varnish and then this?

Walt, pick up a couple gallons of Gunk dip carburetor cleaner and pour it into the tank. Seal off the petcock, cap and bungs. Rotate the tank every few hours so the cleaner contacts all the surfaces. It'll dissolve about all of that crap in the tank.

Offline dkruitz

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #51 on: June 28, 2007, 07:55:47 pm »
I've used that technique on tools and Crosley engine parts - would that look good on a bike or what?
Anyway, PERSONALLY, I'd stick with Arm and Hammer washing soda instead of salt - you try to avoid that as much as possible when riding, why put it in your tank?  Also the washing soda helps break down oils that might be in there.  I run it on a 10amp battery charger and you can let it go overnight - you won't damage anything by leaving it in longer.

kaybee

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #52 on: July 06, 2007, 07:38:08 pm »
This is a cutNpaste of an article that I saved. It's a good read and credit belongs to the author...

-----------------------

The Electrolytic Rust Removal FAQ
By Ted Kinsey
Recently on the Internet, there was a series of e-mails on the Clocks mailing list about rust removal from steel parts. These techniques are not necessarily the ones put forward by the BHI, but they do give very sound ideas on the technique of rust removal
What is the method?
A technique for returning surface rust to iron. It uses the effect of an small low voltage electric current and a suitable electrolyte (solution).
What advantages does the method have?
The advantages this method has over the old standbys, like vinegar, Coke, muriatic acid, Naval Jelly, wire brushing, sand blasting etc. is that these methods all remove material to remove the rust, including un-rusted surfaces. With many, the metal is left with a "pickled" look or a characteristic colour and texture. The electrolytic method removes nothing: by returning surface rust to metallic iron, rust scale is loosened and can be easily removed. Un-rusted metal is not affected in any way.
What about screws, pivots, etc that are "rusted tight"?
The method will frequently solve these problems, without the need for force, which can break things.
Is it safe?
The solutions used are not hazardous; the voltages and currents are low, so there is no electrical hazard. No noxious fumes are produced. The method is self limiting: it is impossible to overclean an object.
Where did this method come from?
Electrolysis is a standard technique in the artefact restoration business. I wrote this up for the Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association a few years back. Most of the tool collectors around here use it:
What do I need?
A plastic tub; a stainless steel or iron electrode, water and washing soda (Some people have had success with baking soda) and a battery charger. About a tablespoon of soda to a gallon of water. If you have trouble locating the washing soda, household lye will work just fine. It's a tad more nasty, always wear eye protection and be sure to add the lye to the water (NOT water to lye!!!) The solution is weak, and is not harmful, though you might want to wear gloves.
How long does the solution last?
Forever, though the loosened rust will make it pretty disgusting after a while. Evaporation and electrolysis will deplete the water from the solution. Add water ONLY to bring the level back.
What about the iron electrode?
The iron electrode works best if it surrounds the object to be cleaned, since the cleaning is "line of sight" to a certain extent. The iron electrode will be eaten away with time. Stainless steel has the advantage (some alloys, but not all) that it is not eaten away.
How do I connect the battery charger?
THE POLARITY IS CRUCIAL!! The iron or stainless electrode is connected to the positive (red) terminal. The object being cleaned, to the negative(black). Submerge the object, making sure you have good contact, which can be difficult with heavily rusted objects.
How do I know if it is working?
Turn on the power. If your charger has a meter, be sure come current is flowing. Again, good electrical contact may be hard to make-it is essential. Fine bubbles will rise from the object.
How long do I leave it?
The time depends on the size of the object and of the iron electrode, and on the amount of rust. You will have to test the object by trying to wipe off the rust. If it is not completely clean, try again. Typical cleaning time for moderately rusted objects is a few hours. With heavily rusted objects can be left over night.
How do I get the rust off after I remove the object?
Rub the object under running water. A paper towel will help. For heavily rusted objects, a plastic pot scrubber can be used, carefully. Depending on the amount of original rust, you may have to re-treat.
My object is too big to fit. Can I clean part of it?
Yes. You can clean one end and then the other. Lap marks should be minimal if the cleaning was thorough.
After I take it out, then what?
The clean object will acquire surface rust very quickly, so wipe it dry and dry further in a warm oven or with a hair dryer. You may want to apply a light oil or a coat of wax to prevent further rusting.
Will the method remove pitting?
No. It only operates on the rust in immediate contact with unrusted metal. What's gone is gone.
What will it look like when I am done?
The surface of rusted metal is left black. Rusted pits are still pits. Shiny unrusted metal is untouched.
What about nickel plating, paint, japanning and the like?
Sound plating will not be affected. Plating under which rust has penetrated will usually be lifted. The solution may soften some paints. Test with a drop of solution in an inconspicuous place. Remove wood handles if possible before treating.
How can I handle objects that are awkward to clean?
There are lots of variants: suspending an electrode inside to clean a cavity in an object; using a sponge soaked in the electrolyte with a backing electrode to clean spots on large objects or things that shouldn't be submerged (like with lots of wood)
How can I dispose of the solution?
The bath will last until it gets so disgusting that you decide it is time for a fresh one. There is nothing especially nasty about it-it's mildly basic-so disposal is not a concern, except you may not want all the crud in your drains.
Can I use metal containers?
This is highly risky. Galvanised metal can introduce zinc into the solution. If you have used lye, it will attack aluminium. You may have problems with electrical shorts, etc. Stick to plastic.
How can I clean odd shaped objects?
Be ingenious. Plastic PVC pipe and eave troughs (gutters in the UK), wooden boxes with poly vapor barrier.
Ted Kinsey

Offline CrisPDuk

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #53 on: July 06, 2007, 11:21:35 pm »
What on earth is lye ???
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tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #54 on: July 07, 2007, 04:40:28 am »
What on earth is lye ???

lye is a base. (opposite of an acid)

It's used as a drain cleaner (Red Devil is a popular brand) and also used in the manufacturing of many soaps.

Offline Hope

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #55 on: July 07, 2007, 09:57:23 am »
here are some pics of the fun time I had electrolyzing my tank:

1.  tank before electrolysis


2.  water, 1 box of salt, 1 electrode, 1 gas tank, 1 battery charger


3.  water, 1 box of salt, 1 electrode, 1 gas tank, 1 battery charger ---> the beginning of electrolysis, but process is slow (you will see only a few "electrolyte bubbles")
a.
b.
c.

4.  I had a brilliant idea to increase salt and electrodes to expedite the process.  Added 1 more box of salt and 2 more electrodes:
a.
b.
c.
d.

5.  In 30 minutes or less after I increased the salt and electrodes, here is the finished product:


Hope this helps -  GOOD LUCK!!!

Offline Skonnie Boy

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #56 on: July 08, 2007, 01:31:12 pm »
Am trying this technique for the second time and am having a similar problem to last time.  Shortly after I begin, the solution begins bubbling over the top.  Just moments ago, it began bubbling over the top just five minutes after I plugged the charger in.  I was running the 12V 6amp rate, but I just switched to the 12V 2amp rate.  I even made two holes in the rubber mount I have that holds the anode in, in order to let the solution breath.  Any suggestions?
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tbone

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #57 on: July 08, 2007, 03:40:07 pm »
Try wiring a 12v light bulb or two into the circuit. Not from neg to pos though but in line. Take one of the charger leads and connect it to one side of the bulb/bulbs. Take the other side of the bulb and finish the circuit at the tub. They will help regulate the amperage. Also if you add more bulbs it's in parallel not series.

Offline gregwaits

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2007, 08:58:20 pm »
This is a very encouraging idea. I am about to start to work on a Suzuki tank that I'll be using on my CB500. (it looks great on the frame!; pics later).

The technique I was intending to use to clean the rust from inside the tank (suggested by a couple of bike mechanics I know) was to plug up the tank, and fill it with "Lime Away" (or a similar product...available at plumbing supply houses). According to the mechanics, this results in a very clean tank within a few hours, but depending on the amount of rust, the time required may vary.

But this method sounds very promising too.
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Offline MgMt CB550K

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2007, 07:31:03 am »
I used this method with washing soda and it worked great.  One problem I am having is quick forming surface rust.  Once I rinse the tank I took a heat gun and blew the warm/hot air into the tank.  Once it seemed pretty dry there was a little film of surface rust on the inside of the tank (at least where I could reach).

I saw some people saying they used WD40 or Tranny fluid.  How should I go about coating the tank.  Should I coat the inside before I dry everything with the heat gun?  Otherwise by the time I am done drying the tank the rust has formed again.

Should I be really concerned about the light surface rust?  Could I just leave it and put a fuel filter in the fuel line? 
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mattarchxx

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #60 on: September 29, 2007, 08:50:47 am »
i tried the vinegar method (fill tank with white vinegar and let sit for a week) and had good results. i first added about a quart of WD40 and a handfull of BB's and shook vigorously. dumped that mess out and filled with vinegar. let sit 7 days and inside of tank was shiny clean. filled with more WD40 to rinse out / coat tank. success!

Offline neil young

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #61 on: November 03, 2007, 12:16:59 am »
in the summer when i was a young lad i used to paint houses with a friend .we would use vinegar as a primer on bare metal eavestroughs.cheap and effective.
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Offline Dave-and-his-550

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #62 on: June 23, 2008, 07:56:20 am »
I have one question about this method. I did this last night with salt, and it worked ok but only got the rust from the area surrounding the rod. I wanted to try using the Arm and Hammer Super Cleaning Soda, but cant find it. Would it be ok just to use Baking Soda, or laundry detergent? On THIS site, the guys states this:

Note 1: ARM & HAMMER® Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda  is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent.

So I assume he is saying not to use Baking Soda?

godsaveusmicks

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #63 on: September 03, 2008, 07:46:48 am »
I have one question about this method. I did this last night with salt, and it worked ok but only got the rust from the area surrounding the rod. I wanted to try using the Arm and Hammer Super Cleaning Soda, but cant find it. Would it be ok just to use Baking Soda, or laundry detergent? On THIS site, the guys states this:

Note 1: ARM & HAMMER® Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda  is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent.

So I assume he is saying not to use Baking Soda?

i had the same problem finding the name brand 'washing soda'. go to your local pool supply store and ask for Soda Ash, it's 100% sodium carbonate.

Offline tbpmusic

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #64 on: September 03, 2008, 07:51:25 am »
I have one question about this method. I did this last night with salt, and it worked ok but only got the rust from the area surrounding the rod.

Electrolysis is cool, but it's strictly "line of sight" - if the electrode can't "see" the area, you won't get any results in that area.

Get some Milk Stone Remover, cheap and works good.

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Jheart

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #65 on: September 03, 2008, 10:01:36 am »
I tried this on my cb350f tank, and was wicked pleased. Since then, I've used the same bath for both other 350f tanks and a bridgestone that looked like an orange carpet inside and out. The mix is pretty friggin nasty at this point, it looks like pea soup.

One point, you might want to check the polarity on the directions in the first post of this thread.

comp

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #66 on: September 03, 2008, 12:40:22 pm »
I have one question about this method. I did this last night with salt, and it worked ok but only got the rust from the area surrounding the rod. I wanted to try using the Arm and Hammer Super Cleaning Soda, but cant find it. Would it be ok just to use Baking Soda, or laundry detergent? On THIS site, the guys states this:

Note 1: ARM & HAMMER® Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda  is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent.


 hmmmmm i need to find this stuff
So I assume he is saying not to use Baking Soda?

Offline ironrod60

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #67 on: September 05, 2008, 07:05:27 pm »
Per a suggestion on this site, I used "The Works" on my tank today. I am absolutely satisfied with the results. The slight pitting is still there, but all the rust is gone! (I had already used Pachinko balls and gasoline first to break up the surface rust.) I fisched a rag through the petcock fitting and coated the inside with WD40 (Water Displacement attempt #40). The rag soaked up the water that was displaced. I re-coated it and will check it in a few days.

It was simple, quick, and quite effective. Kudos to the author of that tip!

Offline crowned

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #68 on: October 27, 2008, 08:22:54 pm »
I have one question about this method. I did this last night with salt, and it worked ok but only got the rust from the area surrounding the rod. I wanted to try using the Arm and Hammer Super Cleaning Soda, but cant find it. Would it be ok just to use Baking Soda, or laundry detergent? On THIS site, the guys states this:

Note 1: ARM & HAMMER® Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda  is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent.


 hmmmmm i need to find this stuff
So I assume he is saying not to use Baking Soda?

If you just heat baking soda in water to 200f it becomes sodium carbonate (aka super washing powder...)

http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/inorganic/faq/carbonate-decomposition.shtml
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 07:52:22 am by crowned »

Offline Mossy21

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #69 on: November 01, 2008, 05:55:44 pm »
Just a little question.........  My chrome fenders have some rust along the seams and underneath.  Would this prosess work on the rust and not harm the chrome ?  Thanks
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Offline BeSeeingYou

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #70 on: January 10, 2009, 10:33:52 am »
my filler port is shiny as new but electrolosys didnt remove varnish guess needs rust under varnish for it to remove the varnish.

Actually pyro the varnish will block the transfer of electrons. You should remove all the varnish first. In electroplating if you only wanted to plate say half of a shaft you'd lacquer the area you didn't want plated.

Oh, BTW, I tried copper plating the inside of a metal bucket today with the copper sulphate solution. worked slicker than snail snot!  ;D
should work equally as well in a tank.

I would like to hear if anyone has had any luck in trying this on a gas tank.  I have been playing around with some bits of copper and steel and it seems a bit more exacting than dumping in a random amount of copper sulfate and applying some current.  Just immersing the metal in a copper sulfate solution gives it a copper coating but it can be scratched off easily and applying current seems to make little difference in this.  It seems there is a need to control the amount of copper dissolved in solution and also the current applied.  So far my crude basement experiment has not yielded good results and I have not stumbled upon the magic formula.  I am also a bit dubious about getting an even coating on the inside contours of a gas tank, especially inside corners.  I admit to no expertise in this area.

Offline Henrik Vik

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2009, 01:19:58 pm »
Calling all tank cleaners ;D. Can someone who has tried the electrolysis method described here confirm the polarity? The OP says the negative goes to the iron rod and the positive to the tank, but others has said it is the other way around. Which way is the right one?
And I am also curious about the vinegar method. Are we talking straight vinegar? Or diluted in water?
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Offline BeSeeingYou

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #72 on: February 15, 2009, 01:05:16 pm »
The initial  post is wrong.  The negative goes to the tank or the part to be cleaned.  Positive goes to the electrode.  I would use the vinegar undiluted as it is not that strong to begin with.  Use white vinegar.

Offline leekellerking

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #73 on: March 13, 2009, 11:43:47 am »
Frankly, unless I buy another tank, I don't have a week to use the white vinegar method. 

My bike is my daily commuter.

Hmmm.  Unless my wife would let me buy another bike... ;D

Lee

Per a suggestion on this site, I used "The Works" on my tank today. I am absolutely satisfied with the results. The slight pitting is still there, but all the rust is gone! (I had already used Pachinko balls and gasoline first to break up the surface rust.) I fisched a rag through the petcock fitting and coated the inside with WD40 (Water Displacement attempt #40). The rag soaked up the water that was displaced. I re-coated it and will check it in a few days.

It was simple, quick, and quite effective. Kudos to the author of that tip!
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Offline Sparked

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Re: Clean that rusty gas tank!
« Reply #74 on: March 13, 2009, 09:49:43 pm »
I'm planning on using the salt water method followed by an ATF coat this weekend on my CB350F tank, I hope it works, but the tank has some bad rust along the bottom.  Gonna cross my fingers and see what I can do.
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