Author Topic: Fuel tank cleaning  (Read 2820 times)

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Offline GKreamer

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Fuel tank cleaning
« on: April 29, 2016, 07:48:17 pm »
So I have drained the tank and am going to replace the petcock with a new unit.  I know there is still some fuel and debris in the tank.  What is the best way to get all the junk out of there?  Any chemical or cleaning agent recommended?  Did some searching and saw where one person used a pressure washer?

Thank you

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 06:07:07 pm »
Any suggestions?

Offline Pbfoot

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 06:34:10 pm »
Best advice I got was from RevRider. He said to use old t shirts.
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Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 07:14:17 pm »
its a messy job, and should be done outdoors for certain, after completely dumping the old fuel, pour in some clean fuel, and slosh and dump it a couple times, make sure it gets into the bottom rear corners.
Then, take a wire coathanger and bend a loop at the end, and cut strips of old tee shirt, and clamp it in the loop using pliers to make a sawb, and swab the corners out well. I also have used denatured alcohol as a rinse and repeat thing, and then swab that all out. it evaporates easily then, and does a good job.

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Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 09:17:46 pm »
Thank you.  I drained by placing the tank on top of a trash can and attached some tubing to the petcock and ran it into a 5 gallon can.  I set the petcock to prime and let gravity do it's job.  It has probably been almost two weeks since doing this.  There was a little fuel left when I shook the tank and I could hear some particles moving around too.  Dumped the gas in my truck.

Offline davida

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 02:27:56 pm »
Tough to get that last bit of gas out.  I used a turkey baster and some fuel hose.

I used naval jelly to dissolve the rust, then power washed the tank.  rinsed out a lot of rust particles.
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Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2016, 10:42:50 pm »
Bought a gallon of distilled water, poured in about half- there was nearly no fuel in the tank.  Shook like crazy andtried draining as much as I could.  Added the rest and repeated the shaking/draining.  This time I took a t-shirt and cut it in half, tied a knot at one end of each half then stuffed one at a time into each side and turned the tank upside down and shook.  Once I was done there was no noise of fuel sloshing or particle noise, just the float rattling.

I also bought a quart of denatured alcohol and was going to dump it in and shake/drain/dry again.  Then install the new petcock.  Any thoughts/suggestions?

When everyone refers to tank "cheeks" do they mean the bottom on each side at the front of the tank (when mounted)?

Thank you!

Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2016, 03:55:30 pm »
I have to ask.... but why did you not reove the fuel level sensor, or the petcock and fuel cap assemblies for this procedure????
shaking the tank around and banging the guts as such, just doesn't seem too wise, and you should remove, clean, and inspect those internal parts... please.

also, what was the purpose of dumping in distilled WATER?..???

I'm missing something.... :-[ :-[ ::)

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Offline DUMB A$$

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2016, 04:01:24 pm »
I'm with you MOB, what the heck is he doing?

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Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2016, 05:00:45 pm »
Petcock was removed before trying to "clean", I read several posts about this and did not see where it was stated to remove the float and/or cap.  One poster said they used distilled water and then air dried.  Could only find a single quart of denatured alcohol, but distilled water is everywhere.

OK, fuel sender and cap completely removed.  I can hear some particles moving around if I shake the tank, sounds like a bit of sand.  For you who have successfully cleaned your tank, what did you do to keep from spraying gas/denatured alcohol everywhere when shaking?

I see where one poster used naval jelly to dissolve rust then power washed.  I thought that distilled water would be better that tap water since it should not have chemicals/minerals.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 05:21:49 pm by GKreamer »

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2016, 05:35:24 pm »
Here are pics with all parts removed from the tank:

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2016, 05:56:37 pm »
Petcock

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2016, 05:58:31 pm »
Gas cap


Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2016, 05:59:53 pm »
Cap gasket:


Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2016, 06:01:25 pm »
Fuel sender/float:


Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2016, 04:41:06 pm »
well, you might wanna go to walmart, home depot, lowes, truvalue hardware, etc... and look in the paint department.... not at the drugstore on the corner..

they all sell denatured alcohol, $5 a quart, or $15 a gallon.....

you can make temporary gaskets out of an old bike tire innertube, and a temporary cover from a piece of wood, and use the screws you have to install the temporary covers...

do youself a favor, don't pour navel.jelly into the tank, and try to clean it like that, its a waste, you can't see where it is, and likely won't get it all out....

as for the distilled water thing, I'm still not seeing the logic, its being poured into a contaminated tank already....and rendered contaminated as soon as it hits rust...
 getting water of any kind out is tough, now you just poured more in...
if anything, it should have been boiling hot tap water, swished, turned upside down, dumped, and repeated, and kept inverted to force it to drain....then the tank while still inverted blown completely dry using either the exhaust from a shop vac, or repeated compressed air directed into all the internal cracks and crevices.
you want all that water evaporated a.s.a.p.
This stuff just takes a little common sense, and a lot of patiance.

I can't see into the tank, in your pictures, you should get some small mirrors so you can actually see what's in there, using a flashlight, so you know what and where your problem areas are.

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and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2016, 06:03:18 pm »
Ok, thank you.  Bought the last quart at my local Wal-Mart, but I'll check other places too.  Thanks for the idea about making covers and gaskets for shaking, I'll do that!  Great idea!  I was wondering how people did this without wearing fuel or alcohol all over them or spilling everywhere. 

Offline millerized

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2016, 06:06:06 pm »
Millerized aka RainMan
As politically incorrect as you can get without a warning label or license.
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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2016, 06:16:41 pm »
http://www.por15.com/POR-15-Fuel-Tank-Repair-Kit_p_62.html
Once and done.


I have used that also, but I don't think he has issues that bad, just a little gack, that needs cleaned out.... but yes, the POR system is awesome, especially the metal prep , which does a.nice zinc phosphate coating on the rusty areas...

judging from the trials a tribulations I'm seaing already on this, I hesitate to suggest more complex levels of gastank repair, when its just a bit of particulates he wants to remove...
 ;) ;)

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and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2016, 06:29:09 pm »
That's the nicest way of saying "challenged" I've yet heard...

Offline kz

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2016, 07:10:17 pm »
I like this stuff for rust about $15 at Home Depot.

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Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2016, 09:47:39 pm »
That's the nicest way of saying "challenged" I've yet heard...


hey, don't take it badly, everyone has limits of knowledge...
keep picking our brains, and someday you may be doing a tech session, at a national event, in 90* temps...... for 8 full hours, in front of a never ending crowd with 15 problem bikes sitting..... and getting them all fixed....and running.


nice part is people DO watch and DO listen.....sometimes....








we all start the education process sometime.... mine started on engines, about 51 years ago.

I'm still learning. :beerchug: :beerchug: :beerchug: :beerchug:
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 09:58:46 pm by MAN OF BLUES »

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW
and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline GKreamer

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2016, 09:51:34 pm »
Thanks, but I wasn't offended.  I'm an IT guy, but I like working on things and figuring them out.  I'm sure I'll get this figured out, and I do appreciate all the suggestions from the COG.

Offline tbharker

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2017, 09:20:35 pm »
Just wondering if anyone has used white vinegar to clean a tank. My tank is not that bad, but thought this might be a cheap way to get it nice and shiny again.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vinegar+remove+rust
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Offline drumstyx

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Re: Fuel tank cleaning
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2017, 09:25:45 pm »
Just debris? No rust? Then just flush and flush and flush. Maybe use a rag as suggested. But if the lining in the tank is intact, be very careful not to scratch it.