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Old 06-04-2015, 07:30 AM   #1
mrbreeze OP
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How to Remove Rust from a Gas Tank?

The wife's 1987 450 Rebel has some rust in the tank. I put a fuel filter in line between the petcock and the carbs. I try to keep the tank full of gas.

Do I need to be concerned about the rust?

If so, is there a way to get it ALL out of there and prevent it from coming back? I have watched several yt videos of people putting metal bolts/nuts/whatever in the tank and then shaking it for a long time - but I am skeptical of how effective that would be. I have heard bad things about several tank liner products so I have avoided those.

At this point I am thinking of buying a new tank, but my understanding is I will need to buy the tank for the 250 Rebel (3.4 Gallon?) and then have the mounts modified to fit the 450. I would probably need to get it painted as well.

Mrs. B says she "does not want to put a lot of money into that bike". I would rather do what it takes to keep it on the road rather than just let it rot in the garage....

Suggestions/advice is welcome

thanks

PS - she almost never rides it. I am thinking of changing the ergos to make it fit me better and using it as a commuter.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:59 AM   #2
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Slosh some phosphoric acid in it. It converts the rust to another form of iron oxide that is not damaging to metal and is slightly rust resistant. I've used it to clean very rusty tanks. It will damage paint.

Any good hardware store should have it in the paint department.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:57 AM   #4
mrbreeze OP
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my apologies. I looked thru the first couple of pages and did not see a "tank rust" thread.
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:31 AM   #5
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i wouldn't worry too much about it. a little surface rust inside a seldom-used tank is normal. nuts/bolts/washers inside the tank with some cleaner works great!

DONT use any sealer
DONT use acid to etch it because once you have a clean tank it's gonna just rust again.

DO continue doing what you're doing with the fuel filter.

i think your wife is right......
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:07 PM   #6
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I like SEM 39304 Rust-Seal

http://www.semproducts.com/rust-and-...rs/rust-sealtm

Followed by Caswell Epoxy Gas Tank Sealer

http://www.caswellplating.com/restor...nk-sealer.html
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
i wouldn't worry too much about it. a little surface rust inside a seldom-used tank is normal. nuts/bolts/washers inside the tank with some cleaner works great!

DONT use any sealer
DONT use acid to etch it because once you have a clean tank it's gonna just rust again.

DO continue doing what you're doing with the fuel filter.

i think your wife is right......
Phosphoric acid leaves an iron phosphate coating which is a rust inhibitor.
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Old 06-04-2015, 03:13 PM   #8
usgser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbreeze View Post
The wife's 1987 450 Rebel has some rust in the tank. I put a fuel filter in line between the petcock and the carbs. I try to keep the tank full of gas.

Do I need to be concerned about the rust?
Define "rust"? if it's the normal light fuzzy surface rust I wouldn't get to exited about just run a good inline filter. If it's nasty metal degrading flakey, scaly rust I'd get it out. I'm known to buy old cars, bikes to actually use that had been sitting/neglected so been down the rusty tank road before. Over the years of shaking a tank with anything from my used nuts/bolts stash can to sheet rock screws I ended up with dismantling a set of car tire chains and add the amount of cross links appropriate to the size of the tank. Shake the livin crap out of it till my arms get tired. Have a beer-n-smoke, then shake some more, lather, rinse, repeat till finished.
Some internal surface rust is normal and not lethal
ABSOFOOKINGLUTELY DO NOT try to wimp out just pouring in a tank sealer goop. That crap DOES NOT stick to rusty steel and when it lets go(it will) will cause more grief than rusty metal ever would.
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Old 06-04-2015, 03:32 PM   #9
mrbreeze OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usgser View Post
Define "rust"? if it's the normal light fuzzy surface rust I wouldn't get to exited about just run a good inline filter. If it's nasty metal degrading flakey, scaly rust I'd get it out. I'm known to buy old cars, bikes to actually use that had been sitting/neglected so been down the rusty tank road before. Over the years of shaking a tank with anything from my used nuts/bolts stash can to sheet rock screws I ended up with dismantling a set of car tire chains and add the amount of cross links appropriate to the size of the tank. Shake the livin crap out of it till my arms get tired. Have a beer-n-smoke, then shake some more, lather, rinse, repeat till finished.
Some internal surface rust is normal and not lethal
ABSOFOOKINGLUTELY DO NOT try to wimp out just pouring in a tank sealer goop. That crap DOES NOT stick to rusty steel and when it lets go(it will) will cause more grief than rusty metal ever would.

"light fuzzy surface rust" sounds like an apt description. The tank is currently full. I'm thinking I might get a big glass jar and drain some of the gas into the jar, using a cotton t-shirt as a filter - just to see how much rust, if any, comes out.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:53 PM   #10
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This guy did a really nice job on his tank.

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=768604
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:27 AM   #11
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Do not agree with the no sealer............

There are marginal, good and there are great tank sealers......ALL........depend on the tank prep prior to the sealer application.

Depending on the amount of rust in the tank............often sealer is the only real choice to stop and contain the problem. Restoration of a bike that been sitting for years the tank cleaning and sealing process is a critical first step.
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Old 06-05-2015, 07:34 AM   #12
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Get a strong magnet , and stick out of the way where it can't be seen , and it will catch any loose rust as it sloshes around in the tank. I personally have had very good success with multi-step sealers on Really rusty tanks. As mentioned , prep is key. You can also have tanks boiled out at radiator shops to get a clean slate to start with.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:50 AM   #13
vintagespeed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usgser View Post
...Over the years of shaking a tank with anything from my used nuts/bolts stash can to sheet rock screws I ended up with dismantling a set of car tire chains and add the amount of cross links appropriate to the size of the tank. Shake the livin crap out of it till my arms get tired.....
wrap it in a blanket (seal it first) and toss it in the dryer! just make sure the wife isn't home when you do this....
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:48 AM   #14
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I too endorse a good sealer! after a bit of rust removal. recently I saw where molasses and water was used( it had to be followed up with high pressure water to rinse off the resulting sludge). lacking that I'd dissolve the rust thru electrolysis. not 100% but the sealer will take care of any of the superficial left behind
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:53 PM   #15
mjydrafter
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As mentioned it depends on the rust.

I had a Honda CB900 that I tried a bunch of stuff on. But it had sat for over a decade with a 1/2 tank of gas... I could get it out, but it would return in a short time.

Carbs on that were a bitch to pull apart.

I finally did a bunch of research and most of the reviews recommended a POR-15 kit. That's what I got and used, following the directions closely. The cleaner they send is good enough it found some holes. They send a bit of glass cloth in case you have a larger hole.

I can recommend their kit, it's a bit of $, but it solved my problems.

The hardest part may be finding plugs and stuff to "seal" the tank up while you are coating it.

It seemed most of the tank sealer complaints were Kreem related IIRC.

Edit to add: I think one of the things you use, from the kit, is phosphoric acid like Anorak mentions.
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