Steel tanks and storage

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by 2manyrides, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    I'm sure this has been discussed here some where. Help me out.
    After draning and drying, I had stored multipal steel tanks with their gas caps on and closed petcocks. Years later finding rust.
    I know I could use muratic acid, and I found a link to this stuff;
    (evapo-rust) in another thread.
    http://www.orisonmarketing.com./corrosion/evaporust/evapo-rust.html
    Don't really want to have to coat them inside.
    I'd just like to store these extra tanks with out them rusting up.
    I have 1984 paint job on a tank still new and unused that's been stored since then in protective foam and shrink wrap. I worry about what I'll find if I open it up.

    Any Ideas will help me decide which way to turn.
    Thanks
    22manyrides
    #1
  2. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    I give mine a coat of oil (atf or marvel) inside before I store them, plus I leave the cap and petcocks off and only cover them with a rag. I just pulled a tank out that was stored 15 years with no problems. I do not like coatings unless I have no other choice, I use vinegar to remove rust and coat it with oil. But I live in a dry climate so that helps.
    #2
  3. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    To store a raw steel tank and prevent it rusting you have to remove all water and air which rust feeds on.

    Keep the tanks full of something. Kerosene, antifreeze, old motor oil? Check them on occasion and top up. Even if you do get either surface rust or sludge from your fill liquid ... both are easy to clean out when you want to use them.
    #3
  4. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    markbooneville,
    Can you elaborate on the vinegar method?
    Just a coating of oil has worked well for you then...

    I Have not had, nor coated a tank yet and don't want to start. But from what I gather, once it's been infected with rust, it will keep coming back unless as rufusswan says, I keep it full.

    22manyrides
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  5. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    I have found that one of the nicest rust removers is apple cider vinegar. I soak rusted parts in it for a day or two and it removes most all of it. I had a triumph tank with some scale rust so I cleaned it with soap and water, dried it, capped the petcocks and filled it to the brim with vinegar, a couple days later all rust was gone. Then I cleaned it again put it in the wife's oven to dry and oiled the inside with auto tranny fluid, good as new.
    I have been using vinegar for years, its cheap, safe and works as well as any expensive industrial stuff. I keep a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff in the garage.

    When I'm done with the old stuff I spray it on my driveway to give it a nice redish brown tint.
    #5
  6. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    I had a tank here last year that someone used the coating product "creme" in it. What a mess, so I tossed in a gallon of acetone and within a few days ALL the coating was gone. I then did the vinegar soak and everything was fine. I never understood why they coated this particular tank, but I would not feel comfortable with the creme product.
    #6
  7. JeffS77

    JeffS77 cheap bastard

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    i have used navel jelly and a bunch of bolts/screws with good success to get out really bad rust...as for storage it seems a light coat of oil would work well
    #7
  8. zookster

    zookster Chupacabra

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    +1 on the vinegar method. I've used it for years on tanks, metal brake lines, small metal parts etc. I use white distilled vinegar, so apparently the type of vinegar doesn't matter much. I too keep about 5 gallons on hand. It can be re-used several times before it gets too contaminated.
    #8
  9. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    Looks like I need to source some vinegar.
    Right now I have 2 XS650 tanks, and a BSA tank to clean up.
    These are all just mildly rusted so a clean up and a protective film is what I'm looking for. Thanks for the responses!

    22manyrides
    #9
  10. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    Hey marksbonnieville,

    I got 3 gallons of white vinegar at smart+final for about 12 bucks.
    Filled it to the brim and closed the cap.
    Came back the next day and opened her up. Could see floating rust on the surface, but not a pristine clean look on the steel.
    Touched it with a tooth brush on the center hump and all suface rust "wipes" off. There's no scrubbing needed, it just needs to be touched.

    So now I need to get some sort of medium to shake up in it. Then do the rinse+dry.
    Thanks a million times!:D

    22manyrides
    #10
  11. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    I'm glad it worked out for you. I usually get whats left over removed with a good hot water rinse, then let it sit in the sunlight. You could always drop a 3 foot small chain in the tank and swish it around with water.

    Mark
    #11
  12. Rich Dubbya

    Rich Dubbya Pimpadimpolis

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    What ever happened to topping off your tank and adding some Sta-bil ? :huh Or long term just keeping it empty and no moisture ? Hang a clean dry rag from the top when you close it can absorb moisture which works .
    #12
  13. DoubleBit

    DoubleBit Been here awhile

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    I've been wondering what to do about the rust in the tank of my gn250 for quite some time. The poor lill' thing sat in a carport shaded but not sheltered from wind born rain and filth for a decade before a friend at work donated it to me. I hope to get it rolling nice and reliable as a fun little mini-chopper trainer and have done quite well detailing it, put new tires on, replacing and unsticking things. This vinegar idea is giving me some hope that the project can be finished w/o too much more cash thrown into it.
    Oh, and the tank was left full according to the PO, but that fuel evaporated and corroded into some awful looking crud that boiled out with hot water and soap in chunks of gritty grimy stuff. The next phase of rinsing w/ acid removed more but it was still ugly. Over the last couple of days, I even strapped it to the mouth of a cement mixer with bits in it to "roto-scrub" the insides. Hence leading us to the next phase the vinegar.. :)
    I gotta get some pix of this posted, if I can figure out how.

    Thanks!
    #13
  14. DoubleBit

    DoubleBit Been here awhile

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    I went with distilled white vinegar (it's cheaper and has the same acid concentration), all I can say is "Wow!".. The little GNs gas tank still needs a good rinse (the small chain idea sounds good too), and it should be ready to ride again. A fuel filter/contaminant separator will also be added to be sure all is well. I hope to get pix together,, what a wonderfully cheap way to get the rust out. I was poised to bite the bullet and buy some wonder goo for roughly 100$,, how silly that would have been.
    Thanks y'all for sharing the ol' skool lore. :freaky
    #14
  15. DoubleBit

    DoubleBit Been here awhile

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    I can't say enough about the effectiveness of vinegar...

    I have lill' GN250 that was donated to me because it was so thoroughly corroded up. I just finished cleaning out the tank last week,, vinegar ate the rust, didn't just loosen it,, destroyed it.. Two stages of quick flushing, with hot soapy water and then mineral spirits and that baby is clean.

    I rode it 100+ miles yesterday to work and then the long way home,, the fuel filter shows no signs of debris.

    Incredible stuff..
    #15
  16. 2manyrides

    2manyrides shifty charactor

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    I soaked the yamaha tank for two days completely full.
    When I looked inside I saw sheets of rust loosened and floating an inch away from the surface it was orignaly sticking to. I thought I was going to have to rattle something around inside but a stiff spray of water was all it took to rinse it down clean. This tank is to be stored so I sprayed WD40 inside.

    Ya, the vinegar made short work of it.:clap

    22manyrides
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  17. Zagando

    Zagando BMW uber alles!

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    Believe it or not, I've heard that WD-40 actually has something in it that will corrode metal over time---so I would not choose that to put in my tank. Go with ATF or some other kind of oil is my recommendation.

    Thanks to all for the vinegar posts, too---learned something new today!
    #17
  18. ChromeSux

    ChromeSux Plated and screwed

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    Why not just go ahead and seal it with Caswell (phenol novalac) then never have to worry about it. I believe the folks there at caswell told me that actually a little rust will give the sealant something to stick to and the sealant will cut off the air supply and stop it from rusting any further.
    #18
  19. DoubleBit

    DoubleBit Been here awhile

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    I was so impressed with results on the GN250s fuel tank that when I purchased a 76 XL350 parts bike two weeks ago I decided to try freeing the frozen engine by pulling the spark plug and pouring vinegar into the cylinder. It took patience but after a couple weeks (I did use air to blow out the old and add new vinegar twice) now the engine rotates. Making the next decission whether to fire it off or not.. The carb is also stuck, and the wrong one for the bike, the shift shaft is busted off, sad man, looks like a whole crew of tweekers have been screwing with it.. Leaves me very uncertain about how it'd run, shift, or function at all..
    Long story short, the vinegar freed the piston from the cylinder!
    #19
  20. Hair

    Hair Outside the boxer

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    Over the year I have had a lot of people tell me about using bolts and screws to clean a take. People Steel bolts and screws in a metal tank is a spark hazard. At least use brass.

    I know this one guy who started using bolts and screws on old tanks. Those tanks had no fumes left in them. But before he realized it, He was doing in on tanks with plenty of fumes in them. I guess that he just wasn't thinking.
    #20