Derusting Your Gas Tank

Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1100
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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by loopy » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:59 am

WingForChrist wrote:I tried another method. I did not want to go to trouble of pulling a tank or playing with electric. I went out and bought 5 gal of vinegar. I tested it on the gas cap before using it on the tank. Drained the tank of gas. filled the tank with vinegar for 2 days and did not pull the float out. took the drain plug out and then rinsed with baking soda to kill the acid. rinsed out and looks like new. I then blew air in it to dry quickly and put in gas, stabilzer and Mystery motor oil(to keep from rerusting). Tank came out almost like new.
Where is the drain plug located for a 1200 gas tank. Do you mean the on/off petcock?

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by calan » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:45 pm

I have a gl1000, and can NOT get the drain plug out of the gas's rusty as hell inside. There was a little gas in the bottom of the least it was gas once. (the bike sat for 30 years) I put in 4 gallons of white vinegar in the hopes that it would eat away at the rust on the bolt as well as the inside of the tank - and maybe then the bolt will break loose.

If not - I assume I can remove the petcock and drain the tank there? If this doesn't work.....any suggestions?
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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by Patriccio » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:35 am

Couple years ago I went to Home Depot & bought two or three gallons of Metal Rescue for $25.00 a gallon. Followed the directions. I poured a couple gallons into the tank & stood it on its end in a corner for a day or so. Then I rotated the tank & let it sit again. When you drain the tank, pour the product through a paint filter or a coffee filter or even a cotton sock because you can reuse the stuff. My tank came out great. I think I still have a gallon.
I have a 1980 GL1100 I'm still working on. As I dismantled the bike, I cleaned all the metal parts w/ the Metal Rescue.

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by Bikeguru » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:40 pm

You can buy a product called Evaporust at many auto part stores and at some home improvement places. It works excellent at removing rust and isn't a harsh product. Works great removing rust.

Caswell coatings sells epoxy liner kits that are the best I've ever seen. Their product actually bonds to a rusty surface ,so you don't have to have a perfectly prepped surface. It also comes in several colors.

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by tylers883 » Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:57 am

Great thread.
I just wanted to mention that in some areas it is getting difficult to find arm and hammer washing soda. But washing soda can be made from baking soda by placing the baking soda on a cookie sheet in the oven. Please use Google to find detailed instructions on baking time and temperature
on a side note, my wife uses laundry detergent from washing soda, borax flakes, and bar soap. I make it in a 5 gal bucket for her about once every 6 to 8 months. Each batch uses a cup at a time. I think we are at about 2 years, 10 dollars, and only half the supplies are use up. The detergent works well too. No complaints here.

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by tneujahr » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:15 pm

REALLY appreciated this thread.

I had high hopes for the vinegar treatment, and indeed it did remove a good quantity of the rust on my '83. Unfortunately, not nearly enough. So I'll pursue one of the other avenues that was suggested and pull the tank and have a radiator shop dip and seal it.

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by wrkey » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:43 am

Purchased an 1982 Aspencade that had been sitting for a few years (at least 6). Needless to say the gas tank / lines had issues. Didn't want to pull the tank if I didn't have to so I tried the White Vinegar method. First I pumped what what once was fuel with a hand oil pump from an auto parts store. Filled the tank with Vinegar and let it sit for 3 days. Again used the hand oil pump to remove all the now brownish colored vinegar. Tank was amazingly clean inside. Used my shop vac to suck out the vinegar I couldn't get with the hand pump. Then used the blue semi-cloth hand towels held with an extended grabber (long tool with claw on one end and push button on the other used to grab stuff dropped in small holes) to sop up the rest. Put about 2 gallons of water in it and sloshed it around. Again removed the water and dried it with the hand pump, towels and shop vac. I then put the shop vac hose on the exhaust side and stuck the end in the tank and air dried it. Let it sit for a day and then used a long screwdriver and the shop vac to get out the bits of rust and crud left over (wasn't much). The main fuel line was clean and flowed well but the reserve was completely blocked. I used a combination of carb cleaner and brake cleaner and squirted it down the reserve line. I then used a solid core insulated wire that was just small enough to fit in the line to 'dig out' and punch my way through all the crude. Tank is good to go now. Took a while but had the time while I was rebuilding the brakes and having the fuel system rebuilt.

Thanks to the contributors to this article for the ideas!

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by DocJohnson » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:33 pm

I realize this is a old post, but it's a on-going issue with the old wings. I have found a cheap, safe and effective way to de-rust these tanks, and others. It should be said that if you want to do a good, complete job, you need to remove the tank. rust forms on the top surfaces around the filler and gauge float holes, and unless you know some stuff I don't you leave some rust in the tank if you don't. So that being said, "simple green" it's about $7 for a large "refill" size at the store. remove the tank, flush with water, use a pressure hose or a power washer if you have one, turn it upside down and get the major junk out. Fill the tank with HOT water, I heated mine with the turkey cooker burner, hot, but not boiling, and be sure that the tank does not smell like fuel, if it does, rinse it again with some dish soap and water. Add the simple green and top off the tank, all the fittings except the drain plug should have been removed before the first wash. seal up the filler pipe but not the float hole, and let it sit. Depending on the extent of your problem it could take a couple of days, reheat the tank with a hair drier or other hot air device, do not use an open flame; it's just not a good idea. Never "seal" the tank, when they are hot they expand a little, and has they cool they contract; if sealed this can cause the tank to malform, or even crack a weld. Most tanks will clean up with a one-time shot; however, you may need to repeat. Finish up with a good tank sealer, like POR or KREEM Gas tank sealer. I like the KREEM, and it's only $38 on Amazon. Good Luck; done right it will be the last time you do this, and those carbs will thank you many times over.
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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by Cruzin81 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:32 am

After reading most of the replys on the topic of cleaning rust out of gas tanks I want to share my latest experience with using plain white vinegar on my 81 GL 1100 that I purchased recently .
The bike had been sitting for the better part of 8 years and I bought it as a "non runner" ! Pulled the carbs and went through them and got it running feeding fuel interveiniosly just to determine if she was worth moving on to the next step...the rusty tank !
I have done other tanks with vinegar and had good success. But I took the tanks off the bikes to clean them ! This is a big job on the 1100 . There is an easier way !
I removed the false tank and the fuel level sender unit to open the tank at the back (top). Removed the fuel line from the petcock and turned the valve to the off position. Also removed the gas cap. I then syponed the old gas out of the tank .
I then dumped 3 jugs of white vinegar into the tank . I hooked up a air mattress inflator (110 volt) to a plastic shop vac pipe about 2 feet long with duct tape so that the inflator would blow down the tube , inserted the tube in the open port that holds the fuel sending unit and plugged in the inflator and flipped on the switch . With the pipe on the bottom of the tank on a angle blowing air through the vinegar it gets things moving around in the tank . Kinda like an ultra sonic cleaner .
I had to lightly cover the gas cap port with a cloth to keep the vinegar from splashing out , and I also wrapped a cloth around the vac pipe stuck in the other port . Every once in a while I adjusted the inflator pipe to a different position to cause the vinegar to counter rotate somewhat . Did this for around 4 hours only but for heavy rust I would leave it longer .
I then took a clean wet/dry shop vac ( so I could see what was coming out of the tank) , and sucked the vinegar out of the tank . You want to get most of it out ! Then I dumped 4 gallons of de-mineralized water in the tank , followed by 1/2 cup of baking soda to neutralize the acidic vinegar . Back comes the air mattress blower to push the water and baking soda solution around in the tank for 20 minutes or so .
Round 2 for the shop vac to remove the water , all you can get . A small mag light at all stages will tell you when your done !
Then with a empty , dry shop vac , reverse the hose so you have a blower , place hose into tank at fuel sender port with gas fill port open and blow dry with a force cone . Move hose around at different angles . Stay with this part untill the tank is perfectly dry and no more debris is coming out . Check occasionally with light until happy !
Time to fill the tank with fresh premium fuel and seafoam to keep from flash rusting . Drop a couple of ounces of fuel out of the petcock valve into a small container to flush anything hiding in the valve before you hook up your gas line !
Best tank clean I've ever done...and the fastest !

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by dakotanator » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:11 pm

WingForChrist wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:59 pm
I tried another method. I did not want to go to trouble of pulling a tank or playing with electric. I went out and bought 5 gal of vinegar. I tested it on the gas cap before using it on the tank. Drained the tank of gas. filled the tank with vinegar for 2 days and did not pull the float out. took the drain plug out and then rinsed with baking soda to kill the acid. rinsed out and looks like new. I then blew air in it to dry quickly and put in gas, stabilzer and Mystery motor oil(to keep from rerusting). Tank came out almost like new.
Well.......I also tried the "vinegar" method. WORKED GREAT..!! My tank was rusty, but not HORRIBLE. I actually put in 4 1/4 gal. I had already opened the top of the tank and took out the fuel gauge float assembly. I cleaned that last year (by the way.....the other article on how to "restore" that is awesome. Worked perfectly) and
let the vinegar sit overnight. I drained it (siphoned it, actually), then put in 4 1/2 gal. of baking-soda-water mix. Let sit for an hour, and drained. Tank looks like new.
This was an '83 Apsencade that the previous owner did not take care of, and I have a few things to do before she's on the road again. Fork seals, timing belts, and EMPI single carb conversion, oh.....and new 412 progressives for the rear. ALL of these items will (and have) been done by following the information and instructions of others on this website. THANKS GUYS (and gals..?) Anyway......the vinegar method worked great.
It's not WHAT you's THAT you ride.

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Re: Derusting Your Gas Tank

Post by brians77 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:58 am

I used a product called evapo-rust. worked very well, took about 24 hours. the electrolysis method sounds interesting, vinegar also... the advantage of the product I used is it will only attack the rust, not the metal of the tank. I wasn't sure when I would be able to get back to it, so I went this route. also soaked the level indicator in this solution. came out shiny like new.

Getting the gas tank off the bike is definitely a right of passage, so far the most difficult work I have done on it (1977 GL 1000).

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