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Discussion Starter #1
MotoCaribe always strives to offer well-maintained bikes for our guests, and spend a lot of time, effort and money to do it. Anyone who has toured with us know our dedication to maintenance.

I have one bike in our fleet that has been a problem child through no fault of it's own, kinda pilot induced. I usually ride it because of it's history. This time is was a clogged fuel pump filter because of a lot of rust in the fuel tank.

This particular bike had been crashed some time ago and sent to the dealer in Santo Domingo for extensive repairs we didn't want to do ourselves at Camp Moto. The tank had been emptied and left open in their shop for 3 months, and the Caribbean salt air did a real number on it unbeknownst to us. The main rust was in areas we couldn't see. We didn't know we had a problem until some appeared in the fuel filler neck and the bike developed a clogged fuel pump filter.

We looked at options to remove the rust with the pluses and minuses. Vinegar, sheet rock nails, muriatic acid, all manner of store-bought systems, you name it. For numerous reasons, the primary being cost and the science behind it, we chose electrolysis.

Although we've never done anything like this, the process was simple, effective and very cost effective. We had all the materials necessary at Camp Moto. I will say that pressure cleaning the tank after the rust was removed was a huge help.

Here is a video of our experience:

DL650 Fuel Tank Rust Removal with Electrolysis
 

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I have used the battery charger, washing soda (electrolyte) and sacrificial anode method with good success. It does unfortunately take a lot of time to work. The last few tanks I have cleaned I used milkstone remover mikes a 5:1 water/milkstone remover and in 24 hours the interior of the tank is clean as a whistle. Rinse out with hot water and swish a bottle of high proof rubbing alcohol around to help dry up any water and your done.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I took the fuel pump apart to replace the fuel strainer and this is what it looked like:



Additionally, under the strainer was a pile of red muck that washed off. Curious as to what further damage the fine rusty muck could cause---too fine to be trapped by the fuel strainer---I took the top of the pump assembly off---where the fine strainer/filter lives---disassembled it, washed thoroughly with gas treatment and blew it out with compressed air in both directions. An amazing amount of fine gunk came out, obviously stuck in the high-pressure side. Cleaned & blew it until clear.

Reassembled, put the tank back on and bingo! Bike runs perfectly. :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have used the battery charger, washing soda (electrolyte) and sacrificial anode method with good success. It does unfortunately take a lot of time to work. The last few tanks I have cleaned I used milkstone remover mikes a 5:1 water/milkstone remover and in 24 hours the interior of the tank is clean as a whistle. Rinse out with hot water and swish a bottle of high proof rubbing alcohol around to help dry up any water and your done.
As I understand it, both milkstone & vinegar, while effective, result in rapid flash rusting left unattended for even a short time.

I---or my sources---could be wrong.

That's another reason I chose electrolysis. I've read no incidents of rapid flash rust, and no need for further treatment.
 

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As I understand it, both milkstone & vinegar, while effective, result in rapid flash rusting left unattended for even a short time.

I---or my sources---could be wrong.

That's another reason I chose electrolysis. I've read no incidents of rapid flash rust, and no need for further

treatment.
Any unprotected steel no matter what method was used to remove the rust will flash rust.
 

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As I understand it, both milkstone & vinegar, while effective, result in rapid flash rusting left unattended for even a short time.

I---or my sources---could be wrong.

That's another reason I chose electrolysis. I've read no incidents of rapid flash rust, and no need for further

treatment.
Any unprotected steel no matter what method was used to remove the rust will flash rust.

Once a tank is clean and dry if it does not leak I do nothing further but try and keep the fuel level topped up. A bit of flask rust is nothing to worry about.
 

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Awesome, great video! I tried the cider vinegar treatment to my old Honda tank, which appeared to be working, but I think I left it too long since by the time I got around to emptying it out the tank had rusted again.

The electrolysis process seems a little better for an overnight treatment, and I'm sure it smells a lot better than the vinegar too!

I'll give it a shot before spring and I'll try and remember to post my results when I'm done :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Awesome, great video! I tried the cider vinegar treatment to my old Honda tank, which appeared to be working, but I think I left it too long since by the time I got around to emptying it out the tank had rusted again.

The electrolysis process seems a little better for an overnight treatment, and I'm sure it smells a lot better than the vinegar too!

I'll give it a shot before spring and I'll try and remember to post my results when I'm done :)
I'd suggest at least two days for the electrolysis to work depending on how bad the rust is. If I had to do it over, I'd have dumped the liquid out after two days, refill with fresh, and done electrolysis for an additional day.

Pressure cleaning is also an important factor. The V-Strom tank is problematic because of the shape and fuel overflow tubing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Some notes:

1) Once the rust is mitigated, additional time won't help more, and won't cause any damage to the tank.

2) The more concentrated the sodium carbonate is, the more current it draws, and the reaction will not accelerate. the 1tbs. per gallon worked fine.

3) The current draw in minimal. I set the charger on 12v/2a, and the needle on the charger barely moved. When I put the charger on 10a, it stopped because the battery was charged. I suspect even a trickle charger would work.
 

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FWIW: cleaning the high-pressure fuel filter is not difficult, and most likely easier than the bypass mod. At least on my '08's.

Disassemble the fuel pump. The high-pressure filter is on the top. Remove it, and gently pry the pressure regulator (the metal thingy) out. It's in tight. Take a large syringe filled with gas (I used carb/fuel injector cleaner) put it in the small hole where the regulator used to be, and push the liquid through it. You'll see some gunk come out another hole. Repeat the process until it runs clear. I then blew it out with compressed air until clear. Push the regulator back in, reassemble, and you're good to go.

I noticed the OEM filter/regulator assembly is around $110, and I doubt there is an aftermarket piece available. The filter screen at the bottom is like $9 from High-Flo. If you replace the screen, ight as well clean the high-pressure filter while you're at it.
 

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Fuel Filter Bypass Mod

If you had the filter off the pump assembly you would have already been done with 90%of the bypass mod. Its just a matter of drilling a hole in the filter and plumbing the filter/hose on the outside of the bike. Well worth the extra few minutes it would take and you would, most likely, never have to do it again unless you had pump problems. You just change the external filter. Takes about 5 minutes once you get the body work off and the tank raised up. Also since most people use a larger than stock filter the time it takes to clog, if it did it again, would be a lot longer.
Its nice to have the ability to carry an extra filter on trips and if you did get some crappy gas or had a rust problem again you would not be stranded. Now I know that you, the OP, have a business renting bikes and this may not be as effective but for those in the same situation who travel with their own bikes this is well worth the time. Just my 2c!
http://www.vstrom.info/Smf/index.php/topic,6105.210.html
scroll down to Me2's posting for 07-11 Wee's!!!
Great write up on the tank cleaning process! Wished id done that! I just cleaned mine out the best I could and slapped it back together with the external mod. No problems in a few thousand miles. I will, most definitely , do this if I ever have to go in again. I too keep the bike topped up, especially during winter, to help prevent further problems!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
If you had the filter off the pump assembly you would have already been done with 90%of the bypass mod. Its just a matter of drilling a hole in the filter and plumbing the filter/hose on the outside of the bike. Well worth the extra few minutes it would take and you would, most likely, never have to do it again unless you had pump problems. You just change the external filter. Takes about 5 minutes once you get the body work off and the tank raised up. Also since most people use a larger than stock filter the time it takes to clog, if it did it again, would be a lot longer.
Its nice to have the ability to carry an extra filter on trips and if you did get some crappy gas or had a rust problem again you would not be stranded. Now I know that you, the OP, have a business renting bikes and this may not be as effective but for those in the same situation who travel with their own bikes this is well worth the time. Just my 2c!
External Fuel Filter modification
scroll down to Me2's posting for 07-11 Wee's!!!
Great write up on the tank cleaning process! Wished id done that! I just cleaned mine out the best I could and slapped it back together with the external mod. No problems in a few thousand miles. I will, most definitely , do this if I ever have to go in again. I too keep the bike topped up, especially during winter, to help prevent further problems!
I never really paid much attention to the bypass solution. Makes some sense, and seems easy enough.

Where does the filter go? Inline by cutting past the connector from the fuel tank?

What brands/models of filters seem to work best?
 
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