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384 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've run a couple tanks thru T-Strom with no noticeable problems. I know I'm running on borrowed time. Any ideas on how to remedy the rust? What is the worst that can happen??

223 Posts
There used to be this stuff you put in the tank and roll it around, it coats the inside....lots of antique car guys have used it with success...surely google knows....

706 Posts
Be prepared to do it about every year. I would look for another tank. Nothing but trouble.
Bingo. Rust is cancer. Very hard to stop by putting something over it, because it spreads under the coated surface.

6,665 Posts
Find Oxalyc Acid in deck brightener found it will remove the rust

If you can get it out I used to use gravel with it too.

Cream or Por tank liner works OK

4 Posts
Hi, I've been doing some research on the subject since I have another bike with the same issue.
Here is some research I grabbed form other places, No idea how well they work I was just looking for options.
Two things I'm not to hot on are the gravel in the tank idea or using some kind of sealant in the tank afterwards. It's hard to know if you got all the gravel out and if the sealant breaks down in a few years how do you get it out? Take what your read below with a grain of salt and common sense and Your mileage may vary etc.

a link to the old school method
Petrol Tank Cleaning and Rust Removal - Real Classic Motorcycle Techniques

Evaoprust method
Tractor Supply carries Evaporust
Evapo-Rust Gallon
Best bet is to use hot water to rinse out the Evaporust. Dry it out completely, then use some marvel mystery oil or something similar to cost the inside. Drain off the excess and get some gas in there.

The Works cleaner method
Go to K-MART and buy two bottles of "The works" toilet bowl cleaner. $1.50 a bottle so thats a whopping $3.

Take your tank off your bike. Drain out your gas, pour both bottles of the toilet bowl cleaner in your tank. Every 5 minutes pick up your tank and slosh it around. After 30 minutes, pour that stuff out. Wash the inside out with dish soap and water. Rinse out multiple times with hot water. Get a blow dryer and dry out your tank good, then fog it with WD-40 to keep it from flash rusting. Fill to the top with gas.

I have seen tanks from the 70's so rusty on the inside all you see is orange when you look in. After 30 minutes of the works cleaner it looks like bare metal brand new inside. This stuff also works for anything rusty, pour it in a pan and put your rusty part in.

I have mentioned this on another tank cleaning thread so I will say it here too. After using an acid product use a baking soda and water rinse to neutralize the acid and this will minimize or eliminate the flash rust problem.

I did my first gas tank clean out yesterday.
I read the forums and decided to go with using The Works toilet cleaner.
The amazing thing was I did it over my lunch hour! I went home where I had everything ready and was done in an hour and 15 mins.
The tank was in moderately bad shape with the entire inside bottom covered in flaking rust, no leaks though with the outside in great shape. Here is how I did it;
The Tank was aired out the day before so there was no more gas in it. First I shook all the loose rust out into a bucket. There was about a 1/4 cup of loose rust.
I put 2 cups of drywall screws inside and shook it up and down and side to side for 5 mins.
Dumped out all the screws and rust, then put the screws back in and repeated 2 more times until not much rust was coming out.
Plugged the petcock hole with a rubber plug and then squirted an entire bottle of The works inside.
I swished the liquid all around in the tank, closing the lid when I turned it upside down of course.
Within 5 minutes almost all the rust was already gone. I let it sit for a few minutes again periodically swishing the chemical around.
After about 15 minutes of soaking I started rinsing out the tank. Twice I filled the tank half full with warm water and sloshed it around and then dumped it. After that it looked well rinsed, but I did two more rinses with baking soda and water. However, I think it was unnecessary because it didn't foam at all.
I then blew out the tank with compressed air very quickly, then dumped in about 1/2 quart of Acetone. I swished the Acetone around for a few minutes to absorb the remaining water.
I then dumped out the Acetone and immediately blew out the tank with compressed air.
Once the tank looked fairly free of the Acetone I poured about a cup of Marvels Mystery Oil into the tank and swished that around to stop any rust action.
By that time It had been only 1.25 hours. I put the tank in the garage and went back to work. So far the tank is still looking good. I plan on rinsing out the rest of the Mystery Oil with a touch of gas before filling it up. I chose Marvels Oil because it is good for the engine anyway.
In the end it was very easy and quite fun to see the accomplished task. The only things I would change would be possibly filling the tank with warm water after pouring in The Works. The Works seems so strong that I feel you could dilute it with a full tank of water and let it sit for an hour and have the same results. I was really amazed at how fast acting it was. Also using Drywall screws is much better than bolts and other screws IMO, they are quite sharp and cut right through the rust in only a few minutes of shaking. It was a very cheap fix costing me less than $8.

he thing about "The Works" is that it does not contain an acid as we typically think of it. It contains Hydrogen Chloride. When it contacts the atmosphere it does turn to HCl acid but it NEEDS to be combined with WATER to actually become HCl acid in a strong usable form. This is not to say that "The Works" does not work without water but it does work better. So for those of you that are saying that you are going to use the works full strength or have used it at full strength, this is not the case. Combine with water for full strength. I mixed 2 bottles of "The Works" with 2 gallon of water and this worked very well for me. Wear a mask and gloves as the fumes are really not good to mix in.

While I may be younger than most I am in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue and have taken way too much Chemistry. I do not claim to be an expert though, far from it. I also do not want to upset anyone. This is from the hours of research that I have done before actually trying anything on my gas tank other than Vinegar. Also had a lecture on HCl a few times and worked with it, super nasty stuff and we always used a fume hood. Why I was nervous to do it myself at home. Here is a link to a Wiki article explaining it in better detail than I have. Hydrogen chloride - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hope that this helps anyone that is interested in the Chemistry behind cleaning out your gas tank. Good Luck ;D

Klean-Strip "Prep & Etch" method
I have used Klean-Strip "Prep & Etch" phosphoric acid several times now for cleaning out rusty gas tanks (readily available at Home Despot for like $8 or something). It removes the rust well and also leaves a zinc-phosphate coating that helps prevent flash rusting. Once done, I neutralized the solution (you mix it with some water) with baking soda and water then rinsed it out with naphtha and alcohol solvents to remove any residual water. Then I coated the inside of the tank with ATF (a nice, thick oil that really coats and stays there and is easily washed out with gas) and some Marvel oil to prevent rust until I use it next.

I'm sure "The Works" works but I liked the zinc phosphate coating that the Prep & Etch left behind, as you will find the freshly cleaned bare metal with flash rust SO fast without it.
Also, as per the instructions, you dilute it and it takes a while and sporadic agitation to work but wow does it work. Left my various tanks' insides just spotless with a dull grey coat of zinc-phosphate. I cleaned a CB750 DOHC tank for my friend that had really nice paint and it was fine - no spotting or harm what so ever, though I would rinse the outside of the tank off with water between agitations (allowing my little arms to rest from the work out. . .lol)

I cleaned my CB500 tank almost 3 years ago and the inside is still spotless (though, I also always keep the tank full before it sits and put a shot of Marvel Mystery Oil in the tank with each fill-up, especially in our rainy winter weather, to prevent any tank rust.)

+1 on the phosphoric prep+etch. I did it in an afternoon. No flash rusting and it's been a couple of days. Here was my procedure:

1: drain the gas, as much as possible.
2: pour in 1 gallon full strength phosphoric prep+etch (home depot $15)
3: gave it a couple good shakes, let sit, shake more, let sit, repeat.
4: drained the prep+etch. Rust was gone as far as I could tell.
5: rinsed 2x with baking soda+water
6: rinsed 2x with just water
7: poured in a bottle of heet, sloshed that around for a few minutes
8: added 2 gallons of gas

No flash rust.

8,011 Posts

Might consider using 2-stroke oil rather than ATF or Marvel oil when coating the cleaned tank. Also works good when a dollop is added at each fill. A quart of outboard oil goes a long way, probably is purpose formulated to inhibit rust, burns quite cleanly at these concentrations (though I don't know about bikes with cat. converters) and seems to help inhibit exhaust pipe and muffler rust. Or at least it has on my old BMW.

7,442 Posts
Here's another coating kit of etching acid and sealer:

An extra bottle of sealer for a tank with the extended surface area like our stroms would be a good idea.

One way to knock the big pieces of rust loose is to put a bunch of pennies inside the tank along with some solvent, shake, shake, shake.

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