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glassmaster
06-09-2010, 09:55 AM
I have a poly fuel tank. What is the best way to clean out any varnish or debris that is trapped in there.
I have tried removing all fuel and hosing it out and can't get all of the stuff out of it.
Some of the debris is fairly large almost like hunks if paper or something the size of a small shirt button or so as well as small particles and I have used a primer ball from an outboard and the fill tube and sending unit holes are to small to use a shop vac.
It is obvious that when the tank was built it was in sections and was plastic welded together.
What should be used to remove the varnish?
I have considered cutting out a section near one of the top corners flipping it over hosing it from the opposite end and then finding someone to plastic weld the cut piece back in.
Any suggestions?

CruisinGA
06-09-2010, 10:16 AM
I've heard good things about shaking around a lot of "Goof Off" and then letting it sit, and then powerwashing the inside.

Want to be sure that goof off isn't going to eat the tank though...

oxberger
06-09-2010, 11:17 AM
I'm having the same problem right now. Mine looks to be in a lot worse condition. You can actually see how dark and thick the varnish is from outside the tank. I have a guy that's a concrete cleaner looking at it right now, but if he can't get it cleaned up one of the other guys on here suggested taking a gallon of goof off and pour it in, shake it around, then let it sit and everyday for a week shake it up as much as you can, then let it sit. After the weeks up, take it to the car wash and use a high power washer alternate between the fill tube and where the fuel sending unit hole is. He said it took about $20 in quarters to clean it up, but when he was done it was clean. Once that's done, let it sit to dry out. If the concrete cleaning guy gets it clean I'll let you know what he used and how he did it.

glassmaster
06-09-2010, 12:01 PM
I'm having the same problem right now. Mine looks to be in a lot worse condition. You can actually see how dark and thick the varnish is from outside the tank. I have a guy that's a concrete cleaner looking at it right now, but if he can't get it cleaned up one of the other guys on here suggested taking a gallon of goof off and pour it in, shake it around, then let it sit and everyday for a week shake it up as much as you can, then let it sit. After the weeks up, take it to the car wash and use a high power washer alternate between the fill tube and where the fuel sending unit hole is. He said it took about $20 in quarters to clean it up, but when he was done it was clean. Once that's done, let it sit to dry out. If the concrete cleaning guy gets it clean I'll let you know what he used and how he did it.

Actually the varnish is not bad at all it is just a couple of spots on the inside. there is hunks of what I thing is paper towel or something and some smaller particles.
I just got of the phone with someone that welds these kind of tanks together and he suggested using kerosene to break down the varnish and rinse out with gas.
I would just cut out a section on the top of the tank if I could find someone to weld it back together but That isn't looking to good since I live out in the sticks.
I will see if I can find some goof and check it out.

TMCNo1
06-09-2010, 03:34 PM
Contact any radiator shop and they will tell you exactly what to use, they clean and repair plastic, aluminum and steel gas tanks and radiators all the time and use the right stuff to get the tanks clean to be sure they don't blow up during the repair process. My niece's husband runs a 70 year old family radiator/ac/heater shop and I just called him about it and he said there is very little retail stuff that will do the job in a few minutes like the stuff they have w/o a bunch of work.

oxberger
06-09-2010, 04:43 PM
Contact any radiator shop and they will tell you exactly what to use, they clean and repair plastic, aluminum and steel gas tanks and radiators all the time and use the right stuff to get the tanks clean to be sure they don't blow up during the repair process. My niece's husband runs a 70 year old family radiator/ac/heater shop and I just called him about it and he said there is very little retail stuff that will do the job in a few minutes like the stuff they have w/o a bunch of work.

Harold, what's their contact info. I've been to no less than six radiator repair shops and no one hear will touch a plastic tank. The MC dealership here was no help either.

TMCNo1
06-09-2010, 05:06 PM
Harold, what's their contact info. I've been to no less than six radiator repair shops and no one hear will touch a plastic tank. The MC dealership here was no help either.


They said they would boil out the tank first, but not overheat the plastic and get it too soft, cool it and use a caustic soap and with a steam pressure washer thru the fuel inlet port and pickup/sending unit hole, still not allowing the plastic to get too hot to deform or soften it. Wash it out good, rinsing several times with gasoline, and then wash it out with gas a last time and let it dry out good before reinstalling the stuff and filling.

glassmaster
06-09-2010, 05:08 PM
Contact any radiator shop and they will tell you exactly what to use, they clean and repair plastic, aluminum and steel gas tanks and radiators all the time and use the right stuff to get the tanks clean to be sure they don't blow up during the repair process. My niece's husband runs a 70 year old family radiator/ac/heater shop and I just called him about it and he said there is very little retail stuff that will do the job in a few minutes like the stuff they have w/o a bunch of work.

I wish I could but we only have one here and I called him earlier he told me that they don't touch them because of EPA problems. I told him that the varnish is minimal but there is debris in there that needs to come out . He said he could take a look at it but could not promise anything.
I am going to mess with it some more today before I take it to him.

All I need is one of these
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2pQKPxZMd0
or bring it to someone that has one and it would be a no brainer.
That video shows them welding all kinds of plastic.

glassmaster
06-09-2010, 05:14 PM
They said they would boil out the tank first, but not overheat the plastic and get it too soft, cool it and use a caustic soap and with a steam pressure washer thru the fuel inlet port and pickup/sending unit hole, still not allowing the plastic to get too hot to deform or soften it. Wash it out good, rinsing several times with gasoline, and then wash it out with gas a last time and let it dry out good before reinstalling the stuff and filling.

I knew I should have moved to N Carolina a long time ago but the wife won't go for it. All my family is up there and that's were I was born. With all of those Nascar boys up there there is not a lot that can't be done there.

TMCNo1
06-09-2010, 05:23 PM
I knew I should have moved to N Carolina a long time ago but the wife won't go for it. All my family is up there and that's were I was born. With all of those Nascar boys up there there is not a lot that can't be done there.


He said that if the plastic tank would be left in the boil tank overnight like a brass/copper/aluminum radiator or steel gas tank, it would melt or deform it and make it unusable, but being careful not to heat/overheat the plastic is the key to the process. No more stuff than should be stuck in there or should even be in there, it should come out with a good strong soap and pressure washing. I have seen them clean out several radiator overflow canisters (you know how grungy those can get) to where they looked new and they are practically the same rotocast type plastic tanks, but smaller.

ecproductions143
06-11-2010, 04:12 PM
I'm not sure how this would work for plastic but it worked wonders on my aluminum tank. I filled my tank with about a gallon of kerosene and put about a handful up marbles I put cork in all the holes. I then drove it around in the back of my truck for a week. Each day the ride to and from work I would flip it on its sides and upside down. When I got home and to work I'd flip it upright so the fuel would leak out. This worked wonders for me. Do keep in mind this prolly isnt safest. I fastend the tank down so it wsnt sliding around but the marbles were everywhere lol. The ride to and from work was about 30 mins I have a old foam cushion under it as when I turn it on its side the corks would seep a little but the cushion soaked it up. It would def work on plastic I would think.

glassmaster
06-20-2010, 09:40 PM
I'm not sure how this would work for plastic but it worked wonders on my aluminum tank. I filled my tank with about a gallon of kerosene and put about a handful up marbles I put cork in all the holes. I then drove it around in the back of my truck for a week. Each day the ride to and from work I would flip it on its sides and upside down. When I got home and to work I'd flip it upright so the fuel would leak out. This worked wonders for me. Do keep in mind this prolly isnt safest. I fastend the tank down so it wsnt sliding around but the marbles were everywhere lol. The ride to and from work was about 30 mins I have a old foam cushion under it as when I turn it on its side the corks would seep a little but the cushion soaked it up. It would def work on plastic I would think.

Thanks for the idea but I don't think that I had to go to that extreme. The amount of varnish in the tank was minimal. What I did was I sprayed 2 big cans of carb cleaner and a 1/2 gallon of gas taped up the holes and see-sawed the tank up and down a few times then let it sit 5- 10 min and repeated the process for around an hour. Then pumped out all of the gas and carb cleaner.
I called the carb cleaner company to double check if it would be safe to put in the tank and they said no problem as long as I did not leave it in there for hour or days.

Turned out that's what worked for me.

ecproductions143
06-21-2010, 01:56 AM
Thanks for the idea but I don't think that I had to go to that extreme. The amount of varnish in the tank was minimal. What I did was I sprayed 2 big cans of carb cleaner and a 1/2 gallon of gas taped up the holes and see-sawed the tank up and down a few times then let it sit 5- 10 min and repeated the process for around an hour. Then pumped out all of the gas and carb cleaner.
I called the carb cleaner company to double check if it would be safe to put in the tank and they said no problem as long as I did not leave it in there for hour or days.

Turned out that's what worked for me.


ah yes, I was removing a 4 yr old varnish lol

jwmiller
06-22-2010, 06:29 PM
I can see wanting to remove the loose material, but what is the point in cleaning the rest? If gasoline isn't taking it off, it isn't coming out during use.

oxberger
06-23-2010, 11:52 AM
Gasoline won't remove the varnish on its own. But, if you have varnish in the tank and start running the boat, the vibration and sloshing that is constant when the boat is running will start to agitate the varnish and it will start coming off in small globs. The small globs then end up going through the fuel system causing all kinds of problems... not that I would know from experience or anything.:D

jwmiller
06-23-2010, 12:17 PM
Gasoline won't remove the varnish on its own. But, if you have varnish in the tank and start running the boat, the vibration and sloshing that is constant when the boat is running will start to agitate the varnish and it will start coming off in small globs. The small globs then end up going through the fuel system causing all kinds of problems... not that I would know from experience or anything.:D

Ah.. that makes sense. Thanks!

oxberger
06-23-2010, 12:23 PM
Ah.. that makes sense. Thanks!

No problem. Glad to pass on the minimal knowledge I have.

ramzak
07-03-2010, 02:34 PM
build an attachement for your Shop Vac out of small tube/pvc/etc... Use Duct tape to connect it to your vac hose and your done!

I am in the stainless tubing business, I can potentially send you some scrap tubing if you need it.

www.pacstainless.com

Campbell
07-05-2010, 10:23 AM
I pressure washed the inside of mine and let it dry in Texas heat. I unscrewed the top and removed the insides so I could get the spray wand inside