Rusty Tank Problem?

Post your "How To", or share tips and tricks about maintenance related to four cylinder Wings. Only registered users can read this forum.

Moderators: Whiskerfish, Forum Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Member Relations &_Graphics
Member Relations &_Graphics
Posts: 11951
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: Port St. John, FL

Re: Rusty Tank Problem?


Post by Roady »

Wouldn't distilled water be better? Only a buck a gallon most places.
User avatar
Honored Life Member
Honored Life Member
Posts: 4747
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:37 pm
Location: Nova Scotia Canada

Re: Rusty Tank Problem?


Post by 5speed »

I've looked around and don't see an answer to this question so... :mrgreen:

Will it hurt the sending unit to leave it in during the electrolysis procedure?
1982 1100 standard.
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
1986 Yamaha FJ1200
2019 Can-Am ryker (boss's new ride)
2002 Shadow American Classic(sold)
1983 Shadow 500. (sold)
Billet Alum. Member
Billet Alum. Member
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:14 pm

Re: Rusty Tank Problem?


Post by raiddrten »

I have done some tanks and some tools with this method, and really do not want to get in the weeds with the little stuff that i might slightly disagree with. Nobody listens to new guys anyway.What I am going to post may greatly add to the speed of the process.

There are two contaminates in that gas tank, and they both look like rust. If your tank is old enough to have non-ethanol gas and it is completely or mostly dry and stinks like crazy, you need to look at the first step of getting the dry brown crystals that are nothing but dry gasoline out before de-rusting the tank. The best chemical for that, hands down, is lacquer thinner. lacquer thinner dissolves old gas residue to complete solution much as dissolving sugar into water. It is not cheap to use on a 5 gallon tank, but if you can seal the tank ports with rubber from an inner tube, Just keep turning that tank over. drain it and save and filter the lacquer thinner for future tanks. i have also used Pine-Sol purchased in big gallon bottles at Lowes or Menards, reduced 50/50 with water and it does a decent job for the money. I am no expert on how to clean up ethanol gas residue and that awful gray crap that it leaves behind. Probably Pine Sol would do a better job than lacquer thinner for E-10 gas

You will probably be very surprised at how much of the rust is not rust at all. Now that the old gas residue is gone, the electro process will take place faster. The way you speed it up even more is to use bigger bolts with more surface area to attract more rust faster. a hollow iron pipe might even be faster. i like to have the tank off and completely fill it by tilting and shimming it until the fill hole is nearly level with the sending unit hole. Take a piece of inner tube as an insulator and cut an x in the center to tightly fit around your bolt. Put a second big bolt in the sending unit hole and now you have two bolts to clip together with electrical conducting wire. when you clip your battery charger to them there is a bigger and faster reaction going on.

Now here is where the process can really be speeded up. This is the most important step to follow. when the little bubbles stop frothing out the top, or slow way down, take the bolts out and clean them. Also, dump the water out of the tank into a 5 gallon bucket, reserving perhaps a half gallon and shake the crap out of the tank. Dump the rest into a second bucket and a lot of the rusty crap will come out --even having a coarse or chunky appearance. I can usually figure about three hours and it is time to clean the bolts

Now dip the water/electrolyte solution out of the buckets and back into the tank to avoid putting the solids back into the tank. Now fill the tank back up to the very top [plain water is fine] and replace the bolts you have cleaned up. Clean bolts and clean solution really keep the process moving along.

Just one more thing... you have to have an older battery charger for this to work. The new style chargers have circuitry in them that 'reads" this process as a battery that cannot be charged and shuts it down. if you do not see a froth of very tiny bubbles coming out of the tank, then it is either the charger or the bolts are touching and grounding against the tank.

i did my 'Wing tank in less than 24 hours using this proceedure
User avatar
Lead Member
Lead Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:15 am
Location: Belleville, Illinois

Re: Rusty Tank Problem?


Post by mjsinil »

I'm in the process of cleaning a lightly rusty tank. I bought a new battery charger and found it didn't work. So I connected an old battery to charger and then ran 12 gauge wires to the tank from the battery. Working great! It is bubbling like crazy and charger is working.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
1976 GL1000 restoration project
1977 GL1000 [sold to brother]
2007 Kawasaki Z1000 daily driver
Post Reply

Return to “How To 4-Wings (Tutorials Only)”