Cleaning Rust Out Of A Gas Tank With VINEGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GLENNWOOD55CAMEO

Been Around the Block
I recently read here or on another site of a way to clean rust from within a gas tank for $30.00 and does not require coating. It is very simple to the point of being unbelievable but it WORKS!!!! First buy a large box of 1" long sheetrock screws, $20.00. Then buy 4 gal's of white vinegar from the grocery store, $10.00. Then simply insert all the sheetrock screws into the tank, close the cap and shake the hell out of it by hand. I shook it on and off for a day. Every time I walked past it I would shake it. This process knocks off all the loose rust within the tank. I removed the screws. Then simply filled the talk to the brim with vinegar and closed the cap. I let it set for two days. I then poured out all but approx. 1/2 gallon of vinegar. I then added the sheetrock screws again and shook the hell out of it again. Removed the screws again and refilled the tank with the same used vinegar. Let it set another day. Drained the vinegar out and flushed the tank out with a water hose. After flushing it out, I immediately poured Coca-Cola into the tank and sloshed it around good to keep it from flash rusting. It was that simple. It took it down to bare matal......... Mine looked so good after that I didn't even have to coat it inside. The first picture below is of the large pile of finely powered rust dust that came out of the tank when I emptied the screws out.
 

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smvirili

Guest
sweet. i've read about the vinegar technique a few times but it's great to get pics and positive feedback. the coke trick sounds like a charm too. thanks for the pointers.

just a few questions though, did you reuse each of the emptied lot of vinegar when you refilled?
also, if you weren't, how were you getting all the screws out for both occasions? did you just empty the whole tank and get the screws out and then refill?
 

GLENNWOOD55CAMEO

Been Around the Block
Yes, I reused the vinegar. After filling and shaking the tank, I emptied the vinegar out as much as I could into one 5 gal plastic bucket. I then turned the tank upside down and emptied the screws out on a large sheet of plastic on the ground by shaking the tank till all the screws fell out. Then I let the vinegar sit in the bucket till all the rust settled to the bottom of the bucket. I then poured the vinegar into the another 5 gal bucket through a cloth filter. I did two tanks with it and still can reuse it again.............
 

GLENNWOOD55CAMEO

Been Around the Block
Yes you could and I have tried other media and the sheetrock screws work the best because they have the pointy and sharp ends which help break up all the rust scale inside the tank.
 

crash1992

New Member
Why Coke to stop it from flash rusting? ??? Carbonated water is still water isn't it?

And wouldn't the sticky coating left by the soda syrup on the inside of the tank have any negative effects on gas you put in it afterwards?

Great to hear someone with success from the Vinegar method tho. I need to clean out my KZ400 tank and have been looking for the best "budget" way to do so.
 
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smvirili

Guest
GLENNWOOD55CAMEO said:
Yes, I reused the vinegar. After filling and shaking the tank, I emptied the vinegar out as much as I could into one 5 gal plastic bucket. I then turned the tank upside down and emptied the screws out on a large sheet of plastic on the ground by shaking the tank till all the screws fell out. Then I let the vinegar sit in the bucket till all the rust settled to the bottom of the bucket. I then poured the vinegar into the another 5 gal bucket through a cloth filter. I did two tanks with it and still can reuse it again.............

too bloody easy. thanks a heapa for the tips. will certainly be having a go at this method. you just saved me green on some por15 horsesh*t. not too pricey in the states but in australia, it's hard to get and a complete ripoff!!
 

GLENNWOOD55CAMEO

Been Around the Block
crash1992 said:
Why Coke to stop it from flash rusting? ??? Carbonated water is still water isn't it?

And wouldn't the sticky coating left by the soda syrup on the inside of the tank have any negative effects on gas you put in it afterwards?

Great to hear someone with success from the Vinegar method tho. I need to clean out my KZ400 tank and have been looking for the best "budget" way to do so.
The Coke is added because it contains Phosphoric acid which neutralizes the acid in the vinegar....
Vinegar is an acetic acid solution in water (5-9 %).
As far as any syrup left inside the tank, I always rinse the tank out with some gas before filling the tank.
 

sham

Been Around the Block
I did the vinegar thing a while back, but used bicarb/water mix to neutralize it before filling it with petrol and adding in some two stroke oil - two stroke oil has rust inhibitor in it which seems to do the trick.
 
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smvirili

Guest
nice pointer sham. i might give that a go. how much bicarb did you chuck in with the water
and how's your electrical situation going man, you sorted it out?
 

interceptor

Coast to Coast
Thanks for this great tip. I think a picture says a thousand words. Rinsed mine with baking soda and water. If anything comes loose, the filter in the petcock and my inline fuel filter
should catch it.

 

sham

Been Around the Block
I don't remember how much bicarb I put in - think it was around 200g to a litre or so? But I should clarify that the two stroke/petrol mix should only be swished around the insides to coat the tank, then immediately fill it up with petrol.

Ha, I ordered a fuel filter too.

And smv - electrical is fixed for now (I get spark now) but still waiting on parts for the carb rebuild. Hopefully can get to work on it once that all arrives. Its been a while.
 

gomotomoto

Been Around the Block
Just tried this technique with a little modification. Just added more screws and a single bottle of vinegar (about a liter). Shook it on & off every time I saw or walked by the tank for about a week. Probably about 30-40mins of total shaking time over a the week. Popped open the cap today and all I could see was clean metal. definitely a great concept without the use and purchase of harsh chemicals. Know it's an aged thread, but thanks for posting.
 
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smvirili

Guest
So I got onto this before I left on a little holiday recently. Asked a friend to dump the vinegar and throw some coke in afterwards where he completely forgot to do any of the above.
I cam home almost a month later to find the obvious. I am pretty sure my petcock is completely screwed... Inside looks like the devils shit box and my cap is also very shady. Trust nobody!! Needless to say it was my mistake to leave it in the hands of others.

Started the whole process again today and out came soooo much gunk. I'm onto my 3rd liter of fresh vinegar.

Anywho, sorry to bump this thread again but my question is this.

After I get most of what is left in there, would it be insane to throw in some rustbuster in the tank and give it a swish for the bastards that just wont come off? I'm talking about that stuff that converts rust into an iron phosphate. I had some of this left from when I used it on the exterior of the tank and other bits and bobs on the bike.

http://bondall.com/rustbuster/Ranex_Rustbuster.html

this is what I'm talking about..

Just wanted to know whether or not the phosphate patina will effect the fuel at all.
 

ApexSpeed

New Member
Just an FYI, you can't neutralize an acid with another acid.


Vinegar is acetic acid and Coke is phosphoric acid. They do not neutralize each other. In fact, you could accomplish the same task with Coke on it's own—I have for rusty carbon steel golf wedges, so I know it works. Neutralize the acids with water or even better, a BASE (remember high school chemistry?) like a baking soda/water slurry. To keep it from flash rusting again, you will need to coat it with a rust presentative, not another acid.



Good luck, I'll be doing a rust attack soon on my CL350 tank.








doug
 

interceptor

Coast to Coast
I just did another tank with vinegar. This time I left it over the weekend. To neutralize the acid, use water and baking soda. When your all done, dump some two stroke oil in there and let it coat everything. Mine usually don't rust after that.
 

runmikeyrun

Been Around the Block
The vinegar trick looks awesome, cheap, and environmentally friendly which is nice. My issue is that it leaves the tank clean but unprotected from future rust. read on.

For my gas tanks, I've used a product called Milkstone Remover, which also contains phosphoric acid just at a much higher concentration than that of Coke. It's sold by Tractor Supply co. It's $13 for a gallon.

Wear thick long nitrile/pvc gloves and safety glasses! This stuff will burn the skin and blind you, no joke.

Mix it with two to three gallons of water, block off your petcock hole and/or transfers, fill to top, close the cap and let sit for a couple days. When you pour it out, the tank will have no rust and appear dull gray. That's because the phosphoric acid chemically converts the surface of the steel and it will NOT rust again. I did a tank for a Yamaha and then it sat on the shelf in my garage for a year, with no cap on it, through summer humidity and spring thaws/condensation. Not one speck of rust. It's nice because the tank doesnt need oil, Kreem, POR15, etc.

I save my used solution in a 5 gallon plastic bucket and use it to de-rust chrome and other steel parts, tools, etc. It will not hurt the chrome.
 

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