Paint INSIDE the gas tank


Coast to Coast
Real annoying problem Ive got on my hands here: Paint in the gas tank.

Had a tank repaired, and painted. Specifically asked the painter to seal the tank properly, which he didn't.

I cleaned out the tank with gas - put in about a gallon, shook it around, emptied, repeated twice.

Connect everything up, and then started the bike. Idled fine, got it warmed up, and then rode for about a mile, before I got what seemed like fuel starvation. Then bike just wouldn't run after that.

In-line fuel filter filled with milky white liquid (paint is white), and so too carbs. I'm guessing the filter inside the tank attached to the petcock is clogged up with paint residue as well.

SO MY BIG QUESTION: Is there a better more efficient, safe way to clean out the paint on the inside of the tank than washing it out with fuel?

And then: After cleaning out the carbs, and replacing the fuel filter, would the paint residue have been burned up sufficiently in the motor? Did it even get there? Or do I have a further problem now with this regard?

Any reliable info would be greatly appreciated...

Pic: (1994 Honda NSR 250 SE) Bike idling nicely while warming up before my test ride, which ended up in a break down. The smell of two-stroke oil :)




Take it to the shop and tell em they fucked up. Make em clean it, its not your problem they didnt prep it properly before spraying. If they wont them call the better business beauro (or american equivilant).

Sloppy work never pays.


Coast to Coast
Fuel will be slower to liquify the paint than the correct thinner/reducer for that kind of paint.

I would expect that if you are careful, sloshing about a liter of thinner around in there and then draining it will work better than fuel.

You might have to do it a few times, and you would need to be very careful not to spill it on the outside of the tank of course.

Let's hear it for fuel filters and petcock screens!

And I'd give that painter an ear full too...


Science is true whether you believe in it or not.
I would suggest that you NOT take it back to the shop that did the work. They fucked it up the first time, and there is no reason to think they know how to do it right the second time. Just suck it up and deal with it.

If the paint used was lacquer, it can be removed with lacquer thinner or acetone. Unfortunately, it's almost certain that you will ruin your paint job. Lacquer does not go through a chemical hardening process. It drys by evaporation of the thinner, and is easily dissolved by thinner.

Consider going to a radiator shop and see if they can clean out your tank.

Does the tank need an interior sealer? If so, why? Usually, bare metal is just fine inside a tank, even if there is light surface rust.

I wouldn't worry about any paint that may have gotten past the carburetor causing any trouble. It would have been very little, and it's not that abrasive.


Coast to Coast
Maybe go the radiator shop route and have the painter pay for it.

Sent from my HTC Glacier using Tapatalk


Coast to Coast
Gentlemen, thank you for your time and wisdom! :) I have felt pretty much every sentiment expressed by you guys over the last couple of days.

For starters, instead of being at the race track on Sunday, I was in my garage trying to figure out how to dispose of waste fuel in a legal manner. My wife complaining that the house smell of gas, and the fact that I had to forfeit a winning track day ticket valued at $120 because some dumbass didn't spend 10 minutes prepping and doing his job properly...

I guess right now, I'm just going to keep working it till its clean using fuel.

Check this out:





Actually resorted to scratching it up with a screwdriver and a bit of thinners...


Garage time replaces ride time. Normally Im fine with this!

Yeah, Ive just got ta get scrubin! :)



Over 1,000 Posts
i would take it back to the painter! heck i paint and powder for a living and if i screwed up i would want the ability to make it right... if you are going to scratch it.... pee gravel and a bit of gas.... shake the piss out of it... will work


Coast to Coast
JRK5892 said:
i would take it back to the painter! heck i paint and powder for a living and if i screwed up i would want the ability to make it right... if you are going to scratch it.... pee gravel and a bit of gas.... shake the piss out of it... will work

Thanks man.

You know, he's a nice guy, but his workers don't give a shit. Its not going to change. He's just going to give it to the same guy and yadda yadda... I'm just going to sort this out myself, without damaging the tank any more, and move on.

So how much do you suggest I use? Gravel and gas? And what size gravel?
And, how would you suggest you get it all out? The tank has some pretty narrow sections inside on either side toward the seat...


Over 1,000 Posts
just reg old pee gravel... few cups of gas... to get it out just add water and dump over and over it will all come out

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