Removing Gunk from Fuel Tank

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I am in Cincinnati beginning my 4th day on generator power - all of 3500 watts, but I'm damn glad to have it. This is a generator that my father bought in 1978. We tested it when it was new, then it sat unused until two years ago when it was given to me. After a carburetor rebuild and an oil change it runs decently. It has a 5 gallon external fuel tank that I would love to use (instead of needing to fill the internal tank every 2 hours). But it had gas sit in it for 28 years. It didn't even smell like gas and it poured like a thick varnish. Does anyone have an idea for an easy way to clean that sucker? Would swishing a bit a gas around in it loosen up most of the junk or would I be better off using something else, maybe kerosene or diesel?
Tom
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wrote:

Fresh gas will get the job done eventually. May need to let it sit in there a while to soften any remaining deposits. Full strength carb cleaner, like gumout, would be faster, but it's nasty stuff. Make sure you dispose of the dregs as hazardous waste.
HTH,
Paul F.
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Methylene chloride based paint strippers will have the crap out in a hurry. The old tank was probably tin coated, so don't let the stuff linger. Not recommended for the careless or imprudent. Common sense following disposal means, etc. is important. Considering the hassle to value ratio, maybe a new 5 gallon tank might be the better choice. Your call.
Joe
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I suspect the splash of new gas, and pour out the crud would be a good option. Remember, the guy is in the middle of a big power cut, and most likely the stores aren't open to sell new anything.
Years ago, I used oven cleaner to clean a Tecumseh carburetor which had been badly gummed up. A generous spray of oven cleaner into the tank, water rinse, and then allow to dry. Could do the job. The oven cleaner stripped all the green off the carb I had, and left it nice and clean.
As to drying the tank (after two or three water rinses). You have some power with the generator you have. Put the nozzle on the discharge side of a shop vac, and blow dry air into the gastank.
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Christopher A. Young
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denatured alcohol will remove the water,too,if you have some of that around.
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Jim Yanik
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One Sunday, I'm driving to church. My truck is hesitating and lurching. it's winter, and I'm thinking water in the gasoline. I stop at Kmart. They are sold out of drygas, aparently everyone else had water in the gas that day, also. On the way out, I walked through the paint department. Sure enough, quart of denatured alcohol for 3.99 or some price. I bought it. Pour in about 12 ounces through a funnel, and it got me to church.
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One Sunday, I'm driving to church. My truck is hesitating and lurching. it's winter, and I'm thinking water in the gasoline. I stop at Kmart. They are sold out of drygas, aparently everyone else had water in the gas that day, also. On the way out, I walked through the paint department. Sure enough, quart of denatured alcohol for 3.99 or some price. I bought it. Pour in about 12 ounces through a funnel, and it got me to church.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Thu, 18 Sep 2008 23:00:25 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Lots of people use alcohol to get them to church.
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wrote:

I used to remove rust and gunk from gas tanks for antique autos and motorcycles. First drain the tank as well as possible. Then add some clean gravel. Yep, thats' right, GRAVEL. About a cup full for a motorcycle, more for a larger tank. Pour in any liquid that will dissolve the varnish, such as acetone. Seal the tank and shake it vigorously while rotating it in all directions, including upside down. You'll get tired, so just shake it as long as you can, rest, then do it again. When you have really had enough of this activity, drain the contents and shake the tank while upside-down to get all the gravel out.
For what I was doing, I would follow that by letting the tank dry COMPLETELY and then swish fuel-proof zinc chromate primer all over the insides to give it a permanent rustproof coating that would also seal in any errant rust flakes that were left.
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MEK, Zylol, Laquer thinner, will work, gravel will put in alot of dirt that may have issues, what you have now is nasty sludge and there is no clear answer but power washing it out and drying it. Have fun
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On Wed, 17 Sep 2008 13:10:01 -0700 (PDT), ransley

clean gravel will put n dirt? Please explain. I've been doing it that way for over 40 years. No dirt. Not sure how long the old coot who first showed me did it before that. I think he pre-dated the automobile. No dirt.
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On Sep 17, 3:56pm, snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Clean OK, but the gravel must be cleaned itself as gravel is dirty, either way he has a mucky mess, gravel would scour the walls
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On Wed, 17 Sep 2008 15:56:25 -0700 (PDT), ransley

Before you post anything that makes even less sense than that, please go back and carefully read what I wrote. I specified CLEAN gravel.
And yes, the gravel will scour the walls, removing all the gunk and the rust that is sure to be present. That's the whole point of CLEANING THE TANK.
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Don't you just love talking to idiots?
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IMO,the biggest idiot is the one recommending putting fresh gas in and lighting a fire in the tank....
I killfiled him.
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Jim Yanik
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Hmm. What's a good acronym for "Dangerous Advice Of The Year"?
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Christopher A. Young
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On Wed, 17 Sep 2008 21:21:45 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"
I was really just responding to alert the uninitiated that he was spouting his usual nonsense. I was talking past him, not to him. I'd have to be pretty idiotic myself to think I could educate him.
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ransley wrote: ...

'Pends on where it comes from but wouldn't be hard at all to rinse of a small pretty small amount.
Scouring the walls is the idea--never thought of it, but actually it's a pretty nice idea if the tank is rusty. Don't think it would matter much for one that is simply varnished over the solvent of choice.
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The tank is always rusty! Especially one that sat for 28 years. The problem is you can't see the rust because it's on the underside of the top portion. That's where moisture condenses and the metal is not protected by gasoline.
If you have a lighted dental mirror, take a look in any old metal gas tank. There's rust.
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on 9/18/2008 6:37 AM snipped-for-privacy@dog.com said the following:

The OP never said this was a metal gas tank. It could very well be a plastic gas tank, even in 1980.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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