I have a very old (30-50 years old?) oil tank in my basement and the
gauge has stopped working. I tried to loosen it up with a big wrench
to see if it just got stuck inside but it wouldn't budge. My father-in-
law said I'd need to affix a long pipe to the wrench to loosen it. Is
there any way I can damage the tank by using this extra force. What
I'm worried about is the plug being rusted to the tank and the force
actually breaking the threads.
Use some penetrating oil, but the tank is thick and should hold
easily, last week my boiler guy cranked on our 60 yr old boiler, it
worked. Worst is you get a thread tap..So get a long pipe for leverage.
no, you want to pull up on the gauge so the float is folded over. they
don't go straight when empty they always have some angle on them.
If the tank is 30 to 50 years old one better be careful when using force
the tank is probably getting weak. The best advice is as stated
spraying something on it that will penetrate the rust and then remove
it. if you ruin the threads be prepared to install a new tank.
that scares me. I don't think anything I spray on it is going to
penetrate the seal because there is some kind of painted on sealant on
it that looks like gray paint. I really don't want to have to spring
for a new tank right now, is there any other way to gauge how much oil
is in the tank? There is no other available hole to put a separate
gauge. I tried just knocking on it but I really can't tell the
difference, it always sounds a little hollow.
These tanks usually rust out from the bottom because that's where
water collects, not from the top where the fitting is. Your father
in law is correct. You need a pipe wrench to unscrew a fitting like
that. It's perfectly normal. I'd never even bother with a regular
wrench. I'd try to have the tank about 3/4 full to give it more mass
so it won't move. I think the risk of causing a problem unscrewing
the fitting is low. Just make sure you don't cause the tank to move
and damage the piping. If it were my tank though and it were 30 to
50 years old, I'd probably be replacing it as a precaution because of
eventual tank failure due to rusting out.
You could also call a HVAC company and have them do it.
You are making way too much out of this. Get a 3 foot pipe wrench.
Rent it, borrow it, etc. Put some ass into it and start turning it.
Just watch it or have a helper. Push hard but dont "rock" it. If that
doesnt work, get another person on the wrench. Again, slowly but
forcefully. If that doesnt work, put a piece of pipe over the wrench
to make it long and give you even more leverage. AGain, carefully.
This is where you can start bending pipe wrenches and distorting
things. Id tell you to take a hand held propane or mapp torch to it
but that adds another whole liability issue to the situation.
(Yes, Ive done it and am not afraid of it. Oil is not very flammable
sitting there in its liquid state).
When its out, dip the tank with a broom handle to get an idea of the
oil level, screw in a new float gauge and check its accuracy to the
You finished yet?
knock the stuff off with a wire wheel and then spray this stuff on it
it works. then use the wrench with a pipe on it for leverage to turn
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