Caswell Curiosity

Status
Not open for further replies.

rvich

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
3,177
Country flag
I am interested in learning what kind of results people have gotten from using Caswell Tank Sealer. I see a lot of remarks about it but it is difficult to figure out if that is a vocal minority or not. If you have used the product on your tank I would be interested to know if your tank is steel or fiberglass and whether or not it worked, if it worked and then eventually failed, how long did it take and if it failed immediately do you have any ideas as to why.

I am doing research to aggresively tackle the problems with old tanks breaking down, specifically fiberglass but the steel tanks may offer insight and may also end up benefiting from the research. I will most likely do a thread on other tank coatings as well but for now I would like to keep this on point of Caswell's.

thanx,
Russ

PS-I think these tanks can be saved, but I am not sure yet what extremes it may take. I have a hunch that regardless of whatever is done that draining the tank when the bike is laid up is going to be a big part of it. Talking with persons in the industry who have conducted tests of various resins that have had tank sealer applied to them report that prolonged exposure to ethanol softens all of them eventually (this is not conclusive as I cannot report that every possible product and combination has been tested). So the conclusion from this is that tank sealers slow down the degradation process but do not halt it. The good news is that ethanol evaporates out of those test samples when they are left open to the atmosphere. How much cronic damage occurs from repeating this process over a period of years is not known.

If you decide to ventilate your tank, use caution, the fumes in an empty tank are a real concern as a source of ignition.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
1,607
Country flag
I used it on my fiberglass tank - it didn't work. Mike Caswell was going to send me a special extra durable mix, but never did. I went with a Pakistani replica tank, which wept around the roll seam at the back and leaked like a sieve around the filler neck. Had the roll seam welded and the filler neck silver soldered, which stopped the leaks, but the paint is still bubbling a little on the right side of the filler neck. I don't know if this is from fumes, or if the neck is weeping just enough to wrinkle the paint. The tank is definitely dry on the outside - no more cascade of gas down the side when braking with a full tank.

I've heard of several local owners who use either avgas or ethanol-free marina gas, and their glass tanks are still ok. The problem with this, is they can't take their bikes on a trip, unless they carry extra fuel.
 

rvich

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
3,177
Country flag
Bill,
When you say it didn't work, was it an immediate failure to hold its contents? Did the coating seem to set up fine and then fail? Or did it just fail to adhere to the tank? Also, do you still have the tank? If so, are you willing to experiment on it, knowing that it might be complete garbage afterwards?
 

Tim

Joined
Feb 4, 2009
Messages
67
I used Caswell on a metal Roadster tank about one year ago. Applied according to directions, it turned out very nice. So far, no problems with the coating softening or coming off. The mixed solution was a little thicker than expected, and that made it more difficult to achieve a uniform coating inside the tank. I intend to use Caswell again on my next project, also a metal roadster tank. Only time will tell whether or not it is a permanent solution. I'll be very interested in the results of your survey.
Tim
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
2,983
Country flag
I haven't had gas in my glass Roadster tank for a couple of years, that's another story. In view of all I've read about coating glass tanks on this forum, I'm going with a metal tank.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2004
Messages
1,616
Country flag
I think any sealant inside a fiberglass tank is just a temporary fix. I've been using a glass Roadster tank on my 750 that I sealed with Caswell epoxy several years ago. The sealant still looks fine but I'm noticing an area of what looks like delamination on the top of the tank. This tank has never been repainted, it still has the original gelcoat finish, so no paint to bubble. Previously I had another glass tank on the bike that had been painted. I had it sealed professionally by a guy in California. He used some other product (not Caswell). After two seasons the paint started bubbling. That coating still looks good too, but the gas got through it, or around it, somehow.

I think that no matter what you use, and how careful you are with the preparation, the ethanol will get through eventually. A metal tank is the only way to go IMHO, sorry to say.

Debby
 

rvich

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
3,177
Country flag
It is one of my trademarks at work that if somebody says "it's impossible" they might have well said..."I double-dog dare you". Thus one of the reasons I am looking at this problem. It was not by accident that I searched for a bike with a steel tank when I bought mine. But I have twenty years of experience of repairing and building things from cloth and resin and would like to see what can be done with this. Not only is any fix probably temporary, but in reality fiberglass will absorb liquid eventually as it wicks along the fibers and gets trapped by the resin. So if your tank has abosrbed enough fuel to delaminate then it probably needs ground out and repaired. In the end it will most likely come down to how much effort or money someone wants to put into saving their old tanks. At some point it gets easier to make a new one. One of the main reasons I am posting this thread is that collecting enough fiberglass tanks to do a hands-on survey is not practical. So if you are going to do it just once, you have to try to make an educated (or wild ass) guess and proceed.
 

htown16

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
1,399
Country flag
I used POR15 on my metal Triumph tank about 4 years ago and it has held up fine. Followed the directions religously, made sure the tank was completely dry before coating and let the coating cure for about a month before putting gas in. On the Commando I'm doing I am going to try Caswells on my metal tank.
 
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Messages
1,691
Been there a few times also working on the problem. Sloshing is not going to work on a fiberglass tank. You have to cut out the bottom of the tank. The compound used to fight the solvent is too brittle to hold up to being a bike tank if it gets too thick. So you cut open the tank and sand it clean and paint the product on using a thin even coat. But it's a bit hard to remarry the two halves. One has to build a shelf to set the bottom back onto and the shelf has to be a very good fit so that the sealing -bonding product does not find areas that are thick as to cause yet another spot that will crack from the vibration. To get this kind of fit you have to cast it after building a base to set it all on. Takes some time costs some bucks. No easy fix. The resin used to take it to start with we have only found in 50 gallon barrels and it costs 3000.00 per so that’s out. A new tank using this gets very near the price of an aluminum tank.
 
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
644
debby said:
I think that no matter what you use, and how careful you are with the preparation, the ethanol will get through eventually. A metal tank is the only way to go IMHO, sorry to say.

Debby

Yes! No racing series on earth will let you run a glass tank. In fact, if you brought it up they would advise you to get a check-up from the neck-up. These tanks weren't safe when they were new. They are now 40 years old. I sold off a glass tank years ago and got a metal one. I regret doing it. It was irresponsible. I should have cut out the top, filled it with potting soil and planted flowers in it. Polish it every spring.

BTW, E-10 is a myth. It's usually much more and it's going up if the Corn Lobby has its way. I wouldn't bet against them.
 

arc

Joined
Oct 30, 2008
Messages
47
I am very interested in this also, i'm painting a glass tank at the moment but here in the UK we do'nt have the gas problems YET! coming in 2013 apparently so it will affect us overhere.Done a web search and there is a company in INDIA which makes underground storage tanks for petrol out of guess what........FIBERGLASS????????? Just for EUROPE?.
 

lcrken

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
4,738
Country flag
bpatton said:
Yes! No racing series on earth will let you run a glass tank. In fact, if you brought it up they would advise you to get a check-up from the neck-up.

Not really. AHRMA has no restriction on using glass tanks. Their only requirement is that tanks be "leak free and securely mounted." If you walk around an AHRMA paddock, you will find a number of race bikes with glass tanks still competing.

Ken
 

cNw

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
456
Country flag
Hi,

We do sell the Caswell product and have had good feedback so far from those that have used it. I feel that the sealer is one of the best for dealing with the problems that the blended fuels are causing. We use it on all of our steel tanks and like how it has performed to date. I have only done one glass tank here in the shop, a Fastback, that had been sitting empty for 20 years and was in very nice condition. Jury still out how on how it will hold up over time.

However if somebody is asking how it will work in their glass tank I will always tell them that there are no guarantees that it will seal their tank. If you have a tank that has been sitting on a shelf for many years (dry), well then you have a better chance of making the sealer work, but if you have recently run the tank with fuel the tank may already be compromised and it really doesnt matter what you do to the inside of the tank......the problem is already wicking through the glass itself and it will affect your paint job sooner or later. Each and every glass tank is different depending on its past use and condition.

It may be worth the time and money to give a tank a try with the Caswell sealer if you are just looking to try to save a tank. I would not invest in a new paintjob though unless you were certain that the sealer was doing the job.

Something alse to consider is the fact that the Caswell being an epoxy, will get extremely hard. This means that it wont flex like some of the sloshing sealers will. This is important to know as the tank will flex in certain areas, especially around the gas cap. I think we have all seen guys putting a fair amount of weight into the cap when closing it and this translates directly into the steel or glass. If this then moves the epoxy shell on the inside enough to crack it, then the integrity of the surface has been compromised and could cause some problems down the road.

The Ethanol is probably here to stay, possibly in even higher doses (E15), so I think we are up against a challenge in trying to fight the problems related to using the fuel. Also knowing that there are many industries that are having serious problems, such as the marine industry, I have to feel like there are companies working towards creating product that will withstand the 'enemy'.

Only time will tell.

Matt / Colorado Norton Works
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
4,242
Country flag
I was mulling over buying a metal tank when I found a source for 110 octane leaded race gas. At $6 a gallon it's not cheap, but hopefully there's nothing in it that will eat fiberglass.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Messages
119
Coated my original fastback tank around late May or June last year with caswell. We do not have E10 forced on us in NSW yet, next year I think is when it is in ulp. I only run premium ulp which has not any ethanol and will be the only way to get petrol without ethanol. The reason I coated the tank before ethanol was in our petrol was soon after I started to ride after restoration the bike started to run rough and I removed the carb,s and manifold and the manifolds had a nice blueish green sticky mess just like some one's photos on here from USA and running ethanol. My bike had been sitting for a long time before I purchased it and it looked like it has had some sort of coating inside that felt soft after I put it on the road and filled with pulp. I think the tank had been repaired with some sort of coating as there was a thick puddle of what ever had been used near where the front tank mounting bolt is. On the under side there appeared to be a crack in the gel coat but it did not leak. I asked a for advice from the forum and there were plenty of people over in the US that had been there and done that. Advice was Caswells or Hirsh, in oz Caswells was easier to obtain from an agent and I applied it on a cool day and the only problem I had was it was thick and fun to turn the tank over and over to get a good cover. Have some thick spots in places but it would not drain any more than the results I achieved after I removed the bungs. I have not had any problems since then and I never drain the tank but as I said before we do not have to use E10 that's next year and I only run PULP which will not have Ethanol only ULP. I was offered by a local bike shop to make me a new fibreglass tank in the metal flake green the same as mine for a real good price as he wanted mine for a mould so he could offer fastback tanks in his list of tanks. He claimed that the type off fibreglass he used was better than what they were made of 40 years ago but if that was the case no one in the US knows about that claim. If I had to do it again I will do what Ron sugested and Jean done , cut the base out of the tank and clean and sand the surface, coat and refit the base as per Jean. One quick question, how do aluminium and ethanol go if left sitting.
Ian
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
2,926
Country flag
"He claimed that the type off fibreglass he used was better than what they were made of 40 years ago but if that was the case no one in the US knows about that claim."

Hatteras Boats used fiberglass tanks from their beginning in the early 60's. In the mid 80's they changed the resin and the FG tanks made after that are considered OK re ethanol. Recently I bought a new FG fastback tank from Burton Bike Bits in the UK. They told me that the resins used were OK with ethanol. So it is clear that there is some difference in the resin formulas from 40 years ago. OTOH, the folks at Burtons suggested that the tank be sealed anyway, "just to be sure." This indicates to me that although the resin is SUPPOSED to be proof against ethanol, only time will tell...

Ironically, in the case of boats, the Hatteras FG fuel tanks were considered, until ethanol, the BEST fuel tanks in existence for pleasure marine use - totally impervious to rust/corrosion, etc. Funny how things change...now folks with these older Hatteras gas-powered boats have to figure out how to remove the FG tanks, which were part of the boat's structure, and replace them with what used to be considered a lesser-quality tank (steel/AL, whatever).
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
1,607
Country flag
rvich said:
Bill,
When you say it didn't work, was it an immediate failure to hold its contents? Did the coating seem to set up fine and then fail? Or did it just fail to adhere to the tank? Also, do you still have the tank? If so, are you willing to experiment on it, knowing that it might be complete garbage afterwards?

My tank had been dry since 1985, AFAIK. I bought the caswell product, and applied it twice to the tank while I was putting the rest of my basket case together. The Caswell had been allowed to cure for about three months before I put gas in it. After two days, I noticed a little peeling around the inside of the filler neck, and assumed it was probably my clearcoat, as I had sprayed the last coat without masking off the neck. I reached into the tank, and was able to peel off about a 2" x 2" piece of the Caswell, which had the consistency of rubber. After letting it dry for a day, it turned hard. The gas in the tank also turned a little milky/cloudy. By this time, I had seen 3 or 4 tanks over at Wes' shop with ethanol failure, and decided it wasn't worth working on the glass tank anymore.

Yes, I still have the tank, and was thinking of playing with it sometime this spring to see if I could figure out a fix.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Messages
119
Sigh...
I guess I'll give up thinking about sealing my FG tanks.
I really wanted an Evan Wilcox tank anyway...
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
2,983
Country flag
I've come to the same conclusion. About sealing, that is. The Wilcox is a little spendy for me.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Messages
119
Well, it's a little spendy for me too. Bu tif a steel one set up so it's not going to leak and painted nicely is going to e $1200...
Then a few dollars more for what I'd really rather have isn't that big of a step.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top