Rusted steel gas tank.

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Apr 17, 2005
In the process of restoring 1973 Norton Commando that has not been ridden for roughly 10 years. Before I start the total restoration I decided to get the bike fired up. The gas tank was put away with a full tank for storing with fuel stabilizer added.

The interior of the steel gas tank which is a roadster tank now has a light coat of rust within the interior that needs to be cleaned out. I have heard that adding a mild solution of muratic acid in combination with some loose nuts & washers can, if agitated, will remove the rust from the interior of the tank. Is this a practical method for cleaning out the tank, or is this not a viable method for getting rid of the rust deposits?

Has anyone out there encountered or heard of a practical solution for cleaning out the gas tank? The steel tank is in reasonably good condition other than the internal rust problem.


I'm sure someone will have a magic solution to this question, but be careful about using any kind of caustic liquid on a tank that still has paint you wish to preserve. Logic says, if it eats rust, it eats paint, or? I did one old tank with plenty of small nuts and bolts and a good dose of vegtable oil to get the loosened rust in suspension, once. The oil won't be a problem, as you can always wash it out later with soap and water. Won't ruin paint either, or get the enviromentalists upset when you dump the dirty oil in the trash. A good day in the sun will dry the water out of the tank afterwards anyway.
My rust was more than a bit though, almost a half inch thick, mixed with old varnish from having been set in the barn in 1950 or so. That tank took months of occasional shaking. The rust did get removed, though even if there were 12 pinholes after the rust was gone. The bike was a 1941, so the few pinholes got the tank lining treatment and it is sealed up now.
Shaking a tank with nuts an bolts and liquid in it isn't an easy job, though. Wait to see what the others say...but this shouldn't be a big problem, really....
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