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Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. #574479
11/30/14 10:38 am
11/30/14 10:38 am
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 172
Lytham St. Annes, UK
A
Andy Carr Offline OP
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Andy Carr  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 172
Lytham St. Annes, UK
Has anyone any experince of cleaning up an old oil tank? I don't know when the tank last held oil, but about to start cleaning it up. I pulled the mesh filter out and it was covered in brown sludge.
I'm thinking of putting a hand full of nuts\bolts in there with a cupful of parafin and giving it a severe shake. May have to find something to bung the mesh filter hole up; don't want to damage that.

Andy


1973 Lightning
1966 Lightning

So lightning does strike twice.
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Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574480
11/30/14 10:59 am
11/30/14 10:59 am
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,940
Ohio
R
Rickman Offline
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Rickman  Offline
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R
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,940
Ohio
Andy,
I've a friend at an automotive machine shop.
He has a hot tank that's been modified to use a hot water and soap solution.
Took over to him a number of oil tanks and grungy ol' cases, which came back pretty darned clean.

He has a nozzle that he pointed inside the upside down oil tank, once it was hung in the rack, inside the cabinet. Worked like a charm!

Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574489
11/30/14 12:19 pm
11/30/14 12:19 pm
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 198
Greensboro NC
H
holdfastgreg Offline
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 198
Greensboro NC
I come across this a lot in my shop - I use one of two products: anything with delaminine (citrus cleaners) or pine-sol. Let it soak and agitate frequently. It won't be 100% but with some elbow grease you can get them super clean and oddly enough smelling wonderful.

Another benefit to using either of those chemicals - no hazardous waste cleanup. I steer clear of lye and other caustics due to the cleanup factor.

Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574494
11/30/14 12:29 pm
11/30/14 12:29 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,522
Owego, NY, USA
Mark Z Offline
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Mark Z  Offline
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Posts: 4,522
Owego, NY, USA
Another idea: Go to a self-serve car wash. Stick the nozzle into the tank and flush with hot soapy water until it runs clear. Before flushing, spray or pour in some solvent such as engine degreaser. Wear eye protection!

(Tip: Car wash owners are not typically fond of this practice. I did my tank in the back of my pickup truck so as not to be terribly obvious.)


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574499
11/30/14 12:57 pm
11/30/14 12:57 pm
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 172
Lytham St. Annes, UK
A
Andy Carr Offline OP
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Andy Carr  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 172
Lytham St. Annes, UK
I think the idea of a sweet smelling oil tank is excellent :-) Great tip, thanks guys.


1973 Lightning
1966 Lightning

So lightning does strike twice.
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574572
11/30/14 10:02 pm
11/30/14 10:02 pm
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 455
Michigan, USA
J
Jeff K. Offline
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Jeff K.  Offline
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Posts: 455
Michigan, USA
I just set them in my parts washer with the flexible spout pushed in to the top and let it run for a while. The I dump out the fluid and refill and use some bottle brushes to help scrub the inside. Nut and bolts to rattle around also can help, you are after the thick sludge on the bottom. The kind of bottle brushes with the long twisted wire handle and bristle sticking out the side, you can bend these to fit better. They come in many sizes and I will pick up an assortment at Harbor freight or in the kitchen section of a department store. I then repeat and blow out with low pressure air and inspect with a light and repeat until clean. It is amazing what you will find in there. My favorite was when one guy tried to use a sand blaster. It ran for about a week after he "rebuilt" it and then seized up. I showed him the crank after I pulled it apart and his response was "no way!" "I cleaned it". It was a triumph T100 unit and he did not even pull the sludge trap in the crank. It also was full of abrasive.
Jeff

Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574579
11/30/14 11:08 pm
11/30/14 11:08 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,606
Springfield Nebraska
Richrd Offline
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Richrd  Offline
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Springfield Nebraska
I take them to a local radiator shop, they boil them clean , pressure test, weld up any leaks and strip all the paint. All I have to do paint and hang.


Rich (member ThreeMustGetBeers)
"It's not always about going fast. Sometimes it's nice to slow down" (Wendy E.2016)

69 bonney
72 commando
75 commando interstate
06 Suzu..Suzu.. uh appliance
couple of beesas a ducati
and the Snake Bike
and a Honda?
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574594
12/01/14 3:38 am
12/01/14 3:38 am
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,328
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
W
Wilfred Offline
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Wilfred  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,328
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
last one I did was on a T100 tank. Started with brake cleaner and then 1/4 inch nuts and bolts ( counted before putting in ) shaking and repeating. Worked very well. I have four more to do and have started the soak part of it to loosen up the sludge at the bottom. Think I might try the pressure washer this time and then the nozzle on the air compressor too. Cheers, Wilf


"It's about the ride..."
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574598
12/01/14 5:42 am
12/01/14 5:42 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,821
Sydney Australia
B
BSA_WM20 Offline
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Sydney Australia
If you are going to repaint the tank then a slow boil in a 20% caustic soda solution will work a treat and strip the paint at the same time


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574648
12/01/14 3:51 pm
12/01/14 3:51 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,893
Elko, Nevada USA
dave - NV Offline

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Posts: 1,893
Elko, Nevada USA
Gents ... Here's my '02 cents on cleaning oil tanks ... nothing new.
First off I feel it's very critical to clean the hardened crude that accumulates in the bottom of the BSA tank beneath the filter screen/drain. I was repainting a 'swap meet' tank for a friend and it was a dirty one.

I've found that a good solvent soaking and then hosing it out with hot soapy water at the car wash works nicely. I used this method on my recent tank renew. Hang on tight!

I too have sent stuff to the local radiator shop for a soak in their caustic soda tank. I did that with 2 Goldie gas tanks last year before epoxy coating the interiors.

Be sure to flush the complete oil system before a rebuild in the case of a mechanical engine failure!


Dave - NV
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574761
12/02/14 12:41 pm
12/02/14 12:41 pm
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 572
Surrey UK
M
Mattsta Offline
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Posts: 572
Surrey UK
I flush my oil tank every spring using paraffin and a big handful of screws and fasteners (counted in......counted out)
and paraffin followed by several hot water and soap powder rinses

You'll be amazed how much rust accumulates in a steel oil tank.

If the tank is really bad, you might want to try some other things

I used electrolysis to clean the inside of my petrol tank and I'm amazed how well it worked. All you need is a battery charger, some baking soda and any improvised electrode for the rust to collect onto. It's worth trying just for the fun


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574772
12/02/14 2:24 pm
12/02/14 2:24 pm
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,676
UK Berks
A
AngloBike Offline
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UK Berks
As I have a small compressor I use a paraffin gun that sends high pressure paraffin and air into the tank, you need to wear goggles and cover the tank in a rag or the whole lot bounces straight back out and covers the whole garage and you. It works pretty well on any bike that I have done. Never had a barn find type wreck with caked stuff to try it on. They are dirt cheap if you have the air supply . A couple of cheap bot the brushes are usefu l

Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574777
12/02/14 2:51 pm
12/02/14 2:51 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,893
Elko, Nevada USA
dave - NV Offline

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dave - NV  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,893
Elko, Nevada USA
Mattsta ... You mention using electrolysis for cleaning rust from fuel tanks. Would you please give us more details on this procedure? I'm interested in tying it in seriously rusted tank.

AngloBike guy .. I remember using my compressed air wand with solvent some years ago to flush my oil tank following some mechanical issues. Ye gads! I made a mess in the shop because I wasn't smart enough to reduce the air pressure to a more manageable level. But it did rinse the tank nicely.


Dave - NV
Re: Cleaning the interior of an oil tank. [Re: Andy Carr] #574782
12/02/14 3:51 pm
12/02/14 3:51 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 546
North Wales Uk
R
rocketgoldie Offline
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rocketgoldie  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 546
North Wales Uk
Hi go ta a good car shop get wsome of the stufor car washes it will get all the crap out.


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