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, 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!
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.
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.)
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
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
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!
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
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
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.