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Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 #713577
11/02/17 1:29 pm
11/02/17 1:29 pm
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Posts: 13
NY
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David Kavanagh Offline OP
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I picked up this A65S and can't wait to get into it. It's been sitting for 40 years, so I obviously need to tackle *everything*. It has the 1977 registration sticker on the frame. BTW this '68 has '67 frame/engine numbers, so it's one of the 479 hybrids. Happy to post photos, but I'm posting videos as I get into this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKkEdyKcVW0&index=7&list=PLT-TfyGi33ja2QicQfdpNflEKZBgSGRy7
Are there specific places that are recommended for parts? I already bought a couple things off eBay, but I know I'll need a lot more. I'm naturally skeptical, so I want to avoid crap parts.
My goals are primarily to make this bike safe and mechanically sound so I can ride it. Secondarily, I may make it prettier. Taking it as I go. Not sure how much "originality" I want to mess with on this bike.

David


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
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Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713579
11/02/17 2:29 pm
11/02/17 2:29 pm
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,676
Scotland
kommando Online content
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kommando  Online Content
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,676
Scotland
Nice find, it has the 68 TLS with the BSA rod damper forks so it being a 68 model year looks likely. Those fork bottoms were a one year only deal so never lose them, 69/70 had the Triumph shuttle valve bottoms. Watch out for the front brake cable, its very long and can catch under the front mudguard on bumps if its not fastened correctly, then when the suspension extends the brake comes on and stays on.

An example, cannot say if its correct.


[Linked Image]

Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713580
11/02/17 2:51 pm
11/02/17 2:51 pm
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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NY
I'm told the engine turned over each year, till about 2 years ago. I have the tank off and will remove the pipes and carbs next so I can start taking the head off. I have the BSA workshop manual (it's super old!) and Haynes and Chilton as well (came w/ the bike). I'll see about getting this freed up, then get the engine out to really go through it. Need to check the bottom end and clean that sludge trap. I've watched a few videos related to that. I know the engine's been apart previously. The PO said guy before him had done bearing work, so I can't wait to see what state things are in. I have a box of "spares" that contains some valves and pistons.. yea, not sure what I'm in for, but I know it's all repairable, so in I go!


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713589
11/02/17 3:30 pm
11/02/17 3:30 pm
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 7,185
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
GrandPaul Online content
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GrandPaul  Online Content
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Posts: 7,185
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
Quote
The PO said guy before him had done bearing work...


If it were me, I'd do a flush and tune, then take it out for a ride and see how it sounded and felt, before tearing into it.

Best advice would be to track down the PO that did the work and get some actual facts, before needlessly tearing down a formerly running engine that may simply need a good flush.

As far as parts, there are several reputable vendors that sponsor this forum, you can see links at the top of every page. Klempf's would probably be a good starting point for you.


Last edited by GrandPaul; 11/02/17 3:33 pm.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: GrandPaul] #713599
11/02/17 4:18 pm
11/02/17 4:18 pm
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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NY
The guy I bought it from had it registered in '77 (I have his registration card). I'd be surprise if I could track down someone who had it in the early 70!
The fiberglass tank seems in good shape. I think going through the fuel system to clean it up is important after all this time. Plus, not much oil left in it. bottom of the engine has some of it.
Plus, I don't trust anything after 40 years of sitting. Not going to ride the bike, but running the engine, maybe. Perhaps I'll get some penetrating fluid in the cylinders to see if they free up.


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713602
11/02/17 4:31 pm
11/02/17 4:31 pm
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,587
ohio, usa
kevin roberts Offline

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kevin roberts  Offline

DOPE

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ohio, usa
Originally Posted by David Kavanagh
I'm told the engine turned over each year, till about 2 years ago.


it doesn't turn now? i suppose i'm mostly a gear head, but your machine looks really, really nice. if it's stuck, i would take it apart to the bottom end, and then come back up. they don't make any more of these, and it would be a shame to have a minor oil or bearing issue result in a blow up.

that's a beautiful bike, dude. there's only one machine left on my bucket list, and that's it.


"Are bikes so nice as all that?" asked the mole, shyly...

"Nice? They're the only thing," said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward on the handlebars. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about with bikes."
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713609
11/02/17 4:39 pm
11/02/17 4:39 pm
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 249
Illinois
Spitfire Ken Offline

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Illinois
I LIKETHE FOLLOWING PARTS SUPPLIERS:

RABERS
BAXTER
British Only

WHEN YOU ARE RESTORING THE TANK SAVE THE stickers ON THE SIDE THE REPRDUCTION DO NOT LOOK LIKE THOS ALSO IF THE TANK IS IN THE ORIINAL JELL COAT AND HAS NEVER BEEN PAINTED TAKE IT TO SOMEONE WHO NOWS HOW TO BUFF CARS ETC. YOU CAN GET IS BUFFED OUT THEN TOUCH IT UP AS NECESSARY. YOU COULD BE SURPRISE HOW GOOD IT COULD TURM OUT, THE SAMP APPLIES TO THE SIDE COVERS.


I APOLOGIZE FOR THE USE OF CAPS. I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH MY RIGHT HAND SO USING THE SHIFT KEY IS BEYOND MY CAPABILITES.

The Devil is in the details.

1957 BSA A10 Spitfire Scrambler (numbers matching, very correct, very nice condition)
1965 BSA A65 Lightning Rocket "Clubman" (restored)
1966 BSA A65 Spitfire MK-II (restored)
1967 BSA A65 West Coast Hornet (under rstoration)
2001 Kawasaki W650
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713627
11/02/17 7:00 pm
11/02/17 7:00 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,256
argyll. scotland, uk
gavin eisler Online content
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gavin eisler  Online Content
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argyll. scotland, uk
Good find, in the vid I noticed a couple of things, some one painted the head black and lost the rear RHS rocker cover nut.
Look in the oil tank, if it looks V low expect to find all the lub oil in the Crank case sump, drain this via the sump plate, Wet sumping is pretty much a given with these motors if they sit for a long time. The condition of the sump plate screen and oil will hint towards the motor state.

The gearbox drains via a large hex plug on the bottom surface. The primary should drain from one of the lower screws ( they were painted red originally), the manual shows which one.

Looks like a very unmolested model, should clean up V well.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713847
11/04/17 6:15 pm
11/04/17 6:15 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 137
Anchorage Alaska USA
M
Mitch Offline
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Anchorage Alaska USA
these are the guys I considered to be the most reliable parts source.... http://www.britcycle.com/

Brit fiberglass does not play well with modern gasoline. I haven't had to deal with it in recent years. others will chime in

Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713848
11/04/17 6:17 pm
11/04/17 6:17 pm
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
I added some denatured alcohol to the gas tank. I want to thin out the really old fuel in there and dissolve built-up varnish.
I am not getting anything out of the petcocks. I feel like I should replace them since one is missing the handle anyway. I see they're screwed into a fitting on the bottom of the tank. Since the tank is fiberglass, I'm worried about applying too much torque removing them. Anybody have a link to a good assembly drawing? The shop manual I have isn't particularly detailed in this area. (just so I know what I'm dissembling).


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713855
11/04/17 7:26 pm
11/04/17 7:26 pm
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 903
Farnham, Surrey, UK
gunner Offline
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gunner  Offline
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Posts: 903
Farnham, Surrey, UK
Nice bike, I own a similar 1968 A65 in Firebird rather than Spitfire format, mine also has the two gallon tank.

After several years I changed the original fiberglass tank for an Indian sourced replacement. I still have the original tank and may reuse it in future as its a better fit than the Indian replacement.

Regarding the fuel taps, I wouldn't worry about using too much force when removing them, usually the fittings in fiberglass tanks are very secure unless the tank is seriously weakened from using modern petrol. If you're changing the fuel taps for new ones, I can recommend the BAP types which seem to be better built than some of the replacement versions available. I recently changed to using BAP fuel taps as the new ones I bought 5 years ago started leaking.

If you're going to reuse the tank then you need to get it sealed internally with a modern Phenol Novolac Resin to prevent modern fuel from attacking the fiberglass. There are many products available and the key to ensuring success is to get any previous coatings removed and ensure the tank is clean and dry inside. You have to be very careful to protect the external paint and its all to easy to to ruin the paint by spilling solvents etc.


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713859
11/04/17 8:19 pm
11/04/17 8:19 pm
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 1,301
Bolton Lancs UK
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Andy Higham Offline
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Bolton Lancs UK
Another solution would be a hand made in England alloy tank http://www.holtworks.co.uk/contents/en-uk/d44.html


BSA B31 500cc "Stargazer"
Greeves 200cc "Blue Meanie"
Greeves 350
Greeves 360 Challenger
Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
GM500cc sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
Jawa 500cc "Llareggub"
2003 Aprilia RSV Mille "Lo Stregone"
'35 OK Supreme
'36 OK Supreme
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713864
11/04/17 8:44 pm
11/04/17 8:44 pm
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 1
B.C.Canada
B
BZRMAN Offline
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B.C.Canada
I Have 2 68 Spits, 1 I bought new in 1968 and 1 bought in New mexico 8 years ago/ Both I have Fully restored. I coated both tank interiors with a product from Blue Lightning in California. Made for fiberglass. Lots of products for metal tanks but make sure what you get is compatible with fiberglass.

Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713915
11/05/17 1:00 pm
11/05/17 1:00 pm
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 504
new jersey usa
P
pushrod tom Offline
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new jersey usa
Ummmm. Isn't denatured alcohol also known as Ethanol? If so it will eat through yer tank pretty quick!! PRT

Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713918
11/05/17 1:36 pm
11/05/17 1:36 pm
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9,676
Scotland
kommando Online content
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kommando  Online Content
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Scotland
Denatured alcohol is known as methylated spirits in UK and is Ethanol with foul tasting additives so you do not drink it as a substitute for alcohol. I would not be adding it to a fibreglass tank. I use it to dewater steel tanks after derusting with acids and a water flush, it picks up the last bits of moisture and so drys out the tank.

Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713924
11/05/17 3:09 pm
11/05/17 3:09 pm
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Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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David Kavanagh  Offline OP
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NY
Well, dang. I thought I'd read somewhere about using denatured alcohol to loosen up the gunk. I have the petcocks out now.

[Linked Image]

I was thinking I should flush the tank, but not sure what with.

I would love to re-build these petcocks, if they're rebuildable. I'll go see if I can find parts.


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713930
11/05/17 3:40 pm
11/05/17 3:40 pm
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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NY
This looks like what I have:
http://www.klempfsbritishparts.com/PETCOCK--LEVER-TYPE-0

Is it original? According to this PDF (Plate 22), it appears to be. https://partsbooks.britishonly.com/partsbooks/20-10306C.pdf

This also shows a different fuel line layout than I have on mine. I have one that looks like : http://www.klempfsbritishparts.com/LINE--FUEL-ASSY-0
There's a steep price to get an original replacement! I don't trust the old lines, so I'll want to do something and I'm trying to stay original.


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713942
11/05/17 5:49 pm
11/05/17 5:49 pm
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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NY
The engine moves again! Sitting with pb-blaster in the cylinders did the trick. I put it in first, gently rolled it forward and back, then started hearing a sucking sound from the sparkplug holes!
Then, put in neutral and used the kick-start to gently move the engine, which it did just fine! Not wanting to do damage, I stopped after that, but this is good! I'll probably yank the sump cover next to see how gunky that is. Then, remove the exhaust and carbs. I need to get organized about parts labeling and storage next. As stuff comes off, the floor would get pretty cluttered!


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713952
11/05/17 7:19 pm
11/05/17 7:19 pm
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,721
Mississauga, Ontario.
A
Adam M. Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,721
Mississauga, Ontario.
Made my own fuel line for a few bucks, crazy for me to pay more than $100 for it.
I believe original petcocks were pull and push Evarts, they are OK when you buy new plungers with cork for them.
No sense for me to try to start it, after long seating bearings are probably done, not talking about seals and gaskets.
Everything must be checked, but perhaps not so many parts will need changing.

Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #713956
11/05/17 7:40 pm
11/05/17 7:40 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,256
argyll. scotland, uk
gavin eisler Online content
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gavin eisler  Online Content
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Posts: 4,256
argyll. scotland, uk
perhaps it wasnt seized, sometimes the kick start ratchet jams and gives the illusion of a stuck engine, the answer is usually to put the bike in gear and rock it.
These fuel taps are good, I use the same style, , the wee handle has a 2 BA thread. They will clean up very well, the taps are 1/4 BSP, and the tank has the usual 3/8 BSP with an adaptor.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #714186
11/07/17 3:39 pm
11/07/17 3:39 pm
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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NY
My current thinking, look at contents of sump cover and then crank end-float to assess condition of lower part of the engine. If sump looks pretty clean and crank end-float within tolerances, get new fluids in the bike and go for a start?
Flushing was brought up. What's a good procedure to flush the old oil out? I can well imagine the carbs have varnish in them as well. I also need to get some ethanol free gas, which I can get locally.


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #714561
11/10/17 10:50 pm
11/10/17 10:50 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,256
argyll. scotland, uk
gavin eisler Online content
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gavin eisler  Online Content
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argyll. scotland, uk
Its not so much the oil thats an issue, its the sludge trap, Do you feel lucky?Sitting for 40 years , drying out hmmm.
If you do feel lucky, drop the oil manifold ( needs new O rings to refit) flush the oil tank and lines, , refill with mineral 20- 50.
Flush the tank into a white container, look at the residue , sparklies are not a great sign. Remove the OPRV and check the strainer.
Sort of depends what position the crank was in and if it had wet sumped ( not really an if, it will have wet sumped), with a sump full of oil and submerged big ends , who knows?
if it goes wrong its not my fault. I would urge caution, at least one of the valves will need a refresh if its sat off its seat , a strip down would be safest.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #714568
11/10/17 11:41 pm
11/10/17 11:41 pm
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,587
ohio, usa
kevin roberts Offline

DOPE
kevin roberts  Offline

DOPE

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Posts: 4,587
ohio, usa
look at it this way?

you're going to have to get intimate with it sooner or later. if you take it down now, you'll be out tbe expense of gaskets, tabwashers and some seals. and you'll know everything you need to know about the inside.

if you just start it and the sludge comes adrift, you'll be taking it down then too, but with a less hopeful point of view about what you'll be finding.



"Are bikes so nice as all that?" asked the mole, shyly...

"Nice? They're the only thing," said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward on the handlebars. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about with bikes."
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #718053
12/07/17 5:53 pm
12/07/17 5:53 pm
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Posts: 13
NY
D
David Kavanagh Offline OP
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NY
Are these considered "proper" tires for this bike? https://www.eBay.com/itm/New-Tires-Tubes-Set-Dunlop-K70-3-25-19-4-00-18-Triumph-BSA-Norton/191391944447?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

I've decided to shoot for "great condition survivor" in my restoration. In other words, it won't be perfect, but it should be "like it was 40 years ago", or something like that. :-)


'68 BSA Spitfire MkIV (w/ '67 numbers)
'81 Yamaha XJ550 Seca
Re: Restoring (to a point) my '68 BSA Spitfire Mk4 [Re: David Kavanagh] #718074
12/07/17 8:09 pm
12/07/17 8:09 pm
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 751
Isle of Wight, UK
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koan58 Offline
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Isle of Wight, UK
At this stage I would be paranoid about the original petrol tank, if it's in good enough nick to be worth saving it is because it has not been exposed to ethanol fuel so far (I'm hoping there are no swellings showing even slightly in the outer gel coat, if there are it is probably too late). The worst thing you could do is give it ethanol in any shape or form. As said before, meths, industrial alcohol, denatured alcohol etc are almost entirely ethanol. This will start the process of dissolving the resin in the fibreglass.
I would suggest immediately drying the ethanol out of the tank by hairdryer or whatever, to get it warmed and keep it that way for as long as it takes so you can't smell alcohol from the filler. If you can blow air through the tap hole, even better (say if you have a compressor). I would be obsessively thorough with this.
It is any ethanol left in the fibreglass matrix, or even absorbed in the slightly softened surface of the resin, that when you apply the internal coating, will be sealed in and will inevitably come back to haunt you.
If there is old petrol gum dried out, mainly on the bottom of the tank (perhaps you saw some on the taps when you got them out), I would use the lowest ethanol petrol to give it a few hours to work, regularly shaking the tank about, then drain, and repeat several times with fresh fuel till it looks clear, then repeat the drying above. Again be obsessive, because you will probably only get one chance at this.
The sealants usually come with a solvent wash (acetone I think) which does a bit of cleaning and a bit of moisture removal, but it won't cope with much. So you need to give it all the help you can.

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