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Richard Phillips
Richard Phillips
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Will S. Offline OP
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Gas tank inside was Caswell epoxy coated 15+ years ago, now it is separating in places and coming off in sheets. I’ve also found a blue green viscous slime in my fuel lines that may be related, or it could be old crappy California gas - bike sat for a few years. Gas tank is painted so I need a solution to remove the Caswell that won’t harm the finish.


Will S.
BSAs: '66 & '69 Lightning
Triumphs: '68 TR6R, '68 Bonneville, '73 TR7, '55 6T
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I cleaned a coated tank by dumping in a cup or so of old wood screws with some lacquer thinner and a lot of shaking. Rinsed with phosphoric acid. Since you are concerned about the finish, trying the wood screws in soapy solution should work out okay. Soap won't attack the paint and will cut any oil/gas residue in the tank. I would rinse with phosphoric acid when you are done. Phosphoric acid is sold by Lowe's/Home Depot as "Prep and Etch" and is inexpensive. Takes a bit of time depending on rust and much coating exists within the tank.

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Hi Will, I'm assuming steel tank?? Interesting the liner is failing. I'm in Pleasant Hill, CA so same fuel. Only just under 4 years on my Caswell sealer. So far so good....

I expect the goo is from liner deterioration. I've seen this from some fuel filter epoxy. Oddest thing how it can pass through screen in banjo freely, jet jell in carb & stick float needle. Took me some months of repeated failure to figure it out. I though it was dissolving clear fuel line.

Back to question, I just check Caswell's new web site. I couldn't find the specific type paint remover that removes the lining. It used to be there.

How can you save paint? I don't know with this paint remover. I used Kreem paint protector to save my paint when I clean/sealed my tank. Had rust & finally got pin hole on upper surface of tank. Looked like dot in original paint what gas very slightly oozed out of. The Kreem protector is water dissolvable, but things like gas, acetone won't touch it. Brush it on & let dry. I did 2 coats. Then covered tank with Glad wrap to protect the protector. Water including sweat dissolves the protector instantly.

Many paint removers are removed with water so I don't know if the protector would work or not.


I know several that have used Caswell long term with California fuel to good results. So I don't know why yours is deteriorating. Maybe the formula has changed since or wasn't mixed or correctly installed in correctly prepped tank. Reading on line about this type sealant I saw 100% cure is essential to good results. I gave tank about 14 days just to be sure. They suggested insufficient cure would lead to deterioration of liner.

In any case Kreem liner is no good & not durable for California fuel.

I'd also call around for tank liner removal services. There are a few in California. See what they say. Might be cheaper to repaint. It might be you're just going to have to loose paint, but I would check all other avenues first.

I still feel Caswell is best liner on market for steel tanks.
Don


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Thanks guys! Yes it’s a steel tank. When I look down the filler I can see areas where the Caswell is separating in sheets. May try shaking wood screws around to see if it’ll break it up some.
Tank is solid otherwise, not really sure why we coated it 15+ years ago, probably was unnecessary preventative maintenance. It was definitely before I learned about removing rust with Apple Cider Vinegar !


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You need a paint stripper that contains methylene chloride.


And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth'

An interesting point given recent events.

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MEK is horrible stuff so take extreme caution.
A respirator and goggles, long sleeves, rubber gloves and open air.

Dispose of the old chemical carefully. It causes liver cancer.
But it works

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Originally Posted by AngloBike
MEK is horrible stuff so take extreme caution.
A respirator and goggles, long sleeves, rubber gloves and open air.

Dispose of the old chemical carefully. It causes liver cancer.
But it works

I found MEK didn’t touch the POR15, just blew my head off from The vapour.

Por do a product called por strip, they might even do one called tank strip? I state this as I’ve used the POR strip when nothing else would remove paint from a tank, Frost in the UK who is one of the biggest importers of paints etc from the US now do their own branded version at the same price as POR/Eastwood etc. Although it does work really well.

Once you have removed the solution, you need to rinse it out with water. This reacts with the residue in the tank and will gas off. I stick the cap back on with some duct tape on it and give it a good slosh around. Then repeat. You will be amazed how much more this brings out.

Dry the tank then repeat the process. You can leave the solution in the tank for days on end, change the tank position once a day and it will definitely remove everything.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
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Caswell says tank sealer is Phenol Novolac Epoxy.I don't know if that was the formula 15 years ago.Google the removal of this epoxy...Solvents are not too effective. A strong solution of sodium hydroxide is recommended.
Why not call Caswell? They are located about 10 miles from in a shabby steel building in a rural area..


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
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Originally Posted by Will S.
Thanks guys! Yes it’s a steel tank. When I look down the filler I can see areas where the Caswell is separating in sheets. May try shaking wood screws around to see if it’ll break it up some.
Tank is solid otherwise, not really sure why we coated it 15+ years ago, probably was unnecessary preventative maintenance. It was definitely before I learned about removing rust with Apple Cider Vinegar !

I bought (another) tank which had a failed tank liner, used the above method to remove it and found it didn’t need it in the first place.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

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MEK will not touch POR15 or Caswell. Both companies recommend methylene chloride paint stripper for removal.


And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth'

An interesting point given recent events.

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I had my 3TA restored about 15 years ago and I assume they coated the tank at the time. The bike sat unused for most of the years following the restoration and the coating failed (fuel left in the tank). I noticed bits in the fuel line that seemed to even get through inline paper filters. Finally I drained the tank and had a proper look inside to find it full of flaking sheets of, what looked like, polythene. I tried water and gravel several times and got most of the small bits out but there were some large, thick pieces still in there. Guessing whoever coated the tank put far too much in there.

I then tried Rostio Tank Rust Remover and Tank Protection Emulsion. I saw somewhere that someone had had some success in removing remnants of previous tank liner with this stuff. The process is to fill the tank with water as hot as you can get it (boiling if you have a big enough kettle!) add the Remover solution and wrap it up in a duvet to keep it warm as long as possible (days). First time was pretty good, with most of the liner coming out. Another session of gravel and water then repeated the Rust Remover process. After that the tank was pretty much spotless inside apart from two large "chunks" that I ended up having to cut up through the filler cap with a hacksaw blade and a pair of pliers (slow and painful).

The inside of the tank looked great when all the work was done. Still not sure why it was coated in the first place. I used the Protection Emulsion as this is not like an epoxy resin or anything like that. It has the consistency (and colour) of milk. Seems like most of what you put in comes out again. Can't say whether it works yet and if I ever leave the bike unused for any length of time I'll drain it and give it a spray inside with light oil, WD40 or something similar.


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Hi, I can tell you this with 3 tanks now that rusted quickly.

Original tanks never cleaned with screws or acid, do well & seem to last pretty well.

Once tank is cleaned with more than a solvent only such as acetone or the like, tank will be prone to rust.

Using California fuel the bottom of tank below fuel level will be fine. Above fuel level it will rust for sure.

A while back friend of mine scoffed at this looking into tank with flashlight. I got my mirror & he was shocked at the rust on underneath of tank top.

Thanks R Moulding. Methylene chloride is the stuff.

Needless to say these are powerful & hazardous chemicals. If you are not confident you do this safely, best to have a professional do it.

Lots of acids such as vinegar will clean & remove rust. Again it will find it rusts quickly. Rinsing with water if you look closely it will often show flash rust within hours if not minutes.

Caswell says light tight rust will not compromise liner adhesion or life. I hope so... I lined mine with such rust. Shook for 2 hours with solvent & Sheetrock screws. Rinsed with gas until clean, then acetone which released even more stuff from tank. I shook with screws & acetone also. A lot of work. Poured through white cloth into bucket.

Acetone dissolves original paint & most paints instantly. The protectant is acetone proof.

Always thinking about static electricity spark.... I used a wire on wrist hooked to ground rod 5’ deep in dirt 16g as I had a lot. Bare wire around wrist & clamped to ground rod.

Don’t recommend my way of cleaning, but so far so good.
Don


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Will, the blue green viscous slime you describe is a direct product of ethenol fuel. The corn alcohol fuel additive, currently added at 10% by our "keep us safe" government is not engine or machinery friendly. It readily absorbs moisture from the air and turns to the lovely green/blue goo you have encountered when allowed to sit for any length of time. It gums up carburretor parts so they will not work at all and pulls moisture into your tanks and fuel system. There is talk on many fronts of increasing the ratio to 15%
Governments have no trouble making a thing that works well work worse by mandate.
Fullminator

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methylene chloride has ben banned from retail sales for about a year in the USA...You can find it at chemical supply houses...


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
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Hi, No methylene chloride? Dang! Didn't know that. I guess that means finding NOS or subletting to professionals.

We've had E10 fuel in California for many years now. I don't know how long it would take to turn to green/blue goo. But it's more than a year. I've started several bikes, lawn mowers, cars that have set for a year. No problems. 4-6 months, starts first kick. I find the inside of the carbs stay squeaky clean overall from E10 if motor is used a few times a year.

For sure it can absorb moisture from air. It will make white crust in carbs that set too long just like the old days. The worst part I've observed is the rusting on upper gas tank. I was looking like E15 & more was on the way. The E85 motors from Ford & Mercedes at leas that I know of are not popular at all. Only one E85 gas station in my area. It's starting to look like things are moving to electric or some non petroleum fuel. I don't know it they'll be messing with the gas too much now. They were talking of very high octane & going very high compression ratios as it's more efficient. That would have been good for us. Now seems they letting that go as well, just focusing on non fossil.

We used to use ethanol 100% in the old hill climb bikes. Doubled the size of all jets. That brought mixture very close. Does not get good mileage!! Even now when I leave California to Arizona I get a good 2-3 more miles per gallon. I don't know what the mix is, but pump states 93 octane. Would be fun to hook up lap top & see what injector time & timing controls are doing, going from 91 to 93.

Whatever the fuel is so long as I can make the bike run on it, I'm going to do what it takes. E10 91 is our best. We've learned to tune carb to it & do crazy things like tickle carb on hot starts. The T140E, they use the choke hot with similar good results. Summer California fuel really works bad. Winter fuel & the cooler weather are better. Triumphs run best at 55-60f. Must remind them of home??
Don


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If not available retail try popping into a local bodyshop and asking if they can help you out. You really want a nice jelly type Methylene Chloride paint stripper, it makes it far easier to try and save paint. You will not need gravel or screws or need to shake the tank around, in fact you want to avoid the shaking.

Block the fuel tap holes, add 2 or 3 litres to the tank and place some gaffer tape over the neck with a pin [***] in the middle. Roll the tank to coat and leave in different positions for half hour or so at a time. Drain the stripper through the tap holes into an old oil container and save. Refit whatever you are using to plug the tap holes and them rinse the tank with water to neutralise, then pressure wash the inside and dry. I use a cheap USB endoscope to inspect the inside for any remaining liner. If you still have some stubborn bits then pour the stripper back in and repeat.

Inevitably this process will remove surface rust and etch the surface, Don has mentioned before that once etched the steel will rust quickly with Ethanol fuel. I think you're only option in that case would be to re line the tank. It will also build up a lot of pressure and if left sealed for any period of time could pop the tank so always let it breath.


And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth'

An interesting point given recent events.

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Methylene Chloride paint stripper is also banned from consumer use in the UK, the replacement is useless, so you just go to ebay etc or a trade outlet and get the 'Professional' labelled can.

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Don, I still find it interesting that and perhaps your riding buddies go through all sorts of tuning tricks to deal with the gas..But why do you all avoid the one modification that will stop the problems at the source, Dual Plugs?


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
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Hi Hillbilly, Good question. We don't want to modify head. We kick this around all the time.
Don


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Well, you have a good number of ideas/suggestions to implement and success should imminent. Let us know what you did and how it went.

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I wonder how long the paint stripper, if you find it, would take to eat a good dose of that Caswell out of there? I would never hope to be able to save a paint job while getting it out. That stuff, (Caswell) has been bullet proof for me.

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Originally Posted by TR7RVMan
Hi Hillbilly, Good question. We don't want to modify head. We kick this around all the time.
Don
Why? It's almost an unseen modification that works equally well with points or EI...I simply do not understand not doing it considering all the bitching you do about California fuel...
confused


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
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Hi Hillbilly, No excuses. Just don’t want to.
Plus if we can’t complain what fun is that??
Don


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Don, yes complaining is good for the soul...I have complaints but no one listens...I took off the primary cover on my 79 T140D to fix an oil leak. Damn cover is cracked at the lower front bolt hole because some knucklehead over tightened it..Then I grabbed the clutch basket and feels looser than it should...But the clutch works fine so no use messing with it.....And the finished A10 hot rod runs and rides wonderful but is spraying oil like a harpooned sperm whale from the rocker box..That will teach me not to violate my rule of no gaskets unless needed for clearance...Other than that, no problems with machines...No,my wife's Beat up Yamaha Rhino 660 SxS. has a bent right front steering knuckle when that tree stump jumped in front..Ah, just busy work...


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
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I was able to buy some of this... didn’t buy it to remove tank liner, but when one of the locals was looking to clean out his Rudge tank, I took some of the broken up liner just to test it. Within a day it was 85% dissolved and what was left had a rubber like consistency, so unlikely it would still be hard to remove from a tank. Only problem is, a 5 gallon drum isn’t cheap and it is nasty stuff. I got B15 because it’s safe for aluminum... they may have something that is stronger.

Do you happen to know anyone in the aircraft maintenance business or anyone that can chemically strip powder coating?



MEK is great for removing the remnants of gas in tanks or varnish buildup on carbs.



http://benco.jsingermarketing.com/products/metal-strippers/semi-paste-strippers/b15/

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