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#863052 11/13/21 1:04 pm
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Kevin E Offline OP
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Hi all. I’m hoping I can get some advice on sealing my 1966 Lightning petrol tank.

I’m not really sure if it’s something I need to do. The tank has always been leak free and looks pretty good inside. But it did stand empty for a long time (more than 5 years) while it was unused and neglected due to other things taking up my time.

I should have attended to this issue before I had the tank re-chromed and painted but as that has now been done it is what it is and I just want to make sure I don’t do anything that could end up damaging the new paintwork.

So, do I need to seal the tank in order to protect it from modern fuels? I have read that it’s ok if you drain the tank when not using the bike but I can’t get my head around why this makes a difference? If the tank has got fuel it in and you’re constantly using it for a long time then how is that any different to leaving it with fuel in it for a long time in the garage? I always drain the tank when not using the bike because I believe petrol does goes off after a while and in the past I’ve experienced problems where it has damaged carburettor parts.

If using some kind of sealer is recommend then what is the best one to use?

What is the best way to apply it and how do you go about protecting threads and paintwork?

Your comments and advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Kev Ev

Last edited by Kevin E; 11/13/21 1:07 pm.
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Hi Kev, I like Caswell sealer best. It’s a bit expensive but will last longer than you will. It is clear. Cream is crap, Por 15 is ok. I sealed a Hornet fiberglass tank a few years ago and it worked perfectly. It’s the ethanol in the gas that attracts moisture and rusts your tank. Caswell is easy to use. Comes with directions. I use cutdown wine corks to screw into the petcock holes. Have fun.

Last edited by Roadwarrior; 11/13/21 1:52 pm.

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I would not line a steel tank, the ethanol does not attack the steel but the moisture it collects on its journey to the filling station and from the breather does when the tank is left standing. So drain the tank prior to laying up or totally fill up with ethanol free fuel if available.

Liners are only good for the current fuels, who knows what changes will be made in the future to then need the liner removed, fibre glass tanks need protecting but steel just needs careful handling.

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Repeat after me please,………….. and +1:
I would not seal a steel tank.
It will come off effectually, as the fuel WILL get under the sealer, most obviously at the peacocks. get it clean and use it.


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Yes either keep a unlined tank full or empty, it’s the condensation however I prefer to line a tank metal or fiberglass

I have not had any trouble with lining from Caswel, or Por15 in steel or fiberglass tanks. Preparation per instructions. I do drain the fuel from the fiber glass tanks, steel sometimes.
I find the Indian tanks need lining due to easily rusting. I do find they fit fine and look the business. Royal Choppers was the source.
The only lining trouble I had was with a product called Cream.

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No sealer here if tank is clean and problem free. Keep mine full all the time and at end of season make sure is full of non ethanol fuel(rec90).


Bill
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Kevin,
I suggest you look into you tank for signs of corrosion. I use a harbor freight camera, but a small flashlight and a telescopic mirror will work.

Some times the chrome process can be corrosive especially if copper is used.
If you can pressure test your tank checking for leaks, if you got one use Caswel.
I once did an Ariel Redhunter tank which was leak free prior to Chrome plating it sprung a leak which I fixed by lining with Caswel sealer. This sealer is designed to adhere to ruff surfaces and done properly will not lift. An acid etch prior to coating is mandatory.
Good luck,
Richard

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I would not seal a steel tank that is not leaking. The exception would be some tanks with known issues in the seams such as the OIF tanks. Or a heavily pitted steel tank.

I have a fiberglass tank right now with failed Caswell lining. It is so much fun to remove…….NOT!

I have had excellent results with KBS Coatings tank sealer kits on Bultaco fiberglass tanks. 2 stroke tanks are harder to seal due to the pre-mix. The oil film can be a problem for adhesion. KBS seems to work fine. It is very particular on process, but it works. To the point I don’t drain the fuel from my semi-regular ride Alpina. Actually, it is my most frequently ridden vintage bike these days.

KBS has a stripper for failed coatings. I have a kit for the tank I need to address. It is a modern tank, so hoping it will be ok, but KBS warns their stripper can soften fiberglass.


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As far failures of Caswell, it’s due to prep work or lack there of. It must be clean, real clean. On glass tanks I use acetone, sloshed then dumped, let dry. Coating , It must be completely covered I slosh it all around and let it set on its top for about an hour prior to curing, then back on it’s bottom. I use an adjustable plumbers rubber plug for the fillerneck and rubber corks for petcocks. On glass tanks I’ve never had a failure and always drain the fuel.
If a tank is painted I recommend wrapping it celifain taping it real good especially at the filler neck, sometime I us think foil on top of that. Of course you go Commando if your real careful.

I have 66 T bolt re chromed lined with Por 15, no failure after ten years, I leave fuel in it sometimes, condensation not a problem because entire tank is coated. On steel tanks you should use a mild acid etch, neutralized with baking soda, rinsed and dried.
The fuel now days starts to crap out after 30 days. I use StayBil in all my gas unless it’s race gas

It sounds Like KFB is a good product.

The only coating failure I had is with Cream…. I think I used Naphtha to clean it all ll out. I still have the tank today.

If by chance a Caswell failure happens it can be cleaned and recoated in that area, it’s only epoxy resin.

Finally, I use racing gas in my Hornets, I have 10.5 to one estimated compression. I do mix it with the 91 crapola provide to us CA.

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Quote
I just want to make sure I don’t do anything that could end up damaging the new paintwork.

Sealing tanks is a messy business and even if you tape up the outside there's still a chance sealant will get on the paint.

If it's not rusty inside I would leave it alone, maybe drain when not in use or use a fuel stabiliser.


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First check the condition of the tank.
If you decide to line the painted tank, just be careful. Yes it’s a little intimidating. You could ask your painter to do the job.
It’s not that hard to protect your paint, tape around the filler-neck, use the blue painters tape. Wrap the tank in cellophane it fits tight

Remove the fuel filler cap. Use an adjustable plumbers plug for the filler neck and rubber corks for the pet cocks ( or you can us shorty thre aded plumbing pipe with plugs/ caps which protects your threads, threads .)

On the smaller tanks 2.5 gallon use half the Caswell provide in the kit, For home market tanks use 3/4 .

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If anyone is interested in KBS Coatings, here is a link to their tank sealer kit.

https://www.kbs-coatings.com/cycle-tank-sealer-plus-kit.html

You can explore the rest of their site from there. The KBS coating is an urethane material that is able to flex with the tank during use


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