plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Gas tank rust removal methods
Q. I have a 2 gallon motorcycle gas tank that has had gas sitting in it for 8-10 years. The metal on the inside is coated with rust, and the outside of the tank still is very clean. I need a solvent to dissolve and coat the inner surface of the tank ... what do you suggest? I have the tank removed from the vehicle.
- San Jose, California
A. There is a simple solution to remove the rust inside your petrol tank, ......put little stones inside the tank and let it shake and shake (there are more solutions for shaking automatically)....and see the rust is completely removed.....when the tank needs to be as new for many years , there is a special 2 component coating special for petrol tanks.
With friendly greetings, and I hope to hear from you if this is a good solution for you.
Q. I have a 5 gal tank on a 86 Venture Yamaha and it actually has bunches of crud in the tank which is rust colored, but with the volume I don't know. It has set 13 years. How did you solve your problem?
- Loomis, California
Q. I need any info on how to remove rust from inside a motorcycle gas tank. This will be a "do it yourself project".Mike Pullen
- Davis, Oklahoma
A. A nifty trick is to place small stones or aquarium gravel in the bike tank, seal all openings with foam/cardboard and duct tape, "roll" the tank up in a old comforter or heavy blanket, and pack the whole bundle in the clothes dryer with NO HEAT...REPEAT...NO HEAT. I did this on a rust-encrusted 38 year-old custom chopper tank and after four or so hours was able to dump out the crud and rust. Just make sure the wife is out when you do this...it can bring out an interesting conversation...BL Nickerson
- Mendham, New Jersey
A. Vinegar [affil link] straight vinegar let it set a couple days then wash out with water good as new but then you have to seal it with a sealer or it will come back fastRandy Bordelon
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
May 8, 2023
Q. Is all you have to add is small stone or aquarium gravel? or do you need to put a special solution with it like PB Blaster [affil link] or WD-40 [affil link] ?Anthony Darkangelo
- Grosse Pointe, Michigan
A. I found a good product. It is called "The Must for Rust" from Krud Kutter [affil link]. I used this for my gas tank and it worked great. I was looking for Muriatic Acid [affil link] but they didn't have any. It was environmentally friendly and all that good stuff too. I poured half the bottle in, let sit for 1 hour, shaking occasionally and then drained. I also used a small scrub brush that I cut in half to fit). After the first time it was A LOT better, almost perfect but I repeated and got it looking like brand new! This was after I tried nuts, carb cleaner, soap and water etc... None of them did much except the loose stuff. TRY IT!Keith Popadopolis
- Detroit, Michigan
May 24, 2008
Q. I read a similar response to this question earlier because I was looking for the same information. It read: Use salt and vinegar mixture and pour in the tank and it will form a mild acid solution for removing rust. If anyone has attempted this, please let me know if it works.
- Lake City, South Carolina
June 22, 2009
A. First, clean all gas from tank. Duct tape the sides of your opening. So when you put a rod in the tank it will not ground to the tank. Next you need a steel rod; I use threaded 3/8 rod from the hardware store. You need the rod long enough to stick out of the tank about a foot. Now duct tape the bottom of the rod so it doesn't ground to the tank. Also duct tape it where it will lean against the tank opening which should already be taped. Now pour a full round can of salt in the tank. Then fill 95% full of water. Stick rod in tank. Get your battery charger and put positive on the rod and negative on the tank. Set charger to medium. Turn it on. It will take awhile but the tank will start to foam and may over flow some. So have tank in a place where the salt won't hurt anything. Leave on for about an hour. Now shut charger off and pour salt water in a bucket. If your tank needs more rust removed then pour salt water back in and start over. Beware-you can over cook it and cause holes in your tank. Salt water may turn green. I've used this many times on my antique outboard motor gas cans. This will eat your steel rod up after a few uses. Good luck with this very cheap,but efficient way to get the rust out.Dennis Birkey
- Sheldon, Illinois
July 27, 2009
A. The best way to going about this problem is to throw in some sort of Phosphoric acid (many cleaning chemicals have this). Another product that works is something called ZEP Degreaser [affil link]. I did this for my 69 mustang. Most people throw in rocks or nuts but they are really hard to remove after the process. so I just stuck a chain in the tank and it did the same thing as the bolts would have. Just close off the ends and shake for a good 5 mins, Drain and redo a couple of times. remove the chain with a close hanger and rinse with gasoline. Very easyJosh Wagner
- Suwanee, Georgia
September 18, 2009
A. I have heard instead of rocks and nuts use BB's -- lot easier to get out, haven't tried it. Also was just watching powerblock TV they said 50/50 solution of vinegar and water put in radiator let run for few min will remove rust so would assume would work in gas tank just leave it in awhile and shake once in awhileNathan Klein
- Waterloo, Iowa
January 30, 2010
Q. WHEN USING A BATTERY CHARGER AND A METAL ROD AND SALT WATER TO CLEAN A GAS TANK OF RUST CAN YOU JUST USE A 12 VOLT CAR BATTERY AND LONG JUMPER CABLES TO DO THE SAME THING?DANNY COSTELLO
- ALBANY, NEW YORK
October 18, 2013
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