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  1. #1
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
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    Apr 2000
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    3,152
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    Knoxville, TN
    Tractor
    Fullsized JCB Loader/Backhoe

    Default How to clean out fuel tank?

    We've got an IH 444. The fuel tank does NOT appear to be removable at all or if it is, not without GREAT hassle.

    Machine has been cutting out on us and I've now ascertained it's a fuel flow problem. Blow air backwards into the fuel line (at the filter) and the fuel then comes GUSHING out the line. Bottom line, I've got a restriction of gunk in the tank.

    I've been trying to slowly use up the fuel. Unfortunately, I'm a "good boy" and keep ALL my dieselt tanks FULL so I can't just empty the tank out although I did buy another 5 gal diesel can yesterday to siphone some out.

    Ok... so here's my plan:

    Take a siphon hose and siphon as much as 5 gallons out of the tank into the empty can. While doing so, use the submersed part of the hose as a vacume cleaner in hopes of sucking up some things and dropping them into the can. I plan on using an old pair of my wifes hose (as in LLegs ) as a possible filter unless someone has a better idea.

    If I can suck all the muck out, great. If not, then here is the crux of my problem.

    If the fuel tank is empty with crud in the bottom, just how do you flush it out? The fuel line is something like 1/4 inch the opening for the fuel cap is something like maybe 2 inches wide? The tanks depth is something like 18 inches? (wild guess)

    How on earth do you go through a tiny hole like that and clean up things down there? If I were a proctologist I might have nice tools for that but I'm not!

    My backhoe has a fuel tank cleanout which is something like a 1 inch hole I can open up and flush everything out with water (I later take a garden sprayer with diesel and "pressure wash" the tank out with diesel before filling back up)

    This tractor seems to also have a cleanout but it too...seems to be only about 1/4 inch.

    How do you guys do it with the tank still installed?

  2. #2
    Super Member scott_vt's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    5,064
    Location
    east wells,vt
    Tractor
    1986 MF 1040, 1942 Farmall A, 1949 Farmall Super A

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    Mornin Richard,
    The only problem with what you have planned is that you will undoubtedly get all the loose crud out of there. The problems lies in the rusted bottom section of the tank, the rust scales will keep falling off of the tank interior. When I restored my Super A last year, only a 10 gal tank BTW I removed the whole tank and strapped it onto an old paint mixer, I dropped a box of locknuts in there with some moneral spirits and let it spin a few hours. That tank came out like brand new inside . I thought I was going to have to coat the inside with Eastmans, but I just didnt need to. The bottom line is that you may get away with what you plan on doing for awhile but I think you wilkl still have problems down the road ! IMHO !
    scotty

    ,,,course,,it is gas,and gas is,,well,gas,,so,,but it kills the @#$$ oughta them yellow jackets,,,thingy

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/content/...onth-scott_vt/

  3. #3
    Elite Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    3,152
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    Knoxville, TN
    Tractor
    Fullsized JCB Loader/Backhoe

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    Had never thought of rust scale inside the tank??

    Isn't that less likely if the tank is always kept filled? The sides of the tank that ARE within sight to see (using a flashlight too) don't show any signs of flaking.

    I was really presuming (hoping?) it was just years worth of a blade grass here & part of a leaf there that have finally added up.

    Guess it'll be interesting to see what I find once I can draw the level down.

  4. #4
    Super Member scott_vt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    5,064
    Location
    east wells,vt
    Tractor
    1986 MF 1040, 1942 Farmall A, 1949 Farmall Super A

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Had never thought of rust scale inside the tank??

    Isn't that less likely if the tank is always kept filled? The sides of the tank that ARE within sight to see (using a flashlight too) don't show any signs of flaking.

    I was really presuming (hoping?) it was just years worth of a blade grass here & part of a leaf there that have finally added up.

    Guess it'll be interesting to see what I find once I can draw the level down.
    Richard,
    If no rust is flaking you could possibly be OK with your method. Make some tools up to get inside the tank filler and use a length of hose off of the outlet to run any crud into a bucket. Usually you can see the rust on the bottom/sides of tank using a flashlight. Hopefully some cleaner/solvent sloshed around in there will solve your problems !
    scotty

    ,,,course,,it is gas,and gas is,,well,gas,,so,,but it kills the @#$$ oughta them yellow jackets,,,thingy

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/content/...onth-scott_vt/

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    717
    Location
    Erin, Tenn.
    Tractor
    2001 Mahindra 4110

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    Had never thought of rust scale inside the tank??

    Isn't that less likely if the tank is always kept filled? The sides of the tank that ARE within sight to see (using a flashlight too) don't show any signs of flaking.

    I was really presuming (hoping?) it was just years worth of a blade grass here & part of a leaf there that have finally added up.

    Guess it'll be interesting to see what I find once I can draw the level down.
    Keeping the tank filled leaves less airspace and thus less area for condensation to form - any water that does form and/or comes with your fuel goes straight to the bottom of the tank, that's why the bottoms rust.
    2001 Mahindra 4110, FEL w/5' & 6' QA buckets & forks for the 5', 6' Atlas boxblade, older 6' Howse rotary, Leinbach 7300 PHD w/9" & 12", MF 2/3 bottom plow, 20"x6' bog disc, KK subsoiler, KK middlebuster, Kubota BL60C 5' tiller, Maschio 6' finish mower.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    May 2005
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    1,333
    Location
    N. E. Florida

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    I just cleaned out an 8hp Honda tank that had gunk in the bottom. I also cleaned out a Clark Forklift Gas tank a couple years ago that had been sitting for a while.
    I have a Jenny Hot Water Pressure Washer. I flushed out the Honda for a few minutes until it was clean. The Clark took longer, about 30-45 minutes with hot water. Drain, then blow dry with compressed air.
    Years ago I worked at Fruehauf repairing semi trailers. We used to repair gasoline tankers. If we had to weld on them we put a steam cleaner in the tank and let it run for about 4 hours to clear the tanks. We checked it with a explosimeter every hour while working on it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    I would get all the fuel out, Then add some water then shove a wetvac hose in and suck the water and crud out.,

  8. #8
    Elite Member sandman2234's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    4,097
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Tractor
    JD2555

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    I wonder if putting a low pressure, low volume air pump on the fuel line to blow air into the tank to keep it stirred up while you are removing the fuel from the tank would help. Something along the lines of an oil-less 12v pump is kind of what I had in mind. Be sure if you try this, to keep the pump above the level of the tank, such as sitting on top of the tractor, as you don't need the fuel running downhill into the compressor should it happen to stop for some reason. Also, make sure to that you remove all forms of fire and ignition from the area, as fuel fumes are more subject to burning than just plan diesel fuel. This might clear the screen as well as keep the liquid stirred up enough to allow you to syphon more of the crud out. You won't be able to syphon around the area where the air is coming out because it will allow air into the hose, killing the syphon, so you might want to run the compressor for a few minutes, then either shut it off, or make sure it is flowing ok and the pickup tube is away from the air path.
    David from jax
    A serious accident is one that money won't fix.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    You failed to mention how many gallons the tank holds full. If it holds 8 or ten gallons full, better pick up another 5 gallon diesel can. Next you might consider a" mighty vac", a hand operated vacuum pump available at better auto parts stores and wall mart. It creates a vacuum and draws liquid and small particulant-sludge up into a approx 4 oz container that can be cleaned and emptyed. and started again. It does a good job on brake lines-vaccuum bleeding and cleaning sludge out of master cylinder {from top opening not remote opening}.

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Sep 2000
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    6,553

    Default Re: How to clean out fuel tank?

    Have you inspected the fuel outlet closely? The whole outlet assembly may come out and may even have a screen filter.

    Speaking of filters, Use a 2x thickess of high quality paper towels on top of a large coffee filter. Won't get everything,but it will get a lot.

    jb

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