How to clean rust out of a diesel transfer tank?

   #1  

Complete Turf Care

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Last year I bought a used 100 gal. fuel transfer tank from my nephew. I got if for $275 including a good pump.

It sat up most of the winter with about 75 gal. of diesel in it. Recently, I loaded it on my trailer and began using it. I pumped at least 300 gallons through it in the past 6 weeks.

But.....since it's been riding on my trailer and sloshing around a lot, it seems that there is a lot of rust in the tank. I've had to change my fuel filter on my tractor 3 times in the past few days.

My question is.....is there a way to clean out a steel tank? It's empty now, and it does not have a drain plug. And, the openings for the pump and fill cap have a 'tube' extending about 3" down into the tank, so I don't see how I could ever get it completely empty.

I'm considering just abandoning this tank and buying an aluminum tank, and just re-use the pump I have. Then I won't ever have to worry about rust again. And I'm afraid that even if I clean this tank, it will rust again.
 
   #2  

MikeInEburg

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I would just add a couple of spin-off type filters and keep using it. By far the easiest solution.
 
  
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#3  
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Complete Turf Care

Complete Turf Care

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I would just add a couple of spin-off type filters and keep using it. By far the easiest solution.

there is one on there already, and I've changed it twice now. I'm just not sure that will do the job. Maybe adding another would work? I'll look into that.
 
   #4  

3930dave

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Steel or aluminum, my preference is to have a bottom level drain plug. If you can get a drain plug welded in for a reasonable price, that's the way I'd go - that way you can drain off any water that inevitably collects with time.

I know guys who rehab motorcycle gas tanks by loading them with light chain, or steel shot, and kerosene/diesel. Then pick an appropriate "shaker" - strapped securely to the back of a working tractor, ATV, or pickup with stiff suspension = most of them clean up really well after 2-3 days of traveling around. Shaken, not stirred ;), then drained - repeat if needed.

Something like this Diesel Formula STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer & Additive | Gold Eagle and/or a biocide can be useful. A good idea in general, but especially when resurrecting a tank.

Rgds, D.
 
   #5  

bx25jim

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Steel or aluminum, my preference is to have a bottom level drain plug. If you can get a drain plug welded in for a reasonable price, that's the way I'd go - that way you can drain off any water that inevitably collects with time.

I know guys who rehab motorcycle gas tanks by loading them with light chain, or steel shot, and kerosene/diesel. Then pick an appropriate "shaker" - strapped securely to the back of a working tractor, ATV, or pickup with stiff suspension = most of them clean up really well after 2-3 days of traveling around. Shaken, not stirred ;), then drained - repeat if needed.

Something like this Diesel Formula STA-BILョ Fuel Stabilizer & Additive | Gold Eagle and/or a biocide can be useful. A good idea in general, but especially when resurrecting a tank.

Rgds, D.

When I clean old tanks that are kinda small....5 gal to 10 gal.....I use the bulk pack of BB's. You can get them really cheap at wallyworld. I put about a quart of diesel in it....close it up best as possible....and shake the crap out of it making sure to get all over the inside with the BB's. You will be amazed at how clean it will get. Then just clean it out with soapy water.....dry and fix any rust spots or holes.
 
   #6  

pmsmechanic

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One of the neatest things I've seen for removing rust is Molasses. You mix it 8-10 to one with water and fill the tank. In about a week the mixture will quit bubbling and all the rust will be eaten out of the tank. The mixture is non toxic and you can just drain it anywhere. Or pour it into another container and put rusty items in the mixture to clean the rust off of them.
 
   #7  

Coyote machine

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I bought an old horizontal gas tank, about 300 gallons, IIRC. It had an old pump attached to a metal pipe going to close to the tank bottom. I removed the metal pipe, cut a plastic pipe of same diameter and shortened the length so anything on the bottom would not get sucked into the pump. I added two quart size filters from TSC, one a fuel/water separator filter, the other a 10 micron fuel filter as secondary before the nozzle outlet. I note the number of gallons on the filters, and the date I change them.

I believe you can get a tank coated, like a car/truck gas tank, with a spray like Linex truck bed coating, that will be lifetime guaranteed against rust, etc. I know I had it done to a pickup truck's rotting out gas tank, and it was way cheaper than a new OEM tank. And amazingly to me it worked flawlessly.:confused3:
 
   #8  

sixdogs

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I would just add a couple of spin-off type filters and keep using it. By far the easiest solution.


I use this method after I first try to clean it the best I can. The best one I did was one that I first pumped empty, rolled it around with a gallon or two to slosh it clean and then turned it upside down to empty it. A lot of crap came out. Then I stuck a wand from a Sears shop vac down the hole--tape the joint in the pipe-- and vacuumed what I could. A surprising amount of stuff came up.

After that I turned it upright, added a water block plus a regular pump filter and it's been fine for maybe 1,500 gallons. It was really rusty to start with. I never put unfiltered fuel in my tractors.

I have had holes drilled in tanks for plugs but it doesn't get the big junk out.


Oh, don't put anything with sugar in it in the tank. Not good for engines and you can never get it all out.
 
   #9  

Egon

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Suggest you go with a new tank. In the end it will cost less considering the cost of down time, filters and/or bringing the tank up to proper standard.

If you do stick with the old tank it should have proper nozzles welded on, be well cleaned by the method you pick and then pickled prior to spraying coating. Pickling will neutralize the rust that remains on the inside of the tank. It gets the intergranular rust you cannot see.
 
  
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#10  
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Complete Turf Care

Complete Turf Care

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Suggest you go with a new tank. In the end it will cost less considering the cost of down time, filters and/or bringing the tank up to proper standard.

If you do stick with the old tank it should have proper nozzles welded on, be well cleaned by the method you pick and then pickled prior to spraying coating. Pickling will neutralize the rust that remains on the inside of the tank. It gets the intergranular rust you cannot see.

What is 'pickling'?
 
 
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