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Classic, Vintage & Veteran For Coventry and Meriden Models. Anything pre-Hinckley goes.

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Old 12-09-2009, 09:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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White Vinegar Tank cleaning

Hi All,After having loads of carb problems due to rust in the petrol tank, last week I decided to de-rust the tank with white vinegar,as mentioned previously on this forum,I entered the garage earlier today,bloody vinegar everywhere!!! The vinegar has desovled, yes desolved, the threaded part of the reserve tap which has fallen out of the tank hence the vinegar lake,f***k knows what it can do to your innard's,just a word of warning guy's lay off the pickled onion's!!

Last edited by Ming; 12-09-2009 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i bet your garage smell great too.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sorry but there is no way that white vinegar will dissolve a chrome plated brass petcock. Now maybe the white vinegar in France is a little more potent than the stuff we sell here in the USA, but I'm doubtful it is anywhere near the strength needed to dissolve metal. If it did, there would be a lot dead Frenchmen.

Either you got something that is much stronger than white vinegar, like maybe battery acid, or you had a petcock that was about to fail and just happened to fail now by coincidence.

If your petcock was stock with the plastic operating stem, I'm doubful of it even touching that stuff because many plastics are unaffected by acids. Hence the reason they are put into plastic botttles for shipping.

You are luckly, my friend. Your tank failed full of vinegar and did no harm instead of failing full of gas and spilling all over a red hot engine. Be thankful.
Rob
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeoil View Post
I'm sorry but there is no way that white vinegar will dissolve a chrome plated brass petcock. Now maybe the white vinegar in France is a little more potent than the stuff we sell here in the USA, but I'm doubtful it is anywhere near the strength needed to dissolve metal. If it did, there would be a lot dead Frenchmen.

Either you got something that is much stronger than white vinegar, like maybe battery acid, or you had a petcock that was about to fail and just happened to fail now by coincidence.

If your petcock was stock with the plastic operating stem, I'm doubful of it even touching that stuff because many plastics are unaffected by acids. Hence the reason they are put into plastic botttles for shipping.

You are luckly, my friend. Your tank failed full of vinegar and did no harm instead of failing full of gas and spilling all over a red hot engine. Be thankful.
Rob
I can assure you this is true,the dissolved petcock is not o/e and is made of some kind of white metal,stranger still is that the other tap remains intact,the tap in question has a mushy paste type residue where the threads once were, the plastic gauze filter was found in the bottom of the tank,the white vinegar I used is readily available in French supermakets and the acid content is 8%,I will post some pics when they fix the problem with the site,btw,the vinegar seemed to be doing a good job,till it pissed out all over the garage,now the whole place stinks like a pickle factory,my wife is going crazy and I'm looking for a new tank,
regards,
Bill.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That petcock must've been a cheap piece of junk. Just plug the bung with a pipe plug and some telflon tape and put more vinegar in the tank. Although I prefer Phosphoric acid. It means the difference between a day's work and a month's.

The vinegar smell will subside and it killed any mold in your garage most likely. Put a positive spin on it for the wife. Tell her the garage is a safer place now.

You've really peaked my interest on this. I'm going to go find some scrap pot metal and drop it into a cup of vinegar and see what happens. My guess is little to nothing.

My suspicion is what you had going on was a bad case of galvanic action between the pot metal petcock and the steel tank. Zinc is less noble and hence becomes sacrificial. I suspect your threads had already dissolved via this process and the resulting corrosion had everything sealed up nicely. The acid attacked the corrosion (as was your intent, but you did not know about this corrosion), and the petcock dropped out when the corrosion dissolved around the threads.

I still think what happened was a good thing, Ming. That petcock was on it's last legs. This winter's rest may have put the final nail in the coffin and next spring when you filled the tank and went for your first ride of the season, you might have turned into Ghost Rider.
regards,
Rob
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Electrolytic Rust Removal

Pretty simple it seems. All you need is some water in tank, mixed with a small amount of Laundry soda ( sodium carbonate ), not to be confused with Baking soda ( sodium bicarbonate), a battery charger & some steel to insert in tank immersed in fluid, but insulated from the tank. Hook the battery charger POSITIVE lead to the steel & the NEGATIVE lead to the tank. Be certain to do this outside as the process is simple however it produces hydrogen gas as well as oxygen. Highly explosive the way I understand it...something about the Hindenberg. The solution itself is totally non-toxic though... simply soap & water.

Here’s a picture after about a half hour of the bubbling rusty mess floating out the top of the tank.



The tank was wrapped in plastic wrap to protect the paint.

Last edited by Ohio-Rider; 12-10-2009 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Explain the plastic wrap.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Ohio-Rider,

The positive electrode must not touch the tank, right? How did you keep it suspended? What was the final result? I have read that even though the rust is removed, a black residue is left.

Henry
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Henry, Here a better picture of how the steel bar is suspended into the tank by using a chunk of nylon. The steel bar becomes pretty rusty after awhile and needs to be sanded clean to get best results. Watch the amp meter on your charger. When it begins to drop is when you know to clean the steel bar again. I have used this process to remove rust from small parts and bolts and such, and never noticed any black residue left behind.



This guy can explain how the process works better than me.
http://www.davidbradley.net/ERR.html
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ming, there is an ad in the Dallas, Texas Craig's list for an OIF gas tank with badges. Says it's clean, no rust, no dents, and wants $175. I haven't shopped for tanks and have no idea if this is a good price or not, but if it is in the shape he indicates and I needed a tank, $175 seems ok.

I'll post the link, although I don't know if that's against the forum rules, if so I apologize.
http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/mcy/1504770510.html

I see you're in France, so if you can't find one locally and are interested in this one, it would take me about an hour and a half to go check it out for you, which I would be happy to do for a fellow member. I'd also assist you in getting it and shipping it, if interested.
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio-Rider View Post

Here’s a picture after about a half hour of the bubbling rusty mess floating out the top of the tank.



The tank was wrapped in plastic wrap to protect the paint.
I've tried that process. It's a messy and way too much work when you compare it to phosphoric acid. The acid will not hurt the paint if you wipe it off quickly. And I don't mean instantly. It can linger while you get a rag.

The nice thing is the acid is reusable. I just dump it in a plastic laundry detergent jug with a pour spout for filling the next tank. I did a tank this weekend that got rusty because an idiot painter I tried got the inside wet and did not tell me. After two months of him screwing with it, I took it back, put it in my garage for the summer and then the following year brought to a real painter. When I pulled the tape off the neck, I found rust inside. So this weekend, I pulled the tank, did the phos acid wash, let it sit for about 4 hours and when I rinsed it with alcohol, it was fresh as a daisy inside. Leaves behind a zinc coating to prevent future rusting. I cannot recommend this technique enough. I've done several tanks and all with the same excellent results. I acutally had a guy who seals tanks as part of his business paint a couple of my tanks and he commented on what a great job I did on the inside. It really had nothing to do with me. It was all the work of that phos acid.
regards,
Rob
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