Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Bike of the Month Challenge!

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm a new rat here with my 1st Triumph and am excited to learn as much as I can about these machines and it looks like I'm in the right place. I just bought a 1976 T140V with a 1971 motor, the bike starts and runs but before I take her out onto the pavement I want to change all fluids, check valve clearance, etc.

2 Problems I initially see: The 1st is rust in the gas tank, though it seems minor it is wide spread througout the tank. Has anyone used the CASWELL Tank Treatment? This is the method I am thinking of useing to take care of the rust.

The 2nd problem is after I fire her up I get some extreme smoke from the front of the motor, It looks like it's coming from the exhaust manifold (1 side only). It smells like it's a gas smell and not oil. Any thoughts on these 2 problems?

Thanks in advance fellow rats! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
Put a handful of small sheetrock screws in the tank with some type of cleaning solvent (acetone ... maybe a good Eastwood rust dissolver) and agitate thoroughly ... just beware of pressure buildup ...

When lining the tank make certain that the liner will not be negatively affected by ethanol ... I've recently seen some of the plastic lined tanks with the plastic dissolving ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,533 Posts
Tank Cleaning Process

I just cleaned a T140V tank that I got on ebay a couple of months ago.. I've done others before and have tried some of the "green" approaches like washing soda/electrolysis. Forget that process. Here's what I believe to be a provent method.

First, drain the tank and get it dry inside. An air hose will quickly dry any gasoline that is in there. Keep in mind there are still vapors present so no open flames or sparks for now.

Go to the hardware store and in the plumbing dept you can find a rubber stopper used to plug unthreaded pipe. Get the size that fits snug in your tank neck. It will have a bolt running thru it that squeezes the rubber to make it expand and seal. While you are there, you might want to get a big wingnut to replace the hex nut on the stopper, making life a little easier. Also pick up a couple of 1/4" NPT pipe plugs.

Put teflon tape on the pipe plugs and screw them into your petcock bungs. Not to tight because the plugs are tapered and the bungs are straight thread. Just snug them up. The telfon tape will seal things.

As previously mentioned in another post, put a handful of sheet rock screws in the tank. A full handful. I like standard size 1-1/4 inch screws because they can get into all the nooks and crannies. Now shake the daylights out of the tank like a big gourd player in a Latino Band. Develop a method so you make sure all the internal surfaces will get addressed. Don't forget to turn the tank upside down and do the top surfaces. After your arms hurt from shaking the tank, dump the screws into an old t-shirt or similar. All the dry rust and crud will come out with the screws. Separate the screws, clean them in the rag, put them back in and go at it again. When you have most of the dry rust cleaned out, it's not time to clean the tank. I like Mineral Spirits. Won't hurt your paint. Acetone WILL hurt your paint. Fill tank with about a quart of min spirits, put the screws back in and go at it again. I like to use a swirling motion because it cetrifuges the screws to the outside of the tank and all those little sharp threads scour the tank walls. Do this for sometime, like until your arms start getting tired. Then put a t-shirt or other rag into a funnel and dump the min spirits into a jug. If you have paper coffee filters, you can filter the min spirits even better than the t-shirt. It will be red with rust. Keep in mind that the coffee the filters will drain slower. I've had to squeeze them to get the last portion of liquid thru them. Dump the filtered min spirits back in along with the screws and have at it again. Do this until it look pretty good inside.
For inspection, you can get a small inspection mirror from Harbor Freight for a couple of bucks. Then get yourself an old Christmas light socket, the size used in window candles and nightlights. Put a 40W candelabra bulb in it (more light, and dangle the light inside the tank and inspect the corners and upper areas with the mirror. If you still see rust or pits with rust in them, give it another go with the min spirits and screws. When you are sure you've done as good a job as possible, dump the old min spirits and put in a quart of fresh min spirits and flush out the tank one more time. Inspect it again.

Now you can take out the 1/4 NPT plugs, leave the neck open and blow some air thru the tank to dry the min spirits. When it is bone dry inside, go back with your mirror and tank inspection light and give another looking over. If it was just minor rust in your tank, you may not need to seal it. But you are not done yet. It will start to rust again as soon as it is dry.

Now go to your local auto body supply shop and get a gallon of Metal Prep. It is phosphoric acid. Put your plugs back in and dump in a pint of metal prep. Put the rubber bung in the neck and slosh the acid around. Wear goggles, rubber gloves and protective clothes. This is not really dangerous stuff, but can hurt your eyes and irritate your mucous membranes. You also want plenty of air circulation so do this outside. I wear a painting mask when I do it. Keep circulating the acid in the tank. I would say you need to do this for 5 to 10 minutes. When you pour it out, be very careful it does not run down the tank and hurt your paint. Have a wet rag available to mop up any spillage. Now, go back in and take a look with your light. Tank should look very clean inside. If you still see dark spots, go at it with the acid again. Once it looks good inside, and it should be a nice dull gray, let it air dry. It may take awhile. You can put an air hose inside to hurry the process. The metal prep leaves behine what I believe is a thin zinc or phosphoric coating the prevents further rusting. Once it is dry, I like to dump in a quart of denatured alcohol and flush out the tank a couple of times to make sure all the acid is neutralized and any loose stuff left behind gets flushed out. The alcohol dries very quickly once you dump it out.

You will need to do an acid cleaning with the Caswell system. So you might want to call them and ask what they use and tell them you'd like to try the process above first because your tank may not need lining. When you do the process above, you may be halfway thru the Caswell prep process. That's why I say to call them. I've spoken to them and they are very helpful. I have not used their sealant, but researched all the different ones should I have needed on on the T140 tank. When I spoke to them they also confirmed that they have tested their sealer with alcohol based fuels and have not had a problem. It is phenolic based sealant. Empire GP, which paints a lot of racebikes, many of which run on alcohol, uses this sealant exclusively.

I've attached some before and after pictures here of the T140 tank I just cleaned using this method. In one of the after shots the tank is not fully dry yet and that's why it is shiny inside.

Hope this helps.

regards,
Rob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
Thanks Snakeoil, that's exactly the kind of detail I was looking for.

Question: How to determine for sure if you need a liner? I'm thinking just fill the tank with gasoline, make sure the exterior is perfectly dry and check for leaks or seeps over a couple days? If you did that and it did leak, my guess is you have to do the acid wash all over again before putting in the liner?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rob,
Thanks for such a detailed process as this will prove to be very helpful when I go to do my tank. I've only been a member for a short time but I think it's great how everyone shares their "tips and tricks", very helpful.
Hopefully someday I will be able to lend some advice to others being a machinist in gear manufacturing.

After going to the Caswell web site I realized that they are only a short drive from my Mom and Dad's house (I grew up in Wayne County) so the next time I'm out to visit them I will make a point to stop into the Caswell shop.

Thanks again!
Al
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,533 Posts
Leak testing a tank

If you are very careful, you can leak test a tank with pressurized air and Snoop or just soapy water. If you use soapy water, put a drop or two of glycerine in it and it will make better bubbles. Keep in mind that only a few PSI of pressure will deform the tank or worse yet shoot the rubber bung plug out of the filler neck like a mortar round. So, my suggestion would be to do this with a hand or foot pump.

Go buy a 1/4" NPT nipple. Onto one end attach a barbed hose fitting. Then put some teflon tape on it and put it into one of the petcock bungs. Leave the pipe plug in the other bung. Put your rubber stopper into the neck and make sure it is snug. Keep that rubber stopper pointed away from you AT ALL TIMES. Keep this in mind as you test for leaks. If you have a friend around, let him work the pump. Connect the hose from the pump to the barbed fitting with a hose clamp. Stroke the pump once and hold it so the pressure remains in the tank. Then go around the seams with the soapy water or Snoop and if you see bubbles, you have a leak. It's just like checking a tire for a leak. Go all around all the seams, around the mounting bolt hole, around the neck, anywhere you might find a leak. Mike Wambold does an actual leakdown test when he does a tank. He puts a known pressure on the tank and leaves it 24 hours. You could do that too, but you'd have to be sure the two petcock bungs and the filler neck plug were not leaking. And you'd have to rig a valve to hold the pressure in the tank. Doing it my way means you can have leakes at the plugs. If the plugs leak a lot (they shouldn't) just take another stroke on the pump. You make find bubbles around the neck. The seam there is only crimped. They are notorious for leaking. Many silver solder this area before repainting. If you have leak there, if you prep it right, you should be able to brush some of the Caswell tank liner around the seam on the inside of the neck. Ask Caswell about this. I'd be curious to hear what they have to say.

I would not recommend you use compressed air from an air compressor or compressed air tank to do this test unless you are very familiar with what air pressure can do. Think of PSI for what it truly means, POUNDS per SQUARE INCH. If you lean on the flat side of a gas tank it will probably give. That's maybe 20 lbs spread over the palm of your hand. Let's say your hand is 3"x3". That's 9 sq inches. So 20 lbs over 9 square inches is just about 2.2 psi. If you hook up a compressor and your regulator is faulty, you could ruin the tank. You could also launch the rubber stopper plug thru something valuable like a window, a friend or your head. I'm actually more concerned about the stopper getting launched than hurting the tank.

If you find a leak, you can either have it repaired (TIG welded) or if your paint is too good to ruin, line it with the Caswell kit. You should be ready to use the kit since the pressure will prevent any of the soapy water from getting into the tank. Again, talk to Caswell about this.

I've just given you the procedures. Do not attempt them unless you know what you are doing and what the risks are. Proceed at your own risk. If you have any doubt at all, you could probably take the tank to a local auto radiator repair shop and they could pressure leak test it for you. I cannot stress enough the risk associated with putting pressure into a vessel that is not designed as a pressure vessel.
Good luck,
Rob
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,731 Posts
Put a handful of small sheetrock screws in the tank with some type of cleaning solvent (acetone ... maybe a good Eastwood rust dissolver) and agitate thoroughly ... just beware of pressure buildup ...

When lining the tank make certain that the liner will not be negatively affected by ethanol ... I've recently seen some of the plastic lined tanks with the plastic dissolving ...

I would careful using FLAMMABLE solvent while shaking the tank with METAL screws inside. If you cause a spark.....
Also, count the screws before you put them in and make sure you all of them out. You'd be surprised how they can wedge themselves into the corners after shaking.

I used a mild acid solution when I did my Norton. By mild, I mean MILD.
I used the Metal Ready system of prepping and sealing my tank. Working OK so far...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
Snakeoil - excellent descriptive post - makes me feel like I should go back and redo my tank if I could.:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,533 Posts
Pigr. Thanks. Glad you liked it. Hope it is helpful to others. I've gotten a good deal of info from this site in a short timeframe and just want to contribute back where I can.
regards,
Rob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
pressure testing

Thanks Rob, I'll try these ideas. Good safety advice too.

I've heard some bad things about liners and this thread has shed some light on what to use/what to avoid. Our gasoline here is up to 10% ethanol so that is a relevant tip. Hopefully I can avoid a liner altogether but if I do need one now I know what to avoid.

Canuck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Try substituting brass rivets or screws for the Sheetrock screws. It's more expensive, but brass will not spark against itself, which should greatly reduce the chance of a pyrotechnic event occurring in your hands. If you happen to have stainless steel hardware, that will work as well, if not better, though it's fairly pricey. Both, however, are cheaper than a hospital visit.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top