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Old 07-10-2009, 08:30 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: calgary
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Default Acid Bathing A Surface- Rusted Tank

If, like myself, you find you have some surface rust within your tank, do not fret! Easy-peasy fixaroo!


10mm socket
8mm socket
muriatic acid (aka hydrochloric acid) -> available at all hardware stores
baking soda
methyl hydrate -> also, available at hardware stores
rubber gloves/eyewear/appropriate acid handling garb
plastic bucket/deep pan
juice jug and stir-stick
hose if you've got it (or, just multiple jugs of water like i used)
paper towel

1) GET OUTSIDE. Hydrochloric acid will burn the nostril hairs outta yer snotter. It doesn't smell pretty at all. Not only that, but it will pretty much eat anything it gets on. Put your safety wear on, and make sure, for the love of Peter that your gloves don't have holes in them (well... aside from where you put your hands in them... of course).

2) (with the assumption that you've already removed your tank from the bike) Flip the tank upside down and remove the two 10mm bolts from the petcock. Petcock slides right out (you may need to clean off the rust globs off of the petcock). Put aside.

3) Remove the five 8mm bolts from the sensor. This too will come off easily; HOWEVER! don't just yank it out, as the float is attached along a bendy wire. Again, you may need to clean it off. Put aside.

4) Pour about half to three quarters of your box of baking soda into a juice jug. Fill with water and stir. Put aside. NOTE: keep the rest of the box with you... if you get any acid on your fleshybits, douse yourself in the soda to neutralize it before your skin starts to melt off (nice thought, hey?? SAFETY FIRST!). This is also a good time to have your extra jugs of water set up, or your hose hooked up and turned on and all that jazz.

5) Your gloves are on, right? Okay... strip off a couple pieces of paper towel and fold them up until they're kinda thick but big enough to cover the holes where the sensor and petcock were. Put them aside, but close by. Put your bucket or pan on the ground where you'll be working (try to keep it away from fuzzy bunnies, small children, or your wife's car)


6) Now for the sizzling fun part! Pour some muriatic (hydrochloric) acid (about 1 cup) into the sensor hole (it's bigger... better target, less chance of spilling on your feet). You'll see it steaming and basically eating the inside of your tank. Lovely. Cover the holes with the paper towel and GENTLY swirl the tank.... try to get the acid on all the surfaces (chances are, right where your hands are, is where the rust will be the worst).
After a couple of good swirls, turn the tank and CAREFULLY drain the acid into your bucket/pan. POUR AWAY FROM YOURSELF! and try not to breathe in the fumes.
Repeat process for good measure.

7) You'll need to neutralize the acid in the tank or it will just continue to eat away at the tank (which, really, if you're gonna let that happen, you might as well have just bought a new tank in the first place). This is where you take your trusty jug o' watery baking soda goodness and pour it into your tank (you'll probably have needed to re-stir, 'cause that stuff'll settle pretty quickly). Notice the bubbly-awesomeness? That's okay, it's supposed to happen (remember high school chemistry??). Same as above, cover the holes with paper towel and swirl the tank around until you hopefully hear no more sizzling. Dump this into your bucket (careful though, there will be a chemical reaction, and it'll bubble up and possibly over the edge if you do it too quickly).

8) Add some more water and rinse everything out well (make sure to get the areas on the outside of the tank that you may have spilled on - ie, around the holes and under the gasket for the sensor). Drain as much of the water out as possible.

9) Pour about 1 cup of methyl hydrate into the tank and swirl. This will just draw the water out of the tank and dry everything up. Pour it out (into the bucket is fine - you essentially have really untasty, dirty, rusty water in there now). Repeat for poops and giggles (and really, you want to chance having to have to do this all over again?).

10) Leave it outside in the sun to dry up completely (don't forget to clean off any acid residue on your paint!!).

11) Once it's all dry and whatnot, put it all back together. And TAH-DAH!! Done.

Last edited by kat_kitten; 07-10-2009 at 08:35 PM..
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