Petrol tank cleaning

Discussion in 'Help Wanted' started by picklesquirt, Sep 23, 2021.

  1. picklesquirt

    picklesquirt Member

    Evening all,

    We have a fuel tank with some unknown contamination.

    It is on a 1930 ish Case RC ( row crop three wheeler ) tractor only recently imported from the USA. It is petrol only. What ever is in there contaminates the fuel and turns it red - looks like red diesel in the filter glass.

    Firstly the carb' was found to be full of hard toffee like substance which had to be scraped out and the jets cleared.
    The tank was washed out with some petrol and she fired up ok. She ran for a short time and then died totally refusing to even cough.
    Found three inlet valves stuck open inspite of fairly strong valve springs trying to close them.
    Freed them with WD and rigged a jury petrol tank - now runs fine.

    Have since washed the fuel tank with two lots of boiling water and detergent and a lot of shaking.
    When cleaning the carb could not find any solvent for the toffee like substance. Petrol , white spirit or acetone did not touch it.
    Now putting fuel in the proper tank it still turns red after a day. Obviously what ever it is leaches out into the petrol, but slowly.

    Has anyone had a similar problem ? We are getting close to cutting a larger hole in the tank to abrade this stuff out.
    Any ideas ?


  2. petternut

    petternut Administrator

    I thought it was confined to diesel but I suspect you have a bacterium. Bleach might work (or gargle with trump solution). Try meths for the gunk.
    Good luck
  3. picklesquirt

    picklesquirt Member

    Hi Roland,

    Thanks for your thoughts , I have tried meths ,usually my first line for solvent and acetone if you need to go up a gear.

    I had also thought of hydrochloric acid ( patio cleaner ) or caustic soda. The acid might not be good for pin holes as the tank is pretty rusted inside but so far fuel tight.
    Bleach is a good idea , will try tomorrow with hot water. This stuff forms a really hard gunge aka the valves sticking up.
    Is it possibly a residue from years of cheap American petrol or could some so and so have put sugar in it.

    Apparently machinery used just petrol as it was cheap in the US but tractors designed for export to UK were petrol to start and then ran on TVO.
    Will let you know what the bleach does.

  4. johndavies

    johndavies New Member

    ,Hi Ewan,

    In the past I have found Powerfix (or Baufix) universal cellulose thinners a brilliant solvent for most gummy/varnish residues. It is sold intermittently by Lidl, but I think it may be obtainable elsewhere. If you can get hold of some, well worth a try. It is not dreadfully expensive either, and retails in a 1 litre screw topped tin. Although sold as cellulose thinners it is a mix of several different hydrocarbons, and seems to dissolve most deposits. Actually, in the past they have sold a product called universal solvent by the same manufacturer and that, if you can find some is even stronger !

    Hope that this may be helpful,
  5. picklesquirt

    picklesquirt Member

    Evening again to all,

    Tried a tank of hot bleach ,it did not do much but if there was a bacterial growth it should be dead now.
    In desperation reached for the Karcher again. On it's highest setting cautiously tried a bit opposite the filler cap. To my surprise it cleaned up well and left shiny metal , possibly galvanised . It had appeared as rust but was this hard gunge. Cleaned all we could reach through the filler cap and providing it is not filled more than half full should be ok.

    Thanks for your interest


Share This Page