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CJ2A Fuel Tank repair / re-solder

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Category: CJ-2A Discussion Area
Forum Name: General Discussion
Forum Description: General talk about the CJ-2A
Printed Date: 25 Feb. 2020 at 7:28am
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Topic: CJ2A Fuel Tank repair / re-solder
Posted By: Greaser007
Subject: CJ2A Fuel Tank repair / re-solder
Date Posted: 25 Apr. 2019 at 11:51am
Hi ya'all !

Ok, here goes: I am now 67 years old, and my whole life I have been fearful of applying a Torch to a Gas Tank ! _ _ _ and for a reason. I value my eyebrows.

So, the tank on my '46 2A that I bought in Dec. 2017, had rust pin-holes through the metal on the rear of the tank from outside-to-inside from decaying leaves that obviously had collected and decomposed over many decades of neglect. Why do I insist on resurrecting junk from the scrap-heap !
After doing extensive reading about how to weld on fuel tanks, I came across a thread in a forum where a young man (could be my age) who said that his Father told him that when he was in the Army in WWII, he welded many fuel tanks. The father said that the trick is to fill the tank with water. Then, when the water begins to run out of the inlet to the tank, take your torch and light the fumes while the water spills out. _ _ _ Simple-Simon right !
Ok, I still have my eye-brows intact. yes, and no-explosion either. The old man was correct.
To, make sure I just didn't get Lucky, I did the same with a Second Tank, and no-explosion. I must admit, I did have 4-layers of carbboard as a shield between me and the tank, and I had the inlet spigot pointing to the side in case of a "lift-off" of the tank.

Here is the deal: I purchased a used fuel tank while up at the Camp Plymouth military vehicle meet. thanks Doug, for the nudge !
There was some putty around the base of the small bung so I figured there was a problem in Houston. Yep, a broken solder joint at bung-to-tank.

A Note: I was using a size "0" victor torch tip (small) and discovered that the metal and solder does heat-up quite quickly, and with the torch being held 6-inches back from work zone. I had the flame cut down small with oxidizing flame to reduce soot. I am not one to solder fuel tanks because this is the First Time for me to get Bold-with-Tanks. ha, i have heard there are No "old-bold-pilots" snicker !
But what i did learn from this was i had a hell of a time cleaning the metal for the solder to stick. I had to revert to using my little dremel tool with the cut-off wheel to scarify and clean metal. The soldering flux did nothing much to impress me, and was tempted to draw acid out of a battery to clean and prep the metal. The light grinding with Dremel worked.
Once the area at the Bung is hot and the solder is melted, pull the heat off of the work area, and slowly add solder to the pool to build it up around the bung. Reheat as necessary to form the solder puddle. Don't worry, i spent all evenig messing with trying to get the Bung and the Tank Bracket clean enough to re-stick with the solder. I had best luck with Acid-Core Solder too.

Stamping on fuel tank purchased at Camp Plymouth !

The solder joint was fractured and the fitting was Filthy on tank end.

The fitting had to meticulously cleaned for a good bond with solder

Didn't have to hold the torch very close as the metal heats up quickly, and holds the heat to allow adding solder to the puddle.

This is a First-Time for me putting a torch to a tank. kinda Scary really.

Not a very good solder bond !

Whew, it took about 3-times cleaning and re-solder attempts to finally get the repair to where I was satisfied.   Still not sure of my skills here _ _ _

Looks to me to be sufficient to hold the bracket-to-tank

Ok, I think I can live with it !

Well, this was quite a nerve-wracking experience putting the torch to tank.
All in all, I need to figure out how to properly clean the metal. But, I was able to repair the tank, and no leaks after plugging the outlet bung and filling with water last night.   ( hmm, wonder if it will leak with fuel ) ?
Guess time-will-tell.

    I wanted to share this experience because I Know there are other's like me who are chomping at the bit to do a tank repair, but a bit apprehensive.
Good luck if you attempt this repair, and be sure to have 4-layers of Cardboard as a 'shield' from the tank just in-case of Ignition and Blast-Off !

Posted By: 48walker
Date Posted: 25 Apr. 2019 at 8:00pm
Brave man, glad it worked and you've still got the eyebrows

Posted By: redrunner
Date Posted: 25 Apr. 2019 at 10:36pm
I have welded them while running the exhaust from a small engine into the tank.  It worked better that the water method for me.  

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

Posted By: willyt
Date Posted: 25 Apr. 2019 at 10:51pm
Nice looking repair. You did good!

Years ago I took my tank to an old timer for repair of pin holes. It still had some liquid gas in it and I told him. He said not to worry. He heated a big old soldering iron up and started to work. Man.... you could hear the gas sizzle as hot solder dripped thru the pan holes and into the gas. I moved out to the shop door. He said the temp of the iron and solder would not reach the flash point of the gas. I guess he was correct, it didn’t explode.

1952 CJ3A (Lil'Green)
early M38A1(Ole Green)
1970 Jeepster Commando

Posted By: Ol' Unreliable
Date Posted: 25 Apr. 2019 at 11:33pm
Personally, I think I would happy with JB Weld for that job.  It would cause way less anxiety.

There's a reason it's called Ol' Unreliable

Posted By: Greaser007
Date Posted: 01 May 2019 at 12:26am

    Ok, I am back after weed-eating: _ _ _ it put me into a 3-hour Nap !

Interesting feed-back. and always appreciated. tank repair could be a hair-raising experience for real.   _ _ _ or hair-removal.

    Ok, I must admit, this was a "Bucket-List" item I had to scratch-off.
We are all going to die of something, and mostly never get to choose the day.
I never wanted to have to lay on my death-bed thinking I never tried repairing a tank with welding.   Just one of those "things" I guess.
    ( although, there is one bucket-list item that will never reach fruition, and that would be "Trampoline-night" at the Playboy mansion ). dream-on.
   My Dad always relied on a Big Soldering Iron. He would heat it up on the kitchen stove and then do his soldering.
    The tank that came with my '46 has heavy rusting on the bottom from holding moisture against the floor-metal, and I am hoping to sandblast the pocketed area and was thinking of trying Brazing, but not so sure of what distortion problems I will encounter because of having to get the metal red-hot.   Hmm _ _ _ I am still undecided on this one.
    Not being one to weld body panel replacements frequently, my past experience in welding a roof patch panel with torch badly distorted the roof.
( I was in a hurry on a Friday night getting ready for a Saturday morning departure for camping in early spring with frequent rain squalls ).

    As Unreliable suggests, I have done some research on using JBWeld, and even thought about troweling-on some over the pitted area once sand blasted clean. Voila !   seal the JB with some spray-on Undercoating, & Done-Deal.
    Speaking of Troweling:   snow skiing is like troweling on snow. I get a great charge out of riding snow trowels (skis).

    I also thought of making patch-panels out of clean light gauge steel and welding in using my Mig welder, but I am running .035 wire, and .030 would be a much more use-friendly gauge of wire.

    Options ! _ _ yep, how far do we wade into the mud before loosing a boot.

    If I get anstie, and try brazing the tank I will add to this post. Here is the deal:    if I cannot use the pitted tank with holes, and I ruin it trying my hand at brazing _ _ _ _ I haven't lost anything, and may have success !
     nothing lost, nothing gained. or   no brain, no pain.   roll the dice

     To be truthful, I would rather weld on a tank than to replace the fractured choke blub on my wife's gas-powered Leaf Blower, which requires almost complete disassembly and is a big PIA, until I smell dinner cooking. :)

     Maybe more later _ _ _

Posted By: Greaser007
Date Posted: 05 May 2019 at 11:23am
   Ha, i was visiting with a cousin who grew up on a large almond orchard, and we were talking engines and tractors yesterday. We were discussing cracked engine blocks, and he said many of the old guys in his tractor club use JbWeld to patch the cracks. I have not yet ventured into the world of JbWeld, but any reduction in anxiety is a good thing. right !!
   And this cousin, being a 'farm-boy' did admit that in the past he welded up two cracked Case engine blocks successfully with a special welding rod that he had ordered out of southern California.

   Oh, and i mentioned the fuel tank repair, and he agreed, that always fill the tank with water before lighting the torch. _ _ think safety first. :)

Posted By: Johnnygeep
Date Posted: 13 May 2019 at 2:11pm
thanks for the post.  Years ago I tried to solder a tank.  I could never get the solder to stick reliably and finally broke down and had a radiator shop fix it.  I like the dremel tool idea and I wonder now if Muriatic acid would work to clean/etch the metal good enough to solder.

As for the JB Weld....I would be concerned about long term.  I had a Jeep that the previous owner patched the gas tank with JB Weld.  One day I went into my garage to find about 10 gallons of gas puddled on the floor.  The patch gave way. Not sure if from just vibration or  the gas ate through. Talk about scared, the whole house could have gone up in smoke if anything had sparked that.

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Posted By: Greaser007
Date Posted: 16 May 2019 at 11:08pm
   My dad suggested using acid that is used to clean swimming pools.

   Hydrochloric acid ?

   I was tempted to take a brush with hair bristles and dipping into an automotive battery and brushing the acid on the rusty surface to see if it would clean and etch the metal.
   On my old tank which is badly rust pitted from the outside-in, has many pockets. My thought was if able to clean sufficiently for solder to adhere, then the tank may be worth fixing. I have my doubts i'd have luck.
And for soldering, I would be smart to just take the tank to the radiator shop.
   And my idea of possibly brazing would really distort the metal.
If I try to use the brazing, I will report-in.
( I bought some brazing rod with flux ) So, if I cannot use the tank, and i ruin it trying to braze the rust areas, I am not out anything.

   Here is another thought of consideration:
   If i choose to sandblast the pitted tank to clean it, i may have difficulty getting all of the sand out of the tank.

    I have not used JBWeld, and hope not to, but i hear it works.

Posted By: Johnnygeep
Date Posted: 17 May 2019 at 9:17am
Muriatic  acid is hydrochloric acid, just the name it is sold under.  A gallon of muriatic acid is only about $5-10 at any hardware, farm store, paint store...even Walmart.  It will dissolve the rust and leave the metal totally clean.  Rinsing with water will neutralize it.
Go buy a small kiddee pool at Walmart, Dollar General, etc. for about $8.  Use this as a "sink" when working on you tank to catch spills.  Put your tank in the pool. If there is oil or grease on/in the tank  clean this off first using a degreaser  or paint thinner.
Pour about a half gallon of muriatic acid into your tank and let it roll around all sides for about a half-hour.  Use a paintbrush on the outside to spread the acid around to clean the outside. Drain, rinse with water, dry thoroughly in the sun and/or use a shop vac to suck air through until dry. 
If you only have pin holes buy some POR-15 tank sealer.  Use according to directions.  I painted the outside of my tank with POR-15 too.  If there are holes up to 1/8" you can insert a short sheet metal screw to plug it before using POR-15.  Grind the head flat so it doesn't create a rub/pressure spot.
Bigger can try solder but a radiator shop will do much better.
I don't recommend sand blasting your tank.  You risk blowing through  weak spots and you will never get all the sand out of the tank.  The Muriatic acid method will work much better..
 NOTE...Muriatic acid will burn skin and eat through clothes. Always use proper safety equipment when working with any acid. Goggles, gloves, and Common Sense.

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Posted By: Greaser007
Date Posted: 26 May 2019 at 4:30pm
John, thank you for explaining this procedure. I have never used Muriatic Acid, and have not for fear of damaging my skin. ( but yet i'll put a torch to a gas tank ) right !   omg

And my dad told me the other day to use some acid. If I can find the courage to do this, I need to, and for cleaning other parts too.

Remembering back how older auto bodies had the seams leaded, and I wonder if a lead-spoon could be used to spread the solder over the pin-holes.
On my own tank that I removed, it is really bad, BUT a good candidate for a Repair-Experiment.

The Sand _ _ _ too bad the acid wouldn't dissolve the sand.
But, I have my sandblaster working with #3 grit sand (the local yard designation for their grits) and am going to do some sandblasting this summer, and may practice on the underside of the Willys chassis. Omg, then I would have to prep-for-paint.   I should have invested in Krylon Paint stocks 40-years ago, but couldn't afford it. Our Willys are part of our Stock portfolio.

   OK, I need to quit visiting, and sharing my little progress, and order-up some of the welting to set my tank onto on the willys floor.
    ( personally, I'd rather be up skiing again in the high-Sierra's ) yep

    I hear that Mammoth Mountain ski area has so much snow that they will be open into August this year.
    No Kidding, my wife and I have driven on top of an 8 to 10 foot snow pack in our jeep in the high sierra's in August !   super-cool running around all day on 4-psi of air pressure.   any more than 4-psi, and you will probably loose the snow-shoe effect and SINK.
    "High Lakes Desolation Area" up above the town of Paradise and Sterling City, in northern California.   Paradise got burned-off-the-map by the tragic wildfire in November 2018.   It is so high ( for little me ) up there that it took my wife and I 3-years of attempts to get in to Morris Lake with no snow in August.   amazing.   4-psi, and I have a dent in my left front fender as a reminder of that trip where I did a slow sideways slide into a tree.

John, also, it is supposed to hit 90-degrees soon, so first-up for that Kiddee Pool will be Mee !!    hahahaha   Ka-Splash

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