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Olaco fuel tank restoration

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David Curtis View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 6:14am
I have an original OLACO fuel tank from my 1947
Willys CJ-2A restoration.   I'd like to recondition/restore this tank.  Does any one know of good posts that describe the fuel tank restoration process and possibly some photos of this process?  Many thanks in advance.    David
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Longhunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 8:03am
Eastwood has a tank repair / seal kit:
 
 
Instructions are pretty good with the kit.
Roc gave a link a week or so ago to some JB weld products are good for fixing larger holes in a tank. Gas has no effect on the JB stik stuff and it will set up while submerged in gas.
 
Hope this helps.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Howard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 9:06am
Good Morning,
I had a really good Olaco Tank to begin with so I was fortunate to have no significant repairs. The seams leaked fuel slightly. After removing the tank and pressure washing it well, I used a chemical stripper to remove the paint on the outside. Primer on the exterior to protect it for the inside preparation. I used the POR 15 kit and was very happy with the results. The key is to get everything real clean and absolutely dry. I made a sheet metal cover for the fuel sender hole and tubing plugs for the drain and fuel outlet holes. I washed the insides with hot water and the cleaner over and over and over and then once more. Let the soap soak with the tank full and set the tank in multiple positions while soaking...order extra Marine Clean...Marine Clean is an excellant cleaner. I use it all the time to degrese parts. When I was sure it was clean, I hooked up my heat gun and set the tank with the heat gun blowing right in the fuel fill neck...all plugs and cover off. The tank sat there for all day in the sun with the heat gun blowing warm air. The tank got good and warm to the touch for hours and hours. When I used the sealer inside the tank I hooked up a air line at about 5 psi to the fuel outlet tube to keep the sealer from clogging any of the interior plumbing and left it there until the sealer was dry, capped off all other ports. Moving the tank around carefully and allowing the sealer to coat all the interior surfaces. Poored out the excess. Really easy to do...just time consuming. This process took about four days total!
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by Howard - 05 Mar. 2010 at 9:36am
Howard F Jewett

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randyscycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 9:51am
 Caswell's is all we ever use anymore. Its clear and it stands up to ethanol just fine. I have had a few issues with POR lifting from ethanol exposure.
 
It isn't leaking, it's just marking its territory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Howard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 11:05am
Interesting,
POR 15 reports no problems with their product because of new fuels. Well that is no surprise. They certainly would not admit it if there were problems but I would be surprised if a company like that would continue to sell this product if in fact it fails from the new fuel exposure. There are certainly other products out there that are good or better. But I suggest that you would find the other products have failed for other individuals as well. They,POR15 Representitives, say that the problem of the sealer coming loose is because of the improper preparation to the surfaces. 'Proper cleaning and drying is crucial.'
Randyscycle, I am curious about your comment and specifically what were the circumstances that you have experienced failure using the US Gas Tank Sealer they sell and POR15's process and chemical cleaning to prep for this sealer. Did you install the POR15 Product and then it failed? I am not interested in disagreeing with your statement so please do not misunderstand, but just to say that you have had problems with a particular product's success is not sufficient information to explain. Mostly curious is all...makes little difference to me and my findings.
What/How is the process using Caswells Product? The process with their epoxy is also not without potential toubles during installation. What about the Eastwood stuff? I have no other experience using another product for this application. It would be good to know some specifics about other products and their differences.
 
No Worries.


Edited by Howard - 05 Mar. 2010 at 11:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Longhunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 12:37pm

You make some great points Howard about the procedure and about how the tank MUST be dry before application. It definitely sounds like there might be room for error if you are not carefull.

Good post!
 
Mike in Mississippi
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randyscycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 2:58pm
 Howard, in the restoration business (motorcycles) we see a lot of bad tanks on an almost monthly basis, and I have tried about every product and every method for cleaning over the years as they have come onto the market. I don't doubt your experience, but this is just what I've experienced personally. I don't mind a good discussion on the subject. That is how we all learn.   
 
  I did use POR15's US Standard tank sealer for a number of years with good results on metal tanks. In many cases, we would physically cut open the tanks on some machines, media blast the inside to perfectly clean metal, then re-weld them, and seal them afterward. Again, this worked for a long time, until the 10% ethanol came along. At almost the exact time this happened, we had two tanks come back with the insides looking like curtains where the sealer was separating from the interior. I've since seen a number of them that were done by others as well, although I can't vouch for their pre-sealing prep work, so that could be a variable. Getting the tanks both clean and dry is the cause of many sealer failures to be sure.
 
  Kreem, which was another product of the time, also suffered the same fate, only worse, because it wasn't the best product in my opinion, to start with. It was very finicky about the surface texture of the interior of the tank. That, and they still sell it today, with the claim that it is ethanol safe. I can say that is very untrue, as I right at this moment have a Yamaha RD tank that is having the interior stripped of flaking, bubbled Kreem which was applied not more than two months ago by another shop. The surface of the tank, again looked clean in spots whereit has come off, but it appears something actually attacked the Kreem sealer like a solvent.
 
  Elizabeth Radiator in New Jersey also has a system that actually installs a liner into a fuel tank too. I've not used it personally, but have heard of some issues where they tank still continued to rust from the inside between the liner and the tank surface afterward. Again, this I haven't personally seen or verified, so its strictly hearsay.
 
  That all said, I started using Caswells Epoxy sealer about two years ago when it first came to market, and have not had one tank return for a sealer failure. I like it because it actually does stand up to ethanol, and also to two-stroke gas/oil mix as well. It will also work on fiberglass tanks too. Its clear, so after cleaning the inside of the tank and sealing it, it doesn't look sealed. Not so much of an issue with a vehicle where you cannot see the inside of the tank, but somewhat important on a bike.  I'm not a salesperson for them, mind you, but they do have a product I have had excellent results with.
 
 


Edited by randyscycle - 05 Mar. 2010 at 2:59pm
It isn't leaking, it's just marking its territory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Howard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 4:08pm
Randy, I like the idea of the epoxy actually creating another tank inside the existing, Isn't that essentially what Caswell's product does? If it keeps air out of the 'loop', between the tank and the sealant, then it cannot rust. How is for sealing holes in a rusted tank? Can you just tape off a rusted spot as they suggest?
I think the mixing process has some draw back for epoxy.  What is the consistency of the sealer when it is mixed at the optimum temperature? Like heavy cream....syrup....milk...water?   The clear finish is cool. I found that you had to be attentive to keeping the tank moving around to get the best, more even coating inside.
Pick good weather and have plenty of time to do it right. Is this the same for Caswells product?
Sure would like to hear about some other brands on this subject from other users.
I might suggest that the condition of the tank may suggest the best way to seal it and maybe help dictate the best technique or product to consider using. Simplicity and skill levels are also factors. 
This is an important subject...repairing fuel tanks....the repro tanks are generally poor...big surprise...keeping an original tank is valueable and rewarding to finish with a great sense of dependability and safety. Safety should be a paramount concern as we sit right on top of the tank while driving!
Good Afternoon. 


Edited by Howard - 05 Mar. 2010 at 4:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randyscycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 10:14pm
 As with most sealers, yes the idea is to create a membrane inside the tank. If the air is cut off to any existing rust, in theory at least, the rust should stop. I've had varied results there in both tanks and with rust encapsulating paint like POR-15 though. I think that rust can trap some moisture and oxygen within it and its hard to ever remove completely. Add to that, that the inside of a fuel tank, particularly one that isn't kept entirely full all the time is a condensation magnet, and you have a difficult to remedy situation.  
 
  Caswell will seal holes well. Tape over it and let it "pool" in that area and it does a decent job. We do weld any tanks first though, so as not to rely on the epoxy alone to do the job.
 
  Mixed properly at around 65-70 F, the Caswells is thicker than the POR, but not by much. It flows pretty easy and has a fair amount of working time. I generally find I have about 30-40 minutes to move the tank around and coat the entire inside without any issue of hardening beyond workability. I'd say heavy cream at worst. They do not recommend heating the epoxy, but I find that if I keep it near the woodstove for a bit before mixing it, it does flow better, and it doesn't seem to alter the cure time at all.
 
  I agree with the poor quality replacement tanks. In my world, we many times don't have a choice of a replacement at all. Try to find a Benelli Cobra Scrambler tank just laying around! Repair is the only option. But with time and patience, you can get excellent results and a very usable finished product.


Edited by randyscycle - 05 Mar. 2010 at 10:16pm
It isn't leaking, it's just marking its territory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WeeWilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 10:32pm
 Thanks Randy for all the good information.  I was wondering what to do with a my Willys truck tank that looks great except a couple of small holes in the bottom.  Looks like Castwell is the way to go after I do a little welding.
 
  JIM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randyscycle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar. 2010 at 11:03pm
 No problem, and I hope my ramblings prove helpful.....Tongue
 
 Just be sure to be safe when welding that tank.
It isn't leaking, it's just marking its territory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 8:51am
I used the POR 15 product like Howard.  It did the trick for my Farmall Cub.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote samcj2a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 1:06pm
Originally posted by randyscycle randyscycle wrote:

  . . . .  Just be sure to be safe when welding that tank.
  I cannot agree more. 

For those who have heard this story before, I apologize.  Trying to fix a leaking 2A tank when I was a teenager, even though I rinsed the tank over and over and filled it with with water, I couldn't get the metal hot enough to braze with my oxy-acetylene torch because the water in the tank boiled and bubbled up onto the metal I was trying to braze.  After a few failed attempts, I lowered the water level in the tank and promptly blew up the tank.  Luckily, the weakened side that I was trying to repair was facing up and relieved all of the explosive force.  Lucky me that I was not injured or worse. Dead  After I stopped shaking and calmed down, I removed the entire side of the tank and brazed in a new piece of sheet metal in its place.  That went okay since the explosion purged all the remaining fumes from the tank.  

I will never try to weld a closed gas tank again, although I think Randy's method of cutting tanks in half so they can be scrubbed completely and patched when they are open to the atmosphere would be fairly safe. 



Edited by samcj2a - 06 Mar. 2010 at 2:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rocnroll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 1:56pm
Originally posted by samcj2a samcj2a wrote:

 ....... although I think Randy's method of cutting tanks in half so they can be scrubbed completely and patched when they are open to the atmosphere would be fairly safe. 

 
As long as a careful procedure for cutting the tank apart is used.Embarrassed
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote samcj2a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 2:30pm
Originally posted by rocnroll rocnroll wrote:

Originally posted by samcj2a samcj2a wrote:

 ....... although I think Randy's method of cutting tanks in half so they can be scrubbed completely and patched when they are open to the atmosphere would be fairly safe. 

 
As long as a careful procedure for cutting the tank apart is used.Embarrassed
 
 
 
  I'd laugh except that's a very good point.    Even a saw could create a spark, I suppose, but I'm guessing that's how he does it.  What is the technique, Randy?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rocnroll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 2:38pm
Though I've never done it, I've always heard introducing carbon monoxide into the tank is supposed to be a good method.....correct?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bkreutz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 3:02pm
I used to hook up a hose from the exhaust of another vehicle and put that in the tank, it replaced the fumes with exhaust. Never had a explosion. (I've often wondered what would have happened if the carb was running rich though.LOL) Haven't used this method for many years though. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ralf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar. 2010 at 5:41pm
True story:  A guy in Smithers WV decides to work on his gas tank while removed from the vehicle.  Being safety conscious he did not work on it in his garage, he took it down to the end of his concrete driveway.  Tank catches fire and Smithers VFD responds.  The firemen hit the tank with the high pressure hose sending the tank skidding up the concrete driveway into the garage and overturning the gas tank.  Garage catches fire.
Guy's home owners insurance company files claim with VFD insurance company.  My buddy was the Smithers Town Attorney at the time.

Moral of the story:  Sounds safe enough to me.  What could go wrong?
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