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There are a number of youtube videos on the subject. I'd think a vinegar solution might be best. Others will chime in.

I used my portable sandblaster on my dunebuggy tank, then blew it out, rinsed it dried it, then sealed it with some fuel tank sealer from CaswellPlating.com, some other ideas here:


If it's just surface rust and no flaking, I might not worry about it. Just change the fuel filter regularly.
 

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Vinegar is the answer, because it's dirt cheap and it works. You should have seen the tank I had on my rototiller. I thought it was a goner for sure. As a last ditch effort, I bought a gallon of the cheap white vinegar from the grocery store, poured it in, and let it sit for a few days. When I poured it back out, the tank looked brand new again! My mind was blown away by how cheap and easy this fix is!
 

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A bit of surface rust inside a fuel tank is typically no big deal. Put gasoline in it and ride the crap out of it. If you're worried, put a little clear fuel filter on the line between the tank and carb and keep an eye on it.
 

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1997 Honda Shadow ACE VT1100C2
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I vote for the vinegar. I took a chance and bought a matching tank for my '97 Shadow ACE V1100C2 (maroon and cream) on eBay. From the pictures posted it looked heavily rusted. I paid $180.00 for the tank and $15 for white vinegar and viola. Brand new tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Once again the shadow family has helped me again! Thank you all for your advice and suggestions I truly appreciate it!! I will do the vinegar. Hopefully this is something someone with no motorcycle experience can do by watching YouTube videos! I will keep you guys posted on when I start this project/finish! Happy holidays and grateful for you guys!
 

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1983 vt750c in black 25k miles exported to the uk in 2000 non runner since 2009 now resurrected
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Make sure you get a good quality tank sealant if you do use one and be sure to pour the excess out before it solidifies.
I used it once in one of my bikes about 12 years ago and it's now starting to break up and float about so I'm not a massive fan as it's time consuming doing carb jobs.
 

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1997 Honda Shadow ACE VT1100C2
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Once again the shadow family has helped me again! Thank you all for your advice and suggestions I truly appreciate it!! I will do the vinegar. Hopefully this is something someone with no motorcycle experience can do by watching YouTube videos! I will keep you guys posted on when I start this project/finish! Happy holidays and grateful for you guys!
Hey Aero, be advised that I had to let my tank sit for 5 days. Also, I used a hunk of chain I got at Home Depot as an agitator (some YouTube videos used nuts & bolts) and my chain got stuck on one of several "bracing" plates within the gas tank. If I were to do it again I would use a larger diameter chain like a large dogs choke chain.
 

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I don't like sealers, there's the cost and it's not infrequent that the stuff fails and causes just as many or more issues than the rust.

When I internally de-rusted the tank on my '96 1100 ACE, I started with cleaning, then used Evaporust to get most of it, then cleaning, then used dilute Phosphoric acid, then cleaned, then DRIED. This is considerably more complicated and expensive than vinegar, but the special thing that phosphoric does, that other acids don't do, is to convert iron oxide into iron phosphate.

Iron phosphate, the black coating one sees on industrial hardware items like drywall screws, is inherently more resistant to re-corrosion than bare steel. This lets me leave a bare steel (gray iron phosphate) surface inside the tank without worrying about the rust coming back.


I also use this stuff for various restoration/prep projects. Iron phosphate takes paint or even solder, or I can just wax over the surface if I want a "patina" look. I don't like the sight of red rust.

An acid cleaned surface can re-oxidize in a matter of minutes. Gotta get the acid ions out and the surface dried quickly. I used moderate heat and an air mattress inflator tube to push dry air into the tank to dry it out as quickly as possible.

That 1100 tank had a LOT of internal welded structure. Lots of places for crud to hide and promote corrosion, or prevent proper adhesion of a sealer. That structure also interfered with retrieving my scrubbing media, a bunch of square 1/4-20 nuts with sharp edges, but I prevailed.
 

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Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, ratio would be an ounce of peroxide to a cup of vinegar. No rubber or it expands it. Water wash, WD40 immediately after thru any and all holes you can spray into... Fill with gas and ATF, slosh around and drain. Water is heavier than oil/gas so the water should run out first.

Fill with gas, shake the tank, capture the gas, see the water at the bottom of the container with the saved the shaken gas, pour into the car, sans the water at the bottom of the container.

Stopped the flash rust exposed to air was the WD coating. Gas and ATF was the oil coating at the ceiling of the tank. The drain was to capture as much residual water left after the washing out of the acid.

Videos I've watched were showing the cleaner job was the acid sitting for day, not the battery charger and anode trick.

Signed,
Vinegar/peroxide experience with tanks/carbs/brake masters/hardware in general. Peroxide is the adder don't forget.

-EDIT-

First punch bottom of tank base with a screwdriver tip and give a good hit. No integrity as in punched thru the tank that easily, then find a less rusty tank.
 

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1996 Honda Shadow VT1100-C2
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My tank is rusty on the inside.
It's a 1996 Shadow VT 1100 C2 ACE.

I "thought" that I might take the tank off drain it fill it with vinegar and then add some pea gravel or aquarium rocks to it as an agitator and shake it for several minutes. Let it rest a while and then shake it some more before draining everything out then rinsing it with water, then rinsing it with gasoline.

But, after reading this thread I'm concerned that any media (sand, gravel, nuts and bolts, or whatever that I put in the tank) may get trapped in there and not come out at least not come out when I want them to!
 

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@Aero2011 : I'd be interested to hear what you end up doing and your opinions of its success.
 
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