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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey - before you think I'm about to blow myself up, read on... I've done this twice before, and always take the proper precautions. The first time, I had it cooked first at a radiator shop, and that is my preferred method. The second time, I was working with a tank that had been sitting bone dry in a garage for three years - but I still washed it out with soap and water. Now, my new super 26-gallon tank (that I welded all the 1/4" diamond plate on last Summer) has rusted between the angle iron mounting bracket and the tank itself, and is weeping pretty bad.

I'm leaving for Tellico in a week, and I just can't be comfortable dragging this weeping mess across all of those rocks. Anyway, the radiator shop can get it done for me no sooner than Tuesday, and that's really pushing it to weld in a new side and brackets, as well as seal the inside and allow it time to dry. I have the whole weekend to work on this if I could figure out a way to "de-gas" it myself, but quite frankly, I'm scared to death of taking a chance.

Now, I've cleaned out Jerry cans with bleach before, and that seems to kind of neutralize that gas. Anyone ever done this? Actually, it's not the welding that's the problem, since after I cut the side out, I'll be scrubbing the interior of the whole thing. It's the cutting where the danger is.

So, I'd like to hear homegrown ideas for cleaning it out and totally getting rid of all of the fumes. I can do it the right way on Tuesday, but that's really pushing it and violates my "the Jeep must be ready to go 1 week ahead of time" rule... - Chuck

Chuck Hadley
 

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A friend of mine is a welder and when he welds fuel tanks he just makes sure they are FULL of gas. The gas will burn a little bit but not blow up. The fumes are the most hazardous. Or so he says /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

Patrick Kulas
85 CJ-7
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Please tell me that was a joke! I'd rather play Russian Roulette!

Chuck Hadley
 

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I have heard of this, and I am pretty dang sure it would work...
Hook your car exhaust (running) up to the inlet of the gas tank to keep it evacuated if oxygen. No oxygen, no burn...

Makes sense that it would work /wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

<a href="http://www.tennessee4x4.com/toyota">
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dry the tank as much as you can by blowing air through it (engine exhaust will work). During the welding proccess all oxygen needs to be eliminated from the tank (inerting) two effective methods I have used are: fill tank with nitrogen or argon (I take the hose off of my tig welder and let it blow into the fuel line) or drop dry ice pellets into the tank as the dry ice "melts" it will force the fumes out and chill any remaining liquid to a relatively safe temperature. the dry ice method is used when service station underground tanks are removed, so I am sure this method has recieved considerable scrutiny from the EPA, OSHA, etc.
good luck, jjc

 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guys, I don't want to be rude, but let's just forget it... These are not the responses I was looking for, and personally, I don't recommend anyone trying either of these ideas. I'll wait until Tuesday and have it cooked.

Chuck Hadley
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You guys would actually weld on a tank full of explosive liquid? I'd like watch that from a distance. I remember seeing on the news a couple of months ago, two guys who were killed welding on a tank.



 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you already knew what kind of response you were looking for, why did you ask?

 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was looking for an explanation of a good solvent to use to remove all the gas from the tank and all of the fumes. I guess I should have been more clear. I WILL be removing the tank - I just want to know what is the best way to clean it out after it's out of the Jeep. Sorry for the confusion. - Chuck

Chuck Hadley
 

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As far as I know, there is no good solvent to remove all the gas and the fumes from the tank, at least without leaving a flammable/potentially explosive vapor itself... Purge it with nitrogen, or CO2, and make sure you're in a pretty wind free area so the inert gas can't escape. I would guess it's about all that can be done at home... /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

Tim
/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif '79 Suburban 4x4 454, 35x12.5s
/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif '85 S15 4x4 2.8l, 235/75's
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How about filling the tank w/ water, sand, Jello, etc... something NON-Flamable
It'd displace all the vapor, No Vapor, NO Kaboom
Cant help you w/ the cleaning stuff though

good luck
BJ

to hell with it, lets go wheelin'
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This won't help you Chuck, but it's somewhat related.
I saw a story on the news last winter where a woman's fuel line froze on her car. So she decided some warm gas would clear that pesky frozen line pretty quick. Well she fills a coffee can with gas, puts it on her natural gas stove in her apartment to heat that sucker up, and yup, you guessed it--she blew up her apartment and the surrounding area.
It takes all kinds....

 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's not the perfect way to do it or anything, but when I wanted to cut a hole for a new gas gauge float mechanism in my CJ5 tank, I ran the jeep low on fuel, pulled the tank, emptied it completely, and simply flushed it with water about 5 times. When I was ready to cut the hole, I filled the tank with water, and positioned it so the spot I needed to cut was the high side and had a small pocket of air there. Was there still some fuel residue in the tank? Yes, probably. Can gas burn in water? Yes. But with as little fuel as there was left in the tank, and as much water as there was, I wasn't all that concerned. Of course, I did have the fire extinguisher handy, and stood back a little bit more than usual when I first contacted the tank...

Trying to come up with a witty line to end all of my posts...
 

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Seems that filling it with water might not be the best thing, at least unless it gets flushed out for a while, because you'll end up with a slick of gasoline floating on the surface of the water, and potentially closer to the air where it can vaporize and the vapor will escape... Not sure, just an idea... /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif All it takes is a few drops of gasoline (well more like atomized gasoline or gasoline vapor) to make a decent sized fireball... /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

Just a thought... The N2 or CO2 purging of the tank would still be your best bet, since gasoline can still burn in water, but not in the presence of these gasses... /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif It could get difficult to get them to stay in there though, and an enclosed space wouldn't be the best place for that because it'd displace the oxygen in the air... /wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

Just a few items to think about...

Tim
/wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif '79 Suburban 4x4 454, 35x12.5s
/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif '85 S15 4x4 2.8l, 235/75's
 

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that jello idea has potential - fill the tank completely with warm water, add 10-15 pkgs jello (maybe even some sand for texture), shake well and let set for several hours - no more leak
TGIF




Brent & Sons
49-CJ3A, 51-CJ3A
 

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This was an earlier reply to the same question. I know you have a custom tank though
<
We hook them to an exhaust of an eng.(or hot tanked them)
1 we always let them run for 4 to 5 hrs to "dry" them too
2 you have to hav a good clean running eng.
3 we always tested them first w/ a 20 ft. pole with a fire on the end standing behind a block wall
4 WHY tanks are cheap now.......yor life isn't
I fixed tanks for over 10 years and thats how we did them. I will never put a torch to another. My time was going to run out one day.
MOST OF ALL never fill one up with water to keep it from blowing up!!!!!
It more than likly will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After all I said and all I've fixed don't do it at all it's just not worth it.
I know at least 6 professional people that were seriously hurt doing this.
This included everybody where I worked except me. Even after they had been "cleaned" and tested they can still go off!
Kinda like (not) NIKE "JUST DON'T DO IT">

Pay someone else. We had a fatal 2 1/2 years ago at work when someone put a torch to a tank. The man looked like Freddie Kruger. It's too bad , it didn't have to happen.

"No officer I haven't been drinking , Thats just how my Jeep drives"
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dirt Dog -
I hate to disagree with you but I am compelled.
There is nothing wrong with filling the tank with water and doing what ever you want with cutting, welding or etc., etc. There is no danger with them filled with water. NONE. Let the garden hose run in the thing for a little while and it will displace all liquid fuel as well as vapors. I'm talking 10 or 15 minutes here, not hours. There will be a small bit of fuel or vapor that surfaces on the water as you weld/cut, it will burn of as quickly as it rises and you will not even notice unless you are watching for it without the helmet/goggles.

Before anybody flames me for this, let me say a few things.
1) I do not have a death wish. Never have and never will.
2) I have done this many times before and can't remember who first told me about it but I can't take credit for inventing it, that's for sure. Point here is that many people have done this.
3) Gasoline tanks are welded on sucessfully. Everyday, everywhere and have been for a long time and will continue to be so. There are many ways to do it. Common sense will let you do it too.
4) Fill the tank with gasoline and weld on it. It will be OK. That is how they do the big ones in the trucking and the ship repair and the railroad business. Fill them with the fluid they carry and weld them up. Obviously, you don't fill one with gasoline and let it leak all over the shop floor and then strike an arc or light the torch. Use some sense.
5) You HAVE to have oxygen and fuel VAPOR to have an explosion. Fuel fluid is not explosive. If it was then we couldn't have a gas tank in our cars and trucks, now, could we?
6) If you are using an acetylene rig for any of this you must know that the most explosive gas around is acetylene. And yet it is used everyday, everywhere by professional and amatuer alike all over the world. Safely.
7) Keep your perspective. If others do it, then emulate what they do. Think about safety and what is required for a problem and then deny the problem it's requirement.
8) The use of N2 is a good idea since N2 is heavier than air and will not flow out of the top. Bt how will you know when the whole tank is full of N2? Light a match to see if the flame goes out? NOT!
9) Water is cheap, sure, and absolutely fool proof.

sln

P.S.
I guess I should have addressed this to the original poster instead of you, DD. My apologies. Mr. Hadley, go do your tank!
sln

 

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No offence taken to me. Would you like the address on where to send the apoligy to the widow of the one I mentioned? He filled the tank with water because "that would be safe". No flame. But why kill yourself , let alone tell someone else to take the chance? We're not talking gear ratio here and I don't care if maybe you got away with it once. I've seen people hurt and killed doing this. Didn't I make myself clear? You can do it (never totally safe!) but not even close to being safe w/ water. This man was burnt to a crisp (but alive for a week) and loaded with metal schrapnal. I'm sure he thought it was safe too. I don't think he was planning on dieing. He did.How many tanks have you fixed? I have done hundreds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I said .....no more.I have seen them blow even after being hot tanked for 2 days. This is not a flame. I have no hard feelings to your statement at all. I just don't want to see someone hurt. And I have!
Somebody help me out here before anyone gets hurt!!!!!!!!!!

"No officer I haven't been drinking , Thats just how my Jeep drives"
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I certainly don't have the same level of experience as you do in this field, and I in no way doubt the truthfulness of your story, but... If a gas tank was rinsed out very carefully several times, and then filled completely with water, even if there was some fuel residue in there, and even if that residue did concentrate enough to be burnable in water, I find it hard to believe that a gas tank could explode into that big of a fireball to turn someone into Freddy Krueger and load them up with shrapnel. If the tank was full of water, and some gas did explode, it would have to be near a source of air of some sort, most likely by some hole in the tank (filler, where one was cutting, etc.) Where do you think the explosion would go? Now I remember CJDave's post from a while back about the explosive properties of properly atomized gas and all, but let's be realistic. Your friend made a critical error somewhere along the way. If the tank exploded that forcefully, then we can logically deduct two things that must have been true: 1)There had to be a lot of air in the tank so it could combust inside the tank and blow the tank outwards (so we know that the tank wasn't full of water) and 2) There had to be quite a bit of gasoline still in the tank to explode with enough force to turn the gas tank into shrapnel. If you put one drop of gas into 15 gallons of water, you will not be able to ignite the gas no matter how hard you try. You have to have a concentrated area of gas in order to be able to cause ignition of the gas in water. Moreover, if you've seen tanks explode even after being hot tanked for 2 days, I'm not certain that it would be a "safe" alternative to reccomend. I'm also not certain exactly how a tank could explode after being hot tanked for 2 days--unless the cleaning was done totally improperly.

I guess that there is one other thing that I should make clear. I am no longer advocating the use of water in the way I did above, if so many of you are so convinced that it is unsafe. If I work on the gas tank in the future, I will take different precautions.

Trying to come up with a witty line to end all of my posts...
 
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