Thursday, December 21, 2006

Gas tank restoration

My mentor, Christopher Markley, helped me address the issue of severe rust inside the original SS180 gas tank. The previous owner had his brother sand blast the exterior. Christopher told me the best way to restore my gas tank is to have a local radiator shop "hot tank" the gas tank. This is NOT an acid dip, but rather a much less abrasive chemical process. I called Smitty's Radiator shop in Harrisburg, PA and was quoted $40-$60 for the job.

First Christopher had me remove the fuel tap so it would not be destroyed in the "hot tank." Thanks to Roland Henry, one of the founder's of Three Mile Island Scooter Club, who loaned me his GS fuel tap wrench that fits the SS perfectly.

Christopher stressed to me the importance of coating the gas tank with 2-stroke oil immediately after the "hot tank" inside the tank and then to use PPG Metal Cleaner and Conditioner (see the paint stipping post). I went to Advance Auto and picked up some "2-stroke Pennzoil for air-cooled engines."

Ernie, at Smitty's Radiator, charged me $45 total for the "hot tank" and then he bead blasted the tank to clean out all rust debris and he dried it as he bead blasted. He quickly coated the inside with oil generously. The tank was slightly pitted, but the structural integrity of the tank was solid. I picked up the gas tank and then PPG prep'd it for the painter. It is highly recommended, by Tom Giordano (a highly respected restoration expert), that I do not coat the inside of the gas tank and I trust Tom. If the tank had "thin" spots I may have considered coating the inards of the tank, but as many restorers say all coats eventually fail and fall apart and then are a major pain in the butt to clean out.


Paul B. said...

POR-15 is a great tank coating and, no, it won't come off. Properly done, the stuff dries like stone and protects your tank inner surfaces from the water inherent in fuel and condensation that develops in all fuel tanks.

Scooter Pooch said...

Paul have you heard of something called "red coat"? My radiator guy swears by it. Says it's been existance since WWII.

Paul B. said...

No, I've never heard of it. I'll ask a buddy of mine who has like a zillion motorcycles and had been into them for like 40 years. I'll see if he knows about it and report back to you.
Paul B.

Anonymous said...

I never will use any of those internal tank coatings. I've seen so many of them flake off. Plus their main use is to encapsulate the rust in the tank... but if you had it dipped at the radiator shop, there is no more rust there. Thus, it is not needed. You just need to make sure that you keep it oiled up until you get gas in the tank, so no new rust forms.


Scooter Couple said...


You echo what Tom G. said.

I will NOT use it either.

I now use 2-stroke oil "coating" to protect my gas tank.