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Thread: Gas Tank Coating Removal

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Pedalino View Post

    17thairborne: I used to work in the bridge painting industry and have a full 5-gallon pail of MEK, but I'm reluctant to use it because of the damage that the fumes may cause to the paint, even with the caps installed. While I know that a re-painting is a distinct possibility, I'm certainly trying to avoid it. Were you able to MEK-treat your tanks and not damage the paint?
    As I was careful to seal off the openings properly, and not spill any, I had no paint damage in the end. I was not too worried about the paint, its not original, just OD spray and I plan on restoring in a few years after I get done riding around the airport in circles.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Seaford, NY
    Posts
    374

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    Bill, I've used both MEK and paint remover with good results. I'm planning to make a neck extension which is basically a 6" long tube that will go on to the tank cap bung and make a tight seal with a gasket. This will prevent dribbling on the paint when pouring out the remover. The extension will also prevent the problem of over flow of remover which happens when the full tank of remover is exposed to temperature changes.( the stuff expands) I would still take all redundant pre-cautions to protect the paint. This neck would be easy to machine for early tanks that have machine thread bungs. It would be trickier on later tanks but it's possible.

  3. #13

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    Just restoring a 1940 4 and the tanks at some time in their lives had the coating installed. Since I am repainting I had them dipped, and they have been there for 2 weeks trying to soften up the coating. Next up is MEK, which should do the trick. The new tank coatings are comparable with today's gas, so for me a decision will need to be make, weather to recoat.
    I think MEK is the answer.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    526

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    i've removed mek based liners using mek or acetone from a number of (at least 10) tanks including tanks with perfect paint. as mentioned above, the operative words are "be extremely careful." i lay a cover of some sort over the filler opening, such a a hand ball or even tape off the opening with duct tape. and of course, block off fuel tap or other openings. i do the work in an open and ventilated area. i've had no issues with fumes damaging paint. i routinely "roll" the tank so the mek or acetone gets to all the surface area. i use duct tape with palm of my hand over the filler opening to keep any solution from leaking out and not had an accident yet. when i drain out the old gooey solution, i have a copious running water supply at hand and i will drain out the gooey crap through a petcock opening whenever possible. not uncommon to have to repeat the process a 2nd or even a 3rd time. not how i like to spend my time, it's no fun, but i've done it a several times, it can be done.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,060

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    Dear All, MEK is methyl ethyl ketone, an oxygenate, like the stuff they're putting in the modern gas. If it removes tank sealer then I wouldn't use that sealer again. Here in the UK I'm using a new two pack tank sealer that is allegedly proof against this vicious modern gas with all the oxygenates in it. I screwed up the installation once by not having the tanks warm enough, so had to remove the coating. The vendor sold me a 'special solvent' at some cost which was obviously carbon tetrachloride from the smell when it arrived. It worked OK, but I needed a lot more. In a rare flash of inspiration I went to my stock of old Pyrene fire extinguishers and found a couple still had fluid in them. It's banned now of course, as it can generate phosgene with heat, which is never good. Anyway, the dyed red Pyrene carbon tet did the trick over a week or so, with granite chippings and occasional tank shaking helping it along. Yup, I have an economical streak a mile wide, and you're welcome.

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