Author Topic: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources  (Read 185 times)

Offline Greg65

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Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« on: September 09, 2019, 07:59:53 AM »
Found this on the GS Resources forum and hope it useful.

Credit to Wing Man 71.

I've read a bunch of posts on this forum about restoring and sealing rusty gas tanks. A few different manufacturers products were discussed and pros and cons listed. I restore vintage Japanese bikes for a hobby, so I've done well over a dozen gas tanks so far. At this point my favorite restoration kit is the POR-15 Motorcycle Fuel Tank Repair Kit.

FIRST THING: None of these kits will work properly unless you follow the instruction for use exactly. Don't skip steps and don't rush through any of the steps. If you do, you will have wasted your time and your tank will not be properly sealed.

NOTE 1: If you have a tank that was previously sealed but the old sealant is failing, you will need the POR-15 Motorcycle Fuel Tank STRIP and Repair Kit, which also contains a stripper to remove the old failing sealant first.

NOTE 2: A very easy way to plug large round openings in the tank is to use Oatley Test Plugs. They are available in various sizes in the plumbing section of Home Depot or Lowe's.

OK, here are my personal instructions for success with the POR-15 Motorcycle Fuel Tank Repair Kit:

The very first thing to do is to determine just how extensive your tank rust is. If there are just a few spots throughout the tank that are rusted (usually at the bottom) then the POR-15 kit's second step (Metal Prep solution) will be sufficient to remove the rust. However, if you have a tank that is almost all rusty inside, then you have to de-rust that tank with something else before starting with the POR-15 kit. This kit, and most others as well, do not have enough rust remover to deal with an entire tank full of rust.

The best and most safe rust remover I've used is "EvapoRust". Not caustic and you can safely pour it down the drain when its used up. It can be re-used until it's very dark in color, almost black, which means it can't take any more rust. Not all auto parts stores carry it. O'Reilly's is the only one around here that carries the gallon jugs of it. It's expensive, so buying it by the quart is not the way to go. A gallon costs over $20.00. But it's worth it. The stuff is amazing. I usually buy enough to fill half the tank. I pour the two gallons or so in the tank and let it sit in various positions for at least several hours at a time. Back down- front down - bottom down - left side down - right side down - top down. So that means you'll have the stuff in there for probably two whole days. This will get rid of the 99% of the rust.

Don't rinse the EvapoRust out of the tank with water until you're ready to start with the POR-15, otherwise the tank will quickly flash-rust. Once rinsed out with lots of plain water, you are ready to start with the POR-15 Kit.

The POR-15 kit actually comes with pretty good instructions, but I will expand upon those and hopefully my experience using the kit will help others.

The first stage is the Cleaner/Degreaser (used to be called "Marine Clean" in the older kits). This is mixed with a quart of warm water and then goes in the tank and gets sloshed around manually for 20 minutes and then rinsed out with water. Cleaner/Degreaser removes the gum and varnish deposits from the old fuel that was in the tank.

The second stage is the Metal Prep. This is the POR-15 rust remover. It also prepares the metal for sealing by making it acidic. This goes in the tank and gets sloshed around manually for 20 minutes. After the sloshing, you have to let the tank sit in various positions again for about 15 to 20 minutes each to let it act on each inside surface of the tank to remove any remaining rust. POR-15 instructions say to not let it in the tank longer than 2 hours total. Remember that this is only a quart of stuff that you put in a 3 to 5 gallon gas tank, depending on model. So it needs to be positioned so that the stuff contacts each surface inside the tank for 15 to 20 minutes. Then you have to rinse that stuff out with WARM water, not cold water from a hose. It has to be rinsed SEVERAL times to be sure to get all of the Metal Prep solution out.

Now the most important step that can screw the whole thing up if not done right. The tank must now be COMPLETELY DRIED before the Sealer is poured in. There are going to be spots in the tank that hold water but you've got to spend the time to get it bone dry inside. The recommended way to dry it is to open all of the plugged holes in the tank and use a hair dryer or a hot air gun to blow hot air into the gas tank filler hole. If you decide to use a hot air gun, be careful, you can melt the paint right off your tank if you're not careful. Best to use a hair drier for this. Also, I've learned to do these tank restorations outdoors on a hot sunny day. The hot sun is a great help in this drying process. In between sessions of blowing hot air into the tank with a hair dryer I let the gas tank bake in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. TIP: If after about a half an hour, between the hair dryer and baking in the sun, your tank is so hot that you can't pick it up with your bare hands for more than a few seconds, you can be pretty sure that it is bone dry inside. That's how I measure success when drying. If it's not bone dry and you pour in the tank sealant, it's not gonna stick to the metal and you get to star all over! (You don't want that because this sealant is nasty, like liquid metal, and doesn't clean up well at all.)

NOTE: Once the tank is completely dry, you'll notice that flash-rust (a light reddish-brown surface color on the metal) will have already started to form inside the tank. Don't fret, that's normal and there's nothing you can do about it. The Tank Sealer will adhere to and seal the tank with the flash-rust on it. Just don't wait for very long after the tank is dry to start the Fuel Tank Sealer process.

Last stage is the Fuel Tank Sealer. You want to start this as soon as the tank is completely dry because flash-rust will start forming. As mentioned this is like liquid metal and it's nasty to get off of stuff, like your fingers and your gas tank! Wear some rubber gloves. If you get it on your tank and don't wipe it off immediately you're in trouble. If you get any on your fingers, get it off or else you'll be getting it on everything that you touch. It's best to cover at least the top of your tank about 6" to 8" around the filler hole with something. I use painters tape. It holds good enough to keep out the goop, but not so tight that it may pull the paint off of a very old tank. Don't use duct tape on the painted surfaces of your tank! I've had duct tape pull paint off of an old tank before! Use an old funnel to pour the sealer into your tank. If you miss and pour some on the tank, you're gonna be mad. Use an old funnel that you can throw out when you're done, or make a funnel out of paper like I do, then just throw that out. Now seal up the filler hole and do the SLOW ROLL. You have to slowly roll the tank into all possible positions to get the sealer to cover the entire inside of the tank. SLOW roll is the operative phrase. The stuff is thick like molasses so if you roll too fast it can't keep up. Roll nice and slow. I usually roll for about 10 to 15 minutes total.

Last important step is to get any remaining sealer drained out of the tank. If you have any excess, it will pool in the tank usually down low, and that's a bad thing. It can refuse to harden and may block fuel flow. You can usually get it to drain out of the fuel petcock hole. That usually works. Sometimes you just can't get it all out of the fuel petcock hole but you can still see some pooling through the gas tank filler hole if you tip the tank in the right direction. A time or two I had to use some small pieces of paper towels (about 4" x 4") inserted into the tank with a long-neck parts grabber to soak up some of the excess that wouldn't drain out of the fuel petcock hole. If you do this, be sure to use heavy duty shop paper towels, not the wimpy white ones from your kitchen. Those might rip and then you'll be fishing pieces of paper out of your tank. Also be careful not to get any sealer on your tank when you pull the paper towels out of the filler hole. Have something ready to drop the sealer coated paper towels into when you take them out. Like I said the stuff is nasty to clean up once its on something.

Be sure to rinse the sealant off of your Oatley test plug(s) as soon as you remove them from the tank or you'll never be able to reuse it. Also, don't be tempted to rinse sealant off of anything in a sink in your house! This stuff dries hard like metal and you don't want it in your house drains. Mama won't be happy! Do all your rinsing outside with a hose.

Now the tank has to cure for at least 4 days before you can put fuel in it. Don't short change the curing time. 4 days minimum! Setting it somewhere in direct sunlight helps the curing process. All plugged holes should be open for curing.

So... those are my lessons learned and tips from doing several tanks with the POR-15 Kit. Hope that helps others get their tanks cleaned and sealed properly.

This was also added by Nessism.

Nice writeup! We have had a bunch of threads about tank repair but nothing with that much information all in one post!

If I might add a few comments...based on restoring a number of tanks myself...



1) If there is an old liner in the tank that will have to be removed first. A variety of chemicals can be tried, from acetone to MEK and finally paint stripper, depending on the chemical composition of the original liner. Some media in the tank, such as sharp edged uncoated aquarium rocks, will help scrub the metal and release the liner. Some people use drywall screws and the like but those don't touch all the tank surfaces like the smaller aquarium rocks. They are easier to remove though.

2) Varnish stripping needs to be the done before derusting. That's because the derusting sauce won't be able to get to the metal if it's covered in varnish.

3) Use an inspection mirror and flashlight to look all around inside the tank to verify progress during each step. Don't assume that one step is complete just because you look down into the filler opening and see all the rust is gone for example. Be sure to look all through the tank.

4) The Por-15 rust dissolver chemical is phosphoric acid, which is a great product. You can cut this stuff with water and it will work fine, just a little slower. A quart will do the complete tank but you need to shake the tank to keep the metal wet for a few hours. I wouldn't worry if you go past two hours just don't leave it for days. if you want to get done fast you can buy a gallon of phosphoric acid from Home Depot, sold as Kleenstrip Etch and Prep, for about $16. Throw this into your tank and rotate it through various positions and the tank will be rust within that two hours for sure.

5) After rinsing out the phosphate sauce some isopropyl alcohol in the tank will speed drying. A hair drier aimed at the opening, while the other various tank openings such as the petcock and fuel gauge sensor are removed, will allow air to flow through the tank and dry it completely in less than an hour.

6) Caswell's epoxy sealer is excellent stuff and super thick. I think this is a superior material if your tank has weak metal. Por-15 is excellent as well but it's a paint and much thinner.

7) When coating, keep the material moving inside the tank for about 30 mins and then open the petcock opening and remove most of the excess. Once the stream stops flowing plug the petcock hole back up and start rotating the tank some more. You can watch through the tank opening while a puddle of sealer continues to move. If you pay attention to where the material is flowing you can get an extra coat or two down inside the tank just from the excess material that's still flowing. The ideal situation is to keep this puddle flowing and laying down extra layers until it kicks off and stops flowing. I think this is one of the critical elements that assures a good thick layer of sealer is layed down.

Good fun


Winter is coming and project time soon, though I think with the various chemicals and drying required summer would be better.

Greg
Keep smiling it makes the management nervous.
Honda CB400 1976
Suzuki GS1000 1978

Offline mickwinf

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 04:03:26 PM »
a very comprehensive write up, i have had problems with my tank and considered using a sealer but the general feeling on here was it does not last long term. Interesting that it was considered ok to seal over the flash rust that occurs almost immediately as this was my big problem, i ended up using phosphoric acid as recommended by Ashimoto.
Love the 500/4 and 550 own a 550 f2 at the moment

Offline Greg65

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 08:15:55 PM »
It was your posts earlier on that made me copy and paste. I think the flash rust can only be covered within a very short time before it becomes significant. Hopefully it will be useful in the future.
Keep smiling it makes the management nervous.
Honda CB400 1976
Suzuki GS1000 1978

Offline AshimotoK0

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2019, 07:58:32 AM »
Very useful article although I always avoid tank liners and have never used one.

One point I think is a bit dodgy is to put isopropanol in the tank (highly flammable) and then dry out with a hairdryer .. I know they don't glow like a hot air gun but some have brushed motors inside that can spark or of course  someone may substitute the hairdryer with a hot air gun.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 08:00:25 AM by AshimotoK0 »
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Offline Moorey

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2019, 08:44:52 AM »
A hot air gun would be  hot enough to to  cause autoignition in isopropanol without the need from sparks from the motor or the vapour reaching the heating elements to ignite it.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 08:48:10 AM by Moorey »

Offline AshimotoK0

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2019, 09:17:05 AM »
A hot air gun would be  hot enough to to  cause autoignition in isopropanol without the need from sparks from the motor or the vapour reaching the heating elements to ignite it.

Yea but the write-up stated a hairdryer ...mind you my daughters hairdryer gets almost as hot as some  hot air guns  ;D
“Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups, now you will see morning maniac music. Believe me, yeah. It’s a new dawn.” Grace Slick, Woodstock '69 .. In the year of the Sandcast.

Offline Greg65

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2019, 01:02:20 PM »
Daughters! You have my deepest sympathy, I had one sister and that was enough. Your elec bill must be horrendous as well as phones! Mind you one son on an an advanced drinking course at Uni is fairly eye watering.  ;D
Keep smiling it makes the management nervous.
Honda CB400 1976
Suzuki GS1000 1978

Offline Moorey

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Re: Tank sealing with POR 15, stolen tips from GSresources
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2019, 08:23:57 PM »
A hot air gun would be  hot enough to to  cause autoignition in isopropanol without the need from sparks from the motor or the vapour reaching the heating elements to ignite it.

Yea but the write-up stated a hairdryer ...mind you my daughters hairdryer gets almost as hot as some  hot air guns  ;D

You just know someone somewhere will use a hot air gun cos its faster.  ;D