Not only do we repair gas tanks for cars and light trucks, and diesel tanks for Heavy Duty OTR trucks, we also work on motorcycle gas tanks. We clean motorcycle gas tanks, repair leaks and do our best to preserve the paint.
The process for cleaning a bike tank is different from other vehicles. Because the tank is very important to the distinct look of each production motorcycle –and even more so on custom bikes – we have to do slow and meticulous work on them.
When any gasoline-powered vehicle has been parked for a long time, its gas (especially if it's blended with ethanol, which has been required by law in the USA for over 15 years), will thicken and become toxic to the metals around it; turning into a compound similar in appearance to varnish. Before the bike can safely go back on the road, this must be completely removed and the tank coated for protection.
To clean a fuel tank for a car or truck, we de-fume it and put it in the boil-out tank (usually overnight). However, the active ingredient of our tank is Hydrochloric Acid (HCL), a chemical that will strip the paint right off of any cycle tank. Therefore, we have to be very gentle with the paint because after all, a good motorcycle paint job is very expensive – and very important.
To protect the paint, we tape up the outside of each tank, first with painters tape and then with duct tape. The painter's tape is used to protect the tank from the duct tape (yes, we're that careful). Next, we clean the inside of the tank with an acidic solution that's designed to remove rust. The tape that we adhere to the outside of the tank helps to insulate and protect it from the chemicals that we will wash the inside of the tank with. Be forewarned, however, that this can't always protect the paint from the acid. While we always try our best to protect your paint, we do NOT guarantee that your paint will come out exactly as it had gone in.
Unless there is already a good place on your tank for us to drain the coating out (and there rarely is), we will need to drill a small hole into the bottom of your tank to install a 5/16" brass drain plug. Please plan accordingly.
We know that there are plenty of cheap gas tank liners out there. Very few weeks go by in our shop where we're not chemically removing them and replacing them with a quality liner. We exclusively use Red Kote by Damon Industries (as we have for decades) because removing a bad liner is not an enjoyable process.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
There are occasions where the rust and other crap simply won't come out. In these cases, such as happened with this American Iron Horse tank below, we have to cut open the bottom of the tank and clean out all the garbage stuck to the tank. After we sandblast it as clean as possible and remove the rest with a torch and scraper, we weld it all back together and line the inside with Red Kote.
New motorcycle tanks are anything but cheap. Some cost up to $4,000 to replace and finding a good used one is often close to impossible. We even have customers who bring us brand new tanks to get lined before they paint them, just to be 100% certain that they'll never have another problem with their tank, no matter how long they go between cruises.
GENERATORS, MOPEDS, FORKLIFTS & OTHER EQUIPMENT
Yes, we clean, repair and Red-Kote all kinds of gas tanks.
If your tank is leaking, we can fix that as well! We've been repairing gas tanks for decades. Be aware that if your tank is leaking, the heat required to repair it will almost certain destroy your paint.