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How can I clean debris out of fuel tank?


Jim S
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I just took a photo inside the gas tank of my 87 convertible. Oh my God! This is a disaster waiting to happen. I cannot believe my fuel line has not already clogged. Are there any tips on how to clean this thing out? Also, I installed a new sending unit for the tank and it keeps hanging up on empty on hard turns even though I have a  half tank of fuel.  Does the arm need to be bend a certain way to swing freely?  I am told the convertible tanks are different.

592B75EB-C5AC-4AB1-AC49-E8E1B9166DF1.jpeg

Edited by Jim S
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  • Jim S changed the title to How can I clean debris out of fuel tank?

Looks like the liner coating is coming apart, Ford had a similar problem.

We would remove the tanks and clean or replace them.

Does the convertible use the Avanti tank or the original Chevrolet tank?

If its the Chevrolet tank you can get a new one for $150 from O'Reilly or Auto Zone.

Good luck,

Jim Wood

Edited by IndyJimW
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Bob at Avanti Parts told me a while back that's it's a special Avanti tank.  They cut it down by 5 gallons so accommodate the convertible's top mechanism.  It sits in the back of the trunk above the spare tire well. 

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Not easy to clean because you will need to get all of the liner out or it will continue to peel off.

You may check in your area for someone that repairs gas tanks, some old radiator shops will, but their hard to find.

Good luck,

Jim Wood

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When I had my stripping business some guys would want to keep an original gas tank so they rinsed it out, put water in it and used a die grinder to cut it in half. Brought the two pieces to me so i could use my really fine glass bead at low pressure to blast the tank clean, and if any rust holes found cleaned them up for repair. They then would weld the two halves back together and then seal the inside with a gas tank sealer. As i cleaned the exterior of the tank too, they then painted it so it looked brand new. Some vehicles were impossible to find a new replacement tank so this was an alternitive.

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42 minutes ago, Stacey said:

When I had my stripping business some guys would want to keep an original gas tank so they rinsed it out, put water in it and used a die grinder to cut it in half. Brought the two pieces to me so i could use my really fine glass bead at low pressure to blast the tank clean, and if any rust holes found cleaned them up for repair. They then would weld the two halves back together and then seal the inside with a gas tank sealer. As i cleaned the exterior of the tank too, they then painted it so it looked brand new. Some vehicles were impossible to find a new replacement tank so this was an alternitive.

I like this method as described by Stacey!....Unless the tank metal is so thin that a rework isn't feasible, cutting the tank in half for an inside & out cleaning should work nicely....Only thing I would do different is I'd probably braze the two halves back together!:)

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I used the word weld, but I think they did braze the halves back together. I do know they used a fine cutting blade and cut above the factory seam, not by much but just above. That way i could clean everything and not have areas left untouched. And if i blasted through a rust area, they could solder it up from the inside or outside if they wanted. Done correctly and they still looked almost factory, at least from the bottom of the car. Used to do many old motorcycle tanks too.. 

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