Cleaning the rust from the 109's fuel tank
Bill Maloney

01TankSuspended 02TankSuspended 03TieDownCleats 04TieDownCleats 05Plugs
Tank Suspended Tank Suspended Tie Down Cleats Tie Down Cleats Plugs
05TieDownCleats 06ShakeItUp 07ShakeNShake 08DirtNRust 09DrainingTheTank
Tie Down Cleats Shake It Up Shake N Shake Dirt & Rust Draining The Tank
At Least This Is Running

After not having driven my Land Rover 109 for several years I finally spent the time needed to get it roadworthy again. After replacing the fuel pump, alternator and water pump I tuned it and had it running rather well. I had figured adding 5 gallons of fresh gas would be enough to dilute the varnish in the bad gas but I was very wrong. After it cooled overnight the varnish in the fuel hardened on the valve stems and when I started it the next day all hell broke loose in the drive train. Valves stuck in their guides, pushrods got bent and lifters got shattered. A valve job later and it was running again... for a few miles at a time. Condensation inside the partially full tank had caused the inner top half to rust badly. And it flaked off and clogged the fuel pickup tube. I drained and strained it several times but the problem still persisted. I finally pulled the tank.After buying plugs for all the openings at a plumbing supply place I began the cleaning process. First was to pressure wash as much of the interior as I could reach. Next I filled it with some gravel and mineral spirits and spun and shook the crap out of it. A LOT of stuff came out, but there was still a lot of crusted rust on the inside. After much research I mixed a 4-1 solution of hot water and muriatic acid and poured it in. Let me tell you, that stuff REALLY eats the rust! I kept one opening open at all times and turned and positioned the tank so that all surfaces got treated and cleaned. When all the rust was gone (and it was) I drained the tank and neutralized the acid solution with baking soda (use a PH tester for swimming pools) and poured the remains down the drain. After flushing the tank with water and some baking soda I allowed it to dry in the sun. Next was to slosh POR-15 Metal Ready (phosphoric acid) inside the tank to etch the surfaces in preparation for the tank sealer. It also neutralized the rust that formed after the acid solution was done - it began to rust lightly as soon as the surfaces were exposed to the air. After cleaning and drying again I poured in the POR-15 tank sealer. It took a lot of rollling the tank to get all the surfaces covered but eventually they were. That stuff dries very hard and does not want to come off areas on the outside where it dripped. After cooking a couple of days in the sun I painted the outside areas that were unpainted with POR-15 black, then a final two coats of Rustoleum black. It should be good for a good many years now.


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