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Thread: Suggestions for Cleaning an Aluminum Tank? '89 K75

  1. #1
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    Suggestions for Cleaning an Aluminum Tank? '89 K75

    I'm looking for suggestion on cleaning a heavily corruded aluminum tank from a K75.

    A couple years ago I picked up an $400 '89 K75 with 23K on it. The bike is complete but was sitting outside uncovered and unstarted for 10+ years. I've been going through a thorough restoration--rebuiiling the forks and brakes, cleaning injectors, replacing hoses and seals, etc,--however one of the areas I'm stuck on is cleaning the fuel tank.

    The exterior of the tank is in fair condition considering its history, but the inside is a mess. I've pulled the innards including a fuel lever sensor and fuel pump which were coated with corrosion beyond recognition. The fuel pump dampening gasket had turned to gel and had to be scraped out, and the interior of the tank had a light brown coating of corrosion on everything.

    The tank also has a very very small less than a drop a day leak.

    I've used the POR 15 treatments before to clean and seal gas tanks and they've worked great. That's what I'd like to do with this one, but those tanks had no where near the corrosion this one has. Also, the POR process uses an acid wash to prep the tank for the sealent and I'm uncertain about using acid on an aluminum tank.

    Any suggestions for removing the heavy corrosion and cleaning the deposits out of this aluminum tank out? And will the acid wash be safe?

    Thanks for your help.

    Kontoboy

    '99 K1200RS
    '89 K75

    P.S. I usually post under the moniker "Kontoboy" but that account has been mangled--I'm trying to get it fixed.
    Last edited by deilenberger; 05-04-2013 at 12:38 AM. Reason: added year/model to title

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    Sounds absolutely bonkers, but a guy over on motobrick just suggested putting a handful of drywall screws in the tank, sealing the openings with tape, then very securely wrapping it all up in blankets, also taped together, and then putting the whole mess in the dryer (no heat) for a while.

    I make no such recommendation. Just passing along the idea.

  3. #3
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    A safe medium to tumble-clean the inside of a gastank with is glass. Get a piece of broken car glass (preferably a door window) in a junkyard and smash it. It will break into small pieces. Put them in the tank and use the dryer method.
    The glass will remove all the debris and corrosion inside the tnak without damaging or reacting with the tank metal. Also, if for whatever reason a piece gets stuck inside, it will not corrode.

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    If you know anybody with a vibratory deburring machine you could borrow a handfull of the little ceramic pieces that thay use. I have heard of people doing this and just shaking the snot out of it by hand. That will test your upper body strength!
    Jeff
    93 K1100LT
    03 K1200GT

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    If it were April 1 I'd of thought everyone was pulling my leg, but when I get 3 out of 3 replies suggesting the same thing I've got to take it seriously.

    I've got a small piece of tempered glass I can break for the beads, but I think I"ll see what results I get with doing a dance with my tank before I throw it in the dryer.

    Now should I use the Cottons, Permanent Press, Delicates or the Fluff No Heat cycle?

    I've already gotten hell for washing my shop rags in the washer. The wife needs to be out of the house before I try this.

    Thanks for the suggestions and stay tuned--I post back the results.

    Kontoboy

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    I do not know for certain and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, BUT trying to clean the aluminum tank by any of the previously suggested methods sounds like it would have the potential of not ending well.

    I would believe a chemical cleaning would be less potentially damaging and more thorough. I would phone POR and ask what they would suggest for an ALUMINUM tank. All acids are not the same. Even orange juice is an acid and is used in many effective industrial solvents and cleaners. Let us know what they suggest.



    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

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    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
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    Quote Originally Posted by 98lee View Post
    I do not know for certain and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, BUT trying to clean the aluminum tank by any of the previously suggested methods sounds like it would have the potential of not ending well.

    I would believe a chemical cleaning would be less potentially damaging and more thorough. I would phone POR and ask what they would suggest for an ALUMINUM tank. All acids are not the same. Even orange juice is an acid and is used in many effective industrial solvents and cleaners. Let us know what they suggest.



    So you're saying he should fill it with orange juice and put it in the dryer?

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    I know repair is a lost art, but years ago, there were number of tank and radiator repair services that will clean out corrosion and repair leaks. Are those places all gone? Has anyone looked in a phone book?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesInCA View Post
    So you're saying he should fill it with orange juice and put it in the dryer?
    Don't be silly. That would make the orange juice taste like c**p!



    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

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    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
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    Quote Originally Posted by cy7878 View Post
    I know repair is a lost art, but years ago, there were number of tank and radiator repair services that will clean out corrosion and repair leaks. Are those places all gone? Has anyone looked in a phone book?
    A ... what?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesInCA View Post
    A ... what?
    Those were the things that Ahhh-nuld used to tear in half.


    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
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  12. #12
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    Would that be pulp free OJ?
    Lynn
    MOA #57883
    Current Ride: 1995 K75 Standard
    Past: 1978 Yamaha XS 750, 1976 BMW R60/6

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Kontoboy,

    Please take a look at: http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?46057 - I've added that info to your thread title.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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    You guys laugh. I personally have not opened a phonebook for a few months. Internet search is good for most items, but there are companies and certain businesses that target specific demographics that know their customers do not use internet. Shocking, but true. Sometimes it may still be worthwhile having those brick books around.

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    Actually I do know a place that does radiator repairs--I took a couple of Yamaha YZF750 radiators there a couple of years ago. The one with a leak they were able to repair and the one with crash damage they couldn't.

    I'll call POR too and ask what they recommend.

    I didn't get the tank in the dryer yet-- I was rebuilding the forks this weekend. The spring in one was broken into three pieces! Now I'm waiting on a pair of Progressive progressive springs.

    Rather than tumbling it in the dryer I was thinking of putting some abbrasive media inside, strapping it to a piano dolly and fastening the piano dolly to my reciprocating saw. I'd shake it up a couple minutes and see what it looks like. I can rotate the tank on it's sides and top to get 360 degree coverage.

    Kontoboy

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