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Old 07-16-2019, 10:21 AM   #1
Terranova
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Default Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

A couple a weeks ago I ended up buying some parts for the '36 off Craigslist. The combo of $50 and close to my brothers house was a deal I couldn't refuse.
For $50 I got two leaf springs (which I don't think are '36), two rough bumpers (one of which I think is a '35), one running board and a gas tank.
Of all of it, I really wanted the tank. I have useable running boards and bumpers already. The springs *would* have been a bonus and the tank I already have is a huge question mark.
New tanks go for around $225 so $50 made it seem like a steal.

I found the listing a week before we were headed out on vacation so I had my brother pick up the stuff and hold on to it for me. Upon return I ran down and picked it up and stuffed is under the car till I could shuffle it into the deck.

Flash forward to earlier this week when I drug the tank out for inspection.
It has plenty of surface rust but hefts pretty heavy and sounds solid. Nothing rattling around or anything.



I've read many different threads on Ford Barn and Jalopy journal about tumbling rocks or chain around in a tank to loosen all the rust/crap up, but one thread stuck out in my mind where someone just flat cut the top out of the tank to clean it and welded it back up.

Challenge accepted.
Fist off I wanted to take the sending unit out. It's clearly shot and I planned on a new one anyway. A little PB blaster and pow! the first screw came out.
"Hey! This is gonna be easier than I thought..."






Nope. No one else wants out that the easy. I started with a small file.





And ended up using a cutoff wheel, which I had out to use for cutting open the tank.




All in all it was fairly painless getting it out. It looks like no other fuel sender I've ever seen. It has some kind of little drain bowl system. Anyway. Bye!











I scribed out three lines thinking I could do 3 sides and pry it open. Turns out it's way sturdy and so I cut the forth side.
I started with a cut off wheel, but my compressor is small enough that it didn't have the balls to keep up. Metal blades for the jig saw it is. It turned out being a much more stable and quicker means anyway.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:23 AM   #2
Terranova
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

So here's a pic with the first few cuts made. I had to wrap the tank with a moving blanket because as it turns out using a jig saw on a big hollow, resonant metal container makes A LOT of noise.







All four. The moment of truth is at hand.




Not bad at all. No pitting inside. Only what I'd call surface rust.
There's even a spot of clear metal peaking through on the top that came out.



It was only after peeking inside did I remember the stupid thing has a drain plug. Turns out it's REALLY in there and the outside of the plug didn't respond as well to parts blaster penetrant and the cutoff wheel treatment. I even tried flattening the sides and using an adjustable wrench. Oh well. I'm willing to concede on the plug. NBD in the grand scheme.



Some views of the inside.







Started throwing penetrant at it to see what would dissolve.



And then stepped up to mineral spirits and a wire brush. Surprisingly about 80% of the stuff I went after came up easily.





Then I stepped up to a small wire wheel on a chorded drill.
Now we're groovin.









I knew there were going to be a couple baffles in the tank but I hadn't anticipated the "horizontal" one. As you can see, I couldn't really get into the narrow area with the drill. So I researched a couple ideas and after striking out at some vendors who happened to be at the GoodGuys car show here in town for the weekend, I stopped by HD to see if they had either a drill bit extension or a flexible shaft that I'd seen on their web site. Turns out they actually had it in the store. 12 bucks from ryobi. But, both the extensions and the flex shaft are set up for hexbits and the shaft on the wire wheel is not hex.



More than one way to skin a cat.





A small cotter pin should suffice. I felt like a roll pin would be overkill and I didn't have one anyway.



A couple test shots and when I get some time in the next few days I should be able to wrap this tank up.

I have a tank treatment kit from KBS I bought a year or more ago, that has a cleaning stage as well as internal coating component.

Has anyone else used something similar on one of their projects?
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:55 AM   #3
19Fordy
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Very nice work. I think those tanks are made of terne plate. So do some research on best way to braze or solder it before you begin. because terne plate has a coating of lead soldering is probably best bet. No warping.
https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=135111

Last edited by 19Fordy; 07-16-2019 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:05 AM   #4
deuce_roadster
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

The Terne plated metal has a thin coat of tin/lead like an alloy of solder. I think back in the day they plated it instead of dipping it because it saved material. Of course this will an impurity contaminant to any welding so grind it back a good distance.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

You're a lucky guy as you missed a step. Many an empty gas tank has enough residue fumes in it to literally blow it apart when a spark, such as that generated by your cutoff wheel, meets the fumes. Next time fill it with water when you cut into the tank or you could be very much worse for wear if the chunks come flying your way.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:35 AM   #6
V8ER
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Your tank is a '35. The '36 sender requires a larger flange. The '36 fuel line comes off the front face of the tank, so you will have to add that also.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:19 PM   #7
v8fordman
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Also, if you have a '36 fuel gauge, you're going to have a hard time getting that hydrostatic fuel sending unit to work with your electric gauge.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:26 AM   #8
Terranova
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

19forty and Deuce, thank you for the info on the terne plate metal.

DavidG, thank you for the concern. The person I bought it from told me it had been sitting, stored, empty for several years. Also with the filler neck removed and some compressed air run through it, I felt pretty safe about. But then again, so did the Titanic's captain.

V8er and V8fordman. Your info is exactly why I posted here. I was operating on the assumption that is was indeed a '36 tank. Your posts made me check my 35/36 book. Now between the sender type, flange size AND the fuel line location it seems like maybe this wasn't such a "great deal" for $50.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:34 AM   #9
35fordtn
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Actually, 35 tanks can be hard to find. They have not been reproduced as only the 36 tank is produced.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

If you have the original 36 tank can you use it as a template and to rob parts off of?
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:28 AM   #11
Seth Swoboda
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

I enjoyed this thread. Please update us as you continue to clean, seal and weld the tank back together. Even if you can't use this tank you could keep it for you 1935 Ford project or sell the tank since you have nicely photo-documented your process.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:26 AM   #12
V8ER
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

As JSeery asked, is your '36 tank is good enough condition that you can move the '36 sender flange and fuel pickup line to the '35 tank, or do you still need a real '36 tank? Watch the orientation of both the flange and fuel line carefully.

A suggestion for you: you have invested a lot of time and effort into a part that you may not be able to use because you cut first and then posted. For your future adventures, post first to get the input of the group before you cut.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Quote:
Originally Posted by V8ER View Post
As JSeery asked, is your '36 tank is good enough condition that you can move the '36 sender flange and fuel pickup line to the '35 tank, or do you still need a real '36 tank? Watch the orientation of both the flange and fuel line carefully.

A suggestion for you: you have invested a lot of time and effort into a part that you may not be able to use because you cut first and then posted. For your future adventures, post first to get the input of the group before you cut.
Chalk it up as an experience.
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Quote:
Originally Posted by marko39 View Post
Chalk it up as an experience.
It's all experience!!!
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:04 PM   #15
woodiewagon46
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Similar to what I did for my '29 Ford gas tank. After I cut the slots I used a friends bead blaster and it really cleaned it well. I then used the new Bill Hirsch tank sealer, but I brushed it on. I'm convinced that by pouring it into a tank and and sloshing it around, you won't get entire coverage. I TIG welded the patches and then poured the sealer to cover the welds and patches.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

It’s easier to fill the tank full of exhaust fumes rather than water to prevent sparks and an explosion of the fumes. Just make certain you get plenty of carbon monoxide in the tank and not in you. It can be fatal!
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:35 PM   #17
TonyM
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Default Re: Adventures in gas tank restoration. '36

Custom made fuel tank agitator helped me spread the Marine Clean around.
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