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Rust Blows

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  • Build: Natasha
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J. Sinclair/CONCEPIA LLC J. Sinclair/CONCEPIA LLC Looking down the rusty rabbit hole.

Today was one of those days where I got the wind knocked out of my sails; or perhaps better to say it felt like I got punched in the gut. I was super pleased with the way the tank had turned out; the color is exactly as I wanted and the graphics are retro but modern all at the same time. But when I took off the gas cap to start polishing it I was aghast at the rust inside the tank. One of the amazing things about Natasha was how perfect her tank was for being over thirty years old; it was totally spotless inside. Now not so much. Probably when the tank was being wet sanded some water got inside, and then the rest is basic 7th grade chemistry. :(

Rust kills gas tanks and the solutions needed to get rid of it are often inadequate. You are left with constantly changing fuel filters, trying to stop any remaining particles hitting the carbs. Failure on the filter end of things means a blocked jet, and rebuilding carbs over and over. I've dealt with this before and it involved dropping lengths of heavy gauge chain into the tank and shaking it until my arms nearly fell off. That loosened all the rust particles to the point that I could use some really nasty stuff that is commonly called muratic acid, but technically it's hydrochloric acid. You can find it at most hardware stores for use in swimming pool PH balancing: it's a super strong acid, highly corrosive and not something you really want or should be dealing with without layers of personal protective equipment. But it melts the rust away... and if you are not careful your tank as well. 

But ten years has brought significant advances to this problem since I last dealt with it. A quick Google search brought up a YouTube video demonstrating a product called Metal Rescue. It's a completely safe water-based product for dealing exclusively with this problem. If it is as good as the video makes it out to be then I have an easy solution. Home Depot stocks it locally, and I'll have to buy four gallons to completely fill the tank to the brim; the GS450E having a capacity of 3.8 gallons. It's a hundred dollars I would rather not spend, and some might say I should get the paint guy to cover the cost, but since he's already done the tank twice to get it right (on his time and dollar) and I like who he is as a person, I'm going to eat this cost myself. Hard lessons learned all round.

Next time I will coat the inside of the tank with another product from this company called Dry Coat. It's a rust preventative spray on liquid that gives up to two year's protection on your raw ferrous parts. Next time...

Current hours on build: 183.0 

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