Rust in gas tank - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Rust in gas tank

Hey guys;
My brother has an Airens model 921030 Deluxe 28in snow thrower. It has the Airens AX snow engine. The machine is about 5 years old.
Last time it snowed, he was unable to start the machine. He had pushed the primer bulb twice, and apparently flooded the engine. But there was another problem that I believe was the true cause of the problem; bad gas. The gas in the tank was probably 3-4 years old! I had added Stabil to the gas when it was fresh, but I don't think it can keep gas usable for that long.


Yesterday, I drained all of the old gas from the tank. When I shone my light into the empty tank, I noticed a lot of crud on the bottom. It looked like rust to me. The tank is metal.
There wasn't anything I could do without removing the tank, and I wasn't prepared to do that, so I poured in some new gas (with Stabil) and installed a new spark plug. The engine started and ran well.
But I worry that some of that rust will get into the gas line and foul up the carburetor. Unless of course there is a screen on the gas outlet in the tank; then the rust would just clog up the outlet, and swishing it around a bit might dislodge and allow the machine to run again. I won't know that until the machine is used again.


So, I would like to remove the tank and clean it out.
I saw a YouTube vid where a guy pours some clean gravel (purchased at HD garden dept) into the empty tank, and agitates it for 15-20 minutes (by hand). It really did clean up the rust.
After that, he poured in some apple cider vinegar and left it overnight. That really cleaned it up nice.


How difficult is it to remove the tank? And is there a screen at the outlet to prevent the rust particles from going into the carburetor?

I'm just hoping that either I can get this done before the next snow, or we get lucky and get through this season without any more trouble; then I can do the job in the spring.


Thanks for your help.
FW
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post #2 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 09:21 AM
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That process is for obviously rusted tanks IMO. If you think you have rust bits in yours use a cheapo HF extendable magnetic pick up tool and see what you get. There is a screen inside the tank it's part of the fuel valve assembly.
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post #3 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 09:23 AM
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If your concerned, just put on an in-line filter for now.

BTW, you should never leave any machine for years without running it periodically.
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post #4 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 09:49 AM
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I use aquarium gravel to clean out rust in tanks. if you wanna do it right it tanks more than 15 minutes. I do it for a couple days. and then do the vinegar thing, let it sit and then flush out.

also change or install a filter as mentioned.

your carb is probably a mess.

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post #5 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 09:53 AM
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no need to worry about contaminating the fuel system. there is usually a strainer on the fuel tank outlet. the problem may come if the fuel outlet strainer clogs.

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post #6 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 08:33 PM
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I have had that danged rust get into the carb bowls through a fine filter, fortunately it settled there and I could get out.
Good idea to look. Also if there is rust there was water that may be in there as well.

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post #7 of 29 Old 02-03-2020, 08:57 PM
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your ethanol fuel went into ''phase separation'' where moisture, gas, and ethanol all seperate into layers. And the water lays on the bottom, setting up the rust. Taking off a tank isnt usually to bad. Just start taking screws and bolts apart. you'll get it done. Do the stone deal with vinegar and youll be fine.
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post #8 of 29 Old 02-04-2020, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys;
The machine has been used each snow season - with the same gas - and I think it started back in Oct, but didn't want to start a couple weeks ago when we had some snow. Isn't that always the case...
I realize I shouldn't have left the old gas in the tank; I wasn't paying attention.


Is there any reason to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar? I have always used the white vinegar to clean my warm-mist humidifiers - but then, that's not rust I'm cleaning; it's mineral buildup from the water.
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post #9 of 29 Old 02-04-2020, 09:01 AM
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I can't really speak to the vinegar but the suggestions make sense. Evaporust is another one that I imagine would work well (and its reusable.)

I've saved a few metal tanks in various states of decomposition by swishing around nuts/bolts with Marvel Mystery Oil or automatic transmission fluid. Rinse out with seafoam then fill with fresh stabilized fuel. The nice thing about nuts/bolts is you can use a magnet to retrieve them and they don't shed anything.

At the end of each season, drain the gas and oil the tank with fogging oil; I remove and make sure all of the surfaces get a good coating.

During the season, keep the tanks full of fresh stabilized fuel (preferrably E0).


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post #10 of 29 Old 02-04-2020, 09:17 AM
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Maybe the apple/cider smells better?
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