Old gas tank with varnish and fuel and E-85

UncleTom

Well-known Member
I had a 3 hp Briggs and Scrapem engine given to me with 30 year old gas in it and the tank and carb was a mess. The old gas poured out like a syrup. I shook the tank with rocks in it to first get rid of the course stuff. Then i used E-85 and soaked it and shook it around every day. I drained it and put in new E-85 and repeated the shaking every so often. The crap that came out was a lot. It cleaned it almost to metal. Then rinsed with Dawn dish soap and water and let it dry. The carb wasnt as bad as the tank but still pluged up solid. I got that clean as well and new fuel pump diaphram. Even the long tubes that reach down into the tank were plugged solid. But e-85 works wonders if you give it time. Thought this might help you tractor guys.
 
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It is a ventilation fan for man holes.
 

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In the last year I used the E85 to clean the gas tank on a Super M I bought that had been sitting about 15 years, it was really a mess but various E85 soakings I then put a couple gallons of Diesel and 12,000 BB's in it and strapped to the rear wheel of my 4000 Ford and drove it around for a couple hours. The tank really cleaned up nice and the BB's seemed to clean behind the baffle too. Tank is clean and shiny inside now. I also used the E85 to clean the black tar like gunk out of the fuel lines on a 884 International that stuff is really a mess in a Diesel tank and lines.
 
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That is a good tip. But also a clear warning to NOT use E85 in anything not specifically designed for it!! Even E 10 or E 15 is bad for old equipment.
 
Hmmm seems to me like if the old timers could run moonshine in their all fuel tractors that possibly e85 isn’t the boogeyman it’s supposed to be...I know I’ve been running it in the 38 b for the 4th year mowing the lawn with it all year. Just need to add 1/4 turn more fuel and it likes to be above 50 degrees. I think if I operated it on a snow blade I’d probably find something else or at least get electric start or a warm shed.

If you go back in age far enough they had this figured out. In the 70s and 80s is when plastic became a thing. Began using it for fuel tanks and fuel lines. Strange how 100 years ago they had stuff figured out that engineers can’t handle today. I’ve also run a tank or 2 through the Silverado each summer. It certainly hasn’t caused trouble I’ve had more trouble with fuel pumps and injectors with things I’ve acquired not had a drop of it than things I’ve dumped e85 in after owning 10 years that say no no all over the gas pump at the station on them. What always got me is the 5 percent more in e15 was going to destroy the lawn mower. If the e85 is really 51 to 91 percent depending on how it was blended you are telling me that e10 for 20 years never got above e15 as the valve was turned at the plant? We’ve burned 30 percent without even knowing it I’m sure life’s gonna be ok.

Most stuff even small engine now has the Viton orings that was the problem for awhile. If we could just get them to do away with that cheap poly tank problem solved. I had a steel tank I put on a Dixon mower ran for years with the e85. Again nice and warm out you are better off probably wouldn’t put it in a little snowblower
 
I run E10/15 in anything that has a spark plug. Zero fuel related issues in 30 years that weren't my stupid fault.
AaronSEIA
You are a very lucky man then. I do admit E 10 and 15 does work in most things. I have had it ruin the flexible lines inside my chainsaw and string trimmer fuel tanks. It ruined the o'ring in my old ford 860 fuel shut off valve. Then it did the same thing to 2 replacement valves I got to replace the original.

I repaired the fuel shut-off valve by installing a Highly Saturated Nitrile O-RIng (HSN, HNBR). They are typically green in color. The saw and trimmer now only use 0% fuel.


 
I had a 3 hp Briggs and Scrapem engine given to me with 30 year old gas in it and the tank and carb was a mess. The old gas poured out like a syrup. I shook the tank with rocks in it to first get rid of the course stuff. Then i used E-85 and soaked it and shook it around every day. I drained it and put in new E-85 and repeated the shaking every so often. The crap that came out was a lot. It cleaned it almost to metal. Then rinsed with Dawn dish soap and water and let it dry. The carb wasnt as bad as the tank but still pluged up solid. I got that clean as well and new fuel pump diaphram. Even the long tubes that reach down into the tank were plugged solid. But e-85 works wonders if you give it time. Thought this might help you tractor guys.
This thread has been helpful and timely. I've drained the old fuel out of the MG. Never saw any ethanol plus had a load of stabilizer. Anyway, I'd like to purge the residual gunk and E85 looks the ticket.
 
I've had pretty good success using methanol instead of ethanol. One potential risk is that if you system has any lead soldered seams, the methyl alcohol does have an affinity for lead. In the short term (for flushing) you might get away with it.

I had a really nasty Case RC tank that cleaned up almost like new with several flushes of methanol with no adverse effects. I've cleaned some small engine tanks (Briggs, etc.) that were badly neglected, and the plastic dip tubes on Pulsa-Jet carbs didn't like the methanol at all. Everything else seemed O.K,. so if you have one of those, disassembly is probably a good idea.
 
This thread has been helpful and timely. I've drained the old fuel out of the MG. Never saw any ethanol plus had a load of stabilizer. Anyway, I'd like to purge the residual gunk and E85 looks the ticket.
Doesn't ethanol fuel cause the gunk? How'd your tank get gunk in it if it never saw any ethanol fuel?

I am so confused anymore... Ethanol in the fuel is supposed to be the cause of every engine problem ever, and the gum disease gingivitis.
 
Doesn't ethanol fuel cause the gunk? How'd your tank get gunk in it if it never saw any ethanol fuel?

I am so confused anymore... Ethanol in the fuel is supposed to be the cause of every engine problem ever, and the gum disease gingivitis.
The existing fuel is quite old. No ethanol has ever been in this systems. There is not a great deal of junk but there is a sticky film on the drain plug and inside the tank. I had the same issue with the S1 Land Rover but in that case, the tank needed to be replaced anyway.

I can only believe that the gunk is due to evaporation and sedimentation..
 
Doesn't ethanol fuel cause the gunk? How'd your tank get gunk in it if it never saw any ethanol fuel?

I am so confused anymore... Ethanol in the fuel is supposed to be the cause of every engine problem ever, and the gum disease gingivitis.
It had been sitting with gas in it for 35 years or so. Before ethanol was invented probably. It was all varnish and when i poured the old gas out it was like a syrup. But ethanol slowly attacked it.
 

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