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could old tank 'splode?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by emzdogz, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. emzdogz

    emzdogz Aunty Em

    Just read a bunch of threads on gas tanks, leaky petcocks, etc.

    Nothing leaking here - my issue is an ancient tank.

    Not sure if it is a Wassell replica, or a real one or just some kind of old chopper peanut tank they used to sell. Got it from a Brit bike guy who was unloading chopper stuff.

    I've had it sitting gasless for at least 10 years and it has 2 extra female threaded bungs with no screws so it actually couldn't hold gas at this point.

    I'm welding mounting tabs onto it. My welding is nervous though because of a. fear of welding through the sheet metal and b. fear that some gas demon remains in it and will just cause it to suddenly explode into a billion pieces of shrapnel, leaving me without a face.

    Go ahead, laugh.

    This tank is primed with some hellacious kind of stuff! I have bared the metal in the direct areas I'm welding to and the red primer material was real hard to grind off and formed a kind of rubbery stuff. The coating, whatever it is, has managed to catch on fire a couple of times, and produces a real resin-ey kind of smell.

    The inside of this tank, despite sitting in a carport in Florida for years on end is NICE. No rust. It was really coated with some kind of heavy duty stuff.

    The tank had no mounting tabs of any sort on it. Nor any flat place. So no place to attach neg cable from welder to. Finally I was able to get it to catch and make some tack welds. Trying to make them better today - the welds. And also add a back mounting tab.

    But as I make the good strong penetrating welds I worry about that resin-ey smell. Could the coating on the inside be something that would combust if heated?
    Like say it's some ancient paint - might it 'splode???
    Sorry, I know this is ridiculous.
    Sometimes a person needs to have more bravery, and sometimes a person needs to have less bravery. Trying to use my brain on this one. I have to do it myself. Can't send it out.

    Ok going to go snap a pic or 2 and will be back.

    I hope if nothing else this has provided a laugh and a sigh for some of you.
    These welds I need to do - really they are so minor...but I don't want to be blown into the next galaxie, either.
    Say there's absolutely NO gas present. Say it never HAD gas in it. COuld just the remaining paint and interior coating produce fumes that could cause it to.....explode or blow up?

    BRB with pics.
  2. I suggest you get one of your buds to start the video camera and plunge blindly ahead!

    If the petcock bungs have never been threaded, its a pretty safe bet it never had gas in it, right? As far as the coating splodin, I doubt that. It may burn, sure. That would be your problem. If, as I understand it, there is coating INSIDE the tank, your welding will burn it. You will need to get that out of there as best you can with glazier points or a pound of roofing nails and re-coat it with Red Kote or whatever.
  3. emzdogz

    emzdogz Aunty Em

    Hey Kent thanks for chiming in. Those holes are threaded. So far the best luck removing that paint has been with a wire brush attachment on drill. Went ahead and removed quite a bit more. Hope to not have anymore of the remaining paint burn.
    Also the areas that got hottest - the paint and primer coat are coming off easier.

    I guess it's not going to explode.

    Ground those bad welds all the way down and am re-doing them tomorrow.
  4. Travis

    Travis Staff Member XS650.com Supporter

    I think you are doing the right thing with being concerned about welding on the tank.. Better safe than sorry. Although I wouldn't worry about it in your case since it seems as if there hasn't been any gas in there in over a decade. Whatever coating is on the inside may burn but probaly won't explode.

    I've read a few stories of tanks blowing up from welding on them. You could lose your face or die. You have to take some caution when welding on any tank that still smells of fuel. I've read of people filling them with water and still having problems. I've also read that people fill the tank with a flow of an inert gas before they start welding.
  5. You've declared yourself to be on a tight budget (ain't we all?) so I guess buying some stripper is not going to happen.

    Got a torch? Heat up the tank and semi burn the paint. The wire brush will take it off real easy then. Don't get it very hot though or you'll distort the metal.
  6. Always best to err on the side of caution-dont want to blow Yourself to white mans hell!
  7. buckeyechuck

    buckeyechuck XS650 Enthusiast

    How much does it cost to buy a stripper? I usually just rent them.
  8. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Some folks that weld on tanks, fill them with water. This displaces any gas fumes. The welding might be a bit harder with water pulling the heat away. I've done it that way to fix the tank on an old Ford Falcon.
  9. chopitdropit

    chopitdropit XS650 Addict

    It's been sitting with open bungs airing out for 10 years? Weld away. But get the friend with the video camera just in case:laugh:...and be sure to tell him to post on this forum.
  10. Tech7

    Tech7 XS650 Junkie

    That's actually very unsafe. The water traps any gases and compresses them, making any combustion worse. And the water would really mess with good penetration.
  11. buckeyechuck

    buckeyechuck XS650 Enthusiast

    Just open up all the holes and drop a match in. If it doesn't go "poof" then you are good to go. Just don't stand over it when you drop it in.
  12. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    For the time it takes to weld a couple of tabs on it shouldn't build up enough pressure or hinder penetration enough to make a difference. They aren't structural welds anyway. Just vent the tank between welds.

    That tank looks like an old Hap Jones.
  13. emzdogz

    emzdogz Aunty Em

    thanks, everyone. All input much appreciated!
  14. emzdogz

    emzdogz Aunty Em

  15. Tech7

    Tech7 XS650 Junkie

    Hey Teebs! Where you been hidin'? No water!
  16. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    Wellll, if Tech says so... I'd do it anyway. :D

    Awww, thanks for missin' me.

    Hidin' = ridin'! Just got back from Montreal. Looked at some art, heard some great blues and jazz... drank way too much (as if that's even possible) and did.. other fun stuff.
  17. Tech7

    Tech7 XS650 Junkie

    Well then, Bienvenue! Hope you were living life well up above the border. And..no..I didn't miss you..bitch..( maybe a little bored is all) Still hate any water in my welds, AND, ALL welds are structural. All love man.
  18. Teebs

    Teebs King of the Ass-Hats

    Yep, that be the one. If you've seen enough of them it's fairly easy to spot 'em. A quick way to differentiate between a Wassell and a Hap is the Wassell has a centered filler hole and the Hap is on the right.

    It won't explode, but you should be in a well-ventilated space at the least or wear a respirator. Who knows what's in that crap? Is it red glaze (body filler)? Maybe someone got really "enthusiastic" with it?

    I love that tank, btw. :)

    Well Tech, will you allow that there is structural and then there is STRUCTURAL? Usually if a weld gives on your tank it isn't going to leave you eating pavement or picking gravel out of your... buttocks. :D

    I love Canada. And Montreal is an awesome place to go anytime, but even better when you know a local woman or 3 to go out with. And the ride was excellent. I didn't really want to leave...
  19. Tech7

    Tech7 XS650 Junkie

    Just bustin balls brother. Glad you had fun in Montreal. I'm goin to bed now, had to work today. Shop cleanup day.

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