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How would you fix a gas tank puncture?
Posted 16 November 2003 - 12:58 AM
I managed to punch about a two inch long gash in the bottom of my fuel tank in my 95 Impreza LX.
Before I attempt to repair it (replacing it really isn't an option due to current lack of funds) I wanted to see what the concensus was on how to properly repair a tank.
The tank is metal, so welding would probably work... But I only have access to an arc welder currently (I may be able to access a MIG welder in the near future).
I've talked to a couple of experienced car guys and they both say that they wouldn't weld it. One says to patch it with fiberglass and resin, the other suggested using a plate to bolt over the gash and seal it with silicone.
I'm looking to get a good number of years out of this car still, and I would like the tank repair to last the winter at the very least.
What would you recommend?
Posted 16 November 2003 - 01:02 AM
He was also not very optimiztic about being able to get that chemical - it might be something that is controlled these days. Like mercury is now. But maybe they have something new that does the same job....
Posted 16 November 2003 - 01:22 AM
Posted 16 November 2003 - 01:37 AM
Z-spar is a two part epoxy that can be used for all kinds of repairs. I have used it on commercial fishing boats for various repairs, but never for a gas tank.
I have also repaired a gas tank on a lawn mower with JB Weld. However that tank was quite a bit smaller than the tank in your car! I don't know if JB Weld would hold up to the pressure of an automobile tank. It worked fine on the lawn mower tank and never leaked again! I just made sure I had the surfaces very clean and roughed them up well before bonding them together.
Posted 16 November 2003 - 01:58 AM
Posted 16 November 2003 - 07:07 AM
I have used a product called Seal-All. Comes in a yellow and red tube with black writing. Got the last tube I bought at Wal-mart.
This stuff is good for tank repairs, and will stop a flowing leak. I've used it by itself to plug holes upto 3/16", used a sheetmetal screw or bolt in the bigger holes to help plug them.
A 2" gash is a rather large hole to patch over. If you can get hold of an air drill, you could cover the gash with a patch of sheetmetal, then use the Seal-All over it .
Please be mindful of what you are working on. You don't want excess heat, or sparks near a gas tank that has a hole in it.
I have dropped afew tanks, and put a garden hose in the filler hole, filled the tank with water, then done repairs to it. This will reduce the amount of vapors in the tank. Less likely to go BOOM that way!!!
Posted 16 November 2003 - 08:55 AM
The "repair" lasted a little more than one year before it fell out.
I recommend a proper repair before you resort to this one.
Regards - Mark
Posted 16 November 2003 - 10:35 AM
Posted 16 November 2003 - 10:54 AM
Posted 16 November 2003 - 11:32 AM
I'm not certain that I will be able to borrow an air drill, which would seriously hamper any repair method that requires a piece of metal to be screwed over the hole.
I have some west system epoxy and fiberglass which could be used on the hole. I also have POR-15, which I have used like epoxy (with fiberglass) in the past to repair rusted sections of metal. Any thoughts on the POR-15 versus the epoxy?
It sounds as though if I want the tank repaired permanently I should either get it welded or buy a new one. And if I want the repair to just last the winter I could try some epoxy.
If I could get a patch over the hole and used Pro-Seal or something similar how long could I expect that repair to last? I don't drive this car off road, it's basically my commuter vehicle, so there shouldn't be any sudden stresses to the tank (from hitting it on a rock, tree branch, etc.).
Thanks again for all your help!
Posted 16 November 2003 - 11:51 AM
Posted 16 November 2003 - 01:17 PM
Have you considered another tank?
Posted 16 November 2003 - 02:46 PM
Posted 16 November 2003 - 06:39 PM
The soap trick does work, but it is a temporary / trail fix only. The soap plugs the hole and the gasoline does not dissolve soap the way water does, so the plug holds. No fancy chemical reaction, and a 2" gash is way more than the soap could handle. It is a handy tool to keep in the car though, just in case! ( I have found Ivory soap works best....)
Posted 16 November 2003 - 09:41 PM
Take out the tank and empty any gas out. Using a garden hose give it a flush out for a while, until the sheen isnt coming out on the water is a good indication that all the loose gas is out. Sit it on a saw stool or workbench with the filler facing down. Using a decent sized hose pushed into the filler neck and taped on-leave a small gap between the hose and the neck- connect the hose to the exhaust of another vehicle-diesel would be best but petrol engines produce carbon monoxide too! Start the vehicle and leave it idling for a while, 10 - 15 mins should be ample. The exhaust gas is basically an inert gas purge and even if there are fumes still in the tank it will be enough to prevent them exploding. You can keep the car running while you weld the hole but you will need to remove any tape you use on the hose as it will quickly pressurise and blow the hose out once the hole is closed by the patch. AND KEEP YOURSELF WELL VENTILATED!!!
Another method if you have to gas weld it is to flush then fill the tank with water until it is almost at the level of the repair, this minimises the volume that can hold fumes and reduces any chance of explosion. Not so good if you are using electric welding but for the old flame jobs its perfect! All you need to watch is your heat, the water does absorb a hell of a lot of heat so to get a good weld you will need to jazz up the flame a bit.
If you need to weld in a patch try to cut one that you can fit to the inside of the hole and weld it from the outside, it will make sure that the patch is welded to the skin of the tank and wont leave edges that will rust out over time.
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