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Old 03-13-2012, 03:59 PM
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Question on Cutting a gas tank

Not sure what section to post this in, but this about a gas tank. Before anyone freaks out, I'm collecting a LOT of info on this before I do anything, just FYI. Seen a few articles of people blowing themselves up with this, so not taking this lightly. I have a fab tank I took from my donor truck, which is also where the engine came from(so the sending unit is good). It is just too long to fit between the frame rails. From the look and smell of it it hasn't held gas in a while, the donor truck is a 2 tanker and the last owner said this side didn't work. Anyways, I like the construction, depth, and make of the tank, so how do I SAFELY cut this thing down? Is there a safe way? There are a lot of DIY guys on this forum, anyone have any experience?
Zak

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Old 03-13-2012, 05:26 PM
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I've never had any problems after cleaning a tank but a tank with baffles is harder to clean. Some use argon to purge any oxygen inside so an explosion can't happen and I've seen guys run an exhaust hose from a vehicle for a purge. If it's clean and there is NO CHANCE of any gas hiding inside, you should be fine. I've even been inside of gasoline storage tanks in a refinery while welding work was going on. All they do is clean em before welding. Also, good ventilation is a good idea too....
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:49 PM
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A gas tank could set completely dry for several years and still have enough fumes in it to blow your head off if you were to cut or weld on it. The safest way to approach it would be to have it steamed out or thoroughly cleaned at a radiator shop and checked with a hydro carbon tester or "sniffer" to make sure it isn't still hot before cutting it.
There are a few ways to get by without going to that much trouble, but I don't recommend them to anyone. It just isn't worth taking a chance on having it blow up.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 41'srfun
A gas tank could set completely dry for several years and still have enough fumes in it to blow your head off if you were to cut or weld on it. The safest way to approach it would be to have it steamed out or thoroughly cleaned at a radiator shop and checked with a hydro carbon tester or "sniffer" to make sure it isn't still hot before cutting it.
There are a few ways to get by without going to that much trouble, but I don't recommend them to anyone. It just isn't worth taking a chance on having it blow up.
I'll X2 this. I was going to modify an old Harley tank some years ago that had sat empty on a shelf in the shop for years. Just to be safe I filled it with water. The surface of which caught fire as soon as the torch was brought over the filler bung. Which shows you that something flammable whether fumes, or microscopic amounts of fluid stays in the recesses or in the metal itself for a long, long time.

Bogie
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:35 PM
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I will third these opinions
I have cut them before using other methods( very dangerous) so dont play with fire here...you will get burnt.....
Take it to a radiator shop n have it cleaned and fill it with an inert gas (not hydrogen please) such as nitrogen or argon.
You also didnt mention what material the tank was constructed of Al.,steel or other!
Like I said before Ive done it,but Im not gonna say how as its a "Do not try this at home" deal
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:16 PM
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be carefull!

one time when i was welding a piece of sheet metal on a fuel tank it started burning like a jet! i am not jokeing it burnt my fingers so bad! i have got the scars to prove! i had rinsed it with water several times before. but what my dad does [who works at a diesel shop] is rinse with water blow it out with an air compresor the repeat his several times.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:28 PM
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As always on these forums, the safety police like to come out in their full riot gear whenever something even remotely dangerous is mentioned. Fill with an inert gas? Purge it with exhaust?? Geeze guys, why give such advise?

I've cut and welded a dozen tanks in my time and all I've ever done it is fill them with water until overflowing several times to wash anthing in there, out. Once you've done that nothing is going to ignite no howm no way, no time.

I also aint skeered to weld or gind near gas tanks either. I just finished rebuilding the frame and installing custom exhaust on my Galaxie with the tank half full (see my blog). Gas tanks don't just blow up everyday - or there'd be a LOT less of us doing this stuff....

Of course I'm not kicking safety to the curb, I'm just depositing a dose of reality into the conversation.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-tek
As always on these forums, the safety police like to come out in their full riot gear whenever something even remotely dangerous is mentioned. Fill with an inert gas? Purge it with exhaust?? Geeze guys, why give such advise?

I've cut and welded a dozen tanks in my time and all I've ever done it is fill them with water until overflowing several times to wash anthing in there, out. Once you've done that nothing is going to ignite no howm no way, no time.

I also aint skeered to weld or gind near gas tanks either. I just finished rebuilding the frame and installing custom exhaust on my Galaxie with the tank half full (see my blog). Gas tanks don't just blow up everyday - or there'd be a LOT less of us doing this stuff....

Of course I'm not kicking safety to the curb, I'm just depositing a dose of reality into the conversation.
Easy e-tek!
Sometimes people dont know the experience of the OP,obviously hes never done this before,and personally I have been there done that,I just take my own calculated risks but dont wanna be resposible by someone getinn badly burnt,been there done that too.
Worked in a Diesel shop been there done that too.
Ive been working on Diesels over 40 years
So everythig is cool man!
Its all about opinions and advise,In the end what he does is up to him.
Im just tellin him what I think
And your tellin him what you think
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topwrench
Easy e-tek!
Sometimes people dont know the experience of the OP,obviously hes never done this before,and personally I have been there done that,I just take my own calculated risks but dont wanna be resposible by someone getinn badly burnt,been there done that too.
Worked in a Diesel shop been there done that too.
Ive been working on Diesels over 40 years
So everythig is cool man!
Its all about opinions and advise,In the end what he does is up to him.
Im just tellin him what I think
And your tellin him what you think
You're absolutely right and I didn't mean to come off that harsh. Net-speak always trends to that side. Maybe I've spent too much time on GJ.com where guys who have never done anything are always the first to come running with a safety net....

That being said, I totally disagree with the "do not try this at home" mantra. If you have a brain, are thoughtful (like the OP obviously is since he said he realizes the risks) and ask others with expereince how to go about it, then you should be able to do anything. So lets give USEABLE advise on doing it and doing it safely - not "I do it, but you shouldn't". I hate that.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-tek
You're absolutely right and I didn't mean to come off that harsh. Net-speak always trends to that side. Maybe I've spent too much time on GJ.com where guys who have never done anything are always the first to come running with a safety net....

That being said, I totally disagree with the "do not try this at home" mantra. If you have a brain, are thoughtful (like the OP obviously is since he said he realizes the risks) and ask others with expereince how to go about it, then you should be able to do anything. So lets give USEABLE advise on doing it and doing it safely - not "I do it, but you shouldn't". I hate that.
Yeah man its cool!
Look Smokey lowered a spark plug hooked to a live and firing coil into a 55 gal drum half full of gas to prove a point(no fire no explosion) then he lowered a lit propane deal into the same drum(KABOOM!!) proves flame ignition is better than spark ignition any day.
I dont know what GJ.com is,you know sometimes little fish in big ponds can learn a lot.
Ok dissagree all you want! Its your rite,but dont tell the guy to do it............
Its up to him!!!!!!
So maybe you are right,maybe I only have half a brain,but I still got it...use all of it too,,
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:09 AM
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Flammable storage tanks are potential bombs and should be treated as such. Same as "unloaded" weapons: you have to take positive measures to ensure they are. We read about people being killed or injured by weapons and flammable storage tanks on a regular basis and continue to ignore sound safety procedures. I will continue to be a "safety net" when caution is to be strictly followed. I knew a couple of younger guys that were in the business of cleaning flammable tanker trucks and trailers. They had been in business for several successful years when it caught up with them. They had spent the morning cleaning a tanker trailer before breaking for lunch. They returned and started a planned repair when it exploded. Their remains were so jumbled that it was difficult to determine who was who. Never heard the final analysis as to what went wrong, but just another event to learn from.

By the way, radiator shops in my area will not clean fuel tanks. OSHA Snake's head is too deadly for them.

Trees
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:41 AM
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cutting gas tank......

Hi,ive cut a few tanks in my time,i put a hose in the tank,and let the water overflow for awhile,then,when the tank is full of water,(i mean,REALLY FULL) i cap the tank and cut it using a 4 inch grinder with a metal cutting disc.then dump the water out,let it set in the sun for a few days,and then do the repair.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:20 PM
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Thanks all for the advice! Lot of great stuff here as always. I was actually all set to go, I took a trip to the junk yard yesterday. A perfect size tank fell right at my feet. Literally, it fell ony foot when I was moving some crap out of a blazer to look in. But thanks all, as always. I'll be using this thread before the truck is done, for sure. Thanks!
Zak
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:52 PM
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I have welded and cut on tank's many times... I just wash them out really good and get after it... I don't sit it out in the sun at all.... I don't like the idea of it being in the sun before I weld on it.. Heat will make fumes..

Wash it good and you should be fine....

Now I'm not saying it isn't dangerous.. It is... But it's also dangerous to get under a car on stands,, It's also dangerous to stand under a car on a lift..It's also dangerous to drive your family down a street when someone may be coming towards you that has been drinking..


My point is.. Everything is dangerous and some kind of way... Just use you head when doing something like this.. Do your home work to find out what work's, And what doesn't....Be safe when doing any of these things...
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:21 PM
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i clean them out with dawn soap. but i also use argon from my welder.
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