Getting rid of the last rust

I’ve sanded the cruiser to the metal, repaired all the imperfections, welded every hole… so I thought this was it! No more rust! Boy, was I wrong… I never looked in the fuel tank.

When I picked up the cruiser, after a few kilometers, the truck started to loose power, but then slowly gained its power back. This happened several times, and I must confess, that ain’t funny when you are trying to keep up with traffic on the highway. I stopped by a gas station and bought some diesel additive. This cleans the system from old diesel sediments in the fuel hoses and injection nozzles. Probably just old diesel I thought, not such a strange thought, the Cruiser had been stored for at least 6 months.

After starting to restore the cruiser, I forgot about it. Just hoping that the diesel additive would do its work and I could drive away after I tightened the last bolt. Unfortunately this was not the case… During my first test drive I could drive for a few kilometers, but then, the same thing happened… loosing power… and this time the engine stalled. Oh dear.

I ran a few tests, like searching for air in the hoses; sometimes dried out hoses will get some air into the system, which end up in the injectors. But the hoses were still flexible and relatively good looking. When bleeding the Injectors and fuel pump, it appeared there was no air in the system.

I removed the fuel filter, but these filters can’t be checked for debris, the filter looked like it was recently replaced. So that didn’t help me either.

Then I was trying to follow another lead; the fuel sending unit. This piece of simple electronics measures the level of fuel in the tank, and sends it to the fuel gauge on your dashboard. The gauge showed a Full tank, while I knew it is half full., When checking the sender by removing it from the tank, I noticed lots of rust on it. When feeling around the opening the surface inside the tank was fully covered with rust.

OK that’s a clear diagnose, the fuel tank is severely rusted!

The following day I decided to drop the tank from the car. First removing the remaining diesel from the tank and then I unbolt the whole thing. what a dirty and messy job, It’s hard to get 50 liters of diesel in two 25 liter jerrycans, without spilling… in the end everything was soaked, including my shirt and pants.

After the tank was out, I made some pictures of the rust inside and the debris on the bottom of the tank. I am very happy I found out at this very moment, and not when I ‘m in the middle of a long trip somewhere far.

The tank is now under care of a company, specialized in cleaning and epoxy coating rusted tanks.
It will take about two weeks, but then my tank will be better than new… no more rust, ever.
I’ll update this blog when I install the tank again.

See the pics for the whole operation.

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