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-   -   Repairing a rusty or leaking SS tank (https://www.ducati.ms/forums/57-supersport/1553-repairing-rusty-leaking-ss-tank.html)

Rainman Jan 9th, 2006 9:39 am

Repairing a rusty or leaking SS tank
Let me start off by saying I am not associated, by any means, with POR-15.
I bought it from Por-15 Outlet here in Texas, and paid retail price for the kit.
I got the motorcycle tank repair kit, and it is for steel tanks only.
I have no endorsement from them (although sponsorship would be nice [wink]).

I am copying their directions with my own anecdotes, experiences, and warnings inserted. Larger version pics are in the gallery and are available for viewing.

Here is my story.

I bought several gas tanks from eBay. One I had painted the fluorescent yellow to match the fairings et al.
One day I was riding along, and parked, only to smell fuel.
I had a leak!
I tried the 2 part epoxy, but alas, that was a band-aid on a open wound. With the help of Jaguara, we epoxied the hell out of the seam, and around the hinge where the tank is mounted to the frame. Despite our best efforts, the leak continued to worsen.
So, I posted here for help. One member suggested POR-15. (Thank you Rebelpacket). I ordered it and followed the directions. Here is my experience with the product, and why I think it is the best stuff since water based lubricants!;)

I took off the tank, removed the filler, and all the fuel pump stuff, filters, etc..

Down to the bare tank.
What did I see?


Yes, that red stuff you see is rust.
How did it get there?
Simple, there was a debate about water being in fuel, blah blah blah
It is and here is proof. Water is denser than fuel so it sinks to the lowest spot.
The back corners of the tank.

So, here goes the repair...



Kit Contains:
1-Quart (949mls) Marine Clean
1-Quart (949mls) Metal Ready
1-8 oz (236mls) Gas Tank Sealer
1- piece of repair cloth
1- 1? foam brush

Latex Gloves (I din't use these, but I am TOUGH! HA!)
Eye Protection (I wear glasses)
Bucket and access to hot water and a garden hose (In my case a shower and tub)
Soft rags for wiping any chemical spills on the exterior of
the tank
Duct tape for sealing up openings in the tank (petcock hole, etc.)
Work bench and/or soft padding to lay the tank on.

It is important to understand each product in your repair kit and how it works because proper chemical interaction is essential for achieving the best possible bond of the sealer to the inside of the tank.

All organic fossil fuels (gasoline. diesel fuel, fuel, oil, etc.) gradually deteriorate if left unused in a tank. If a tank ?sits? for months or years, gum and varnish deposits form on the walls of
the tank, and are very difficult to remove: Often, it is hard to see this contamination because the tank looks okay even though the deposits are present. It is always best to assume there?s foreign matter or contamination in a tank you wish to restore, even though the tank may appear to be perfectly clean.

This is the first product you will use in the restoration of your fuel or utility tank. Marine-Clean is a very powerful cleaner that will break down gum and varnish deposits in your fuel tank, but it will take time and often-repeated application. A hot solution of Marine-Clean is more effective than a cold solution. This product is caustic and alkaline, and therefore your tank must be neutralized and acidified before gas tank sealer can be used most effectively.

Metal-Ready is an excellent prep for any coating or paint product, and its essential that it be used before gas tank sealer is applied to your tank. Metal-Ready is also the best rust remover available, and it will dissolve all the rust and scale that has formed in your tank. In instances of heavily built-up rust formed over many years of neglect, the application and use of Metal-Ready will enable your POR-15 Fuel Tank Sealer to chemically bond with whatever rust may remain in the tank and form a permanent non-porous barrier against further rusting. The primary job of Metal-Ready is to change the ph of your tank from alkaline to acid, because coatings and paints stick much better to acid-prepped metals. Be sure to rinse your tank thoroughly with water afterward, neutralizing the surface.

The Tank Sealer in your kit is impervious to all conventional automotive and diesel fuels. The most important thing to remember is that your tank must be totally, completely, bone-dry before the sealer can be poured into it.

1. PREPARATION: Empty tank of all fuel and rinse out with clean water, remove fuel petcock, float, filters, fittings, etc. Seal up those openings in the tank with duct tape or cork to keep the solutions in the tank when you clean, prep and seal the tank.

2. Outside painted surface of your tank should be protected from preparation and sealing products with soft rags or other suitable protection.

3. MARINE CLEAN: This product cleans varnish and rust out of the tank. It leaves the metal surface alkaline and must be treated with METAL-READY to create an acidic surface for the sealant to stick to. GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION SHOULD BE WORN AT ALL TIMES.

Mix your quart of MARINE CLEAN with 1 quart of VERY WARM (not scalding hot) water. Extremely hot water could melt the adhesive on the duct tape.
Note: The higher temperature of the water helps to activate the chemical process of the cleaner.
Pour the mixture into the tank, shake vigorously, and "roll" the tank around to ensure the cleaner gets to all inside surfaces for a minimum of 20 minutes. Now empty the solution from the tank and rinse it out with water.

Rainman says I didn't take pictures of this, as it looks like soapy water. Palmolive diluted. I did the "rolling" of the tank for 90 minutes, actually just turning the tank into different positions every 5 minutes.

METAL-READY: This product makes the metal surface acidic and removes rust, which is necessary for the sealer to effectively bond to the surface.
Pour the entire bottle of Metal-Ready into the tank. NOTE: Tank should be empty of rinsing water but does not have to be dry before using metal ready. Roll the tank around to ensure it coats all surfaces for a minimum of 20 minutes. Place the tank in different positions every half hour until the entire inside of the tank has been treated with Metal-Ready. Metal-Ready should not be in the tank longer than 2 hours. Rinse the tank thoroughly with WARM - not scalding hot - water several times and drain it thoroughly (low spots in tanks collect water, so be sure to roll tank around to get as much water out as possible).

Rainman says- Again I did this for 90 minutes.
Here is what it looked like with the metal ready in it.


In order to get the tank completely dry, you must blow warm air into it because no tank will dry out on the inside by itself. The only way to do this job is to use forced air. This can be accomplished by using a hair dryer or hot air gun. TANKS MUST BE COMPLETELY DRY INSIDE BEFORE SEALING. THE SEALER WILL NOT STICK TO A DAMP OR WET TANK. No shortcuts, please. If any moisture is present in the tank when you pour in the sealer, IT WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY and all your hard work will be wasted.

NOTE: Once the metal is treated, it can flash rust. Though the coating is designed to bond with any new flash rust, ideally you'll want to perform the forced air-drying promptly after draining the tank, and coat the tank with sealant soon after drying it.

Rainman says- Okay, I took this seriously, and used a blow dryer. The tank got hot! And it did flash rust.

It looked like this-


4. PATCHING -If you have any big exterior-to-interior leaks - we recommend performing this step before the sealant step.
There are several methods to fix holes, but you must fix them before you put the POR-15 sealer into the tank. First, remove all paint around area to be patched. Soak area with Metal-Ready and keep wet for a minimum of 30 minutes; then rinse with water and dry. Next, paint area with a liberal amount of gas tank sealer and place a small piece of repair cloth (provided) over the wet painted area. Now, brush paint sealer over repair cloth from the center outward so that the painted cloth is stretched evenly over repaired area. Let patched area dry for 96 hours.

If you aren't aware of any holes, check to make sure you don't have new ones now that the chemicals have removed the rust layer The tank cleaning process may reveal new leaks in the tank after removing rust and rust deposits from weakened and thin tank walls. These areas are likely to be in the low points and seams, especially if there are low tank areas below the level of the petcock. These areas may have collected water from tank condensation and water in your fuel and over time may corrode the tank metal. Carefully check these areas for leaks when you have fluid in there {it will only be a very small trickle if there is a pinhole leak}.

5. SEALER: {open the POR-15 Sealer and stir until a uniform color is achieved.}

Rainman says- This took me 20 minutes. You have to do it by hand, shaking it introduces bubbles and problems.

CAUTION! Pour entire contents of can into the tank. Roll the tank SLOWLY to ensure it coats the insides uniformly. In tanks with seams, and with low areas below the opening through which you are draining the sealant (typically the petcock hole) the sealant will puddle. Take great care to ensure you've drained out the excess. Any pooled material can cause you trouble later.
IMPORTANT! This is a very strong and durable coating. Take care to immediately clean surfaces on which you may have spilled the sealer. Any sealer remaining on painted surfaces will become permanent. Any excess sealer must be cleaned from screw hole threads for the petcock before it dries. A clean soft rag can be twisted into the screw holes to clean the material out. A Q-Tip is also effective for this job.

Rainman says-
I did this properly. And when they say "immediately clean surfaces on which you may have spilled the sealer. Any sealer remaining on painted surfaces will become permanent." they mean it! I have three drip marks, that I have tried to remove with Xylol, acetone, simple green, and any chemical in my cabinet, including easy off. NOTHING takes it off. Not even a razor blade. And this is on a gloss tile surface.
This is what it looked like when it was freshly wet with the sealer.


Follow directions on sealer can and let cure for at least 96 hours (4 days) before pouring in fuel.
CAUTION: Leftover sealer may not be used again. Pour it back into can, then add a little water, and let it sit until the next day when the sealer is hardened in the can and can then be thrown out with the garbage.

Rainman says-
The sealer hardens in the can in no time, just toss it.
I let the tank dry for 4 full days.

The end result is this-


End result?

2000 miles, Texas summer heat, and not a drop leaked.
I plan on doing ALL of my tanks now.
An ounce of prevention....

Any questions? PM me and I can answer.

Iconic944ss May 4th, 2006 3:04 pm

Just completed the same overhaul and thanks you your superb instructions and photos - it worked a treat.

The only addition I made to the detailed instructions were putting the whole tank inside a bin bag (big thin plastic bag) and tearing a hole where the filler cap was. I then duc-taped around the hole to prevent any splashes to the paint work and hold the bag in position - as I'm not the most careful worker in the world.

Also a skull mounted LED lamp helps for looking inside the tank.

Thanks again - Frank (UK).

Rainman May 5th, 2006 7:19 am

Yeah, skull mounted lights would be easier.

Didn't think of that.
Great additions!

Iconic944ss Sep 9th, 2006 4:31 am

As a final aside - while finishing my tank rebuild, I've also moved the fuel filter to OUTSIDE of the tank by simply fitting a length of fuel hose in place of the filter.

Using a later metal bodied filter, I have simply extended the fuel lines and zip-tied the filter in place to the main crankcase breather hose - easy mod!

Cheers - Frank

sirduke Sep 12th, 2006 5:44 pm


Originally Posted by Iconic944ss
As a final aside - while finishing my tank rebuild, I've also moved the fuel filter to OUTSIDE of the tank by simply fitting a length of fuel hose in place of the filter.

Using a later metal bodied filter, I have simply extended the fuel lines and zip-tied the filter in place to the main crankcase breather hose - easy mod!

Cheers - Frank

Thats great!! I'm collecting my tank tomorrow after having it welded and I'll do this when I build it back up.

I wonder why Ducati didn't do this in the first place????

Iconic944ss Sep 13th, 2006 5:36 am

1 Attachment(s)
Not my idea SirDuke - Thank Derek from the DSC....hopefully, heres a pic of how I did it

Cheers - Frank

Lars Sep 13th, 2006 7:51 am

I can smell gas at the right/rear of my tank but I cant see any leak.

Can I close my eyes and ride on, or does this develop fast?

Rainman May 11th, 2007 11:56 am

Repaired pic links.

I hope everyone can see them now.

Deadguy Jun 13th, 2007 3:10 pm

wow, i just went through the motions and am at the waiting 4 days part :(

just to give a big heads up, i put some water in the can and closed it.... holy crap, the cap blew off while in my sink because it expands as a reaction to the water, then when i resecured the cap and went to put it outside the thing popped in my hand while walking in the hall and spilled all over the floor tile!!

so about 1 second and 9 heart attacks later, i ran for some rags and got the majority of it off although you can still see a silvery shimmer

so just so you know the whole "add a little water and let it harden".... not the easiest step :mad:

Rainman Jun 14th, 2007 6:02 am

I skipped that part.
I just left the can open and checked it a week later.
It was hard.

Sorry to hear about that.

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