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Thread: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

  1. #1
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    Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Hi all,
    I'm both new here and really new to welding. I have a flux core welder that I've been using to do small repairs around the house. But this will be my first real welding project.

    So a while back, my buddy Jake asked if I could repair his old gas tank. He recently bought his dream bike, a 1984 Kawasaki Ninja ZX900. Unfortunately, the gas tank is shot, and he can't afford to replace it. Since I'm into weird projects and learning new things, I offered to repair it for him. Of course, before I started cleaning it out, I didn't know quite how far gone it was. I started by tumbling it with nuts and bolts inside to try to knock the loose rust out, and then soaked it in vinegar for a month. The cleaner it got, the more pinholes I found. I got nearly a quart of rust out, not including all the dust and mud that I got while washing it out with water.
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    Unfortunately, it was just not getting the rust out, so on the advice of another fellow, I cut the bottom out so I could physically get to it all with a wire wheel. I also stripped the paint. It was all bubbled up anyway.
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    It took a while, but I finally got down to shiny metal.
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    So now I'm committed to welding it back together eventually. I've been using my flux core welder to try to replace thin sections and fill holes, but it's slow going. I keep making new holes to fill, LOL. I've also tried brazing, but I can't seem to get a hot enough flame to melt the brazing rod. I have MAPP gas and a torch, but it doesn't seem hot enough. I bought an oxy/MAPP torch, but I can't find oxygen canisters.

    Just today, I visited a welding supply store, and they are willing to sell me a refillable oxygen tank. I just have to figure out how to connect it to the torch. They're also willing to sell me argon. Which is good because someone told me that TIG welding is better for thin sheet metal than flux core welding is.

    Right now, I'm taking a bit of a break, and researching TIG welding, and seeing how to safely connect a large oxygen tank to a brazing torch. By large though, I mean a 20 cu. ft. tank vs. the little 1.4L cylinders that are meant to be used.
    Last edited by Rebelrider.Mike; 08-12-2022 at 10:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    You are wasting your time trying to fix that

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  4. #3
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    You are wasting your time trying to fix that

    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
    agreed

    sorry for you to hear op, but you have good cleaning skills which will help you on other projects.
    :

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  6. #4
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    You are wasting your time trying to fix that

    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
    X3.
    One of the first things I ask when something like that comes in is: "Can you find a better replacement? And for how much?
    If the part is not available my last question is: Are you prepared to pay for what it's going to take to do it right?
    Flux core and flux brazing are not the way to go on that.
    Ernie F.

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  8. #5
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Let me expand on why you should not do this repair.
    Are you willing to put yourself at risk of a lawsuit when, not if, this leaks?
    Gas will seep through the most minute cracks or holes.
    There will be gas seeping through the holes onto the person and hot engine. = Not good.
    Most every time you try to fill one hole, another will appear. Once you try to grind the weld flush, a hole will appear.
    Every weld will start to distort the metal.
    Can you shape it back to normal?
    How many days of work are you willing to spend? At your skill level, I do mean days not hours


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  10. #6
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    DON'T DO IT!!!!!
    Your friend is not a friend if he's asking you to do this. It's an impossible job, doomed to failure. He can't afford to buy a better tank, but he's asking you without adequate skill, or adequate welder to spend days fixing this disaster.

    This is a real stretch for an expert welder, maybe Jesse James could do it. I'll bet any expert would start over with new metal. They'd use a TIG welder.

    Most experts wouldn't try at all unless it is a custom bike they can't buy a factory tank for.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  11. #7
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    DON'T DO IT!!!!!
    Your friend is not a friend if he's asking you to do this. It's an impossible job, doomed to failure. He can't afford to buy a better tank, but he's asking you without adequate skill, or adequate welder to spend days fixing this disaster.

    This is a real stretch for an expert welder, maybe Jesse James could do it. I'll bet any expert would start over with new metal. They'd use a TIG welder.

    Most experts wouldn't try at all unless it is a custom bike they can't buy a factory tank for.
    In all probability the friend is only guilty of being ignorant.


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  13. #8
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    In all probability the friend is only guilty of being ignorant.


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    I have "friends" that think mechanic/welder means "magician".

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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    I have "friends" that think mechanic/welder means "magician".
    in those cases do your very best to make their cash “disappear”
    :

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  16. #10
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    in those cases do your very best to make their cash “disappear”
    I just tell most of them "if it weighs less than 10 tons or has spark plugs... I'm not your guy"

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  18. #11
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Which is good because someone told me
    Him and a guy who "always told me" are often not very good sources but,,,, I agree this is a challenge at best and so far you dont care about the effort. There is a lot to learn here. Some of this kind of thing is done tig but most diy sheet is done 023 solid wire mig. I am a little contrary as usual, this is not a profitable venture, might or might not work, not sure I would invest heavily to do this but fuss with it, see if you can get it not to leak.
    I am not sueamish about liability as much as if it was offered up to me would be too much work and not enuf money.

  19. #12
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    IMO, your ONLY hope of sealing this is going to be to weld it back together, PROPERLY, after welding get a commercial gas tank sealer and dose the tank with it per instructions, then kick yourself in the A$$ for taking on such a job. The other option is to find a custom bike builder and have a new tank fabricated, a good fabricator can do it, that's what I would do. Personally I'd back out & tell him it's not worth the effort OR liability.

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  20. #13
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    I primarily do thin stainless Tig welding that easily fits into this type of work.

    This isnt a repair job for just anyone. Like everyone else has said, that repair will cost the same as a new tank.

    Once you cut something like that apart, you released the stress from shaping. If it wasnt a PITA then, it will be now making it look nice.

  21. #14
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Ok, bye.

  22. #15
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebelrider.Mike View Post
    Ok, bye.
    Have Jake check the swap meets or CL for a tank.

    an 85 or 86 tank might fit also
    they were all pretty similar in those years.. GPZ750 turbo looked pretty similar also.

    they are out there.
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  23. #16
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebelrider.Mike View Post
    Ok, bye.
    You don't have to leave because you don't like the answers you received.

    This is no different than if you went on a motorcycle forum and said,
    "My friend gave me a 86 Ninja 750. I have never ridden before but want to enter a race next week." Just as in that case you are putting yourself and others at risk, if you attempt a gas tank repair, you are putting yourself and the rider at risk.

    This welding forum has hobbyist, semi-professional, and professional welders. Therefore you will get a variety of opinions. But you can see that we all agree this not a repair for a new welder.

    I talked about liability because you are a brand new welder. This is to stress the importance of thinking through all aspects of the job. Sberry has welded for decades so he is not as concerned with liability since he has the skill to do the repair.

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  25. #17
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    There are some repairs many refuse to do, steel fuel tanks and air compressor tanks. If you do a search, you'll see why many avoid these repairs. Air compressor tanks are the deadliest.
    search Weldingweb ,there are many, unless they were lost went it went down years ago.

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  27. #18
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    I tried years ago to patch up the gas tank on my 9n and it looked more like swiss cheese than when I started. I bought a nice new one, eventually.... Live and learn.

  28. #19
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    I guess the OP didn't like getting sensible advice, he hasn't been back since saying "bye".

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  30. #20
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Artismo View Post
    I tried years ago to patch up the gas tank on my 9n and it looked more like swiss cheese than when I started. I bought a nice new one, eventually.... Live and learn.
    I patched a number of Jeep gas tanks, a Ford Falcon, & a Honda generator. All were a success except one Jeep tank. That was flushed with a lot of water, filled & dumped a couple times. Electric soldering iron wasn't hot enough to do the trick, I tried a propane torch. Tank was upside down. Explosion was loud & scared the Hell out of me, no injury. I think the tank held an extra gallon after that. I had to make new hold down straps, old ones weren't long enough.

    I've never tried repairing one as bad as that. Usually only a pin hole where water & acid settled in an unused vehicle, or salt was trapped under it. Pre 1971 Jeeps were a real problem. The 1947 Jeep now has a plastic tank & bought a 1970 CJ5 with a stainless steel tank. Someone highly skilled built a nice one.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  31. #21
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAVEMANN View Post
    I guess the OP didn't like getting sensible advice, he hasn't been back since saying "bye".
    Thread might have had more entertainment value if we had told him to braze it...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  33. #22
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAVEMANN View Post
    I guess the OP didn't like getting sensible advice, he hasn't been back since saying "bye".
    at least he was polite.....
    :

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  35. #23
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    Re: Noob fixes horrible gas tank.

    I've brazed fuel tanks before. Still holding up many years later. Ain't rocket surgery. Get the fuel out, slosh solvent around in the tank, dump that out, wash the tank out with water, braze it. I like to fill the tank up with water and stick a torch in the tank while the water is draining. That way there's no chance of fumes building up on the off chance there is any fuel or solvent left in the tank.

    These are tanks on my equipment. I've never done any repair like that on someone else's stuff. Not sure if I would. I'd probably cut out the bad material and replace it. It'd be a TIG or MIG repair.

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