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Tinning gas tanks?

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  • Tinning gas tanks?

    Happy new year all! Hope everyone's holidays were smooth and stress-free...

    I have a couple buddys on the *** /5 motorcycle list who have used Oregon Re-tinners for their motorcycle tanks. They basically strip them inside and out, braze up any holes, then plate them with tin inside and out. The tin is impervious to ethanol and fuel, and they claim they have customers who have used their tinned tanks for 20+ years with no recurrence of rust.

    They also say that the tin can be painted with a quick scuff, and that they do a fair number of Harleys that are custom painted. Powder coat is not really an option because it bakes at the same temp that the tin melts.

    In any case, it sounds like a really good option for my Cooper S tanks, but wanted to solicit opinions on this process (or others) before jumping in. Price is about $185/tank including stripping.

    Whaddya think?
    Ben McCafferty

  • #2
    The only thing I worry about when someone suggests working the inside of a Mini fuel tank is the plastic filter on the end of the pick up pipe in the bottom of the tank. I don't have an answer. I've heard it suggested that the filter can be knocked off from the outside by a long rod, but I've never heard a good answer of how to replace it. Maybe it's not needed.
    The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.


    • #3
      A buddy of mine used an epoxy gas tank sealer on his '34 Chevy fuel tank a few years ago, like 20+. Must work because he still has the Chev and it still has the original tank which doesn't leak a drop. Look in Hemmings or Old Cars & Parts magazines for the ads.

      If I remember right the process started with a couple of tubes of BB gun type BB's which were rattled around in the inside of the tank to free the loose stuff. Then the epoxy sealer was mixed and sloshed around the whole inside of the tank including the filler.

      The filter Chuck mentioned would probably be an issue with this type of sealant as well.


      • #4
        Terne plate, which is steel covered with a lead / tin alloy is an extremely common tank material. I think they replace the lead with something now, maybe zinc. Tin plated steel ought to be just the thing for a fuel tank.

        Once you have a clean plated fuel tank the plastic filter (screen) shouldn't be necessary unless you drop stuff into the tank. If you want you can add a coarse filter between the tank and the fuel pump. It's not a bad idea even if you have the screen.


        If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


        • #5

          Thanks for the replies. On my boat, I have a water separator filter between tanks and outboard, and I'm always amazed at how much of that red resin crap comes out of that, i.e. the stuff that the ethanol is dissolving in the nation's fuel distribution system. I imagine the screen would be prone to clogging anyway? Perhaps an inline paper filter element, a la old VWs? It could be an easy way to filter with no real mod to the car other than cutting a fuel line from each tank, or one on the way to the pump?


          • #6
            The tank screen filter is not a real fine mesh. It's more to catch the big chunks. I use just the in line filter type you suggest; i.e., the cheap old-style, VW type.
            The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.