How to Clean Out a Motorcycle Gas Tank

by Donna Thacker

If a motorcycle has been sitting for a long time, the inside of the tank can develop moisture and rust. If you've purchased a used motorcycle tank to replace the tank on your bike, you don't know for sure what is on the inside of it. To keep any unwanted rust or gook out of your motorcycle's fuel system, you should give the inside of the tank a thorough cleaning before using it. These simple supplies and techniques will ensure that nothing harmful gets into your motorcycle engine.

Remove the tank from the motorcycle, if necessary. Refer to the owner's manual on how to do this if you have one. If not, you can apply these basic techniques: Unhook any gas lines, or vacuum lines, depending on the brand of motorcycle. Some motorcycles are equipped with fuel valves on the gas tank. If yours has one, you'll need to remove it. Also remove the low fuel sensor, if your motorcycle has one.

Block all of the holes in the motorcycle tank. You can use a short piece of hose clamped onto the fittings on the tank and closed off at the end with a bolt.

Dump the bag of BBs into the motorcycle gas tank and add the 1/2 gallon of diesel fuel. Shake the tank vigorously. The BBs will knock the rust or any other debris free and the diesel fuel will keep the particles suspended so that they will dump out.

Open the gas tank cap and look inside the tank. If it's not clean enough to suit you, resume shaking until the rust is removed to your satisfaction.

Pour out the diesel fuel and BB mixture. Shake the tank to make sure you have removed all of the BBs. Flush the inside of the tank out thoroughly with gasoline to remove all traces of the diesel fuel. Your tank should now be rust free and ready to put back on the motorcycle.

Tip

  • check As an optional safe guard: Purchase a liner/sealer coating for the inside of the tank from a motorcycle dealer. Coat the inside of the tank once you have cleaned it.

Warning

  • close Use caution when working with gas and diesel fuel and dispose of products properly.

Items you will need

About the Author

Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Motorcycle Engine image by Andrew Breeden from Fotolia.com