As part of the restoration process on the 1984 Honda Big Red 200ES I needed to fix a leaky metal gas tank. The tank wasn’t that bad it just had a few pinholes in it. The problem is that the tank will rust from the inside out so you do not know how thin it is in many areas. Coating the tank provides extra insurance that the tank won’t leak in the future and ruin that new paint job you spent so much time on. Also tank rust can cause problems like plugged fuel filters and engine damage if the rust does reach the engine. There are many tank coating products out there. My previous experience was with the Kreem brand. I used this product successfully on many tanks but it was starting to get expensive. It was about $40.00 for the 3 part kit. I starting surfing the forums for alternatives and read some good reports on Red-kote. I looked up the website and researched the Red-kote. Here are some of the positive for this product:
Experience – Website claims 1 million tanks have been lined since 1985 and only 200 problems have been reported
Compatibility – compatible with many fuels including gasoline with ethanol (E-85)
Sealing capability – Coating can plug holes up to 1/32” (0.031”)
Easy application – Detergent and Acetone are the chemicals required. I can get these locally which will save on cost as compared to other specific multi-component products.
I ended up buying a quart of the Red-Kote on e-bay for $24.99 and that included shipping. Now to describe how I used the product.
First I drained the tank and removed the petcock.
Next I rinsed the tank out thoroughly let it dry and rinsed it out again.
Then I took an angle die grinder with a 36 grit wheel and stripped the problem areas. Note that you need to make sure there is no fuel or fuel fumes in the tank before you do this. Also note that this may reveal a much larger rusted out area than expected. It’s better to know this now than after the coating is put into the tank.
For this tank I revealed one pinhole that needed to be repaired before coating. I mig welded the area and then ground down the weld.
Next I inspected the inside of the tank for excessive loose rust using a Maglite. It wasn’t that bad so I proceeded with rinsing. If the tank was really bad a rust converter could be used.
Then I filled the tank full with hot water and dish soap. This let me check to see if the weld was leaking. I then rinsed out the tank and repeated this three times to where the drained water was clear.
Next I rinsed the tank twice with Acetone. After the second rinse I covered the opening in the bottom and put the Red Kote in. I then sloshed it around and after I had full coverage I let it drain out of the bottom back in to the can. The results were good and I think I still have enough to do another tank. I think I found a good alternative to Kreem.
Tank before I started. Notice the scum on the lower left hand corner? This "scum" collected on the tank due to a small "pinhole" leak in the tank
Close up look at the area with the leak
Ground down leak area with die grinder and 36 grit wheel to reveal this hole
Mig welded hole
Welds ground down.
Quart of Red-Kote
Inside of tank before
Used Acetone to rinse tank before applying Red-Kote. Notice the tank position on the bench - I set this up so after I sloshed the coating around the whole tank the excess coating could be drained off.
Results after coating - yes this stuff is red.