S1 Fuel Tank, Restore or Replace?

I’m finally getting to the point where I have to think about the fuel tank in the revitalization of my car that’s been off the road for 25+ years. I haven’t yet pulled the tank out, but I have the pump out and have taken the sump out. Based on visual inspection through the holes in the top, looks like the usual rust and crud from a tank that has spent decades in slumber.

Here’s the question: Let’s assume after I pull it there’s no sign of any holes or other damage. Does it make sense to clean out and restore the inside? (Note, based on my experiences with other old cars, I’m not a fan of thick epoxy (or whatever) coatings on the inside of tanks that invariably detach and make blobs in the fuel system) Or should I just bite the bullet and buy a new tank? Part of me says start with something new and clean, while the other part of me hates to spend 600 bucks if I can have a perfectly functional tank for less than $50 and a little elbow grease.

PS, I already know Joey will say buy a new one. :wink:

I’m with Joey on this one. $600 to completely remove any fuel tank issues for the foreseeable future is a good investment IMO. Given how much of a HUGE PITA it is to remove/install one.

If you do get a new one make sure you read up on the recent thread discussing the fit of some of the replacements.

1 Like

I took mine to a radiator shop that also cleans and lines fuel tanks. They soaked it in a chemical bath to remove the rust and coated it inside with a reddish coating. Cost was about $90. Going on 6 years with zero problems. I could have bought a kit and done it myself, but it made no sense for me to do so, given their price.

Check around and see if someone in your area does fuel tanks.


I did the same years ago. No coating though, just compressed air and a shopvac and no issues.

Thanks for the advice, gents. I greatly appreciate it. Next step is to get the tank out and see what things really look like. Going to have to wait a bit, because I’m off to NC for a 30th anniversary vacation with the Mrs., AKA, “the Enabler.”

1 Like

Soon after buying my '68 E 20 years ago I regularly noticed crud accumulating in the glass fuel bowl. I removed the sump plug and top plate and cleaned and vacuumed it all out as best I could and fitted a new filter sock. I was fully prepared to pull the tank if leaks or more crud or other problems showed up. Still no more problems all this time later but I don’t use the car for any long trips. Just a thought depending on the deterioration level you are seeing with your tank. In the '90’s I pulled a tank on a '66 I had and remember the struggle just to get it out.

68 E-type FHC

1 Like

Yes it does. Firstly you save $700 and secondly you know that as it came out it will go back in. I have had to resort to a crowbar more than once fitting new tanks.

If when cleaned you find you have pinholes that to me means that there is so much thickness lost through corrosion that the tank bottom is structurally unsound even if you can fill them with one of the various tank sealants. You should replace a tank in that condition.

1 Like

On one of my DKW gas tanks, tanks that are utterly unavailable new, I had a bunch of pinhole leaks.

I had the tank boiled out at my radiator shop, then sandblasted (coarsely) the bottom of the tank. I then covered it in 7714 crows foot fiberglass cloth, using regular polyester resin, and then let it cure for a week, in the sun

That tank was perfectly leakfree for the 10 years I had that car.

1 Like

When I removed the tank on the 2+2 I found a fiberglass gas tank patch exactly where the sound deadening pad would have been. I cleaned and sealed the tank and never had a problem.for the 14 years I owned the car.

A buddy in Austin was charged with fixing the leaky gas tank of his step father’s Aston Martin DBS. Out came the tank, In went an assortment of nuts and bolts. Lots of shaking, followed by an acid bath revealed some holes. Pouring in the white tank sealer caused the bottom of the tank to resemble pouring thick cream in a colander. He let that dry as per the instructions and followed it with two more coats. No leaks and back in the car it went.

1 Like