The Sept 8 issue of Old Cars had the following printed in their question
and answer column. This is a fix that I have not heard of previously and
thought that you fellow old truckers might find it as interesting as I did.
I am not endorsing this method but invite any comments. Perhaps one of you
with a leaking tank will try it and (hopefully) report on the results.
I wanted to share with you my method of soldering gas tanks. Thls was
shared with me by a well respected mechanic friend of mine who was working
on cars before I was born. It has worked for me on car, truck, tractor, and
small engine gasoline tanks. First, make sure all the gas is out of the
tank. Then stick the mouth of the tank over the exhaust pipe of another
car. Start the car and let it run for 10-15 minutes until the tank feels
warm. Leave the car running and solder away. If the tank is impossible to
remove, use pipe fittings to pipe the exhaust from a lawn mower or other
such device into the mouth of the tank and run the mower until the tank
feels warm.The carbon monoxide from the engine exhaust displaces the oxygen
in the tank. No oxygen, no fire. This method has worked for me many times.
I hope it helps some other folks. Reggie Stone, Stanley, N.C.
Mr. Stone's method for displacing gasoline fumes with carbon monoxide in
order to solder leaking gas tanks seems to be popular. We also received
letters from Max Mann, of Miles City, Mont., H. P. (Skip) Vrooman, of
Clarkston, Mich., and Rich Fay, of St. Louis, Mo., endorsing this
technique. Mr. Mann writes, "Simply put a hose or pipe on the exhaust pipe
of a car, pickup, etc. Run the engine for a few minutes and the exhaust
will cook out all the fumes. I've done this several times with no problems.
By the time the tank is hot to the touch, the gasoline fumes are all gone.
If in doubt, just run the exhaust a few minutes longer. I have soldered
several Model A tanks with fumes, all by using a soldering iron. The tank
never gets hot enough to cause any problems. I suppose irons are pretty
scarce nowadays as everyone uses a propane torch and therefore must worry
about the explosive likelihood of the gasoline fumes."
Mr. Vrooman points out the advantage of the carbon monoxide's purging the
tank of all residual water vapor. Mr. Fay's method also leaves the hose
attached and the vehicle running while the tank is being soldered. If doing
so, be sure to have plenty of ventilation (outside a building), since
carbon monoxide is a deadly poisonous gas.
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