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gas tank cleaning

CalebinColorado

New member
i have a 1976 sterling with the gas tank located between the engine and the seats (as i would assume most are) and as i am unable to locate and dismember all of the bolts to the body to take it off so i could take the tank off, what would be my best option for cleaning my tank out? the reason for cleaning it is; i received the vehicle from a friend as sort of a thanks, the problem was, it sat in a field for 14 years before i got it, gas still in the tank, oil still in the engine/crank case, no windows on the sides, and so on and so forth. Anyone? Any ideas? :)
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
My first thoughts would be I guess, how bad is the tank?? Is there any rust in it or is there just bad gas in it. Can you see the inside of it to check it out??

I think the majority of the cleaners require the removal of the tank but lets take it one step at a time.

Brett
 

letterman7

Honorary Admin
Right. See if you can get a view inside the tank first, though, with 14 years in a field, you may be better off starting fresh. All the bolts of the body are located along the outside frame, accessible (sort of) from the side map pockets inside the cockpit. There are an additional 4 at the front, two on the top of the beam and two near the tunnel by the front wheels - usually. But you don't need to pull the body unless the frame is beat. You can pull the gas tank by taking the engine and transmission out and unbolting the tank from the bottom, and maneuvering it out from underneath. You'll most likely want to do that anyway just to check the condition of the engine and drivetrain, and replace the rubber components of the suspension.
 

delbertinie

Member
I used electrolysis to clean my tank.

Its very easy and inexpensive

here are some hood hinges I did about 2 to 3 hours

The more time you spend the better it gets
 

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CalebinColorado

New member
My first thoughts would be I guess, how bad is the tank?? Is there any rust in it or is there just bad gas in it. Can you see the inside of it to check it out??

I think the majority of the cleaners require the removal of the tank but lets take it one step at a time.

Brett

well, in siphoning the tank for the first time, it was definitely discolored pretty bad but after the 1st time it was pretty clear. i cant see in it very well and from what i can see it looks or seems to be in "decent" shape. Thank you for your time and advice
 

CalebinColorado

New member
Right. See if you can get a view inside the tank first, though, with 14 years in a field, you may be better off starting fresh. All the bolts of the body are located along the outside frame, accessible (sort of) from the side map pockets inside the cockpit. There are an additional 4 at the front, two on the top of the beam and two near the tunnel by the front wheels - usually. But you don't need to pull the body unless the frame is beat. You can pull the gas tank by taking the engine and transmission out and unbolting the tank from the bottom, and maneuvering it out from underneath. You'll most likely want to do that anyway just to check the condition of the engine and drivetrain, and replace the rubber components of the suspension.

Thank you for posting so quickly to my questions! it is really appreciated. 1st things first lol, i believe iv located most or all of the hardware, now my main issue is getting them off...? half are stripped and the other half are rusted, and in the already small space i have reaching through the map pocket and speaker hole i cant quite fit my bluesaw grinder and sadly do not own a wonderful petite die grinder. So there in its self lies my MAIN issue with this build, as it would also be easier to do my wiring with the side panels off. But i digress, i just had the engine rebuilt so HOPEFULLY it runs once i get the electrical finished. Im also hoping that my transaxle will be in at least a working condition. As for the suspension, I have NO idea what is supposed to look like lol, its WAY different than the good ol' modern day coil over or leaf
 

CalebinColorado

New member
I used electrolysis to clean my tank.

Its very easy and inexpensive

here are some hood hinges I did about 2 to 3 hours

The more time you spend the better it gets

1-would i be able to do this process while the tank was on the chassis?
2-would u be able to send me EXPLICIT instructions on how to preform this task correctly?
3-where would i be able to purchase the electrolysis, and how old do you have to be to do so?

Thank you so much for your time, i look forward to hearing from you again.
 

ydeardorff

New member
I would like to know what you used as an electrolyte. Pure salts can create chlorine gas, baking soda produces carbon monoxide.

Ive been playing with electrolysis on other projects for about two years.

Doing this out doors is important for good ventilation.

Typically a 12 volt car battery is the source voltage, and a pair of jumper cables are the conductors.

One side gets corroded, while the other side (polarity) gets cleaned.

Also the warmer the water, and higher the concentration of electrolyte the faster it will work.
 

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
After giving it some thought and reading Ricks reply, If it was me I would pull the engine and trany and yank the tank out and clean it that way(or replace it). You'll do a far better job getting the gunk out that way than if you tried to do it with the tank installed plus you'll have to flush out the fuel line too and get the crap out of there. Don't do a half ass job, you'll regret it later. It doesn't take long to pull a VW motor.

Brett
 

CalebinColorado

New member
After giving it some thought and reading Ricks reply, If it was me I would pull the engine and trany and yank the tank out and clean it that way(or replace it). You'll do a far better job getting the gunk out that way than if you tried to do it with the tank installed plus you'll have to flush out the fuel line too and get the crap out of there. Don't do a half ass job, you'll regret it later. It doesn't take long to pull a VW motor.

Brett

Oh okay, 1st, i need to appoligize ahead of time for all the questions...im rather new ish at this whole thing and like you said, i dont want to do a half ass job. So then, i guess i will now ask, what is the best/easiest/most efficient way to pull the motor and tran without an engine hoist or cherry picker(i CAN get ahold of one if i must but do not have one in my pocket) lol and how many bolts do you think ill be removing(just from the engine and trani) and then how to pull the gas tank? Again, thank you all so much.
 

ydeardorff

New member
Not sure of the numbers, but you'll have the front tranny mount, the shift shaft, both the axles (big allen wrench), and two main bolts below where the motor attaches to the trans.

Then its a throttle cable, electrical, fuel, a reverse switch on the tranny, and the clutch cable.

Did I miss anything?

You'll have to jack up the car. But I think it could be potentially done with extra help carefully with a tranny jack. But if you can get a hoist it would be a lot of help.
 

letterman7

Honorary Admin
Removing a Beetle engine and transaxle is about the easiest thing to do next to changing a tire - if you have an IRS rear end. An IRS rear will have two universal joints on each axle - one at the wheel and one at the transaxle. Hopefully, that is what you have. If not, you have a swing axle which complicates things a little more.

The first thing I want you to do is make a definitive ID on the year of your chassis. The Beetle VIN is stamped on top of the tunnel behind the seats. Find that and either post it here so we can find the build date or do your own search here: TheSamba.com :: Beetle VIN / Chassis Numbers

With that date, go and purchase the appropriate Bentley shop manual for that year chassis. They can be found at on-line retailers, eBay and the Samba for under $50 usually. That manual will give you all the information you need to perform routine maintenance on your car.

Put the car on drive-on ramps at the back wheels. You'll want the rear higher than the front. Block the front wheels so it doesn't move. If your rear valance isn't glassed in, remove the rear taillight fiberglass piece and the rear valance. It'll make the removal much easier.

Removing the engine is (4) bolts. Unhook all the wires leading to the engine - to the distributor, coil, and voltage regulator. Mark the wires so you know how to put them back. On the flange of the engine to transaxle you'll see the four bolts equidistant around the flange. There is a D bolt and nut at the starter - you'll be removing the nut here instead of the bolt where elsewhere you'll be removing both.
Place a large, sturdy floor jack under the oil pan of the engine. Put a large flat board on the jack, something that is larger than the oil pan, then jack until it's steady under the engine. Undo the four bolts/nuts - I think they're all 17mm (it's been a while). Don't remove the top two bolts - they're needed to help support the engine. With the bottom two bolts removed and the top two nuts removed, jack the engine slightly to take the weight off the top two bolts. With a helper, slide the engine and floor jack back until the engine clears the input shaft. Once the engine is clear, you'll be able to drop it with the jack to the floor and move it out of the way.

For the transaxle, reach inside the car and look for the inspection plate at the back of the tunnel, on top, behind the seats. It's shaped like a football. Remove that. You'll see the shift coupler. Loosen and remove the screw holding the clamp to the shifter rod. Get back underneath the car and put the floor jack (take the engine off and place it aside) back underneath the transaxle in the middle. If you have an IRS chassis, take a 12pt socket and remove the bolts holding the U-joint to the transaxle. Take note that there are plates underneath every two of the bolts to spread the load - don't lose those. Once the joint is loose, take a plastic bag, wrap it around the end, and move it out of the way. Remove the wing bolt and tensioner at the clutch cable on the side of the trans. Let the clutch cable hang from the end of the chassis.
There are two bolts at the nose of the trans attaching it to the chassis. Remove those. I think they're 13mm, but not positive. Make sure the floor jack is steady and in place and remove the two giant bolts at the rear of the trans at the frame horns. At the point those two are pulled, the trans will settle onto the floor jack. Just like the engine, pull back until it clears the shift rod. If it doesn't want to move, check for binding at the shift coupler. Once loose, place it aside next to the engine somewhere - you're done!

The gas tank is usually held in place with a couple sets of metal plates and bolts on the flange. It'll vary from car to car, so you won't know what you have until you get there. At very worst you can cut it apart with a Sawz-All and take it out piece by piece - new tanks aren't expensive.

The best thing about doing this? You now have access to change all the components that normally wear out - the throw-out bearing in the trans, the rubber trans mounts, the shift coupler (change that one anyway, just because) and if need be, the rubber boots on the drive shafts.

You'll notice I didn't say anything about removing a swing axle transaxle. They take quite a bit of work to set back up correctly and if you don't have to remove it, don't. You may gain some working space by removing the mounting bolts as described earlier and letting the trans settle to the lowest point of the axle movement (don't let it hang from there, though). And don't go too low - the axles will pull out of the boots and internal fulcrums... then you'll have a hell of a mess. If possible, find a local VW club or mechanic and get to know them. There should be plenty in Colorado!

Rick
 
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delbertinie

Member
The reason I suggested this method is the fact that it wil clean every bit of the inside after it is is submerged in the bath.

I use k.o.h. or armor hammer washing soda. And yes that is the exact name.
use it outside only. Not sure what gas it emits but it works great.
I got the koh from bio-deisel barn for my hydrogen generator.

As for the process google it there are abundance of resources to teach you how.
 

delbertinie

Member
oh on getting the tank out of my cimbria. I removed the rear glass pod unbolted the tank tipped it end for end and coaxed it out.
 

CalebinColorado

New member
Filters and Rust?

ok, so, after wrenching on my car the last 2 days, i have come up with yet another question about the gas tank. with it being rusted..would i be able to flush it with gas a few times(untill gas is normal color) and then put a NICE Fuel line Filter on and just change periodicly or as needed? or would this not be recommended?

side question for you guys, do any of you know someone with a VW engine diagram for an AS41 DP carburetor 1.6L flat 4 engine? this engine does NOT have the large fan housing on the forward end of the engine. maybe this question would be better posted else where?
 

ydeardorff

New member
From experience here I would say ditch the rusty tank. They are not that expensive to replace.
GAS FUEL TANK FOR 1961 TO 1967 TYPE 1 BEETLES - USE CAP NUMBER 201551211
Those rusty particles will continue to flake off into your tank and plug the line.

My Bradley GT2 had a rusty tank, and the filters aren't a help as the line itself can get plugged up.

I took my Bradley GT2 out for a drive on a mild Nevada summer day only about 112 degrees out. And my car did great for about 10 miles, then it sputtered and died. After waiting awhile it would start, then it acted like it was gasping for air, and konked again.
I took off the fuel line and it was dry. So I checked the tank, full. So I blew air backward through the hose in the engine bay until I heard bubbles percolating in the tank. Instant mouth full of gas. *pbpbpbp!*

Then the car drove again for about 10 miles, and same business. So now I am trying to limp this car home. It was a repeating process down to about every mile. Finally a cop showed up, and asked me what I was doing. Didn't offer any help, and left.

It took me 3 hours to get back home.

After I changed the gas tank, I never had a problem with it again.
But pushing your car in the summer heat, and or bending over with your face in the engine bay blowing a hose clear doesn't make for a fun drive, nor have any cool factor attached to it.
 
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letterman7

Honorary Admin
Hi Caleb,
Well... the only thing I can suggest is double and triple check the inside of the tank to see if there is any amount of rust in there. Take a mechanics inspection mirror and shove it through the filler hole and hit it with a flashlight - you should be able to see most everything in the tank. If you don't see anything but surface rust - little to no pitting - you might get away with flushing - IF the outside of the tank is the same way. If the outside is rusted and pitted, you can be sure that it's eating it way to the inside.
There are gas tank treatments that are meant to seal the inside of tanks using an epoxy mixture, but you still have to pull the tank to get it to distribute all the way around. If you're doing that, you might as well get a new one.

As for the carburetor, the AS41 is the engine composite designation - 41% aluminum alloy. The carburetor should have it's own stamp somewhere on the body, usually on the left side under the air cleaner. Most likely it's a PICT-30 or PICT-32/34, the most common type of carburetor for these cars. But I'm not sure that's what you're asking for. What do you need as an "engine diagram"?
 

CalebinColorado

New member
The reason I suggested this method is the fact that it wil clean every bit of the inside after it is is submerged in the bath.

I use k.o.h. or armor hammer washing soda. And yes that is the exact name.
use it outside only. Not sure what gas it emits but it works great.
I got the koh from bio-deisel barn for my hydrogen generator.

As for the process google it there are abundance of resources to teach you how.

i have in fact found MANY ways for this process online, but still have the issue of my tank removal :( i have removed the back window and plastic housing, but the tank is sitting in what seems to be a plywood "shelf"? if i was to remove it through this opening, would i(or did you) be able to put it back through the same opening?

Caleb
 

CalebinColorado

New member
Hi Caleb,
Well... the only thing I can suggest is double and triple check the inside of the tank to see if there is any amount of rust in there. Take a mechanics inspection mirror and shove it through the filler hole and hit it with a flashlight - you should be able to see most everything in the tank. If you don't see anything but surface rust - little to no pitting - you might get away with flushing - IF the outside of the tank is the same way. If the outside is rusted and pitted, you can be sure that it's eating it way to the inside.
There are gas tank treatments that are meant to seal the inside of tanks using an epoxy mixture, but you still have to pull the tank to get it to distribute all the way around. If you're doing that, you might as well get a new one.

As for the carburetor, the AS41 is the engine composite designation - 41% aluminum alloy. The carburetor should have it's own stamp somewhere on the body, usually on the left side under the air cleaner. Most likely it's a PICT-30 or PICT-32/34, the most common type of carburetor for these cars. But I'm not sure that's what you're asking for. What do you need as an "engine diagram"?





i took a picture of the gas tank from the top(where the cap is) with the flash on so i could get an idea of what im working with...not looking so good lol, posting now...

as for the Carbs, im actually looking more for the engine than the carb, that said, by diagram, i want to know more about my engine? the parts and pieces on it to know what is what, so i can finish the rebuild that my flaky rebuilder left me with? picture or drawing of my engine pointing out by numbering and the listing each number or by just showing each piece and explaining what it is and what it does? anything really lol
 

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letterman7

Honorary Admin
Hmmm..... yeah, that tank may not be worth saving. I've never tried pulling one out through the window. I think the Cimbria window may be a little larger than the Sterling but I've never measured them, either. A tape measure across the widest part of the tank will tell you if it'll work or not, the hard part is going to be getting to all the bolts or screws holding it to the plywood. And yes, plywood wasn't the approved building method - it should have been resting on some steel L angle.

In the construction manual the method for removing the tank is cutting the fiberglass from above it - from the engine lid back to the window. That's a bit extreme, but if you have other bodywork to do that may be an acceptable alternative. Re-glassing isn't that big a deal, but you do have to know what you're doing.

As for the engine, as I stated earlier, purchase a Bentley shop manual. In the meantime, this link TheSamba.com :: March 1969 VW Industrial Engine Owner's Manual will outline some of the basic parts of the engine. Keep in mind that those images are for industrial engines and the road-going engines had a few different parts, but not much! Anything really specific, take a photo and we'll ID it for you!
 
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