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MG MGA - Cleaning gas tank

I bought my A about 6 years ago and have never cleaned the gas tank. I have about 160 miles oin this tank so I suspect its pretty low on gas. Should I remove the drain plug and rinse the tank to clean it? Do I need to remove the tank to shake it? Let it air dry or just pour some gas in and swirl it around?
thanks, Jack
J Weiss

If you have been driving it for six years and it has never given you trouble, I would leave it be and enjoy driving. Whatever is there hasn't moved in six years.
Bill Haglan

I have never cleaned the tank in 18 years of ownership with no problems. I think that there is only an issue if the car has sat for extended periods unused. Rust, water and bad fuel are all potential issues when the car is unused.
As you have been already running the car with no issue I would say that there should be no further problems. This is also a good excuse to use the car more!!
Neil Purves

My car sat for over 25 years with no fuel in the tank. During the restoration, I checked it for leaks by filling it with water and welded the few pinholes I found. I don't suggest welding a tank that has had fuel anytime in the near past....BOOM! I rinsed the tank of dust and debris, paying no real attention to sealing any rust etc inside. For the 8+ years that it has been on the road, I have had no fuel related issues. I run a clear filter in the engine compt but nothing significant has been deposited there.

I would also suggest leaving it well enough alone. I would also suggest a filter just before the carbs.

Chuck Schaefer

While the above advice is probably sound, if you want to clean the tank I would suggest draining it, remove it, take it to a radiator shop and let them clean it. That's what I did. But I already had the tank removed when I did my restoration. I also used a tank sealer from POR..just because...seemed to work fine.
Still, if it ain't broke...

G T Foster

28 years driving my 1600 and never touched the tank! I have a filter in-line just before the carbs and replace that about every 5/6 years.
BM Gannon

On topic first, if you have crud in your fuel tank giving a carb clogging problem that needs an in-line filter, then it's time to have the fuel tank boiled out by a radiator shop (or install a new tank if the old one is to far gone). I cannot recommend any shushing compound because I have no experience with the modern formulas, and I don't see a need for it in a car with regular driving.

I did rinse my tank out once at about 150K-mi in 1977 as part of first restoration, and treated it with slushing compound (followed by several years of storage during restoration). It now has 377K-mi with no problem. As noted, the proper treatment is to drive it regularly to keep the tank clean. For sure the "vintage" slushing compound that was in my tank had disolved and disappeared many years ago when subject to 10% alcohol in the fuel. It would have been gradually flushed out passing through the carbs to be burned along with the fuel. I have heard reports of the stuff coming off in sheets and gumming up the tank in cars that spent lots of time in storage. New compounds are supposed to be more resistant to modern fuels, but I have no experience there. I just keep driving and the tank with bare interior stays clean.

For the first 40 years the only fuel "filters" in my car were the original screens in fuel pump inlet and carb float covers, and those never caught anything, so there was never any debris large enough to clog up a float jet. After switching to an aftermarket fuel pump I have a tiny finger size filter on the pump inlet. That went 100k-mi between fuel pump changes without clogging, so the fuel tank must be amazingly clean at all times. I have never used a filter in line before the carbs.

If you insist on storing your car for extended periods of time without running I suggest keeping the fuel tank full so there is no condensation inside to cause the tank to rust internally. Keeping it full also reduces evaporation of volatile compounds in the fuel, so it is less likely to go "stale" during several months of storage. The worst thing you can do is store it with one or two gallons of fuel that will evaporate completely.

For storage for years at a time I can only think to empty the tank, store it in a dry temperature controlled place, and put a large bag of dessicant inside to keep it as dry as possible. Bottom line is, old cars work best when driven regularly and give problems when not driven.
Barney Gaylord

This thread was discussed between 06/08/2009 and 07/08/2009

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