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MG TD TF 1500 - Best way to clean varnish/residue from fuel tank?

My fuel tank is in good shape, no rust to be seen inside. But it doe's however have a LOT of a varnish type residue in the bottom So much so that one of the fuel outlets is plugged. While I could just clean the outlet I'd like to actually clean out this crud. I'd suspect a couple gallons of 'something' in the bottom sitting for a few days might do it but what would that 'something' be? Acetone? or what. I've only ever really had problems with rust in the past not this kind of goop. Any advice would be welcome.
l rutt

I'd get a gallon of cheap laquer thinner and dump it in an the seal it. Then slosh it around about every 30 minutes or so. Dump it out after about 3 hours and repeat with some fresh thinner. The thinner will usually take care of any varnish pretty quickly. A big warning... the thinner vapors are extremly flamable. Recomend that you do it out doors away from any ignition sources.


Throw in some small nuts/ bolts, & shake, shake, shake!
Len Fanelli

I actually experienced the effects of not thoroughly removeing varnish in a TD tank that had sat for 50 years. After draining a couple of gallons of old fuel from the tank, cleaning all filters and poking a wire up the line at the tank which was also completely plugged and flushing a gallon of fresh gas through the system I successfully started the just overhauled engine for the first time. All seemed well during the 10 mimute test run in the garage but the next day when I started it for a more precise tuning session it misfired badly with a lot of mechanical noise. Cutting to the chase, it seems that fresh gas is a very good solvent for varnish as all the remaining contaminates were emulsified and then deposited through the intake tract from the throttle butterflies to the valve stems during the first run up. So off comes the head to unstick the # 2 intake valve and clean out the varnish that catalized into "epoxy". More flushing with a lot more gas finally eliminated the contamination in the fuel system so "learn from the mistakes of others".
jm wenzel

Good time to spend a hundred dollars and have a rad shop clean and seal the tank...
While the tank was off being sealed, i poured gas down the fuel line and let it sit for a day or so...then blew out the line with an air hose (with a rag over the other end).
gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

I think Gordon has the most efficient/proven/safest method..


Steve Wincze

I had a radiator shop do mine but I wasn't interested in saving the paint.


That old varnish and even dissolved sealer (from the days that ethanol wasn't used in the fuel) can be an effective glue to effectively seal the check valves to the the seats in fuel pumps and the needles of needle valves in the float bowls (don't ask how I know that), so a good flush of the entire system is in order. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

This thread was discussed between 10/04/2008 and 11/04/2008

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