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MG TD TF 1500 - MGTF fuel tank rust removal

I am trying to remove rust from my recently purchased 1954 mgtf that underwent a full restoration and then sat for a couple of years with a few gallons of fuel and the tank inside was a mess. Because of the great paint job I didn't want to remove the tank. I've removed most of the rust by flushing for several days with vinegar. I now have the tank set up for electrolysis and additional rust is coming out and it's looking much better. Looking for suggestions for how to keep it from re rusting after since I can't just put a compound in and rotate tank around to cover all surfaces. Would it work to fill tank with fuel and add an additive like Sta-Bil 360 to help protect? Or what else might work?

W. B. Howarth

I always add a couple of spoonfuls of two stroke oil when I fill her up.
Jan Emil Kristoffersen

Can anybody tell me what an empty MG-TD fuel tank weighs?

Thanks, sounds like a good idea. Can't do any harm.
W. B. Howarth

Bill - I am answering your e-mail here with the hope that others, smarter than I on tank preservation might chime in on a way to rust proof the inside of your tank without compromising the new paint job.

I am not an expert on preserving metal, but I am wondering if you couldn't reverse your electrolysis where you attracted the rust in the tank to a sacrificial rod in the tank. First, I think that I would continue doing that in an attempt to get all of the rust out of the tank (an left in there will just continue to spread). After getting all of the rust out of the tank, you could put a zinc rod in the tank with an electrolyte and let the reverse electrolysis coat the inside of the tank. The problem with that approach is that there is no way to inspect the interior of the tank (unless you could get an inspection camera with a long enough line to look at all of the interior of the tank - anyone know of a proctologist willing to share his equipment).

When I had the tank on our TD done, I had to remove the tank in order to get the failing sloshing compound removed (along with the paint). The followed up with a rather thick zinc phosphate coating, which has quite a bit of "tooth" to the finish, which will supposedly absorb the oils in the fuel and rust proof the interior of the tank. Two drawbacks to this approach 1) the zinc phosphate is an acid solution and the tank was left in so long that the brass threads for the fuel line and the drain plug were pretty well eaten away and I had to repair that (there was enough thread left that I was able to use JB Weld to make a reinforcement around the existing threads, then tap it out and install helicoils).
2) The tank had to be removed from the car in order to dip it in the chemical tanks and of course, the paint was removed with the sloshing compound.

Anybody else out there besides Jan and me? Cheers - Dave
D W DuBois

The tank weighs 13kgs. Be careful with slosh tank sealant. I used it on my MG M Type tank and blocked off the outlet with a threaded bolt and screwed the cap down so I could give it a good shake. When the sealant had cured I tried to remove the bolt and cap and they were SOLID. I didn't want to use heat in case of an explosion. I was able to drill and retap the outlet but not so with the filler. Eventually I wrenched the filler neck off with a Stillson wrench and had to buy a new tank. The guy who sold it to me makes tanks for MGs and said there is no need to protect the inside of a sound tank, petrol fumes will do that for you. Slosh sealant is only of use for a leaking tank.

Jan T
J Targosz

Years ago I was talking to a rep a POR15 (actually I think it might have even been the owner, this was back when it was just a tiny little business) who said they advised slushing tanks unless absolutely necessary, and told me they always recommend sealing the tank on the outside, using POR15 and fiberglass as a reinforcement where necessary when possible. Harder to do on a T-series where the tank is not hidden away out of sight, but if possible well worth tryingm especially considering that about 50% of the tank area is out of sight enough to make such repairs possible.

W.B. -

Using electrolysis to remove rust inside the tank intrigues me because my tank is rusty too and I don't want to damage the exterior paint.

Will you briefly explain your electrolysis setup? I use electrolysis to remove rust, but the item must be in line-of-sight with the sacrificial anode and the two cannot touch. Looks like the process will only work on the area to the left of the first baffle inside the tank.

Links to the electrolysis method that I use:

Thanks for your help,

LM Cook

Dave D.

Home Depot sells a couple of inspection cameras. The least expensive is the Ryobi one at $99. I usually joke with customers that is doubles as a do-it-yourself proctology kit.
Lew Palmer

Just this morning I was watching Performance TV on Velocity, and they were demonstrating a rust removal chemical that looked like it might work. I don't know anything about it, or the name, but you could probable go to there web site.

G Parker


On another tack,your TDs red panel colour looks very nice.
Do you know what paint type and formula was used?

Rob Grantham

Hi Rob. I went looking for a pic of a TD & drew a blank. Typo? Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Lew - "Home Depot sells a couple of inspection cameras." Do any of those come with more than a 3 foot length for the lens? Cheers - Dave
D W DuBois

I've never done any electrolisis,, but I sure would be a bit cautious about doing the inside of a fuel tank,, the process produces hydrogen,, and combine that with any left over gas fumes,,, add a spark and something bad might happen!!!

Also, take a look at these pics to see just what is inside a tank.

Thanks BUD !!

Steve Wincze

Thank Bill Cassidy, Steve. I'm just the messenger. Bud
Bud Krueger

I too shared your reluctance to slosh/coat the inside of my painted tank, but is possible without any damage to the outside paint. I did it with a series of rubber plugs and a set of plywood wheels, which was documented in the archives. Process with POR-15 was really straightforward and successful. After trying all the suggested flushing, etching etc in place my car still was totally unreliable, post coating running like a charm for two years
Jon Levine

I've spent a fair bit of time playing with elctrolysis for rust removal, much of it inside tanks, with only moderate success.

The first problem is that it only works if the anode (or is it cathode?) is in line of sight with the rust. this means either a tank with no baffles, or with several different entry points. On a T-series tank you can always cut a few, in the back or on the ends where they will never bee seen, but many owners will recoil at the thought, and resealing the holes is a hassle.

The second problem is getting enough anode area for the process to work reasonably quickly.. Ideallu it should be equal to the surface area of the part being cleaned. The smaller the anode, the slower the process goes, My experiments with just a couple of pieces of rebar anode went so slowly as to be not worth the effort.

The next is cleaning. Electolysis doesn't leave a clean surface, If leaves hard black cruddy stuff that accumulates on the metal, slowing down the process, and must be occasionally cleaned off, before it can harden. Scrubbing with gray Scotchbrite works for smaller pieces, but for something like a gas tank you will need a pressure washer. And, of course, you need adequate entry points to allow reaching the entire inside surface for that to work. I would also be very cautious about pressure washing the inside. To much pressure might oil can the flat surfaces.

Oh in my last post the word "against" somehow got left off, it should read 'Who said they advised AGAINST slushing tanks..."

This thread was discussed between 09/11/2014 and 10/11/2014

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