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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have looked at a number of success stories in the forums related to using electrolytic cleansing to remove rust from gas tanks. This idea is highly attractive to me as I have a lightly rusted tank on my GL1100, and can better afford the no riding time (its winter in Colorado) needed to run an electrolytic cleaning setup than the time to physically clean the tank myself.

My question is, has anyone tried reversing their nodes and zinc plating the inside of the tank afterwards? It seems this would be far less likely to clog the screens or fuel intakes than a traditional sealant, and less likely to break down that Kream. More importantly, much like electrolytic cleaning, it would not require the removal of the tank!

The chemicals used in this process are far less dangerous than those needed for copper, nickel or brass plating. In fact, in theory, the chemicals could be used to neutralize each other when the process is done. In theory an appropriate ratio of muratic acid to lye should lead to a ph7 suspension of salt in water.

Some online data can found here... http://thisoldtractor.com/gtbender/zinc.htm
http://mgarestoration.blogspot.com/2012/03/diy-zinc-plating-of-small-parts.html

I haven't crunched the numbers yet, but it would see technically feasible...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was more thinking that if I use electrolytic methods to strip the rust...then I might be able to drain the first electrolyte (washing soda) based, pour in a second electrolyte (probably ammonium chloride/zinc chloride mix) electroplate the inside with zinc immediately without the normal muriatic acid bath. In theory, stripping the oxides with electrolysis should get the tank as clean as a normal acid etching would. The paper found here implies that electrical alkaline bath cleansing is a viable pretreatment step to zinc deposition. http://chem1.eng.wayne.edu/~yhuang/Papers/Book_Plating_ECHP.pdf

The paper found here would seem to imply that a mix of sodium chloride[ZnCl (71 g L-1)], zinc chloride [KCl (207 g L-1) ] and boric acid [H3BO3*(35 g L-1)] , should form a somewhat acidic (pH 4) electrolyte whose effectiveness can be boosted with extracts from cassava and sugar cane (the sugars present complex to allow better metal chelation). The resultant solution should be low in toxicity and easy to titrate to a neutral pH for safe disposal. http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajaps.2012.314.326&org=12

I was really hoping that someone on the forums might have already taken a crack at this and be in a position to give feedback as to whether it worked for them.
 

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I think you'll need to chemically etch the metal for bonding.
Try it though.
At least we'll know.
 

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I plate a few things here and there (most often Copper)

I've not tried plating a tank, but (for me at least) I've always struggled to get zinc to plate into pinched seams, and fo some reason my approach seeme to leav a lot of "buff" residues (easy enough for plating a bit of hardware, you can buff the surface, a tank may leave this stuff as particulates to find later in a filter or carb..?).

There's some good reading on Zinc plating here ( http://offlogic.wordpress.com/2007/09/08/electroplating-with-zinc-for-under-10/ ) that may follow along what you're going with...

I used the 5V supply from a PC powersupply - lots of available current without cooking anything (gotta be a bit more gentle than how electrolisys rips-stuff apart. Zinc annodes from the Swamp Cooler section of Home Depot can do nicely, since "West Marine" is about the only marine shop up here ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Let me a do a bit more back of the envelope math. This forum has tested a lot of ideas before I had them (and made repairs easier for me). Least I can do is return the favor if this seems viable.
 
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