Restoring a white fuel tank

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7/6/2018 2:19 PM

I’m about to embark down the road of restoring my first dirt bike from my childhood. The first question I have is what can be done about the yellowing tank? The tank is no longer available so I’m hoping there is some treatment that can be done to restore the white plastic color.

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7/6/2018 2:32 PM

500 tubes of tooth whitener should do it mate laughing silly devil

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7/6/2018 3:06 PM

Check in the old school moto forum if you haven’t already. I’ve heard of guys sanding the tanks to get them back to white but I’ve also heard this makes them much more prone to cracking so not the best idea if you plan to ride it.

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7/6/2018 3:06 PM

Try this question over at bike builds or tech section. Those guys know all the tricks.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

7/6/2018 3:24 PM

Ajax

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7/6/2018 3:28 PM

The yellowing isn't just on the surface. It's caused by fuel permeating the plastic. There may be some sort of plasticoat available but I think that's about it.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

7/6/2018 3:28 PM

White rit die would be my first choice. If not successful use a razor to scrape a thin film of and learn to plastic polish this is much harder. Die will be you best and nicest option you tube it.

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7/6/2018 3:29 PM

Too add. That's why race fuel is in a metal can instead of plastic.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

7/6/2018 3:33 PM

I've always wondered if filling it with bleach would work. I want a white red yz but man they all have yellow tanks

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7/6/2018 4:26 PM

B DUB 333 wrote:

I've always wondered if filling it with bleach would work. I want a white red yz but man they all have yellow tanks

Clarke makes tanks for i think every year of red/white yz.

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7/6/2018 4:32 PM

plowboy wrote:

The yellowing isn't just on the surface. It's caused by fuel permeating the plastic. There may be some sort of plasticoat available but I think that's about it.

But when you remove the graphics it is a whole lot whiter underneath. You be seen some white ones cleaned up to a certain point, but don’t get your hopes up too much.

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7/6/2018 4:34 PM

MXD wrote:

I’m about to embark down the road of restoring my first dirt bike from my childhood. The first question I have is what can be done about the yellowing tank? The tank is no longer available so I’m hoping there is some treatment that can be done to restore the white plastic color.

Check with DC plastics and see if they can help. I think they have actually made some plastic overlays for some tanks. Not the best route, but maybe an improvement???

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7/6/2018 4:45 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/6/2018 4:48 PM

https://www.2y4t.com/foro/t/99585-devolver-el-blanco-al-deposito/

It's from a forum in Spain, you can translate it
They use hydrogen peroxide, they mix it with a porridge to eat, because if it does not evaporate very fast when you put it in the tank and it does not do the function.

If you handle it, with gloves and glasses to protect yourself

Peróxido de hidrógeno

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Per%C3%B3xido_de_hidr%C3%B3geno

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7/6/2018 4:47 PM

MXD wrote:

I’m about to embark down the road of restoring my first dirt bike from my childhood. The first question I have is what can be done about the yellowing tank? The tank is no longer available so I’m hoping there is some treatment that can be done to restore the white plastic color.

Unfortunately, you will never get it completely white again. The tank below was wet-sanded for many hours. I started with 220 and used finer sandpaper in increments until I ended up with 1500. Then I polished it with a buffer and some polishing compound. It yellowed pretty quickly once I started putting fuel in it even though I drained it every race. I eventually bought some perforated white tank decal sheets and covered just the sides. They eventually turned yellow and peeled. The other option I have heard of is a tank skin from DC plastics. It is a thin plastic shell that covers most of the tank. I even tried filling an ice chest with bleach and submerging the tank for a month with zero results. If the tank will never have gas in it, just paint it. If it is going to have gas in it, drain it after every ride. Best of luck.

Photo

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Bret Bonham

7/6/2018 4:50 PM

Before and after Photo
Photo

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7/6/2018 4:52 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/6/2018 4:59 PM

I've read a few members mentioning using the same techniques as people restoring video game consoles.
https://www.howtogeek.com/196687/ask-htg-why-do-old-computers-and-game-consoles-turn-yellow/ Photo

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7/6/2018 5:53 PM

MXD wrote:

I’m about to embark down the road of restoring my first dirt bike from my childhood. The first question I have is what can be done about the yellowing tank? The tank is no longer available so I’m hoping there is some treatment that can be done to restore the white plastic color.

What year and model bike is it ? Clark manufacturing has a lot of tanks that they still make.

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Ed Johnson

7/6/2018 8:00 PM

I've had pretty good luck with OxyClean
TM

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www.alljackedupinc.com home of the Switch Hauler, the only modular hauling system www.sprocketstuff.com home of the Counter Sprocket Tool

7/6/2018 9:36 PM

Have you seen this?

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“Adhering to 1970’s Standards of Political Correctness”

7/6/2018 10:38 PM

No one stores gasoline in a Nintendo.

I have done the RetroBrite (my own version) before on an Apple IIe. It worked great, but I never stored gasoline in it.

Look on eBay, and you will see many stained tanks. Gasoline does it. I have seen several lime green tanks with a brown tint to them.

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7/6/2018 11:08 PM

KDXGarage wrote:

No one stores gasoline in a Nintendo.

I have done the RetroBrite (my own version) before on an Apple IIe. It worked great, but I never stored gasoline in it.

Look on eBay, and you will see many stained tanks. Gasoline does it. I have seen several lime green tanks with a brown tint to them.

My apologies.

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7/14/2018 11:43 AM

plowboy wrote:

Too add. That's why race fuel is in a metal can instead of plastic.

I think it may actually be in part to the highly aromatic parts of the fuel escaping through the plastic.

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7/14/2018 12:03 PM

KDXGarage wrote:

I think it may actually be in part to the highly aromatic parts of the fuel escaping through the plastic.

That's my understanding as well.

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If it ain't yer's don't take it, If it ain't the truth dont say it, If it ain't right don't do it...Marcus Aurelius

7/14/2018 1:31 PM

ToolMaker wrote:

I've had pretty good luck with OxyClean
TM

You could probably use a 30% hydrogen peroxide and get the same or better results.

Oxyclean is just peroxide once it's combined with water.

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Empty a bag of skittles into the toilet and then flush. It's like watching a five second long nascar race.

7/14/2018 2:20 PM

KDXGarage wrote:

No one stores gasoline in a Nintendo.

I have done the RetroBrite (my own version) before on an Apple IIe. It worked great, but I never stored gasoline in it.

Look on eBay, and you will see many stained tanks. Gasoline does it. I have seen several lime green tanks with a brown tint to them.

EZZA 95B wrote:

My apologies.

w00t
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7/15/2018 12:42 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2018 2:12 AM

plowboy wrote:

Too add. That's why race fuel is in a metal can instead of plastic.

KDXGarage wrote:

I think it may actually be in part to the highly aromatic parts of the fuel escaping through the plastic.

plowboy wrote:

That's my understanding as well.

I’m not convinced tanks turn yellow due to fuel escaping through the plastic. I restored one and it became white again when sanded which suggests to me it was purely surface discolouration.

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7/15/2018 7:20 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/15/2018 7:25 AM

Awesome suggestions guys, thanks. This is a bit of an odd restoration, it's a 1986 BW80 so I don't think I'll find an aftermarket tank. Here is the short version of the story. My parents bought it brand new for me when I was 11. It was my first bike. My parents were awful people (that's a separate story for a therapist, not a moto board hahaha) and sold it out of the blue one day to the kid next door. I found out when I got home from school and he was riding it around the neighborhood. I was crushed. A few years later he gave it to his cousin and he brought it to the family camp in VT and then 20 years went by. The neighbor kid and I remained friends and at his wedding several years ago, that story came up. I asked what ever happened to the bike and he said he didn't know so we grabbed his cousin and asked him. He said he gave it to the guy across the street from the camp in VT 15 years ago but from there, he had no idea. I just said "well if you ever come across it again, let me know. I'd love to get it back". About a year went by and my friend called and said "you won't believe this but my cousin called and he said he made a few calls and found the bike. The camp neighbor tracked it down. It's on a farm in western MA and the guy said you can have it, come get it". I drove out there with the original BoS from the dealership that I'd kept all these years. When I got there we walked to the other side of the property to an old shack that was barely standing and there it was under a tarp. I knew it was mine because it still had the 1988 registration sticker on the front fender but I double checked the VIN anyway. I tried to pay him but he refused. He was just glad to see it not rot away. A few weeks later I was searching for parts and came across the blue one on CL for $50. It was missing the cylinder and a bunch of other stuff but for $50, it was a no brainer.

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7/15/2018 9:27 AM

MXD wrote:

I’m about to embark down the road of restoring my first dirt bike from my childhood. The first question I have is what can be done about the yellowing tank? The tank is no longer available so I’m hoping there is some treatment that can be done to restore the white plastic color.

Wet sand starting with 220 and go smoother from there. Then polish it with furniture wax. I've done it a hundred times, wont be perfect but it will be nice if done right.

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7/15/2018 10:31 AM

AWESOME that you got it back!!


Look on Youtube for the video of the guy wet sanding the red Honda tank.

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7/15/2018 12:31 PM

That is a great story. I am glad it is back with the rightful owner. Are you going to ride it or hang it on the wall? Paint one tank and use the other when you ride.

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