I have a 68 Shelby that has been garaged for 15 plus years. I want to clean out the gas tank. I know I could buy a new one, however I want to keep the car as original as possible. How is this done, and with what cleaner? I want to clean out the fuel lines too.
It’s great to hear you’re planning to get your ’68 Shelby back on the road! Some cars are simply too good not to be enjoyed.
You have the right idea in getting all of the old fuel out before putting fresh fuel in. Gasoline looses its volatility as it ages and after fifteen years the old gas would do more harm than good. I would begin by using a hand operated pump to remove as much of the old fuel as possible. Using a small flashlight, look down inside the tank for signs of rust, when cars sit without full fuel tanks condensation builds up in the tank and rusts the tank from the inside. A little rust is okay but if heavy scale exists, the tank should be removed and reconditioned. I have seen many hobbyists use at-home products to get the job done with mixed results. The most surefire method I’ve seen to clean out an old gas tank is to send it to a company that specializes in reconditioning them.
If you’re unable to pump out most of the fuel through the filler neck, you may need to drop the tank out of the car and dump it’s contents into a suitable container.
In addition to cleaning out the gas tank you should blow out the fuel lines, and replace the fuel filter. You will want to keep a couple extra fuel filters on hand once you do get it started and change them regularly, as tarnish and sediments will come loose as new fuel begins to flow through the system. While it may not be necessary, you may need to rebuild the carburetor. As fuel evaporates it leaves behind a residue known as tarnish. This tarnish can clog the many small jets and passages within the carburetor. Be sure to include a can of fuel system cleaner (available at most auto parts stores) in your first tank of gas.
But don’t stop at just the fuel system! All fluids loose their effectiveness over time, you should strongly consider: Flushing the cooling system, changing the engine oil, rear differential oil, transmission fluid, and flushing the brake system with new fluid.
Once you do have that pony back on the road, pay special attention to anything with a seal. I have always said more can go wrong with a car sitting still than if it was periodically driven. Oil and grease seals become hard and no longer seal properly, wheel cylinders suddenly begin to leak, belts become hard and misshaped, etc… Be prepared to inspect your car top-to-bottom regularly for it’s first couple month back on the road.
Once you get the car running like a top, washed and waxed, take a few pictures and send them to ClassicCarRestorationClub@program-director.net., I know other members would love to see your great ride.
Wrench Safe, Mark