Restoring a Rusty Motorcycle Tank

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The two most common problems I see inside motorcycle tanks are rust and paint over spray. Sometimes the paint shop forgets to mask the filler cap, and the paint will eventually begin to peel/flake off and clog the fuel system. Rust happens, not much you can do about it. Not to worry about any of these issues, the videos below will show you how to make your tank usable again.

The first video shows how you can simply drop in some hardware, BB’s, or drywall screws, and agitate the tank to break the rust free. Just remember to use something magnetic, it will be much easier to fish out! I’ve also heard people use sand and gravel, but I feel that would be a pain to clean out.


The second video walks you through using vinegar to remove rust. I bought each gallon at Walmart for just over $2/gal. Make sure to buy a box of baking soda as well. You’ll want to buy enough vinegar to completely fill the tank up, otherwise flash rust will occur above the fluid level. This process does take a bit of time, however is easy, cheap, and disposal is not an issue.


The the third & fourth video explains the sealing process. I chose to use Caswell Epoxy Tank Sealer this time around. What sold me on this product is the fact that they claim it will bond to rust! My overall review is positive, and I will use this product on future projects.



I’d love to hear what tank you were able to save by using the above methods. Add your comments below.


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  • J Santiago

    thanks for all the great informative videos!

    • Matthew

      No problem!

  • Joe Foster

    I plan to use this process on the tank from my 1981 Honda CB750C. This weekend is carb rebuilding 🙂

    • Hi Joe,

      Yes, definitely a good idea to take care of the entire fuel system. No point of rebuilding carbs and having rusty gas trash them again. Been there done that!

  • Isaac Faught

    I hAve a 03 Honda Shadow Spirit 750, and I tried putting bolts in my gas tank to get rid of my rust problem. Now I can’t get themy out. I have a telescope magnet, but they still won’t come out. Any ideas?

    • Try a flexible magnetic pickup.

      • Isaac Faught

        I have another question for you, where can I get a complete fuel and air vacuum line’s routing diagram that’s easy to see. You know, basically motorcycle repair for dummies lol!!!