How to Clean Out a Plastic Gas Tank on a Motorcycle

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Plastic gas tanks are most commonly found on dirt bikes. Over time, petroleum and oil-based residue can gunk up the inside walls of the tank, dirtying fuel and limiting flow to the carbs or fuel injection. Dirt bikes have either two- or four-stroke engines. Two strokes run on a mixture of gasoline and oil, while four strokes run solely on gasoline. Cleaning the plastic gas tank on the bike is fairly easy when you have the right tools for the job.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrenches and sockets
  • Clean containers
  • Thick cloth or fine strainer
  • Handful of small metal objects such as nuts and bolts
  • Acetone
  • Water hose
  • Use the appropriate wrenches or sockets to loosen all fasteners attaching the gas tank to the frame of the bike. Disconnect the fuel line and any other hoses.

  • Drain any fuel from the tank into a clean container, using a thick cloth or fine strainer to isolate dirt particles and sludge.

  • Toss a handful of nuts and bolts, or clean bearings, into the tank.

  • Pour the acetone into the tank. Seal the tank and shake it. Repeat this process until the tank looks clean. If you can reach the inside of the tank with a softer wire brush, use that to wipe the tank as well.

  • Unscrew the gas tank cap. Pour out the solvent into a separate container, and dispose of it properly. Rinse the inside of the tank with a water hose, and let the tank sit for a day in a well-ventilated area. The solvent will vaporize.

  • Reattach the tank to your bike using the sockets and wrenches. Add strained or new fuel.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you let your bike sit for a long time, you should clean the tank as well as the carb (or carbs).
  • Never directly inhale gasoline or acetone; wear a mask for your safety.
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