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How to safely drain a petrol tank?


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Old 03-06-2009, 20:21
Cassini
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My old Ford is being scrapped due to a sudden problem which will just cost too much to repair and I don't have the dosh plus it's now becoming a rust bucket.

Unfortuantely I only recently filled it up with petrol and I could really do with not throwing away nearly 35 worth of petrol.

We have tried syphoning with a proper kit but there is a sort of non return type valve or something just beyond where the petrol filler pipe would go in which stops us syphoning it back out.

Is there a safe way to retrieve the fuel for use in our other car?

Google has not been much help on this one...
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Old 03-06-2009, 20:33
fat controller
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A syphon is about the only way I can think of that is relatively safe, and even then its not the safest thing to do.

The only other way to empty a fuel tank would be to remove the filler cap (to let air in), with the car up on axle stands or over a pit, and then remove the fuel line that comes out of the tank, draining it into a suitable receptacle. However, I would only do this if I could transfer the fuel into the recipient vehicle immediately (you really don't want petrol lying around).

I would also want the vehicles battery disconnected, as well as any other potential sources of ignition removed, and preferably do the work outdoors in a nice clear, wide open space.

Lastly, I would suggest that you strain the fuel through something like a tea strainer as it comes out of the tank, as old fuel tanks can be full of debris.

Having said all that, it is a hell of a lot of hassle for 35 of fuel.
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Old 03-06-2009, 21:28
Rebel MC
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A syphon is about the only way I can think of that is relatively safe, and even then its not the safest thing to do.

The only other way to empty a fuel tank would be to remove the filler cap (to let air in), with the car up on axle stands or over a pit, and then remove the fuel line that comes out of the tank, draining it into a suitable receptacle. However, I would only do this if I could transfer the fuel into the recipient vehicle immediately (you really don't want petrol lying around).

I would also want the vehicles battery disconnected, as well as any other potential sources of ignition removed, and preferably do the work outdoors in a nice clear, wide open space.

Lastly, I would suggest that you strain the fuel through something like a tea strainer as it comes out of the tank, as old fuel tanks can be full of debris.

Having said all that, it is a hell of a lot of hassle for 35 of fuel.

I have to say, this is one of the most dangerous pieces of advice I have read here.

Petrol vapour (indeed most fuel vapour I can think of) is heavier than air, so you will very quickly find yourself in a bubble of highly volatile gas that has no place to go, with potentially disasterous and fatal consequences, especially in a pit, which will just fill up with gas, leaving you standing in a bomb!

Only last year, a garage just round the corner from me were doing the very same task over a pit, when the trapped vapour exploded, destroying the building and burning to death the two occupants.

If you must drain a tank from underneath, it should be high up on a ramp (I'm talking garage style ramp, not axle stands/wheel ramps) to give the vapour room to spread out, in a well ventilated area, preferably with a constant throughput of moving air, again, to disperse the vapour.

You should also have instant access to a fire extinguisher and, if all else fails, a way of getting as far away as possible, easily and quickly.
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Old 03-06-2009, 21:31
Tass
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Or maybe just consider your life is worth more than 35
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Old 03-06-2009, 21:45
Appleseed
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Keep a couple of burning candles with you so you can see what you're doing and smoke a ciggie to calm your nerves!
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Old 03-06-2009, 22:05
snuggle bubble
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Keep a couple of burning candles with you so you can see what you're doing and smoke a ciggie to calm your nerves!


Lol
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Old 03-06-2009, 23:08
Rich243
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if the car has an electric fuel pump in the tank , you could disconnect the fuel pipe at the front , maybe extend it so it will reach a container , then find the fuel pump relay and bridge the terminals in the relay holder so the pump works constantly

make sure you have enough fuel containers for the job
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:24
Billy 577
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My old Nissan Micra had a nut on the fuel tank that let you drain it have a look to see if you have one
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:05
Snake_Eater
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:12
Smirnof861
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Just don't bother, it's annoying but it's only 35 ... it's not worth the risk
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:20
Cassini
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Thanks for the replies.

We're not going to bother. We just wondered if there was a way of doing it safely, i.e using the syphoning kit but as already pointed out it's not worth the risk and we've not been able to get the syphon tube into the tank.

The car is being scrapped shortly.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-06-2009, 13:36
norbet
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Had this been a diesel car I'd have said go for it, but as others have wisely pointed out petrol is much more volatile - unless you know what you're doing I wouldn't attempt it.
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Old 05-06-2009, 14:35
casper_uk
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I have to say, this is one of the most dangerous pieces of advice I have read here.

Petrol vapour (indeed most fuel vapour I can think of) is heavier than air, so you will very quickly find yourself in a bubble of highly volatile gas that has no place to go, with potentially disasterous and fatal consequences, especially in a pit, which will just fill up with gas, leaving you standing in a bomb!

Only last year, a garage just round the corner from me were doing the very same task over a pit, when the trapped vapour exploded, destroying the building and burning to death the two occupants.

If you must drain a tank from underneath, it should be high up on a ramp (I'm talking garage style ramp, not axle stands/wheel ramps) to give the vapour room to spread out, in a well ventilated area, preferably with a constant throughput of moving air, again, to disperse the vapour.

You should also have instant access to a fire extinguisher and, if all else fails, a way of getting as far away as possible, easily and quickly.
Bit of an over reaction i think! Just do it outside and the air current will displace any build up of vapors. Vapours just do not blow up for no reason, there is always a cause. Just use your head by not smoking in the area etc when fuel is about.
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Old 05-06-2009, 15:53
alimcc
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I had an entire exhaust system fitted and a full tank of petrol. The cars engine went on the way home from having the exhaust fitted. I was gutted as it had to be scrapped. Its a bummer that you will lose money on the petrol but its not worth the risk just to save a little money.
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Old 05-06-2009, 16:23
Finglonga
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Did it with my old Mondeo by unclipping the fuel line under the car, cutting it and putting the end in a petrol container. Then just turn the ignition on to start the fuel pump priming and emptied it that way.
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