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Mig welding a fuel tank

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  • Mig welding a fuel tank

    Has anyone ever MIG welded a used diesel fuel tank successfully? I have to cut one apart, shorten it, and weld the ends back on. Can this be done with a MIG or does it have to be TIG welded. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.
    Miller 330 A/BP Tig
    Millermatic 250
    Spoolmatic 30A
    Hobart 175 mig
    Miller Regency 250 w/ wire feeder
    Bridgeport vertical mill
    Delta bandsaw
    Rockwell lathe

  • #2
    Alum or steel? This will bring out some good posts...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      tig would be best

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      • #4
        Mig will work fine. Have made many fuel tanks for gas & diesel @ have had good luck with that process .Tig will work nicely to but on a 3-400 gallon tank you would be there a while.
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        • #5
          If it is steel then mig hands down, if it is aluminum then you could do it either way as long as you can get it clean enough.
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          • #6
            Aluminum tank

            I 've modified diesel alloy tanks before, used mig then presure check with air and soapy water. Any problem areas were always at the start up spots. Ground out and tigged, good to go.

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            • #7
              The problem with fuels either gas or diesel are the fumes.
              You want to make sure the tank is clean, I have used dish soap and hot water to try to remove any of the fuel that is left and producing fumes. I then will purge the tank with argon to drive out any air or oxygen that could help an ignition.
              Remember the fire triangle. Fuel, oxygen or heat source. Remove one and there can be no fire.

              Fuel tanks aren't a big deal just make sure your safe and that it doesn't leak when you are done.

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              • #8
                It is a steel tank, roughly a 125 gallon and a 85 gallon tank.
                Miller 330 A/BP Tig
                Millermatic 250
                Spoolmatic 30A
                Hobart 175 mig
                Miller Regency 250 w/ wire feeder
                Bridgeport vertical mill
                Delta bandsaw
                Rockwell lathe

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                • #9
                  Tank-

                  Fuel tanks weld very nicely, square tanks normally leak at the corners, I have welded many diesel tanks with fuel in them. Always sticked them, however if the tank has a little amount of fuel u cant do it, actually needs to be full. Im currently making oil tanks for my truck and they are all 1/8 steel, and I am migging them all. Once Im done I pressurise them to 30 psi, plus I do it 7-8 times I want that tank flexing so if there is going to be any poor welds they show up.
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                  • #10
                    First of all, let me say that doing any welding on any fuel tank is not safe, full or empty. Sure you got away with it before, but all it takes is once. I don't think I'd actually weld a full diesel tank just because some guy on the internet said it was okay.
                    Any time you weld any container that held fuel, you need to steam it & weld while it's hot & full of steam.
                    Last edited by jasonspoon; 04-24-2009, 08:21 PM.
                    "When the wise old rooster crows, the smart young rooster listens."

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                    • #11
                      If it's a fuel tank on a motor vehicle, you should not weld it.

                      Now let me justify that answer. Technically, either process will work equally well if done correctly. By correctly, I don't mean simply fusing the seams well enough to prevent leaking under the simple hydrostatic pressure of the fuel inside. When I say correct, I mean fusing the seams with complete penetration and a uniform bead that is ductile - so the tank will deform when hit in an accident, rather than rupture a seam. And I'm afraid that if you have to ask which process to use, you may not understand the telltale signs of either process producing subtle, but serious defects.

                      Motor vehicle crashes happen. I used to respond to them. An no kidding, 10 minutes before I clicked on the forum tonight, I was googling the phrase "burned alive crash." I have smelled that disgusting sticky odor of burnt flesh intermingled with melted plastic and rubber and that smell is something that you never forget. The image of a person you can't tell is male or female frozen into a statue of terror is pretty bad, but it's the smell that you can't shake. No matter how many pictures of burned people you see on the internet or whatever, you never have to experience that smell. It stays in your nose for days and in your mind forever. And some nights, it bothers you and you wonder just how often it happens. At least that's what I was doing on google a little bit ago before I decided to lighten the mood up a bit by visiting the welding forums.

                      Just remember that sometimes there's a lot more riding on our welding skills than we ever seem to fathom at the time.

                      80% of failures are from 20% of causes
                      Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
                      "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
                      "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
                      "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

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                      • #12
                        I've typed it before Bodybagger DOES NOT GIVE ERRONEOUS INFORMATION...
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jasonspoon View Post
                          First of all, let me say that doing any welding on any fuel tank is not safe, full or empty. Sure you got away with it before, but all it takes is once. I don't think I'd actually weld a full diesel tank just because some guy on the internet said it was okay.
                          Any time you weld any container that held fuel, you need to steam it & weld while it's hot & full of steam.

                          But if in your area you are "the guy" then it's just what you do.
                          I double do about every thing tho so I have a bit of margine for error.
                          As for the steam while welding....I'm guessing you mean steam vapor?
                          From a steam cleaner?

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                          • #14
                            I use to frequent a welding shop managed by an experienced welder. Good clean shop doing nice work. The other day I learned the owner is in a nursing home fully incapacitated. He is only in his mid 30's. They are not sure what happened to him except they found him very near a tractor fuel tank that needed repair. Please, steady as you go. There has to be industry proven methods.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Geezer View Post
                              Please, steady as you go. There has to be industry proven methods.
                              There is but some people don't follow them. I work in a refinery and i am the guy getting pipes and tanks ready to be welded. I am also the guy writing the safe hot work permit that says in writing that it is safe to weld on. And some of the stuff that is said on the forums is complete BS. We use steam, soap and N2 to clean LEL free so you can weld. Plus some lines have N2 purges while welding. These guys that weld tanks half full are just waiting for accidents to happen. Ever since that fire at BP in Texas City a few years back things have really tightened up writing permits. So please take info with a grain of salt on welding on any line or tank with any substance that burns because fires do happen...Bob
                              Bob Wright

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