Old gas removal

I have a 1986 Dodge Ram 250 Van with 42,140 original miles on it. It has been sitting for several years. I need to remove the old gas. I noticed there is a rubber hose on the tank filler pipe. Can I rmove this hose to drain the gas? How easy would it be to replace? special hose, glued on?

I also need to replace the belts. I have sprayed the bolts and nuts, any other suggestions?

This is a wheel chair van with a lift. It as an Ez lock to hold a chair. I no loner have a use for the vehicle. It is not fitted for a handicapped driver. I would like to sell it to some who needs it.

Several year old gasoline is no longer gasoline. It turns to varnish. And when that happens the tank has to be removed and cleaned, if it can be. And when it can’t be cleaned, you replace it.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if the van has been parked OUTSIDE for several years (and not used) you may well have a lot more than old gas to replace.

If this engine is carburated, it will need rebuilding to get all the varnish out.

The oil, long since settled in the bottom of the oil pan, leaves a large space on the cylinder walls, pistons, etc, for rust to build via condensation.

Seals, gaskets, rad and vacuum hoses may be dried out and cracked (which means leaks).

Tires will likely have sidewall cracks which means replacements are in order.

Rodents may have helped themselves to feasts of wire insulation and likely have established squatters rights in the air ducts.

Window and door weatherstripping may have dried out as well.

Others will add to the list.

Leaving vehicles stored (not used periodically) outside is a gamble at best.

While Roadrunner and Tester are likely correct, there is a possibility that you might get off easy. So go ahead the clean out the gas, and hope for the best, but don’t count on it.

Sorry I don’t have any tricks on the draining question.

Don’t give up yet. Meehan is right. Maybe you can siphon out the old gas, or use some sort of little pump? Get out as much as you can, then put in a bunch of new gas. I wouldn’t fill it, but 5 gallons or so. Put a dose of “Seafoam” or some other carb cleaner in with the gas. I wouldn’t even replace the belts yet. Change the oil, make sure there is coolant in there. Then disconnect the coil wire so it can’t start, and jump it and just try to get it to turn over without starting. If it turns over, do that for ten or fifteen seconds, a couple of times. Then reconnect the coil wire and try to start it. Keep your face away from the engine, and you might consider having a fire extinguisher around. Who knows what might happen. It might even start. If it doesn’t, spray some starting fluid down the carb. Follow the directions on the can, and be careful. Try starting it again. If it starts, don’t rev it and don’t let it run too long, 30 seconds tops. If it starts but stops right away, you know you’ve got good spark, but the gas either is plugged up or just has not gotten to the engine yet. Try a couple of times with the starting fluid. If you are getting nowhere, then you need help, on the scene.

I’ll agree with Joseph Meehan. Gasoline does age badly, but it takes time for it to become unusable. A couple of weeks ago I managed to start a snowthrower that had been sitting for two and a half years just by squirting in some starter fluid and pulling the starter rope. It didn’t run great. (Bad fuel-oil mixture which was why it quit in the first place I imagine). But it did run, albeit generating clouds of smoke.

I don’t know about the Dodge RAM, but on the couple of passenger cars I’ve replaced the fuel tank on, the filler pipe connection was just a rubber hose held on by a hose clamp. If the vehicle has an electric fuel pump, quite possibly you can just charge up the battery, disconnect the fuel line at any connection you can reach – e.g. the fuel filter if there is one. and use the fuel pump to empty the tank. If it uses a mechanical fuel pump, I vaguely think that the fuel line to the engine will come out of the bottom of the tank and you can disconnect it and let the gas out. I could be wrong about that. It’s been decades and my memory isn’t what it once was.

If starter fluid will get the engine to fire for a few seconds, but it won’t stay running, you can try squirting in carburetor cleaner. It works sometimes. If all else fails, rebuilding a carburetor has a vile reputation for complexity, but I did it a couple of times on an old Mazda and didn’t find it that hard. Maybe I was incredibly lucky. What I did do was put each part (and there are a lot of them) in a numbered plastic bag as it came off and keep notes on which jet came out of which hole. If I can do it, and have the vehicle run afterwards, I expect that anyone can.

Offhand, I don’t think that the bolts and nuts are going to be any harder or easier to get off than on any other quarter century old car. Squirt them with penetrating oil – not WD-40 although you can try that also – a couple of times, then put a wrench on them and apply a lot of force. Probably they will come off. Maybe they will shear. Other than suggesting using hex head wrenches and sockets to minimize the chances of rounding off the heads, I don’t have any other thoughts. Maybe someone else does.

Post back with your progress and keep us up to date. ok?