Removal of gas tank


I was wondering what is the best way to remove gas tank straps .the bolts are rusted on so I need to cut off the straps .someone told to fill tank with water before cutting because of sparks i am worried about causing a fire or ?can a hacksaw work or ???


ohhhh man. I hate doing fuel tanks. What a royal pain.

OK first off you’re gonna have to get the straps off anyway, so let’s try getting the bolts unstuck first. Go get yourself a can of PB Blaster and spray it liberally on the bolts. Go inside and have a beer, and come back out every 15 minutes for an hour or two to put another hit on the bolts. Then let it sit overnight, spray yet another hit, and then try to get the bolts off. This almost always works for me. If not, then you’ll have to cut the straps. A bolt cutter is pretty safe - you’d have to work really hard to get a spark off of it. Just use that.


The other poster suggested using a penetrating liquid first, and I’m all in favor of that, but you act as if creating a spark near the fuel tank will kill you. The thing rides 6" from the ground as you’re flying down the freeway, and the exhaust is less than a foot away, how fragile do you think it is? If you have to cut the straps, use a saws-all or something that’s a little easier to control than an angle grinder. You shouldn’t weld on a fuel tank, and sure, you want to be very careful working around it to make sure that you don’t puncture it, but sometimes you have to get the job done.


I would recommend spraying the bolts down liberally with PB Blaster. Do this 3 or 4 times and don’t get in a hurry. Allow it to soak overnight and when you attempt to loosen the bolts or nuts do not simply try to turn them counterclockwise.

Work the ratchet or breakover in a back and forth see-saw motion and hopefully they will come loose.

If the straps must be cut with a torch or grinder, then do it this way.
Siphon or drain as much gas out as possible.

Back another car up close. Remove the gas cap and run a small hose (piece of old garden hose) from the exhaust pipe of the running car into the filler nozzle.

The CO being emitted will displace any oxygen in the tank and prevent an explosion or fire that might be caused by sparks.
Hope that helps.


Back another car up close. Remove the gas cap and run a small hose (piece of old garden hose) from the exhaust pipe of the running car into the filler nozzle.

This is how we used to do it at one garage I used to work in whenever we welded gas tanks. However, we always both flushed the tank with water and pumped exhaust gases through it. Then we’d put the torch near the tank opening to “force a burn” of any residual fumes left in the tank. There was always a scary deep “whooosh” when we did this. But then we could proceed and weld without worrying about a fire.

I’m not sure I’d advocate welding tanks now. Life is too precious if something ever did go wrong.


Whenever I remove rusty fuel tank straps I just twist the nut on the end of the straps until the stud breaks, then the straps pop right out. The studs on the straps are mild steel and will break right off. Don’t waste your time with trying to save the straps and using penetrating oil.