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Old 03-17-2011, 12:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
tmk
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The reason guys have gotten away with welding a tank with fuel in it is because the air in the tank is too rich to burn . A fuel tank is much more dangerous empty or near empty than full . Welding a tank that has been purged with exhaust is never a 100 % sure thing . My advise is call a welding shop that specializes in fabrication and repair of fuel tankers and do it right , you only have one life to enjoy .
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I will only weld diesel tanks, never gasoline.
I usually do it one of two ways, either full of water or else completely drain the fuel and use a large constant air supply to purge the tank for a few minutes prior and while welding. Method I use depends on size of tank and how much welding is required. Sometimes, particularly on large tanks I will use both. And yes I have welded them full of fuel too, but its not my favorite.

I will and I know welders who will only weld on tanks that they have prepared, someone brings me a tank to weld and they say its been steamed, thats fine, you sit on it while I weld.....
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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dad delivered a brand new IH 4wd back in the 80's and he was driving it to the new owners farm and the guy behind in the truck saw a little line of leakage on the road they looked and it was the tank (poor weld) they went to a machine shop and he just wiped it off with a rag and welded it up and never leaked again
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Avison View Post
How? Why?

Bruce

well he would with water too for that matter but if the tank is in use and you dont have time to drain it and fill with water, he is fine with it as long as there is diesel in the tank. said it wont start a fire if its liquid but the fumes from a empty tank would, although not near as soon as gas. i'm no scientist, just goin on his word
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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When it comes to diesel there isn't a huge fire hazard, some guys will steam the tanks but I think that is to clean all the diesel out of the seam so that it can be welded properly. I have personally welded half full & empty diesel tanks all non steamed. I guess if your really scared you could add water but then you have to get all the water out when you want to reuse it.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Hildebrand View Post
When it comes to diesel there isn't a huge fire hazard, some guys will steam the tanks but I think that is to clean all the diesel out of the seam so that it can be welded properly. I have personally welded half full & empty diesel tanks all non steamed. I guess if your really scared you could add water but then you have to get all the water out when you want to reuse it.
Cowards live to weld again...lol
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My local welder told me he would not weld on my diesel fuel tank unless it was full of fuel! I asked him why and his reply "If the tank is full or almost full the air fuel mixture is to rich to ignite, plus the air in the tank may get hot enough to combust but its such a small amount that it will do almost nothing! vs. having an empty tank that has more air and a much better air fuel mixtur, which if welded on long enough (didn't say how long) could possibly explode from the heat it produces! and that would not be a very pretty sight so make sure it is as full as you can get it and its not a problem!" That is his word and he has had a welding buisness for over 15yrs so ill take his word for it!
Oh and I watched him weld my tank from only a few feet away, nothing eer happend and it hasn't leaked since!
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:48 AM   #18 (permalink)
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When I had my 15 yr vacation from the farm before I took it over when I worked in Alaska . I had to get Hazzwhopper training . UST and agst training . You can and might get away with alot of what was suggest in above posts In all my training and first hand exsperionce and knoiwing a few guys that are no longer on this earth because they thought they could get away with it. There was one guy that was welding on a very large I think it was around a 10K WATER tank that stored run off water from a road . A welder was welding on top of the tank (was full of water from run off rain water) 3/4 full or more .. anyway she blew up there was a little bit of gas vapor from probable a little bit leaked on road floated on top of the water just enough vapor .... blew him through the roof and half block away... only way to weld on a tank that using the water method (which is not recomended is to leave the hose in it and leave the water running making sure there is no air in the tank what so ever.

The problem with welding on a tank that is full (which scares me way less than one that is emty is you will heat the gas or diesel up =create more vapor in the tank .Vapor leaving the tank + one spark = boom. My prefered way use to use a sniffer with a very noisy alarm that can be heard over the welder and take a bottle from the wire feed and purge the tank and keep the tank flowing . If you use fumes from the tail pipe (do not use a gas engine no mater what ) you usually can get away with a diesel fumes but not allways I would use a sniffer to just to make sure . I had a co worker that had to spend 4 months in salt lake burn center thought he would save a few seconds.
If you are cutting open a tank it gets a lot more tricky. I have seen guys sniff a tank cheacks out fine starts cutting an older not continuse with alarm din't want to have someone watch the older meter while he cut . Tank heated up % changed allmost blew him up. Even if you don't heat it up you are intoducing a new air intake to the vessel and the % will change.

I know guys that are alot older than me that have gotten away with it there whole life never had a problem . I also know a few guys that are 6' down and a couple of guys that wiswh they were 6' down..... It just isn't worth it.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Let's not get carried away here with horror stories, gasoline fumes are a whole lot different than diesel. The original post was a guy asking about welding a small tank not a 10,000gal tanker. Diesel can ignite from welding so obviously u keep a fire extinguisher around for safety, for it to explode it needs a mixture of fuel and air under pressure. Keep the area vented = don't weld the tank with all the caps on, let it breath.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:42 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Hildebrand View Post
Let's not get carried away here with horror stories, gasoline fumes are a whole lot different than diesel. The original post was a guy asking about welding a small tank not a 10,000gal tanker. Diesel can ignite from welding so obviously u keep a fire extinguisher around for safety, for it to explode it needs a mixture of fuel and air under pressure. Keep the area vented = don't weld the tank with all the caps on, let it breath.
I feel compelled to comment on your statement only for the reason of safety.

I'm not going to debate your extensive experience repairing fuel tanks, from your comment earlier about that you think welders only have fuel tanks steam cleaned to get the fuel out of the crack, I'm inclined to believe its quite limited, but then my opinion is based only on your own words.

To anyone else reading this, you need three things to create a fire and possible explosion...AIR...FUEL...AND A SOURCE OF IGNITION. By removing one or more of these or limiting at least one to the smallest minimum possible is the only safe way to repair any kind of fuel tank, it dont matter what size it is.

While it may seem insane to weld on a tank full of fuel, as was pointed out several times earlier, by having the tank full you are limiting the amount of air inside the tank. To attempt to weld on any kind of fuel tank which is empty and no other steps taken is extremely dangerous.

I suspect the fellow who asked the question in the beginning did so because he was unsure of whether or not he wanted to attempt to repair his own tank. To suggest in a public forum like this, blatant disregards for safety to someone who may not know better, is nothing short of irresponsible.
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