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How to Clean a Fuel Tank

Autosphere » Mechanical » How to Clean a Fuel Tank
Dirty environment. PHOTO Carter

A dirty fuel tank can lead to fuel pump failures. Prevent potential problems by following these step-by-step instructions for proper fuel tank cleaning.

Many variables contribute to fuel pump failures. One of the most common culprits, especially when a replacement fuel pump stops working shortly after installation, is a dirty fuel tank. It is critical that contaminants and loose debris, including rust and sediment, are removed prior to fuel pump installation as they can clog the filter, jam the turbine pump, or significantly reduce fuel flow due to build-up.

The single most important way to prevent this is to ensure you start the fuel pump repair process with a clean fuel tank.

You can do this by following these step-by-step instructions for proper fuel
tank cleaning:

  1. Drain all fuel from the tank with an approved container or a fuel caddy
  2. Drop the tank (see your service manual for further instructions)
  3. Clean area where the pump is being removed from with a brush
  4. Remove fuel pump from tank (avoid letting residual debris fall into the tank)
  5. Insert hose into fuel tank and begin pouring a stream of clean, hot water
  6. While water is filling, spray mild detergent in the tank
  7. If opening allows, use a brush to loosen debris from the sides of the tank
  8. Stop stream of water
  9. Swish the water around to ensure all debris has been captured
  10. Dump dirty contaminated water out into a pan, being sure to capture any liquids
  11. Further wipe the tank out with a lint-free washcloth
  12. Dry the fuel tank completely with compressed air
  13. Inspect the tank for rust or physical damage; if present, the tank must be repaired or replaced
  14. Add fuel line antifreeze/water remover to help absorb any residual moisture
  15. After the tank has been dried, let it sit for 30 minutes

When the OE fuel pump fails, it is important to choose a high-quality replacement pump.

From patented design to higher quality materials, Carter® engineering sets the standard for fuel pump solutions that meet or exceed OE fit, form and function with best-in-class coverage. The patented module and hanger assembly contain industry exclusive features all designed to provide longer service life and better performance. Available in mechanical, electrical, assemblies and GDI pumps; Carter® fuel pumps are the obvious choice for optimized high efficiency and performance. To learn more about fuel pumps, visit CarterEngineered.com.


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