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Just fill it with water. No air = no combustion. You could also have it boiled out, then weld it. Another method I have seen used is to purge it with an inert gas, argon, co2, or car exhaust (don't laugh, I have seen the car exhaust method used successfully), then weld. Its realy not so bad, but there is a lot of potential for problems, so a lot of people shy away from it. Be sure to wear protective clothing and PPE for it though, and have a fire extinguisher handy.
well ive done numerous tanks with fittings etc... for over 20 yrs never a problem . obviously take tank out of vehicle . drain all gas etc..
take it to a steam cleaner not a pressure wash and run the hose in for about 20 minutes . occasionally if a steam cleaner not available ill pressure wash with tide soap for a long time till the smell of gas is pretty much gone . make sure when you weld its well vented and if your paranoid lol try the torch in the hole where filler neck goes but put tank on opposite side of concrete wall outside and just reach around with torch . the best way is to steam them out . personnally this has always worked for me but its your life so do what you will . only reason i dont fill with water when welding is i like to keep as many vents open as possible just in case that way if god forbid there is any fumes it has place to escape and not blow tank apart . Like i said if i get paranoid always do torch test first with safety gear and concrete wall to protect me .
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Remove and fill with water. Steam cleaning is temporary, vapors can remain in the metal and out-gas later. I used to repair Semi trailer tankers at Fruehauf. We steamed them and checked for vapor every hour. Try climbing into one with a spool gun and welding up the cracks! They were Aluminum trailers. Had an air removal system hose and a safety man on top at all times.
This is managed risk, wash with a good detergent I like Dawn dish liquid but that is just me. Keep it full of clean water and make sure the water doesn't have that oily floating film because that is still flamable!
What about making a new flange and then epoxying that to the tank with something like jb weld?
I did that with a tank that my buddy didn't want to drop - cut a hole in the floor above the pump and went to town. I put a rtv bead around the hole first too, so the epoxy really just kept the plate from moving and breaking that seal.
The other option would be making a new tank, but then you get the joys of pressure testing and getting it to fit right, and all that extra work.
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Welding on a gas tank is no more dangerouse than driving a car. As long as folow proper proceedure you wont have a problem.
Just as many people before me said, remove the tank, remove the fuel, wash out with water and detergent, leave the water as high in the tank as possible, which may mean capping some of the holes so the tank can remain full. ( No fumes no explosion,) however beware to make sure that there arent hidden baffles that hold fumes, purging the tank with co2, nitrogen, or argon is another way of displacing the fumes.
When I weld on natural gas lines, I shut the gas off, disconect the line at the meter, install caps on the ends with smaller fittings and purge with nitrogen. Once again its about follwing the proper proceedure.