View Full Version : Going to Drain the gas tank..is there a 'best way'

08-03-2012, 05:31 PM
About to head out to start the process of figuring out why the car won't stay running unless carb cleaner is being sprayed which means...drain the gas tank.

So, there is a drain plug from what I hear tell right? I won't have to suck on a hose like I did back when I was a teenager right? Please tell me that's right

Geo Hahn
08-03-2012, 05:52 PM
I think you have a 3A... to drain I just remove the rubber fuel line back there (undoing the 'forward' end of that line). You can pinch the line shut before you begin (I use purpose-made pliers but anything that will clamp the line will do) that way you can have the free end of the hose pointed into your catch container before you release the fuel.

Of course all this is much easier if the tank is nearly empty. If it isn't you may want to siphon (aka 'use a Kentucky credit card') until it is low.

But... why is this necessary? Have you determined you are not getting fuel flow beyond the pump? ...to the pump? ... planning to blow thru the line?

08-03-2012, 05:57 PM
Think I need to do the Wedge too.
I feel for you.
On mine the injector tech said the screens were pretty rusty

Marvin Gruber
08-03-2012, 06:03 PM
As Geo recommended, undo the rubber hose under the tank. Another way is if you have a aftermarket electric fuel pump. Disconnect at the carbs and hook up the pump in line, power up and have a cold one while you wait.


08-03-2012, 06:08 PM
Yes, a '59 3A

I'm pretty sure the car has exactly what is rolled off the line with.

I think its been stting for a while & I figure this is the best way to start the elimination process. I can start the car & keep it running as long as someone is spraying carb cleaner into the carbs so I don't know if there's fuel getting to the pump at all or just not past it.

What's a Wedge??

Mickey Richaud
08-03-2012, 06:13 PM
What's a Wedge??

Go easy, guys! :jester:

Common name for a TR7 or TR8.

08-03-2012, 06:18 PM
Dang Mick
Take all the fun out of it

Marvin Gruber
08-03-2012, 07:16 PM
If your car is stock there is a hand pump lever underneath your fuel pump. Disconnect the rubber gas hose where it goes to the carb fuel bowl. Hand pump the lever a few times, if gas comes out the pump is okay, if nothing then you need a fuel pump.

Love the question "Whats a wedge"!


08-03-2012, 07:19 PM
Harbor Freight has a pretty decent, inexpensive siphon, if you want to go that route...
Handy to have.

Is a wedge the same as a melvin?

08-03-2012, 07:52 PM
Afro, you should call me. I've had all this fun before and just live 20 minutes away. would be happy to help ensure you've got fuel to your carbs. Fuel pump rebuilds are easy too. Most of the effort is just part cleaning...


Geo Hahn
08-03-2012, 08:11 PM
Also, before draining the tank (or messing with the fuel pump for that matter) I would remove the top of the fuel bowls (one odd-sized bolt) and see if they are dry. I guessing they are. I would then examine the operation of the needle valve or Grose Jets (whichever you have). I have had Grose Jets get stuck closed before.

08-03-2012, 08:50 PM
...Is a wedge the same as a melvin?

Way to funny Kevin

08-03-2012, 08:53 PM
Okay, I opened the fuel bowls (I'm assuming they were the fuel bowls. there are two of them and I can smell gas and there is evidence of fuel). But they're not full, just moist. Another question, it looks like there are 2 nipple coming off each that might have a small hose that is supposed to attach. Either that or they are for venting? Is there supposed to be something attached that I'm missing?

So I guess that means the fuel pump is working. Now I will have to figure out the jet situation. That could be a problem. I believe it's very confusing and a lot of minute details and parts.

I think a wedge is a type of salad.

08-03-2012, 09:04 PM
Is it improper to keep posting before there are any replies? Please forgive my ignorance but I take well to instruction.

So, I choke it and can get it to start to fire but about every 3 starts the starter sounds like its jamming (for lack of a better word.) is it a bad fuel mix? Old gas? Now a starter problem too? It's on a battery charger or there's no way it'd keep up with the attempts to start.

08-03-2012, 09:23 PM
As the others have said don't start pulling random things - check and see if the fuel pump is working and then work from there.

If it is then you have a carb issue, if not then you have a fuel pump or tank issue.

08-03-2012, 09:35 PM
I am going little by little as advised. Emptied the tank and it took a few seconds for the fuel to pour out. I pulled off what I guess is the fuel filter, though I didn't know it was located there, attached to the hose under the tank and it is full of crud! The fuel filter I have to replace it does not fit on the line so I'm just going to go to the auto parts store and see if they could possibly have a replacement. It would certainly makes sense as to why there is no fuel getting to the carbs. I've never seen something so packed full of crud.

08-03-2012, 09:46 PM
That's an addition, but it sounds like it did it's job! Be sure to take a look in the top of the tank to make sure it doesn't have rust flaking off...


08-03-2012, 11:49 PM
It lives.

And sounds fantastic!

But now it's smells & smokes like burning oil & just overheated : \

08-03-2012, 11:54 PM
Since you are looking in the float bowls see if there is sediment, usually in the form of reddish brown small bits of rust. Also if yoy have a fuel filter check for same.

Very often this sediment clogs or constructs the fuel line.

EDIT: Oops, Somehow my I didn't see half the latest posts before I posted my reply, looks like you are past that point, but it was what I thought it was. New post on cleaning out gas tank will be added below.

08-04-2012, 03:41 AM
But now it's smells & smokes like burning oil & just overheated : \

It does get better, but only one step at a time.


08-04-2012, 07:59 AM
OK, sounds like you have more problems than just the gas tank, but for the tank, cleaning out the crud in the line probably won't be enough, there is probably almost certainly a lot of rust and scale in the tank, and as you drive around and slosh the gas it will be knocked loose and clog the line again (and again and again, been there).

So you need to either get a new tank, or do what I an others, did, I used to be a believer in seal kits until the last one I tried started flaking off (big chunks clog the system even better than small ones.)

So I got a used tank with some rust and used the method of making sure it was drained completely and throwing in a couple of handfulls of clean gravel/small rocks. Shake the heck out of it, upside down, sideways, etc. every possible way, then shake it some more. If you are averse to or not capable of hard physical labor (I had muscles very sore for a few days after)you may need to figure out a tumbler method of some sort, do a search on youtube of cleaning rusty gas tank, many good ideas. You have to work a little to get the gravel out, I then flushed with water and dried by blowing out with a shop vac with the tube put on the exhaust rather than the suction side.

Here are some sample videos:




08-04-2012, 09:07 AM
But now it's smells & smokes like burning oil & just overheated : \

It does get better, but only one step at a time.


I hear that is what you get when you put the orange junk in an open system...yuk!

08-04-2012, 10:33 AM
Much obliged y'all. So much great advice and instruction.

Now to start a thread about why it overheated and why it's smoking from the engine compartment.
I'm praying it's not 'the big one' = O

08-04-2012, 10:43 AM
What in the heck??? It looks like cold buffalo chicken wing grease in there!

Was that yours?

08-04-2012, 11:29 AM
Yup, that was TS13571L not long after I started working on it. Never did get a good answer as to what or why the yellow crunchy stuff was; but I doubt it had anything to do with Dexcool (the "orange junk") as the car had been in storage since about 1975 and Dexcool wasn't introduced until some 20 years after that. My Dad (a retired chemist) opined that perhaps the glycol had formed some kind of complex with the aluminum from the housing. CLR (the home product sold for removing calcium, lime and rust stains) seemed to dissolve it well enough after I scraped out as much as I could; but I wasn't able to get the temp gauge sender out of it's hole so I just installed the housing from my wrecked TR3A and moved on.

Anyway, my point was just that now you need to look into why the cooling system isn't working. First thing I would do is take the radiator to a radiator shop and insist that they "rod it out". My shop claimed it flowed fine and didn't need to be rodded; but after I tried everything else and took the radiator back for the third time, they tried to rod it and found that the tubes were all coated inside with what they called "mud". After installing a new core (the old one leaked badly once all the mud was gone), all my cooling problems suddenly disappeared.

On the fuel tank, I'll make an alternate suggestion that worked well for me : Leave the tank alone (unless it is leaking), lose the filter under the tank and let the sediment bowl do its job. You may have to clean it kind of frequently at first, but if you use the car regularly, the inside of the tank will eventually finish losing the coat of rust flakes and stabilize on its own.

On my 3A, the bottom of the tank was leaking when I got the car so I had to pull the tank out. I found a small area with a cluster of pin holes, so I soldered a patch over that area (after flushing the tank thoroughly with water to remove all fuel vapors) and put it back in without doing anything else to the inside of the tank. It went some 30 years with no further problems except some sediment in the bowl. This is what the bowl looked like after having been driven for probably 5 years without being cleaned, and sitting for another 5 after the car got wrecked: