Painting the Gas Tank

Looking at my list of things to do before installing the body on the frame one task jumped out at me immediately. The gas tank. Not that its that critical right now, I could install it later but on a deuce the tank shows so it needs to be painted before installation.

Its starting to get cold up here in the mountains and my shop isn't heated that well so I either had to paint it now before it gets any colder or wait for spring. Obviously I chose to paint it sooner rather than later.

The first thing to know when it comes to painting in cold weather is that the object you're painting needs to be at least 55-60 degrees for the paint to cross link properly. Cross-linking is just a technical term for the chemical reaction that has to take place for the paint to properly cure. In any case it is much more important for the object to be at temperature than the environment its being painted in. Of course ideally you would want access to a heated paint booth but you can paint individual panels in your shop if you take the proper precautions.

To preheat the surface I use simple heat lamps set about 3 feet from the panel. Most of the time I like to heat both sides just because it will warm quicker that way. I've used this technique more than once and it works but you must be careful not to try to heat too big an area. For instance heating an entire body is probably not going to work but a single panel can and will work.

As you can see I mounted the gas tank on a small homemade rotisserie so I could spray from one direction while I rotated the tank. This served two purposes. First it makes spraying easier and it also gets the object up in the air as far from the floor as possible. Having it as high as possible lowers the risk of you kicking up dust and have it land on your fresh paint when you move around while you're painting. You can also see I've mounted four heat lamps. I let them sit for around an hour before painting just to make sure the surface all the way around is warm enough. In this case in an hour the surface was about 75-80 degrees which is perfect for painting given the reducer I was using. It is important to remember that you need to preheat the surface and also keep heating it during and after painting if the air temperature is below 55 degrees. The surface needs to stay warm for several hours. I usually keep it warm using the lights for at least 4 hours.

Here is the finished product. The paint used was Martin Senour Crossfire single stage sprayed over their Chromate Free Etching Filler/Primer. The gas tank gives away the color I'm painting the deuce. Its 1964 Ford Candy Apple Red. Its not a "candy" even though Ford called it that, but it is a pleasant darker red color that has the unusual characteristic of almost changing color depending on the light conditions.

Her is the tank installed.... after $20 worth of chrome bolts and washers. Like I said the tank shows so it needs the proper finish on the bolts and washers to look right.

This was not a cheap tank. Steel deuce tanks go for around $400 now days but the good news is that for that price a good quality pickup comes with it. This one can be used for either a carburetor or a fuel injection system. Since I'm using tri-power there is no need for the return line so it is plugged. I will run a line from the vent later. For fuel line I'm using 3/8" aluminum line that is available from Summit Racing or Jegs. I've used it before and it bends easily and can feed all but the biggest of engines without any problems.

Many times on hot rods you find the fuel system to be somewhat hap hazard. Almost an after thought. The right way is to plan the system out before hand and above all, securely mount the lines away from heat or anything that moves.

Now that the gas tank is installed I can finish the rest of the fuel system. Check back in a week or so.

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