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Country Discussion Topics
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Whats the best way to flush out fuel oil tanks?
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Mike in Va.    Posted 02-02-2002 at 14:23:54       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Howdy out there folks,
In an earlier post I asked if these 275 gal. fuel oil tanks laying all around these parts could be used to transport water to stock tanks.
I'm nearly up to point to give it a go, however, I don't really know how to clean them good enough for water for cattle.
We've got a small power washer, and plenty of water. Is there any 'pre-wash' chemical that I ought to use? I don't trust flushing it with water alone.
Thought earlier of cutting the top off the tanks. Decided against that. So the access to the tank from the vent pipe nipple is just 1 1/2"
in diameter. The fill spout nipple is 2".
Would I be better served cutting a 6" hole in the top of the tank? Any advice will be appreciated.
Take Care-

Duey (IA)    Posted 02-03-2002 at 19:59:09       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Burrhead is correct about the dishwasher detergent. It would be better that the dish soap because of the suds and foam that is created.

realfarmer    Posted 02-03-2002 at 13:42:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
As long as you have a pressure washer, use HOT water to do the washing- it'll cut the fuel better than cold water.

Duey (IA)    Posted 02-02-2002 at 15:28:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I would use a dishsoap if you have a way to incorporate it with the power washer. That should cut the oil residue and flush it out. Then I would blow air into the tank to remove any vapors then cut out a larger hole on the top and weld in a large pipe coupler like maybe a 4" one. This would serve as a good fill hole and a 4" plastic pipe plug could be used to close it. Be sure to leave a small hole in any pipe plug to serve as a vent to prevent the sides from being sucked in when the water is drained out. Duey

Burrhead    Posted 02-02-2002 at 15:52:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
I use whatever dishwasher soap is cheapest and a can of Red Devil Lye to flush fuel tanks.

Fill about 1/2 full of water then add the soap and lye. Then roll or slosh the tank around and wahlah it's clean. No fuel residue or rust scales at all, and the run off water is clean enough that it won't hurt anything when you drain the tank

The reason I use dishwasher soap so is that it don't foam like liquid detergents and the lye will eat up the oil/fuel residue and rust scales.

I can't see why you would need any bigger inlet on the tank. I've used 2" 3hp&5hp trash pumps to fill 5500 gallon tankers for years and it only takes about 20-30 minutes at most to fill the tanker. That's with a 5 to 10' lift from the creek to the pump.

I do'nt do the un-needed work to modify either the inlet or outlet.

Wiht the price of scrap iron right now I think Okie-Dokie has the best idea on a running gear for the tank.

You can leave the steering intact to the frontend and build and A-frame type tow-bar tongue to pull it around with.

Ludwig    Posted 02-04-2002 at 07:55:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Son of a gun, I knew I shoulda posted here.
I've got a snowmobile what has a built in
metal fuel tank and its got all sorts of rust and
scale problems. I hate to cut a hole into it, but
thats what everybody says I should do. Now I
know better. I feel pretty dumb for not thinking
of the lye sooner.

Burrhead    Posted 02-04-2002 at 09:32:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hello Ludwig.

I hope you did'nt already cut the hole.

Ludwig    Posted 02-04-2002 at 17:01:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nope, I pumped out all the old gas and
sludge I could get to. That just let the littler bits
float around better. Fortunately as soon as I
saw that stuff floating around in the fuel line I
quit. I don't want to have to clean that crap out
of the carb.
I figure I'll let the remaining gas evaporate out
and then I'll put a length of chain on a cable in
the tank (the cable's so I can get the chain
back out) fill'er up with water and soap and
toss it in the back of the pickup for a day, drive
some bumpy roads and get it all stirred up.
Then I'll hang it up in a tree to drain the crap
out. Then I'll do the whole tank sealing thing...

Mike in Va.    Posted 02-03-2002 at 06:42:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank you Duey, and Burrhead,
Makes perfect sense to me. Bet the Dollar General store will have some cheap dish detergent.
I'll follow the adice that you fellas gave. We'll use the neighbors loader to gently flop the tanks over to agitate the soap and lye.
The 'ideal' solution would be to pump the water to the stock tanks. This spring we want to try rotating a few cows around a 32 acre pasture.
Going to use moveable fencing. Keep them in one place until the feed gives out some. Then move the fence. Haven't figured the best place to locate the tanks and the cross fencing just yet. Our pond is at the bottom corner of the spot we are going to graze. A pump and piping to move the water around the patch is way beyond our means. The area is big on tobacco and those big pumps and pipe go for tall $$$ at our local auctions. There is a drought going here now to boot. So these old fuel oil tanks and a decent trash pump laid up on our utility trailer may be the short term answer for us.
The nut I had to crack was how to get the tanks clean enough to use. I'm grateful for the advice.

Burrhead    Posted 02-03-2002 at 21:13:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're more than welcome Mike.

I get my cleaning supplies at Dollar General. That's all we have except the grocery store in town here.

I use electric fence and cross out for my grazing rotation.

The best weight gain and less amount of wasted water is to put the portable water trough dead in the middle of each section of the grass plot so the cows don't have to travel long distance to get to it.

Cows will get some of their water from the grass and will get too lazy to walk very far to drink until they just have to. When they do that they aint gaining weight as quick.

To get the best out of your pastures and weight gain you want the water to be handy and to keep trace mineral salt blocks next to the water hole.

Alvin is right. Check with your county extension, and USDA-FSA office and register the 32 acres as grazing land if you have'nt already done it.

If you have'nt registered already the FSA will need a copy of your deed or lease aggreement and they will give you a farm number for the acreage.

There could possibly be a Federal cost share deal on money in your area to put water and/or lines in because of the drought.

Alvin-Va    Posted 02-03-2002 at 14:07:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mike,what area of The Commonwealth are you located in?
You may want to check with the Soil Conservation your County.They have some good ideas on watering troughts and layouts for rotational grazing.
If you have a good flow out of your lake,it may be possible to use a water ram to move water to a centrally located trough.
Possible monetary help if the situation qualifies.
Don't cost to ask and the advice is free.
Good luck.

Mike in Va.    Posted 02-05-2002 at 10:15:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Alvin,
Followed your advice and got a phone # for the Soil & Conservation folks for my area (Southside). Hope to get to talk to them yet this week.
The ground is too dry to drill posts right now. We're cutting more this weekend (red cedar). Need about 40 more.
Our pond is about a 1/4 acre. There is enough fall to support a mulitple ram set-up. The earthen dam needs some rework before we'd be able to get a ram in place & running.
So for now we're going with a trash pump and a big stock tank located in the center of the pasture. Not many cows this first year, but getting it figured out for some growth.
Running a stout high tensile 6 strand perimeter fence. Will cross fence with the poly-strand stuff.
Got to do it on the cheap. Our posts are all farm cut. The water tanks are free. We own a Datsun pickup bed trailer to move the water with. Got to buy the fencing and 2 pipe gates.
Finished up clearing a boundry line that had grownup for 20 years. Have some crawler work to do on some erosion areas. Some grading & seeding. Starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Sure will be nice to see cows on the place. None have been on this patch in over 25 years. Had lots of bushoging and felling to do.
Cleaning these 2 oil tanks was one of the last hurdles to figure out. Couldn't seem to get my hands on any other tanks I could afford.
What part of Old Virginey do you live in?

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