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Rusteco Rust Removal

Dont throw away that old tank/carb/whatever

By Paul Peczon

This was originally written in February of 1995. Since then, Rusteco has made their own website which doesn't have metatags, hey you can find it through Uncle Paul

Remember that one time you threw away that an old gas tank because it was all rusty inside? The solutions to rust removal all involved compromise. Acid baths are indiscriminate, eating metal, paints, and often causing pinhole leaks. Naval jelly just never really takes it all off for some reason. Shaking the tank with a bunch of ball bearings or maybe some sand is no fun, and thereąs no way to assure that the abrasives got all the rust. Cutting out the bottom to grind or sandblast it all out from the inside is a major pain, and it might destroy the tank anyway. Rusty tanks are the vintage motorcyclistsą bane. Rust never sleeps.

But time and technology march on, and somebody finally invented a non-toxic de-ruster that actually works. Those of you holding onto seemingly useless old rusty gas tanks can rejoice at the news that you can have the rust removed without even damaging the paint. A new company called Rusteco up in the Canoga Park has hit the scene with a new miracle rust removal process that really works.

Alas we didnąt have any rusty old stuff to have Rusteco de-rust, but we visited and took a look at some of the pieces they had removed half of the rust from, and we were impressed. A nasty old crankshaft that looked like it had been sitting out in the yard for a couple of years was half cleaned, and blemish free. I learned that the de-rusting process involved a degreaser which can clean out old carburetors. The Rusteco product apparently can unseize rusted old engines, and is so non-toxic that is has been approved by the FDA as a cleaner for food processing, meat and poultry plants. The degreaser element can be disposed of by using it as plant fertilizer. Itąs water soluble. Yes, itąs patented, and no, you canąt bring some home with you.

The rust removal is achieved by simply soaking anything rusty in a tank of Rusteco R-300, and several hours later the rust is gone and the piece is ready for painting. It takes longer for heavily rusted pieces, but the process is accelerated by heat, and they have two heated tanks, one of which could easily take a whole frame. The process just dissolves the rust, not the metal.

The process de-oxidizes non-ferrous metals, as well. The only possible complication is that since it doesnąt remove paint, parts with extensive rust under the paint might need to be stripped first.

While CA Bike was at Rusteco several thoroughly trashed marine exhaust water exchangers were being brought in, and the staff was confident that they would be salvageable. The implication of all this is that a lot of weathered old parts that ordinarily would be scrapped can be saved. And the cost isnąt very high. Rusteco charges $25 to de-rust a two gallon tank, and $45 for a tank of up to 4.5 gallon capacity. The charge for other parts is basically $1.00 per pound.

Rusteco is a registered trademark of TMT Services, which developed the product. You can call them at 1-800-RUSTECO.

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