My 56 2 door sedan had gas in the tank that was at least 15 years old. I took it to a radiator shop and had them clean it out........took a week of soaking. I know from experience, to replace a wagon tank ain't real easy........the rear end has to go forward to get the tank out. That said, you don't want to chance a tank that has been sitting open or with old stale gas for years.
My float in my Delivery tank was disintegrated when I pulled the sending unit out. There was a lot of rust particles in there too. I always got rust and particles in my filter, so I knew it wasn't going to be pretty inside. If your tank is out or you're doing other work, I'd check it. If nothing else is being done and you're just driving it, I'd leave it.
If you see any evidence of rust and scale, replace the tank. Most that have been sitting up will have it. It's not stale gas, it's water and condensastion.
The sealer stuff out there is junk. Professionally repairing a junk gas tank costs as much or more than a new tank, and probably isn't as good a product. Save the professional gas tank restorations for vehicles that don't have repro tanks available. I think only the 9 passenger wagons fall in that category for 55-57s.
I just bought the Tank kit for my 57 from Ecklers. My tank has a leak (Probably one of the hoses or the Rubber seal or even the Sender gasket), but the kit came with all those. I also am having issues with the sending unit (gas Gauge not working but have traced to the sender). So decided to get a new tank. Switched to the 3/8's line out and 3/8's hardline that runs outside the frame (I have dual exhaust). Also got the Rubber hose from hard line to Gas Pump. I plan on running a tunnel ram so the 3/8's line was an easy choice for me. Can't wait to install them. Really did not trust the old tank and no telling how much scale and rust was in the 50+ old tank! Cheap insurance for a new engine (Good Gas). Was only 256 for the kit! Not a bad price!!
When we picked up our '57 Bel Air last year, the car ran fine. When I stopped in to get some estimates for some body work, the restorer told me, the first thing he would do is replace the Gas Tank and flush out all the gas lines; that's what he tells all his customers who have classics. I left.
A few week later we had the rearend jacked up pretty high to perform rear brake inspection and the tank had a little less than 1/4 of a tank of gas in it. When we went to lower it and then move it into the garage - it started, moved a little, sputtered and died. We pulled the fuel line at the carb to see if we were getting fuel when starting - Nope!
We finally traced the problem back to the tank - no gas coming out, even after we added a few more gallons.
When we finally pulled the now empty tank out, we couldn't believe how much "junk" was in it. The sending unit sock was also loaded. We purchased a replacement tank and all the filler hoses and a new sending unit, blew the gas line out and reassembled everything and now we're good.
So should you replace your original gas tank? You could wait and hope it's ok or insure that systems dependability and have it cleaned professionally or replace it. I should have done that when we first got the car.:sign0020:
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