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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/4/20 12:16 p.m.

I bought some closed rivets to repair this handle after the tack weld pulled loose.

I've never had any ethanol in the can, so I really don't want to fill it with water. I was going to buy some dry ice and dump a bunch of it in the can to displace the oxygen, but that's not practical right now. 

My concerns are gas fumes, and also how to limit the metal shavings in the can. Coating the drill bit with some grease is the recommendation for containing the shavings when drilling an oil pan for a turbo installation, so I'm going to try that.

I was wondering if I were to blow air from my compressor through the can if it would displace the fumes sufficiently, or could even be used to dry out the inside of the can before drilling holes.

Suggestions on how to stay out of the burn unit?

Edit-forgot the photo.

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) UltimaDork
4/4/20 12:28 p.m.

I think I would drill just the handle side itself then tack it back down in place.  That way I'm not drilling or welding to the inside.

maj75 HalfDork
4/4/20 12:30 p.m.

Rather than rivets, why not reweld?  I'd drill out the dimples on the handle, clean the surface of the tank where the tack welds were, hit it with weld through primer and do a GOOD weld, filling the holes.

Exterior welding keeps you out of the burn unit and keeps the tank integrity instead of drilling 6 holes in it.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/4/20 12:30 p.m.

Well, I was going to suggest filling it with water. Afterwards put it on a hot plate on low heat to "bake" it dry.  I'd probably put some rivets on the other tab as well since if one side failed...

If you really want to go crazy, do a complete inside sealing process from a vendor like POR15. Then the can will probably last forever.

edit: I like maj75's welding suggestion better, although make damn sure you don't weld-thru. That would be bad. 

Shadeux (Forum Supporter)
Shadeux (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/4/20 12:37 p.m.

Can you do it on Zoom so we can watch? devil

Run_Away (Wears Clogs)
Run_Away (Wears Clogs) Dork
4/4/20 12:40 p.m.

If welding, what kind of welder are you using, could you fill the tank with argon from the welder?


I think a weld on the outside would ignite fumes basically just as easily as welding a hole in the tank. 


I like the drill and rivet idea, I might go a step further and coat the rivers in JB weld before installation to help seal.


What about putting the tank above you and drilling upwards so gravity is helping keep the chips out? That plus the greased bit should do the trick.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/4/20 12:53 p.m.

Would JB weld or other better epoxy be enough on it own?

ShawnG UltimaDork
4/4/20 1:14 p.m.

Run an exhaust hose from your car to the spigot on the can. Use the exhaust to purge the oxygen while you work on the can.

Or, use the gas from a spare MIG or TIG tank to do the same thing.

The positive pressure in the tank should help blow the chips out as well.

I've worked on a few tanks this way and never had a problem.

Cactus Reader
4/4/20 1:16 p.m.

Lots of good suggestions, but what I personally would do is buy a new can. I'm a fan of $10 Midwest plastic jugs, drill a hole in the top (before you ever put gas in it obviously), slap a plastic vent in the hole, and with a better nozzle, it's as good as cans used to be.

dculberson MegaDork
4/4/20 1:43 p.m.

Yeah welding on any previously gas filled containers gives me the heebie jeebies. Risk:reward ratio is off on this one for me. And I'm frugal to a fault. A Jegs plastic gas can and added enlarged vent would be money well spent in my opinion. 

rustybugkiller HalfDork
4/4/20 1:56 p.m.

Paging Woody to the safety zone! 

I like those plastic jugs mentioned above. Summit,  Jegs etc and they probably will last forever.

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
4/4/20 2:12 p.m.

Wash the hell out of it with hot water.  Keep washing until you don't smell gas when you sniff the spout.  Weld away to your hearts content.  Buy a quart of methanol, swish it around, pour the methanol out, leave the cap off until it evaporates.  Return to use as a gas can.

Dr. Hess (Forum Supporter)
Dr. Hess (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/4/20 2:44 p.m.

When I had a motorcycle (Triumph Bonneville) tank welded, the shop washed it out, filled it with water, let it sit, lit a match (carefully) over the mouth to flash off anything left, then welded away on it.  In this case, as all you want to do is drill a hole, fill it with water, flash it if you feel like it, drill your holes, dump the water out, dry it, slop some JB Weld between the handle and the tank, put your pop rivets in and you're done.  You're just drilling some holes, right?  Not much spark opportunity.  I would consider the water part overkill, but safety first and all that. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/4/20 3:48 p.m.

I should have thought to mention that welding isn't an option. I don't have the knowledge or equipment to weld, and I'm sure not going to embarrass myself by walking into the metal shop here in the neighborhood and ask them to weld a used gas can.

I've been reluctant to put water in the can, as rust is a concern here in the high humidity of FL.

Honestly, replacing it's the smartest move. I've got a whole assortment of cans already, since I live in hurricane country. It's frustrating to give up on a $50 can, though.


frenchyd PowerDork
4/4/20 3:52 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Do you have a hand crank drill? If not a speed wrench with a drill adapter. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/4/20 4:07 p.m.

Sharp drill bit, you'll be fine.  Don't overthink it.


If you really want to be careful, just fill it with water, but this is overkill.


Think of how many people drilled into their fuel tanks while installing speaker boxes and amplifiers.  Gasoline is not made of explodium like the movies would have you think.  Hell, half the time it is difficult to intentionally light it!

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/4/20 4:10 p.m.

I got almost none of my grandfather's tools, except for this. I can't imagine how old it is. 

At one crank per second, works out to about 240 RPM, and could be run slower, making a spark very unlikely.

Might be the answer. I also could blow it out with some compressed air first.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/4/20 4:19 p.m.

Negatory on the compressed air.   You will not get all the fuel vapors out, so by replacing vapors with air, you will be making it more likely to ignite.


Fuel doesn't burn, fuel vapors do.  Fuel vapors need lots of oxygen to ignite.


If you want to have an idea why I think you are being overcautious, I cut fuel filters open with a cutoff disk, making sparks everywhere.  Know what happens when the disk cuts through?  It gets wet, then boils away as I keep cutting.  Never had one ignite.


I also use air saws to cut fuel lines all the time.  Never ever had an issue.


Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/4/20 4:23 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Good point on the vapors. I had been wondering if I should put gas in it before the repair. It's been sitting empty for a few months, so there's nothing in it but the fumes at the moment.


L5wolvesf Reader
4/4/20 4:24 p.m.
kb58 SuperDork
4/4/20 8:17 p.m.

Yup, have to displace the oxygen with something, water, CO2, argon. I do like the hand-cranked drill though.

One time I had a very tiny 1" cube fuel accumulator with AN fittings on it, I knew there was residual gas in it, but it was such a small volume, for fun I stuck a flame up to it to see if the stories are true. Yup, "bang", and a full-size tank would be pretty scary.

There's a number of Youtube videos of boneheads throwing gas on a pile of brush to burn, then fiddle around with finding the matches long enough that the fumes slowly flowed along the ground in all directions. Great drama ensues:


Speaking of boneheads, my brother had an empty metal gallon jug of model airplane gas and stuck a match up to it. I was out of the garage but heard something akin to "WHOOOH", followed by the sound of the can hitting the other end of the garage. It was pretty funny seeing his extra curly eyebrows and hair. Respect thy fumes.

And to go further adrift, but still very much fume-related and Miata-related, is this masterpiece:



Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/4/20 8:43 p.m.

In reply to kb58 :

Yeah, after watching that, I think I'll wait until I can get some dry ice. 

frenchyd PowerDork
4/4/20 10:21 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

The compressed air idea isn't bad. Too much air to fuel it won't ignite, plus three things are required for fire. Oxygen, fuel, and heat. Compressed air will probably cool things below the point of ignition. That's what blowing candles out  is about. 

dculberson MegaDork
4/4/20 10:33 p.m.

I'm sorry I jumped to welding, if you're just drilling and riveting it's really not a big deal.

Dr. Hess (Forum Supporter)
Dr. Hess (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/5/20 7:45 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I got almost none of my grandfather's tools, except for this. I can't imagine how old it is. 

At one crank per second, works out to about 240 RPM, and could be run slower, making a spark very unlikely.

Might be the answer. I also could blow it out with some compressed air first.

That is EXACTLY the drill I used to drill holes in people's heads with.  Worked great.

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