Can you paint an IMS tank? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-17-2013, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Can you paint an IMS tank?

About 6 months ago, we were wondering if sealing the IMS tank would allow painting... Yes it does. I apologize for the pics, they were done at night but felt I needed to get some flash on them to show any imperfections. The only flaw was and is right at the neck where the roughing up by drywall screws did not take that well and a small bubble occurred where the sealer did not want to stick. I sliced the bubble, it laid back down and have not had an issue anywhere on the tank since.

If you wish to paint your IMS or any other XLPS (cross linked poly styrene) tank the Blue Lightning sealer works flawlessly.

Here are a few pics showing the tank after many miles of off and on road usage.

The tank comes with a "finish" but it is flawed and looks less than professional.

I ain't no painter by trade but used a high quality automotive enamel and clear coat.

I could brush my teeth in the reflection. I stands out, it is durable and it looks awesome.




Last edited by SkiBumBrian; 07-17-2013 at 02:34 AM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-17-2013, 10:13 AM
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What's the process with the drywall screws and the sealer? How's the roughing done and how is the sealer applied?

It really looks good, Brian.

Tom

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post #3 of 17 Old 07-17-2013, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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The prep is the hardest part. You have to flush the tank with a pint or so of acetone the throw a handful of drywall screws in the tank and roll it around for several minutes to rough up the interior surface then wash the tank real good with dish soap, rinsing it out real well. Then tape up the filler and petcock holes and pour the sealer in the tank, rolling it around to coat the interior well. Let it dry for a day and you are done. Caswell makes a sealer but it wont work on cross-linked polyethylene. Blue Lightning is the only stuff that will work...
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-17-2013, 11:31 AM
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OK, got it.

Some how my thick skull was envisioning roughing up the exterior and putting the sealer on the outside. Doh! Was wondering what you did with those drywall screws...

I'm going to have to look up this Blue Lightening stuff!

T

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-21-2017, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SkiBumBrian View Post
The prep is the hardest part. You have to flush the tank with a pint or so of acetone the throw a handful of drywall screws in the tank and roll it around for several minutes to rough up the interior surface then wash the tank real good with dish soap, rinsing it out real well. Then tape up the filler and petcock holes and pour the sealer in the tank, rolling it around to coat the interior well. Let it dry for a day and you are done. Caswell makes a sealer but it wont work on cross-linked polyethylene. Blue Lightning is the only stuff that will work...
Now that some time has passed, how has this approach held up for you from a sealing standpoint? Thanks. Alan
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-21-2017, 07:41 AM
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OK, got it.

Some how my thick skull was envisioning roughing up the exterior and putting the sealer on the outside. Doh! Was wondering what you did with those drywall screws...

I'm going to have to look up this Blue Lightening stuff!

T
I'm with you on this did even think of painting the inside of the tank to risky in my book.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-21-2017, 02:15 PM
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Now that some time has passed, how has this approach held up for you from a sealing standpoint? Thanks. Alan
He hasn't posted since 2014 so you are unlikely to get an answer. For me (now that we're chatting), some of the reasons I love my IMS tanks are the low maintenance, not worrying about minor scratches and being able to see the fuel level from 10' away......so no paint for me.

Dave
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-21-2017, 11:22 PM
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I bought a used ugly faded IMS tank about 4 years ago. I scrubbed it down with Ajax and an etch pad. I then flashed it with a propane torch as described on the Marine Tex web site for repairing polyethylene. Next I took it to Line-X and had them coat it. Around 4 years and 10,000 miles it is holding up great. You either love or hate the Line-X look. I love it and that's all that matters to me.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-21-2017, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
He hasn't posted since 2014 so you are unlikely to get an answer. For me (now that we're chatting), some of the reasons I love my IMS tanks are the low maintenance, not worrying about minor scratches and being able to see the fuel level from 10' away......so no paint for me.

Dave
Thanks Dave for your keen eye on his posting history. After scowering through various sites on the subject of painting IMS tanks, I have seen where everyone takes the same approach of scuffing the inside, some with drywall screws of all things and then lining it with a tank liner. This seems like a risky business at best to me so I decided to come up with my own plan.

The first thing I intended to do differently was to use a sand blast media (80 grit glass) to scuff the inside of the tank. I intended to fill the tank 90% with media and 10% water and then put it on a vibrating table for a day or two, moving it ever few hours to ensure that the media could do it's job in the nooks and cranies.

While I was developing this plan I found a post on another site that followed all of the "rules" only to have the tank liner chemical fail after a year. It was called Blue...... something or other. I tried to get them on the phone several times with no luck. I wanted to ask if their product was for PP CROSSLINK tanks.

I then had the "ah ha" moment that I might be able to coat the exterior of the tank with JB weld which would kill two birds with one stone. Seal the tank AND provide a paintable surface. I went to their site to check things out.

Turns out they sell a product that is super tough, bonds to PP and is impervious to gasoline called PLASTIC BONDER. (go figure on the name) Google Jb weld Plastic Bonder and you will find the stuff

I found it on line for under $6 a syringe.

I know that some folks like the look of the raw plastic of an IMS tank. I am not one of them. I intend to sand down the seams and such. I like to put stickers on my tanks as well as in this instance paint to match. It's my intention to thin the JB product with Acetone. According to the folks at JB slightly less that 1 tablespoon per syringe pack will do the trick. I'll thin it and then spray it on with a cheap (throw away) Harbor Freight gun. The stuff dries tan so whatever I miss I'll touch up by hand.

I think this is the ticket but I've wrong before. I'll let everyone know the end result. In closing, I have never had a reason to second guess a JB product. They know what they're doing but if anyone has good reason to steer me off of this coarse please speak up! I'll report back with my results.
Alan
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-22-2017, 12:03 AM
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The whole reason the sealing is done on the INSIDE of the tank is to stop the gasoline fumes (which permeate through the plastic) from causing the coating on the outside from bubbling and lifting off. This is the same effect that causes decals to bubble on plastic gas tanks.
JJ
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