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Graphics and plastic tanks

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I picked up something from a sign painter/graphic artist. He does boat names and letters race cars and is very good and in demand. He also has the stuff to make vinyl graphics. He said the issue with plastic tanks is not gas seeping thru the tank, but core release agent left on the plastic when they pop it out of the mold. And it's tough stuff to remove. He says he checked with a couple of chem Es about polyurethane and polypropylene permeability, and they said it's practically non existent in any compound designed to hold gas. He says he wipes the tank down with a rag dampened with lacquer thinner or MEK, rather quickly so it doesn't have time to attack the material, and that gets rid of any petroleum based release agent residue. The he wipes it down with a rag dampened with 95% isopropyl alcohol, and that gets any of the non -petroleum stuff. I haven't tried it, just passing it along. But, I plan to get a Clarke tank soon and I will definitely try it then. I know they used to do that with fiberglass boats before painting or applying graphics for the same reason. I was once big into boats.

I did get a wild hair this afternoon, and I tested two gas tanks I have, that have been full of gas for 2 months, a regular 5 gallon red can and a 6 gallon boat tank that I keep gas in for the generator, both with tight fitting caps, with an explosion meter from work. Both tested zero parts per million for hydrocarbons/combustibles all over their outside surfaces.

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He says he checked with a couple of chem Es about polyurethane and polypropylene permeability, and they said it's practically non existent in any compound designed to hold gas. He says he wipes the tank down with a rag dampened with lacquer thinner or MEK, rather quickly so it doesn't have time to attack the material, and that gets rid of any petroleum based release agent residue.

The only problem with that theory is that gasoline is a petroleum based product. You may get rid of anything that had to do with the tanks production process, but there's still the fact that the tank will be filled with gasoline and the fumes/agents from it will permeate the plastic and cause the same problems.

My advice is to either coat the inside of your tank with some kind of sealer, or not put any stickers on it ... or at the very least get some permeable (perforated) stickers to put on it.

:thumbsup:

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My advice is to either coat the inside of your tank with some kind of sealer, or not put any stickers on it ... or at the very least get some permeable (perforated) stickers to put on it.

Several posts I've read here have recommended exactly what Old Dog just stated, and that is to minimize the risk of your decals bubbling by utilizing perforated decals so as to enable any fumes to escape from underneath the sticker. The Factory Effex decals I recently purchased are not only perforated, but they are also reportedly thicker than many other brands. Time will tell. I only applied them to my new tank just a few days ago so no long-term observations from me yet as to their durability.

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The Factory Effex decals I recently purchased are not only perforated, but they are also reportedly thicker than many other brands. Time will tell. I only applied them to my new tank just a few days ago so no long-term observations from me yet as to their durability.
My Factory Effex stickers have been on for more than three years now and they're still like new. No bubbles, no peeling up, no fading. And I did nothing at all to the tank before applying them.

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My Factory Effex stickers have been on for more than three years now and they're still like new. No bubbles, no peeling up, no fading. And I did nothing at all to the tank before applying them.

That's good to hear!! I like the way the decals went on, too. It seemed like the adhesive was really strong and didn't get weak at the edges. I don't like it when stickers peel on the edges because that is just the beginning of the end and it's all downhill from there.

As far as prep goes, all I did was to clean the tank with Windex just to remove any dust or oily fingerprints that might have interfered with getting a good bond.

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