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  • gas tank steel type

    Can anyone tell me the type of steel used in the mfg of the Model A fuel tank? Do you know the ASTM number for the steel? Is it mild steel or a high carbon steel?

    Thanks,
    Wendell

  • #2
    Maybe someone else will chime in, but I can't imagine much carbon content in any sheet steel, much less sheet steel used for cold deep drawing into somewhat complex shapes.

    Comment


    • #3
      To Tahtaras

      Understand and am inclined to agree with your point. However, there are always shades of gray. The upper limit for mild steel is 0.25% carbon. Higher carbon content for higher carbon steels may go to a maximum of 2.1%. Did Ford push the carbon content a little higher than mild to gain increased strength? I don't know. However, there are claims that welding a Model A gas tank will cause cracking, and there are reports of welding cracks and another one pops up; these reports suggest something other than just mild low carbon steel.

      Does anyone have an explanation as to why mild low carbon steel would behave as noted above? Pls advise. I also assume that the tank was cold deep drawn; do we know that for sure? Or was it formed hot?

      A more knowledgeable understanding of the problem might be possible if we knew the metallurgy of the tank material. Does anyone know the ASTM number or other standard for the metal that Ford used that would give its metallurgy? If so, pls advise. Are there any metallurgist out there who can comment?

      We know that the tank as manufactured was a two piece 120-inch long resistance welded construction. Is resistance welding different in its effects than is torch or arc welding? Was the tank tempered or heat treated after the welding? On the face of it, it seems that welding the tank is not a problem.

      As a recent owner of a Model A that has a gas tank that needs a leak repair and a cleaning, I would like to be confident that welding will not give me head aches. Is there a concensus among welders and experienced owners of this forum that welding the tank, e.g., seam butt welding, is not a problem and what precautions must be taken to avoid cracking, if any? The "question" will probably only be answered by concensus rather than by a metallurgical analysis. The concensus should consider have many tanks been welded and how long have they remained crack free. I.e., what is the history? Your responses may help and are necessary to form a consensus or opinion. Pls comment on your experience.

      Thanks to All,
      Wendell







      Comment


      • #4
        This is from the VFF sticky "Closed, Sticky: Model A/AA Ford Websites...Can YOU add to the list?" located at the top of the Topics page. They do Model A Tanks. Email/call them , they may be willing to talk with you and provide info. They are in Greensburg, PA,, Close enough you can stop in and talk?

        GAS TANK REPAIR
        1. http://www.gas-tank.com/ Moyer, (PA) (2020)
        Last edited by 1930 Closed Cab PU; 01-09-2021, 01:03 PM. Reason: Added info

        Comment


        • #5
          Here is a link to Pluck's gas tank study. See page 2

          http://www.plucks329s.org/pdf/gastan...production.pdf
          3 ~ Tudor's
          Henry Ford said
          "It's all nuts and bolts"


          Mitch's Auto Service ctr

          Comment


          • #6
            I do not beleive Mig welding will cause cracks, as it is a much more forgiving weld. Tig, because of its hardness might cause cracks. Brazing, a slower proccess, is more likely to fail because of the time the metal is heated and more area is affected. Just my thoughts on it. Have seen brazed repairs on tanks leak after a few years. Different tank and different welder, repaired with Mig and it was still fine after 10 years. No direct experience with a tank that has been tig welded. Rod
            Last edited by Rowdy; 01-09-2021, 08:41 PM.
            "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." Thomas Sowell

            Comment


            • #7
              I would think "new cracks" would only apply to the area at the steering column support. Drawing metal toward the heat source (shrinkage) would likely spread existing cracks in the vicinity that were previously hidden behind the support.

              Even though everything (including the rivets) was essentially tinned and soldered, the area gradually broke loose over time if there was enough abuse. The cracks generally began at the rivets and would spread gradually as the area became weakened further.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't know the carbon content, but steel over time suffers from Hydrogen embrittlement that makes metal panels more brittle and harder to work with.
                Often I hear people on the Mustang or Jeep forums about how the new door skin or fender is much more easly bent or warped than the original panel when working a panel. When taking the old door skins off the bend around the edges to fit it onto the door often brake off rather than bending.
                That may be a cause for the cracking - just a hypothesis.

                Ryan

                Comment


                • #9
                  To rkmiller,

                  Very interesting. Now that you mention it, I recall hearing about hydrogen embrittlement, but that was a long ago. Is there anyone out there that can tell us more?

                  Wendell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hydrogen embrittlement is a problem caused by plating and cleaning high strength steels. In the electroplating business, some metals would have to be baked after the process to eliminate the problem, not all metals are effected. The baking had to occur with a set time or it did no good.

                    I have never heard of hydrogen embrittlement occurring over time, a process has to occur to generate the gas at the surface of the metal. If the issue with old panels is indeed Hydrogen embrittlement, then I would bet a paycheck it occurred when the panel was formed, not over time. Maybe from the chemical prep of the panel prior to finishing. Parkerizing was a popular process, and a sister process Bonderizing was also used.

                    I knew a lot of things when I was younger but not so much now. I could be wrong at least that what Mary tells me from time to time.
                    Jon.
                    "That sounds like a terrible idea.... What time?"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To Marco,

                      You've hit on a subject which has confused me in the past. I'm not saying your wrong, I'm saying I'm confused. Confused because the body men say they use heat to shrink metal, but I think heat expands metal. But I don't think they are using heat alone; there is also some bumping/pounding involved to beat the dint/bump into submission. The heated metal which is now malleable is pounded from the bump towards the surrounding cooler metal. There it meets resistance to flow and builds up the thickness of the metal in that area of resistance. The bump has lost metal and, therfore, shrinks. This may be nonsense, but I'm sticking with it until I'm bumped into submission. O.k. bodymen, tell us like it is, explain yourself.

                      As an after thought, when the bump is made malleable from heating its metal thickness increases when hammered down. The metal flow is resisted by surrounding cooler metal and the only place it can go is in increasing the metal thickness of the bump as the bump is depressed by hammering. The bump is shrinking, not the metal. One normally thinks of hammering as thinning the material.


                      Back to the rivet hole. Holes are often drilled to provide stress relief and to stop crack progression. However, maybe that doesn't apply to the rivet situation. "rkmiller" has raised the issue of hydrogen embrittlement. Is it possible that the metal has become brittle with age and heat expansion opens up or initiates a crack at the rivet hole? Is there anyone out there who can speak to this situation? Pls do.

                      Why does the fuel tank leak at the steering column bracket onto my lap? It ruins the experience and I'm mad as hell. Is it because the solder joint has failed or because of a crack at the rivet hole, or both? Is the crack progressing beyond the solder joint? Has anyone investigated this issue. Looks like I'm getting my chance.

                      Wendell

                      Last edited by wendell; 01-10-2021, 08:52 PM. Reason: An after thought

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To jwmckenzie,

                        Marys are good, I've been married to one for 56-years. She deserves more than she got. Say hello to yours.

                        It's good to hear from you. Though a little dated, your info is helpful. And many of us understand.

                        Is it possible for mild steel to become embrittled by hydrogen? My recollection is that hydrogen embrittlement is associated with carbon content; I could be wrong, its been a long time and not of my specific field. If not, at what levels of carbon may hydrogen embrittlement become a problem? Some of us have assumed that the Model A fuel tank is mild steel which would have a carbon content of not more than 0.25-%. The tank was terne plated at manufacture. I've been inquiring as to what is the specification for the steel used for the tank. No one has identified the specification; and maybe for good reason - its been a long time.

                        Can you offer any suggestions as to how mild steel may become embrittled? With or without age. Writing this, another term comes to mind - age hardening. What is it? I'll ask Mary.

                        I've been considering cleaning my tank with muriatic acid followed by draining, an immediate dilution with water and neutralization. Any comment?

                        Do you have a background in metallurgy? Comment?

                        Good talking to you,

                        Wendell








                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wendell View Post
                          To Marco,

                          You've hit on a subject which has confused me in the past. I'm not saying your wrong, I'm saying I'm confused. Confused because the body men say they use heat to shrink metal, but I think heat expands metal. But I don't think they are using heat alone; there is also some bumping/pounding involved to beat the dint/bump into submission. The heated metal which is now malleable is pounded from the bump towards the surrounding cooler metal. There it meets resistance to flow and builds up the thickness of the metal in that area of resistance. The bump has lost metal and, therfore, shrinks. This may be nonsense, but I'm sticking with it until I'm bumped into submission. O.k. bodymen, tell us like it is, explain yourself.

                          Back to the rivet hole. Holes are often drilled to provide stress relief and to stop crack progression. However, maybe that doesn't apply to the rivet situation. "rkmiller" has raised the issue of hydrogen embrittlement. Is it possible that the metal has become brittle with age and heat expansion opens up or initiates a crack at the rivet hole? Is there anyone out there who can speak to this situation? Pls do.

                          Why does the fuel tank leak at the steering column bracket onto my lap? It ruins the experience and I'm mad as hell. Is it because the solder joint has failed or because of a crack at the rivet hole, or both? Is the crack progressing beyond the solder joint? Has anyone investigated this issue. Looks like I'm getting my chance.

                          Wendell

                          I can only answer the second part of your post. The leaks are caused by the stress from using the steering wheel to drag themselves in and out of the Model A. Over time it causes the rivets to give way a little, and you have a leak. The absolute fix is to install a 31 steering column mounting bracket which attaches to the Dash instead of the gas tank. To fix a leak, some have had success soldering/welding/brazing around the edge of the bracket to seal the leak. If you do a search here, lots of discussion/info.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wendell View Post
                            mild steel to become embrittled by hydrogen?
                            Not in my experience.

                            Originally posted by wendell View Post
                            Do you have a background in metallurgy?

                            I spent 15 years doing Mil-spec electroplating and finishing, 25 years ago. Was the engineer between the plating shop and design engineers. Not a Metallurgist, but worked with a few. My memory says they were only worried with the high strength steels. Have you done a Bing search, I am sure Wiki has some info on the topic.

                            Originally posted by wendell View Post
                            I've been considering cleaning my tank with muriatic acid followed by draining, an immediate dilution with water and neutralization. Any comment?
                            You will likely destroy the Tern plate on the inside with Muriatic acid. I have use Rust911 to remove rust from a tank, I like the the results. Problem is that most of the rust is likely on the top of the tank, so unless it's out of the car likely won't get it all.

                            Here is a thread of my tank cleaning adventure.

                            Removing gas "Varnish" from gas tank - Vintage Ford Forum
                            Jon.
                            "That sounds like a terrible idea.... What time?"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To Jwmckenzie,

                              Looks like I need to do a few Bing searches.

                              Thanks for the heads up on Muriatic acid vice terne plate and tank cleaning.

                              Wendell

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                To Mitch,

                                I've down loaded the Plucker part 1 report. It's very good. I don't think that it identifies the tank metal other than with a generic name of heavy pressed steel which seems to be a A569 mild steel. It would be interesting to know where/how Plucker came up with the term "heavy pressed steel" and would "Henry" agree. However, for the time being, I will assume that the tank material is mild steel; that seems to make the most sense given available information.


                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I dug this out as an example. It’s for a 1930 running board/apron. It’s likely near a dead match for the tank stampings.

                                  E80FE272-044C-4A6A-8331-C91E1C5E9718.jpeg

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by wendell View Post
                                    To Mitch,

                                    I've down loaded the Plucker part 1 report. It's very good. I don't think that it identifies the tank metal other than with a generic name of heavy pressed steel which seems to be a A569 mild steel. It would be interesting to know where/how Plucker came up with the term "heavy pressed steel" and would "Henry" agree. However, for the time being, I will assume that the tank material is mild steel; that seems to make the most sense given available information.

                                    Likely Pluck used Fords verbage to be accurate to the terms as used during production. Rod
                                    "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." Thomas Sowell

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by wendell View Post
                                      To Mitch,

                                      I've down loaded the Plucker part 1 report. It's very good. I don't think that it identifies the tank metal other than with a generic name of heavy pressed steel which seems to be a A569 mild steel. It would be interesting to know where/how Plucker came up with the term "heavy pressed steel" and would "Henry" agree. However, for the time being, I will assume that the tank material is mild steel; that seems to make the most sense given available information.

                                      Wendell,

                                      In the May 17, 1928 issue of the American Machinist, Fay Leone Faurote wrote an excellent article about the assembly of the Ford Model A Gasoline tank.

                                      He states in the second paragraph, page 805 the following: "It is made of No. 18 U.S.S. GA. (0.049-0.051) terne plate. The specificications call for full cold-rolled, low-carbon open hearth auto-body stock, free from waves and pit marks, coating to be not less than 12 lbs. per thousand sq. ft. of surface coating to contain not less than 16 per cent tin." There is lots more to this article than I am willing to put here.

                                      It would be very nice if Mitch could obtain the full set of these articles and post it on the VFF.

                                      As far as the statement "heavy pressed steel"...I reviewed several other articles pertaining to the Model A/AA Ford Gas tank and that "term" could of very well come from there. There is a good article in the Ford Dealer and Service Field, April 1928 (which I wish someone would put the entire series from 1928-1931 on a disc); There was another article in the Ford News Vol. 8, # 5, 9, 24 and Vol. 9, #5 plus the many Part Releases which one can obtain from the Ford Archives.

                                      And by the way..."Henry" said that that was OK!

                                      Pluck




                                      Last edited by Steve Plucker; 01-10-2021, 08:05 PM.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Mr. Plucker,

                                        I read you report "Gas Tank Production"; very good.

                                        Page 2 of the report says the fuel tanks were constructed of "heavy pressed steel". Does that term come directly from the Ford reports? Do we know if it means the same now as it did in the years of Model A manufacture, and is that meaning "mild steel"?

                                        There are reports, some authoratative, that the gas tank should not be welded. Can you elaborate on whether the tank can be welded or not, and why not if so?

                                        Wendell

                                        Comment


                                        • #21
                                          To Plucker,

                                          Great response.

                                          Wendell

                                          Comment


                                          • #22
                                            Originally posted by Steve Plucker View Post
                                            It would be very nice if Mitch could obtain the full set of these articles and post it on the VFF
                                            How can I obtain them?
                                            3 ~ Tudor's
                                            Henry Ford said
                                            "It's all nuts and bolts"


                                            Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                                            Comment


                                            • #23
                                              To Pluck,

                                              Is there a Part 2?

                                              Wendell

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by Mitch View Post

                                                How can I obtain them?
                                                Mitch,

                                                A few years ago I obtained the entire series from a book loan from the University of Washington thus I copied each one...There are a series of 12 articles.

                                                I am sure that there is a major University in your area that would also have copies in their libraries.

                                                As far as the Ford Dealer and Service Field, one would have to scout around...although I did review once of the 1928 issues on a microfilm real but can not remember just where that film was acquired from.

                                                The complete issues of Ford News came from the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.

                                                Pluck

                                                Comment


                                                • #25
                                                  Originally posted by wendell View Post
                                                  Mr. Plucker,

                                                  I read you report "Gas Tank Production"; very good.

                                                  Page 2 of the report says the fuel tanks were constructed of "heavy pressed steel". Does that term come directly from the Ford reports? Do we know if it means the same now as it did in the years of Model A manufacture, and is that meaning "mild steel"?

                                                  There are reports, some authoratative, that the gas tank should not be welded. Can you elaborate on whether the tank can be welded or not, and why not if so?

                                                  Wendell
                                                  Wendell,

                                                  There has been many occations where the gas tank has been welded. Do the research here and on other forums...I can not elaborate on that.

                                                  Pluck

                                                  Comment

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