Gas Tank Sight Glass:
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Thread: Gas Tank Sight Glass:

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    Gas Tank Sight Glass:

    I haven't been able to find anything posted on this subject but if I missed it maybe someone can direct me to it.

    BUT, I have more than one mower with gas tanks that have an opening so you can see the gas level thru an opening sight glass. (actually the plastic gas tank) Those things get discolored and one cannot see the gas level at all. Anyone know of a way to clean them so you can see the gas level again? I have tried polishing the opening like you do headlight lenses but that did not work. I think this may be stain on the inside but what will clean it? I am considering removing the tank and trying bleach to see if that helps. My little D110 is only a few years old and already stained up. I also have two ZTR mowers of a different brand with the same problem. If you get it turned where the sun hits it just right you can see it just a little but running out of gas is the pits. Anyone got any ideas?

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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Translucent plastic and gasoline dont get along well together. The gas discolors the plastic, much like it does most plastics.
    The only solution Ive ever seen is to replace it.

    I may be in the minority these days, but up until the early 90s, those things didnt really exist, but mowers sure did.
    I dont much care if they have a sight line or not, I always check it before I use it. The fuel gauge on my 318 cap shows empty with 1/2 a tank, so its fairly worthless. Its been that way for the last 15 years probably. Before that, the float broke off the old one, and it was that way for years. The only reason it got replaced was because the little plastic center came off, and that will allow water in the tank, so it had to be replaced. The replacements were/are never accurate.

    I guess my point of all that is either spend money to replace it, and then again in a few years when it gets dark, or just check it more often.
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    Jim B.

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    Gas Tank Sight Glass

    Thanks for the reply and like you I fill up before starting. Not having gauges never use to bother me either but if they are there I just prefer them to be useful. My main concern is when mowing away from the house or truck and the tank gets low and time to head for more fuel I tend to put it off too long. That 20/30 mins it takes me to go fill up and come back to finish up seems to mess up my day. Having 2 tanks and at a price of 179$ each I don't care to replace them every few years and won't if that is the only option. I just thought there could be a reasonable cure that I just did not know about.
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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Sorry Im no help. I wish there was a solution, because I have a couple things with those too, and they dont work worth a darn. I dont use em, obviously, but I kinda like things to work like new, so if its there, it should do what its supposed to.
    My guess is that its a chemical reaction that takes place, and you would somehow have to reverse it.

    The headlight trick seems good at first, but its UV light that dose that to the plastic, and its not actually the plastic, but the outer protective coating. Once you sand that off and polish the plastic, its good again, until it gets scratched up again, or the UV gets to it too much again, though the second time around is much faster than the first.
    Not to get too far off topic, but I have a buddy that repairs those lights and once sanded and polished, he sprays automotive clear coat over them. Works great.
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    Jim B.

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    Gas Tank Sight Glass

    Thanks for the input. The coating over the headlight lenses I use myself. But, it don't work long on gas tanks since the gas will disolve the coating. I have a couple ZTR mowers I mow a large area with and even filling before starting I don't have enough fuel to do the job and that gauge doesn't show enough I can tell when I am running out. Sometimes I can get off the mower and look straight at it then see the fuel line. The way those tanks are made in a curve over the wheel I can't put any other kind of gauge in them and looking in the tank all I can see is the first gal. or so. When it gets below that it is a guess. Having a 7.5 gal tank that last about 4 hrs. mowing so I have to just go by mowing time. It is just having to stop in the middle of the job. The larger mower has 2 tanks so I can at least last till lunch. Got a question tho. Would putting a glass cover on top of the plastic stop the discoloration?

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    Sparky, Would it be possible to replace the plastic tube with a glass tube?...instead of covering the plastic tube. Or, a fitting in the bottom and top of your tank with fuel line from the fittings to the top & bottom of a glass tube mounted somewhere? Bob

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    Gas Tank Sight Glass

    RW I may be identifying the sight glass incorrectly. Those sight glasses are a mere part of the plastic tank and so designed when light hits them the portion that has fuel is dark colored. There are no actual tubes all they do is cut out part of the metal or plastic around that spot so you can see into the tank, well sort of when they are new. I have heard complaints about this now for a lot of years and have worked on tons of them simply because people run them out of gas and it picks up everything in the bottom of the tanks. Most of the time it is collected in the fuel filter and changing filter fixes the problem but if it gets sucked into the carburetor it creates a good hour or so work. A good reason why I don't like mine running empty. However 2 or 3 times during mowing season when they are that low I drain and even wash the tank some. It helps.

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    I have an Ariens 17.5HP that I use as a utility vehicle. It too uses a translucent fuel tank that is under the hood. To check the fuel level you have to lift the hood and look at the tank. I'm going on 5 years with it and so far the tank hasn't discolored. I wonder if it has anything to do with not being exposed to sunlight?
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