86 HJ61 automatic - dying while driving, now struggling to idle/run

Sep 12, 2019
The 61 is running smooth again, and the fuel tank is pretty much "like new".

There was a lot of rust on the bottom of the fuel tank. The "sludge" I could see in the bottom was actually just a big collection of rust possibly with a little aussie red mud mixed in. I couldn't find any local shops that we're willing to do it so I dove in myself.

Vinegar was nowhere near strong enough.. I wouldn't waste your time. In the end I used muriatic acid to etch the entire inside of the fuel tank. 2 sessions of about 3/4 gallons acid, plugging/sealing all the openings and slowly rolling/sloshing the liquid in the tank. After the 2nd session I ran a bunch of water through it to get all the acid out. Then a quick rinse with acetone for a final clean, and then immediately put the tank in the sun with a fan blowing air through the fill tube to dry it out and avoid it flash rusting.
I used the POR-15 fuel tank sealer the same day once it was totally dry. I removed the galvanized coating with the acid so I figured I better seal it or else the rust would just pop up again. 4 days to cure and I had pretty much a new tank.

Ordered a new OEM suction tube w/ mesh filter. Mine was beyond repair.

Been driving it for the last 2 months with absolutely no problems!

I'll probably pop the sedimenter out soon just to see if anything has collected from within the fuel lines but my guess is its pretty clean.
I was having similar power loss issues with my HJ61. Runs fine for 10 minutes or so but once it gets warm would lose power on the top end… eventually sputtering out. I pulled the fuel filter and was full of opaque plastic looking flakes and other trash. Went to prime it after the fuel filter swap, and OEM primer was not working. Ordered a replacement and it fired up after priming.

I looked for more mesh filters in any of the banjo bolts downstream and upstream from the filter but saw none. Though it starts again, I haven’t put it through it’s paces yet.

Btw, I ordered a filter for the tank, haven’t looked in mine yet to see how nasty it is but I’m sure it’s bad. If I still have issues I’ll do what someone else posted and insert some clear tube on the fuel line and look for air bubbles when it’s running.

Thanks for the info you have been posting, didn’t mean to hijack.


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