What To Do If You Have Water in Your Imperial's Gas Tank


Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Fuel -> Tank -> Water

Tip from Stan:

I had a similar problem and I asked around the traps about what to do..... an old mechanic told me to pour methylated spirits (I think Americans call it "denatured alcohol") down the fuel spout. Jiggle the car a bit and let the water and methylated spirits slosh together. Pour in some fuel and start her up. Apparently the "metho" mixes with water and the mixture gets burned with the fuel. After trying it, I can report that it works. It didn't seem to do any harm to the fuel lines, fuel pump, carburetor or engine. 

If you feel a little bit squeamish about trying this, why not pour the "metho" in the tank, disconnect the fuel line between the pump and carburetor, crank the engine, and let the fuel pump suck the mixture out..........once the tank's empty, fill the tank with gasoline, reconnect the fuel line and hopefully the water will be gone from your tank.

Tip from Bill:

If you think you might have water in your tank, but you are not sure, the best thing to do is siphon your tank.  

Before performing the following please have a second person with a fire extinguisher present and take all precautions against ignition of the fuel
you will drain.

Siphon your tank dry and then run your engine until it quits to get all the gas out of the fuel lines and the carburetor. If you are unable to do this by running the engine disconnect the fuel lines at the lowest point and drain them into a can with an adequate volume to be able to hold all that will come out. Check the can for water or other types of contaminates.

If you have checked all mechanical possibilities and ruled them out fill your tank with gas that you know is "good", prime your carburetor and start
your engine. 

Question from John:

Is there a way to test my gasoline to see if there is water in it? A station in town had a leaking underground tank and several people have had the same problem as me: the car will crank forever, but will not start.


From Dick:

Water is heavier than gas, so if you drain the tank from the bottom, you will get water at first, then gas as the tank gets less full. If you open the drain plug and gas only comes out, your tank is probably full of gas. But to be sure, drain the whole tank and start over with known fresh gas. You'll have to purge the lines of all the fluid also - don't pump the water into the engine!

From Rodger:

Its a good thing to break up what may have gotten into your tank from time to time. Go to your local dollar store and get some de-natured alcohol and pour the stuff into your tank. Or you can go to the local parts store and pay $ 2.79 or more.

As for as testing for water....if you have a glass bowl filter that came on the older vehicles you would be able to see the water/glass line...if there is water.

This page last updated April 15, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club