This time it's paint. I decided to strip the paint off the tank. I reckon if your gonna re-spray then you've gotta get it back to bare metal. If you just give the existing paint a rough over and prime there is no way you will get a good quality of finish with your new paint and unless you are using exactly the same type of paint product that is already there the new stuff isn't gonna stick properly.
There are two ways of doing the strip I would recommend. The first is good old sandblasting but unless you've got your own gear it's gonna cost you decent bucks and time. It's also easy - drop it off, pick it up, pay money, go home. The other way is to use an industrial strength paint stripper that's suitable for auto paints. It's relatively cheap but it's very, very fucking nasty stuff. This is not stuff to be slack with. It's a seriously dangerous chemical.
Read all the info and directions twice. You cannot get this stuff on your skin cause it will burn like Holy water on an evil demon. If you are dumb enough (like me) to get some on you then wash it off immediately under cold running water. You need to do this work outside, in a breeze with a good respirator style dust mask on cause the gas it gives of will burn your lungs if you breath it in and will probably give you all sorts of filthy cancers. If it gets in your eye it will blind you! Make sure there are no kids, pets or idiots around. If you have all that covered go for it. Resist the urge to buy this hideous chemical in a spray can! Brush it on in gel form very carefully and slowly.
I just used a scraper and some steel wool to get the old paint off. The paint should bubble and turn soft in minutes. With this tank the 30 year old paint bubbled before my eyes and came off very easily. Use those industrial style rubber gloves when your doing this. Finish it off with a sanding block and some slightly soapy water then spray it with some WD40 or similar stuff to stop it rusting. The bare metal will soak that oil up but you gotta clean it off before painting.