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Old 29-09-2015, 14:23   #1
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Fitting new Water Tanks

Giving some serious thought to replacing my existing aluminum water tanks. No leaks but they are 25 years old and I am close to shops that can do the work which beats dealing with replacement somewhere in the South Pacific.
What choices did you make when you replaced yours and why??
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Old 29-09-2015, 15:15   #2
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

Why not plastic? Aluminum and salt air? My black water sewage tank is plastic..if i need to replace my galvanized water tanks, I will choose plastic.
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Old 29-09-2015, 18:48   #3
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

I think it is going to depend on the shape and size of the tanks, whether they need baffles, where they are located, etc.

If an unusual shape is needed, aluminum is going to be the easiest and cheapest. Or perhaps fiberglass if you can dummy up the shape easily.

If they are small and not needing baffles, then plastic would be my choice. If they need baffles, then you will need to look at custom plastic tank builders and see what they cost. Or if the space is sufficient, connect several smaller plastic tanks in series and you won't need baffles.

Monel is stupidly expensive, and I don't see any logic in stainless steel for this application.

If the tanks are easy to remove, I would take them out and give them a good inspection inside and out. If they are in good shape, prep, prime and epoxy coat them if they aren't already, and reinstall them.

Even if they are not easy to remove, it seems like you would start here anyway.

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Old 29-09-2015, 21:05   #4
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

Go plastic! You'll be glad you did. They are real EZ to see dirt/growth in, as well.

And with a 3" or larger screw-on inspection cover. And don't forget to have a 1/2" female pipe fitting (NPTF) added at the top for a 5/8" vert (common size for vents), as well as the bottom for the outlet. With a 1-1/2" NPTF for the deck fill in a place of your choice somewhere at the top.
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Old 29-09-2015, 21:08   #5
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I think it is going to depend on the shape and size of the tanks, whether they need baffles, where they are located, etc.

If an unusual shape is needed, aluminum is going to be the easiest and cheapest. Or perhaps fiberglass if you can dummy up the shape easily.

If they are small and not needing baffles, then plastic would be my choice. If they need baffles, then you will need to look at custom plastic tank builders and see what they cost. Or if the space is sufficient, connect several smaller plastic tanks in series and you won't need baffles.

Monel is stupidly expensive, and I don't see any logic in stainless steel for this application.

If the tanks are easy to remove, I would take them out and give them a good inspection inside and out. If they are in good shape, prep, prime and epoxy coat them if they aren't already, and reinstall them.

Even if they are not easy to remove, it seems like you would start here anyway.

Mark
How small does the tank have to be to not require baffles?
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Old 30-09-2015, 08:57   #6
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

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How small does the tank have to be to not require baffles?
I don't have an exact answer, and it would probably depend a lot on the shape of the tank. A tall narrow tank could be larger without baffles than a long short wide tank. You just don't want the fluid gaining any momentum during movement.

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Old 30-09-2015, 09:24   #7
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

In my experience any sailboat under 35' doesn't really need to worry about baffles. Most manufactures are up to par on what is needed. Just another reason to go with a pro-fabed tank. They are tested.

And it's the port to stbd motion one has to worry about. So if the long side of the tank is port to stbd then there might be a concern, more likely on power boats. And power boats tend to slam the waves, as well. Most sailboat tanks are fore to aft.

Also when installing tanks of any kind it's good to have a little air space around the tank to help dissipate any condensation. The use of vertical/horizontal stringers help to support tank corners and sides.
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Old 30-09-2015, 09:33   #8
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Replacing Aluminum Fuel

We have a problem. We have a leak in our 120 gallon port fuel tank. We are going to replace both 120 gal tanks. Interestingly we had the fuel polished and it moved the "plug" and allowed the leak to start in ernest. We have pumped both tanks and are getting ready to cut out the sole in our salon to access the tanks.
Questions:
Anyone ever removed the sole in a Pearson 530?
Anyone have a better suggestion than using a fine tool to make the cut gap small?
Should I replace the 175 gallon water tank "while we are there?

Sorry I thought I was submitting a post.
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Old 30-09-2015, 09:36   #9
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

I vote custom plastic also. Although I'm not convinced alum fresh water tanks will go bad on you. The other option is to get them out and evaluate the aluminum ones. One owner I know just had new bottoms welded on the ones he had... was inexpensive and will likely last another 30 years.
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Old 30-09-2015, 09:36   #10
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

You may want to consider changing the shape of the tank if you decide it could provide you access to parts of the boat you don't currently have. I just replaced my 36 yr. old Alum. tank with another Alum. (2 baffles) tank. It didn't leak, but would have soon. By making the tank 3 inches lower, and a few inches shorter I gave up some volume, but now have access under the cabin floor on both sides and in front of the tank. This has opened up all the room I need to run wires and hoses fore and aft. Rewiring and re-plumbing has been much, much easier.
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Old 30-09-2015, 09:38   #11
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

If you need custom tanks for the shape epoxy/plywood works. I have they and after 50years they are still fine. Also keeps the water cooler
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Old 30-09-2015, 10:05   #12
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Giving some serious thought to replacing my existing aluminum water tanks. No leaks but they are 25 years old and I am close to shops that can do the work which beats dealing with replacement somewhere in the South Pacific.
What choices did you make when you replaced yours and why??
I'd only retrofit plastic for both water and diesel. Vetus and Moeller have many sizes.

If you find a combo that fits you'll save a ton of money.

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Old 30-09-2015, 12:11   #13
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I don't have an exact answer, and it would probably depend a lot on the shape of the tank. A tall narrow tank could be larger without baffles than a long short wide tank. You just don't want the fluid gaining any momentum during movement.

Mark
The common figure I am aware of is 50 gallons, but I concur that tank shape and the method it's secured play a role.

I'm going from two SS 100 gallon tanks to four circa 50 gallon tanks in plastic for reasons of lightness and because I have a steel boat with chines and 31 inch apart frames. I can build them to fit these frames and use painted angle iron and bolts to keep them in place. Fibreglass boats frequently have to use straps or wood and threaded rod and the like to achieve the same "stays put when capsizing" sense of security.

A bonus of HDPE plastic is that it's not tough to thermo-weld a repair if needed while cruising.
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Old 30-09-2015, 13:21   #14
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

I decided i didn't like the aluminium or plastic ones because they never fit into the compartments. The flexible plastimo ones i got failed and split around the inlet pipe as soon as i got into some rought weather. I ended up converting the space i wanted into a tank by fibreglassing the entire space, including glassed plywood baffles, big inspection hatches etc. etc.

It was very labour-intensive but i've been really pleased with the results. Those tanks will still be there when the rest of the boat is long-gone!
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Old 30-09-2015, 16:53   #15
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Re: Fitting new Water Tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I don't have an exact answer, and it would probably depend a lot on the shape of the tank. A tall narrow tank could be larger without baffles than a long short wide tank. You just don't want the fluid gaining any momentum during movement.



Mark

Thanks Mark, makes sense. We will be adding water tanks to our new to us cat soon so a lot of planning to do.


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