Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-01-2012, 21:22   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 15
Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Anyone have experience/advice about replacing fuel tanks? We have a 1980 boat with the original aluminum fuel tank - 120 gallon. It has no inspection plate. The boat is new to us and we had someone look at it to determine if the inspection plates could be added. He advises that the typical life of that tank is just 20 years and we may want to consider new tank(s). Of course, removal alone is very involved....and it appears that the water tank is also original. We will liveaboard within the next couple of years and have plans to travel somewhat extensively with the boat. In otherwords, we will likely depend on both water and fuel.

Anybody ever undertake the project themselves? Neither tank is leaking now-should we wait until they do? What have you paid to have a project like this done? Our guy says to fabricate the tanks would be about $1000 each and then 3x that to install each. Geez, that is really gonna eat into the kitty!

Any advice would be appreciated.
__________________

__________________
Cinnamon Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2012, 21:36   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

I have a 35 year old black iron tank that's still in top form, for whatever that's worth.
__________________

__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-01-2012, 22:31   #3
Registered User
 
CarinaPDX's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Boat: 31' Cape George Cutter
Posts: 1,683
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

I've removed an aluminum diesel tank and a stainless kerosene tank (both with small leaks) and am looking to replace them.

I really like the idea of polyethylene (PE) tanks, but these are no longer available custom in the US for fuel. By law, effective last year, fuel tanks must meet low permeability (LP) standards. The mass-produced rotomolded PE tanks apparently have an inner layer which seals them to LP standards; apparently straight PE doesn't meet the standards. (If anyone knows better, or has anything to contribute I'd like to know!) In any event the usual custom welded-PE vendors are out of the fuel tank business.

Aluminum is supposed to be one of the best materials for diesel. I got some water in the tank which supported algae. When the biocide killed the algae, the dead algae floated between the water at the bottom and the diesel. That became corrosive and ate a line around the inside of the tank. Not good...

The stainless tank had a flat bottom, and collected a thin layer of water on the bottom which caused some corrosion. It was slowly leaking through the welds.

Perhaps black iron would be better?
__________________
CarinaPDX is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2012, 12:15   #4
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamon Girl View Post
Anybody ever undertake the project themselves?
Nope. But it was one of the things I made sure had already been addressed by a previous owner (on my boat it's an engine out job).


Quote:
Neither tank is leaking now-should we wait until they do?
I would wait until you have problems (and keep my fingers crossed that problems start with only a weep and not a full on seam failure ) - but a bit of thinking ahead don't do no harm.

120 gallons sounds a lot, could maybe replace with a smaller tank (or tanks) for easier fitting. or could cut open the tank and fit a bladder tank inside - same for the Water Tank....might need to get custom made? or settle for a bit less capacity?
__________________
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2012, 13:44   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

I have to disagree with David. Don't wait until you have problems. You may not have to rush into changing your tanks, but you should really cut holes in the tanks, drain and clean them and ensure that they are either in good shape or need replacing. A boat with a leaking diesel tank will be a miserable place.
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2012, 14:21   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Australia, Central Coast.
Boat: Boden 36 Triple chine long keel steel, named Nekeyah
Posts: 777
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

If it aint broke, don't fix it. But do inspect it as Deep Frz suggests. Maybe you could use one of the remote inspection scopes that can be purchased reasonably cheaply or perhaps hired. This would only need a small opening in the tank.
Regards,
Richard.
__________________
boden36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2012, 14:28   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Something I didn't bring up in my earlier post is that if there are no inspection ports in the tanks then you can be pretty certain that the tanks have never been cleaned since they were installed. An inspection scope isn't likely to tell you much, other than you have a whole pile of crap in your tanks. Both water and fuel tanks will have to be cleaned in any case. Unless, of course, you want to risk a clogged fuel line in a sea way or poison yourself with fetid water.
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2012, 15:30   #8
Registered User
 
Target9000's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: New Orleans LA
Boat: 74 Westsail 32
Posts: 1,379
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

We pulled the fuel tank (and the fuel bladder) and installed new fuel tanks in our Westsail 32 last summer. I can say that the job is most likely going to vary in difficulty wildly between models of boat so what you really want to do is find someone that has done it in YOUR boat and ask them about it.

A 120 gallon fuel tank is also likely to be baffled which may cause problems when you try to cut out an inspection port.

When we replaced our tanks it really wasn't all that hard. The hard part is getting everything out of the way so you can get to the tank. Once again, check with another owner that has done it.

We went with aluminum tanks for replacement. We painted them over with an epoxy coating to protect them from water and corrosion.
__________________
Let your heart tell you where to go, but let your brain tell you how to get there.

Sundowner Sails Again
Target9000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-01-2012, 15:33   #9
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,042
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
or could cut open the tank and fit a bladder tank inside
Anyone have any experience with this solution? I'm thinking of attempting this. Other than losing some tank volume to the bladder, any other reason not to try this?

My situation is I have two black iron diesel tanks. Both were inspected and cleaned before we bought the boat. The main one (90 gallons) is good, but the smaller one (45 gallons) has a small leak, so we've decommissioned it.
__________________
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2012, 21:42   #10
Registered User
 
SabreKai's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada on Lake Ontario
Boat: Roberts Offshore 38
Posts: 1,287
Images: 5
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Sabre Dance had one 40 gallon steel tank. 15X15x40 long that lived under the stbd side cockpit seat and side deck. Access was only via cutting away a lot of stuff in the cabin. Since that was part of the plan, no problem. Once that was done I determined that getting it out by shoving it forward would be a monumental pain, and since the engine (which was to be replaced as well) wouldn't fit out the companion way hatch, I had an access cut into the cockpit sole and it took 15 minutes to haul the tank up and out. 6 foot nylon strap, a chain hoist attached to the forklift extensions and it was gone. I am blessed with a pretty wide open space for that sort of stuff but the cockpit access made a huge difference. I am replacing it with a 60 gallon stainless tank.

A $1000 a piece seems reasonable, that is the price that I have been getting for my water tank, but 3X that to install? Outrageous.... Unless you dont' have the skills to do it yourself. In that case you either learn them, find a buddy who has them, or pay the nice man to do it while you nurse the pain with a rum punch.
__________________
SabreKai
SV Sabre Dance, Roberts Offshore 38
http://sabredancing.wordpress.com/
SabreKai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2012, 00:09   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Nether Dallachy
Boat: Bavaria 34
Posts: 14
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Hi heres a company you might like to try for a tank
Tek-Tanks - Custom made or standard fit water, waste and fuel tanks

rgds
Bck73
__________________
bck73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2012, 01:41   #12
Registered User
 
CarinaPDX's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Boat: 31' Cape George Cutter
Posts: 1,683
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

I saw some Tek-Tanks while I was in Europe. They are works of art. Just a pain to get shipped into the States.
__________________
CarinaPDX is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2012, 01:47   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Nether Dallachy
Boat: Bavaria 34
Posts: 14
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

I've not got one myself I was enquiring about them as my fuel tank has no access hatch. And like you said they look roburst.
__________________
bck73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2012, 03:50   #14
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,337
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

Does your tank have a level guage?? Usually you can remove them to check the inside of the tank.
__________________
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-01-2012, 08:07   #15
Registered User
 
ovrmyhead's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pacific Coast of Mexico
Boat: Union Polaris cutter, 36'
Posts: 80
Re: Replace Fuel Tank Advice

I am going through the leaking fuel tank blues as we speak . I say cut inspection ports and clean it out before you get ahead of yourself and start thinking of replacing. You should be able to locate the baffles ahead of time just by tapping with a hammer, you will hear the tone change when you hit the tank at those spots. I really wanted to repair my tank but alas, it is just too far gone. I dont want to take the time yet for a custom build so I am losing some capacity and going with one of these.
Moeller Marine Online - Home - Home Page
I'm placing a second tank in my stern hold to make up for some of the loss.
I cut my inspection ports with a grinder, but picked up a sawsall to chop it up. I tried it out last night and that sawsall cuts through that black iron tank like butter. I'll try and get some pictures posted on the blog this evening.
__________________

ovrmyhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fuel, fuel tank

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fuel Bladder for an Interim Diesel Tank Patrick_DeepPlaya Engines and Propulsion Systems 20 06-02-2014 14:22
Westwind 38 Fuel Tank Replacement casual Construction, Maintenance & Refit 1 27-02-2012 20:22
1969 Morgan 30 Monel Fuel Tank Removal smoothsailing Construction, Maintenance & Refit 3 17-11-2011 08:56
25 Year-Old Steel Fuel Tank - What to Do ? Delancey Engines and Propulsion Systems 35 11-10-2011 19:41
convert a 20l outboard fuel tank to inboard ewanfish Engines and Propulsion Systems 0 04-07-2011 06:52



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 16:09.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.