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Old 05-11-2016, 16:42   #1
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How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

Our first experience this year with a 1984 Pearson 34 had us using jug water because of the black flakes that kept coming out of the tap - all season long. It seemed no matter how many times we tried to purge the bladders, the flakes kept coming. Does anyone know how to clean the inside of Nautor rubber bladders?:
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Old 05-11-2016, 17:16   #2
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

Yep, pull them out and toss them in the bin. It worked for me.

Seriously, though, check and see if they have gone hard. Mine were hard as rocks and impossible to clean. Had to chop them into little pieces to pull them out. Probably around 15 to 20 years old when I removed them.
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Old 05-11-2016, 18:54   #3
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

Sounds like the inner lining has failed, so Matt is right: you'll probably be replacing them with polyethylene ones, which have the reputation of being reasonably priced and readily available in the US.

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Old 05-11-2016, 20:22   #4
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

He should be able to find a PE tank that'll fit his space. Ronco Plastics (no relation to the VegoMatic Ronco) is your best source. Ronco Plastics Marine Catalog They make TOP quality thick-walled water and waste tanks for a very reasonable price and has more than 400 shapes and sizes, over 100 of which are non-rectangular (which means you might even be able to fit a larger one in the same space), and they install fittings in the sizes and locations specified by the customer when they make the tank. They sell direct, btw...for lot less than retailers who carry their tanks. Be sure to specify "water" when you order.

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Old 06-11-2016, 09:41   #5
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

You can also order custom size/shaped PE tanks which are useful if you have a small space to fill and don't want to lose any of the tank capacity with a generic tank.

I think Ronco will do custom tanks but if not I found a couple of places that will.
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Old 06-11-2016, 11:57   #6
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

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You can also order custom size/shaped PE tanks which are useful if you have a small space to fill and don't want to lose any of the tank capacity with a generic tank. I think Ronco will do custom tanks but if not I found a couple of places that will.
Ronco makes rotomolded tanks. Very reasonably priced if the mold exists, but making a one-off custom mold is very expensive. If you can't find one that will fit the space among 400+ in the Ronco catalog, a top quality custom welded tank may be the only answer. Considerably more expensive than a "stock" rotomolded tank, but not nearly as a bad as custom rotomolded.

Triple M Plastics in Maine is your best source for custom welded.
Triple M Plastic Products Inc

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Old 06-11-2016, 12:19   #7
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Ronco makes rotomolded tanks. Very reasonably priced if the mold exists, but making a one-off custom mold is very expensive. If you can't find one that will fit the space among 400+ in the Ronco catalog, a top quality custom welded tank may be the only answer. Considerably more expensive than a "stock" rotomolded tank, but not nearly as a bad as custom rotomolded.

Triple M Plastics in Maine is your best source for custom welded.
Triple M Plastic Products Inc

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Hi Peg,

Triple M is where I got my custom tanks, welded PE. Definitely more money, about $300 and $350 as I recall for a 12 gal and a 20 gal tank but really had to fit an odd space. That also included custom size and location for fill, drain and vent fitting.
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Old 06-11-2016, 13:28   #8
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

Are you sure the tanks are PE and not PP (polypropylene)? 'Cuz unless specifically requested by the customer, Triple M uses PP.

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Old 06-11-2016, 15:01   #9
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

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Are you sure the tanks are PE and not PP (polypropylene)? 'Cuz unless specifically requested by the customer, Triple M uses PP.

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Well to be honest I was probably playing free and easy with the terminology. I forgot that there was someone on the thread that knows what's what.

All i know for certain is the tanks are polymerized monomer of either ethylene or propylene. Now that the subject has come up, is there a significant difference between PE and PP for a holding tank?
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Old 06-11-2016, 19:19   #10
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

I forgot that there was someone on the thread that knows what's what.

is there a significant difference between PE and PP for a holding tank?

Polypropylene is more rigid than polyethylene, is much easier to cut, and can be nitrogen welded, which results in a much stronger weld.

Before you ask. "so why aren't all water and holding tanks PP?" Rotomolding one or even 100 PE tanks requires minimal labor to produce top quality tanks. But PP can't be rotomolded. Every individual PP tank requires cutting and welding sheets of material, which is highly labor intensive. PE can be cut and welded, but it's harder to cut and must be heat welded, which makes it even more labor intensive--an therefore even more expensive--than cutting and welding PP.

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Old 10-11-2016, 10:49   #11
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

Thanks for all the good info and helpful advise. I'll see what will fit easily into the spaces for my two rubber bladders. Both sit on the curve of the hull, so getting the shape right my be tricky.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:58   #12
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Re: How do I clean rubber bladder tanks?

When you go through the Ronco catalog, keep in mind that you can orient the drawings any direction...'cuz there is no top or bottom till the fittings go in, and you decided where to put 'em. So feel free to rotate 90 or even 180, flip end-for-end and rotate again...and I suspect you'll find a close fit.
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