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Old 13-09-2005, 08:10   #1
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Cleaning a fuel tank

I have an older boat "77" which I need to clean out the fuel tank which is in the Keel. I do not have any kind of a drain plug so I can't drain it. I plan on sucking all the current fuel out which is not a problem. I do have about a 1ft x 1ft access panel on the top of the tank. I would like to really clean this baby out before I fill it with new fuel. I have read Don Casey's info and Nigel Calder's info on fuel tanks and all they say is clean it out but don't give any specifics on the correct way to do this. Any advice?

Gord May - this is up your alley, do you have any information for me?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 13-09-2005, 08:27   #2
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When I cleaned my tank out. The old timer in the boat yard had me first an air hose in overnight to stir up all the crap in the tank before I sucked it all out. I then partially filed it and repeated the process. It only took two times and all the crap came out.

Good Luck!

Matt Hager
sv Vagans
Matt Hager
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Old 13-09-2005, 08:46   #3
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Thanks - that sure is simple which I really like.
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Old 13-09-2005, 08:49   #4
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I just pumped out the fuel, then scooped out the muck with a spoon, then used paper towels and Windex to clean and polish the inside if the tank.
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Old 13-09-2005, 09:25   #5
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I did much the same as CYSman. I felt better knowing what the tanks were like before I started cruising.
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Old 13-09-2005, 09:32   #6
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Best method is to reach in with a loooooong handled brush and scrape and knock loose all the crud that is attached to the walls and baffles. Getting behind the baffles can be a problem but what you do remove is benefit. A pressure washer is also of benefit but then you have a water removal/separation and disposal problem to deal with later. I simply knock the crap to the bottom and then swab the muck with paper towels, then burn them to dispose.
For the oil in the tank, I simply pump it to drums, do a coarse filtration to 30µM and burn it in my home heating oil burner.

I clean out regularly at 5 year intervals. I have an advanced polishing system onboard and still have to manually clean the tank.
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Old 13-09-2005, 11:20   #7
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I got a tank of bad fuel once ( by the way if you ever fuel up and they seem to be having problems with the pumps - go somewhere else fast!) . For nearly a year the engine would stutter, rev up etc. after a brisk sail. When I got home I emptied the tank with a small 12v pump, removed the tank and took it to a rad shop where they "steam cleaned" it. I don't think they really used steam but the aluminum tank came back spotless. It's certainly a lot easier if you can get the tank out of the boat.
Rick I
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fuel, fuel tank

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