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Old 03-09-2008
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Replacing my fuel tank this Spring, and need your sage advice.

I'm going to be pulling the old leaking [gasoline] fuel tank from my Newport 27, and will be replacing it with a new tank. The new tank will just be an off-the-shelf tempo marine polyethylene tank, probably. I've yet to decide on the size and shape of the new tank, as that'll really depend on what size and shape will fit through the lazarette hatch.

I've been searching here on Sailnet, and elsewhere, for advise on how to drain, remove, and replace fuel tanks. So, first off, any advice you can offer would be much appreciated.
  1. Whats the easiest (and safest) way to remove nearly 20 gallons of three year-old unleaded gasoline from a leaky aluminum tank?
  2. What is the easiest way to remove the old tank, especially when it is likely too large to be hoisted through the lazarette hatch?
  3. If I need to cut up the tank, how do I ensure all the gasoline is out of it first (it has no inspection ports)? What is a good tool to cut up an aluminum tank (I couldnt begin to guess how thick it is)?
  4. Will I need an engine hoist or some kind of tackle attached to the boom to pull the tank (I'm imagining its pretty heavy, even when empty)
  5. What size tank (or tanks, plural) should I consider to buy to replace my 25 gallon aluminum tank? I feel 25 gallons is overkill for a 27' ft coastal cruiser that is used only on the occasional weekend or overnight trip on Lake Michigan. The engine is an Atomic 4, and has to-date only been used when motoring in and out of the harbor.
  6. I also feel that aluminum is overkill, but feel free to set me straight. Is it false economy to buy a plastic tank to replace an aluminum tank?
  7. Should I buy two smaller tanks to replace the one large tank, and if so, how do I plumb them together? Some kind of tank selector valve? That way I could have a small day-use tank, and a bigger tank in case I want to pack extra fuel for a longer trip.
  8. What am I forgetting?
  9. Have any of you seen any websites or sailing blogs with step-by-step pictures of fuel tank replacements? A picture is worth a thousand words.
Also...

While doing a Google search on the subject, I came across these guys who advocate removing old fuel tanks in a much different manner; instead of pulling the old tank out topside (through hatches, etc), they just cut the hull around the tank, drop the plug including the tank, replace the tank atop the plug, reinsert the plug, then glass it all back together again. Whoa!

LINK

What do you guys think about that method?!

Thanks in advance!
- Ken

Last edited by ChicagoNewport27; 03-09-2008 at 06:58 AM.
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