Hallberg Rassy Rasmus Fuel Tank Leakage - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-10-2009 Thread Starter
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Hallberg Rassy Rasmus Fuel Tank Leakage

I am looking at a '73 Hallberg Rassy 35 Rasmus in fairly good condition. Fuel tanks for both the Monsun 31 and Rasmus 35 are fiber glass, built into and integral with the keel instead of a metal fuel tank. A '73 Monsun new owner reported water intrusion into the fuel tank through deteriorating laminate, resulting in expensive hull repair. This condition was not detected in the purchasing survey. The new Monsum owner also reported seeing fuel leakage through the hull from a hauled Rasmus. Is this a common problem with the older Hallberg Rassy Monsun 31 and Rasmus 35? I have not read any report from Rasmus owners of this problem. Is it a legitimate concern?
DT
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-14-2009
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Maybe. I am in the middle of a complete renew on a HR rasmus. My Rasmus actually has the same problem, a leaky fuel tank on bottom edge of keel. This boat's problem looks like it had occurred from a bounce on a rock while underway or not being supported correctly while on the dry. My evidence was spider web cracks in the gel coat radiating from the area of leakage. Also, the Rasmus is built by joining two halves together. This leaves a seam down the keel. This seam is filled and faired using some type of grey epoxy putty. In my mind, this seam could be a potential area of water intrusion and thus, laminate decomposition. and in examining my boat, this is the case. There is substantial laminate decomposition along this seam in several areas along this seam on my boat. I plan on grinding and relaminating with epoxy and glass along the entire seam. There was an area of complete decompostion of about 12 inches by 12 inches at the point of the cracks that will have to be ground completely out and relaminated. One of the problems with the Rasmus's construction in my opinion is that Hallberg Rassy filled the space between the fuel tank and hull with about 1 inch thickness of very hard and what seems to be brittle and inflexible aggregate similar to concrete. This may contribute to holing of some of these tanks when the bottom is impacted. My fuel tank actually has some of its interior baffles separated from the tanks sides due to an impact. It is all fixable, but it will take some work. In summary, I don't think it is due to "bad" construction. However, I do think this type of construction is intolerant of hard knocks coming from under the keel. Don't get me wrong, I love the boat, simple and strong.

Last edited by lizardheadone; 11-22-2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Follow up: I have been cruising for 6 months with the repaired fuel tank. The epoxy/glass rebuild seems to be holding up ju
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-14-2009
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Hard to say what a 36 year old HR has been through. I don't own one but would probably eliminate the tank by cutting out, repair any damage with epoxy and glass and replace with a good metal tank - stainless steel preferably. If the tank has had diesel in it for that long I don't think that you'll ever get epoxy to stick to it for just a repair.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-15-2009
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My 70s era HR 41 had fuel tank leakage from the in hull penetrations. The water got into the fuel tank, went to the bottom and pushed the fuel to the bilge which the bilge pumps happily pumped overboard. Big problem.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-22-2009
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Hmmm...I've had my Rasmus (also a 73, #170) about 11 yrs and this is the first time I've ever heard of the problem, and here it is twice. I suspect the boat had a really hard knock or even drop. I did have a problem when I thought it would be great to mount a 2nd bilge pump in the sump, dumbly drilling a hole in the aft section of the sump, thus inviting whatever was in the tank into the bilge, and worse yet, vice versa. If you're thinking about putting in a steel tank, I'm sure you've noted the fairly major surgery that would entail.
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-23-2009
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"I suspect the boat had a really hard knock or even drop" Yes, I agree with AnzoNevis that it took quite a hit to damage the fuel tank. I don't think this is a common problem, at least I haven't read that it is in all my internet searching. My Rasmus was a project boat that looked like it may possibly had seen a storm near shore.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-25-2010
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This is the first time I have heard about this problem. It sounds to me like a problem of a particular boat due to damage and insufficient repair.

In our HR41, we did have a 1 inch spot where the gelcoat was missing inside the tank. Looked as if somebody dropped a tool and chipped the coat. It was easily fixed.
There is no way I would try to fit a steel tank inside the fiber glass tank.

Waltthesalt, what are the "in hull penetrations" you refer to?
The only penetrations of the fuel tank I have ever seen on both the Rasmus and HR41 are the ones in the manhole cover. If you have other penetrations, I am convinced they have been fitted afterwards.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-09-2010
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I have owned a 1974 31' HR Monsun for the last 3 years.

No problems with integral fuel tank.

Have met many other HR owners and this is the first incidence of a problem with fuel tanks. As other posts have indicated it's likely not a universal problem.
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-09-2010
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Here's something I only found out recently. Biodiesel should not be used by anyone with an integral (or other) fiberglass fuel tank as it eats the resin and destroys the tank. Resins have been developed only in the last few years for producing tanks for biodiesel. This information comes from Steve D'Antonio, a regular contributor to Professional Boatbuilder and is very reliable.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-10-2010
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Hey guys,

Thanks for this thread, as I will be looking at a '74 Rasmus (35') this week, and so learning a little about the boat in advance is far better than knowing nothing. Any "heads up" you care to offer will be much appreciated. One thing I do wonder about is that it has a wood mast and boom which I assume are original. Also, it will need extensive engine work; a rebuild at least. My purpose in buying this boat or any other is to spend a year or more cruising the south Pacific and perhaps as far as Thailand from California. All things being equal, would a Rasmus 35' qualify for this type of voyaging?

Thanks for reading.

OS
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