$*&% fuel tank leaking should I just toss it? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-22-2009
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$*&% fuel tank leaking should I just toss it?

My fuel tank has something against me. Had a bunch of algae in my tank which stopped my engines last month. So I installed an inspection port ($130) + new pickup ($30) into this freaking tank Sunday, followed that by spending 2 days in the locker cleaning it and all my fuel hoses out. Everything was looking great, hooked it back up yesterday, filled her full of clean gas-station diesel + biobor +startron. Look this morning AND THE THING IS LEAKING now through I guess a weld or a pinhole leak on the bottom I can't see any cracks but drip is there. Like 2 drips a minute ... for now.

This is a 30 year old 20 gallon aluminum tank. Of course I cannot remove (or install a new tank of same size) unless I remove the engine. I'm thinking about either trying to JBWELD the darn thing (would this work for long?), or cutting it into pieces (which at this point I would enjoy) and just installing a new tank small enough to fit into the locker (about 12 gallons). Would suck to lose capacity but what can you do.

Any suggestions?
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Last edited by FishFinder; 07-22-2009 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 07-22-2009
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how about emptying the tank and brushing in a tank sealer

a google search for aluminum diesel tank sealer turned up these

one here

here is another
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Old 07-22-2009
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Hmm thats not bad. Going to take a while to pump out the fuel, dunno where I'm going to put it in the meantime but looks promising.
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Old 07-22-2009
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Repairing a leaking tank is like putting a band aid on a broken bone. Replace it. That tank has lasted three times as long as the average aluminum tank. It will just develop more pin holes. The consequences aren't worth the money you think you are saving by repairing the tank. Get another one and amprtize the cost over the next thirty years.
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Old 07-22-2009
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I have used this for 40 years on motorcycles.

The big problem is getting the tank clean.

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Old 07-23-2009
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here is a trick to get it some what clean before a good rinse, and you probably have most of the parts.

first get all the fuel out of the tank then

get a propane deep fat fryer like this one then drill a whole about 6 inches from the top for a 1 inch or bigger thru hull. then run a over flow line to the tank from the fitting. then drop a small bilge pump in the tank and run it to the fryer. fill the tank with water and some simple green, then top off the fryer. lite the fryer and turn on the bilge pump. the simple green solution will get cycled from the tank to the fryer and get heated. you can also throw in some oil diapers into the tank to pick up the diesel that floats up. you might need to watch the levels and cycle the bilge pump to keep the levels right. if you want to get real tricky put a down pipe on the thru hull fitting to pick up the water from the fryer down closer to the bottom so when the oil starts collecting in the fryer it wont get cycled

edit use the cheapest pump you can find it might not last due to heat, but if you let it get to 150 to 160 the pump should be okay, and still useable as a back up

if you do this i would bet the tank gets almost squeaky clean and should just need a wipe down

Last edited by scottyt; 07-23-2009 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 07-23-2009
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I agree with Peter. I think 30+ years is pretty good for an aluminum tank. Best to replace it and not worry for another 30 years (or more if done in stainless). First time I've heard of using a deep fryer to clean a tank though.
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Old 07-23-2009
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brian why would it not work, the portable tank cleaning machines i have seen are not much more but they use electric to heat the water. and the ones i have seen are used to clean large oil tanks
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double post

Last edited by scottyt; 07-23-2009 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 07-23-2009
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Why wouldn't what work? The deep fryer? It probably will work. So you end up with a clean 30 year old pitted, pinholed aluminum tank. That's just the beginning. The repair might last a few years. Then again it might not. Best to replace the tank with one you don't have to worry about for many years to come.
Brian
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