Re: Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin
Changing a fuel tank is a bit of a grubby job, but not technically all that difficult. I changed the tank on my Cal 227 a few years ago without a huge amount of trouble. Measure the tank, including the fill spout, and make sure it will fit through either the seat hatch or the aft access. Then siphon as much of the fuel out of the tank as possible and dispose of the old fuel (preferably in a legal and environmentally sound fashion). You won't want to put nasty old fuel from a nasty old tank back into the new tank. Unhook all the hoses (fill, supply, return, and vent), unhook and gauge and ground wires, and unfasten whatever holds the tank in place. Then slip the tank out. If you have a metal tank with welded fill neck, you may have to cut the neck off to get the tank out. With a diesel tank you can just hacksaw it off (by hand, not with a power saw), but have a friend with a big fire extinguisher standing by, just in case. Now, since the tank has been leaking, you'll find diesel all over the place under where the tank used to be. Clean up all the diesel you can (one of those little cheap steam-cleaners helps), and repaint any wood surfaces with a good alkyd enamel paint.
When all that is done, find yourself a new translucent polyethylene tank from Moeller, Vetus, et cetera. I used a Vetus tank, but the important things are that it fits the spot available, and that it has the facility to fit a return diesel line (i.e., you don't want a tank that is only designed for gasoline). Also replace ALL the hoses that connect to the tank (unless they were brand spanking new), and their associated clamps. The permeability standards for marine fuel hoses have been upgraded the last few years, so even if the hoses look "OK", I would replace them. If you can peek at the tank by just opening a seat hatch, don't bother getting a new level gauge; you'll be able to see the fuel level through the plastic at a glance. When you install the tank, secure it per the manufacturer's instructions, run a grounding wire to the fill (or something electrically connected to the fill), and change all the filters. When everything is secured, tight, and grounded, fill the tank with nice clean diesel, prime the lift pump on the engine, and fire it up. Then have a nice tall glass of 10-year-old whiskey, and marvel at how easy the job actually was, and how it only cost you a few hundred bucks (OK, and a few skinned knuckles, but who's counting).
Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 03-20-2012 at 07:16 PM.