Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-19-2012 Thread Starter
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Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin

I need some advice...recently, I bought a 1978 O'Day aft cabin with an inboard diesel (passed the surveys, both above and below the water with A-Ok's), that several weeks after, began to leak diesel into the bilge. I called in an engine guy to check it out, fearing the worst, he told me to relax, it was just some spillage from someone who changed the fuel filter, and everything was fine. Well, it was not. After poisoning myself quite a bit sleeping in the aft cabin, I had another guy look at it only to tell me the tank has a leak. So, for now, forget that the surveyor really blew it (I don't believe this is a new occurence), but now I am afraid that the engine person I was referred to by my marina might be giving me the "female" pricing, if you know what I mean. I am being quoted several thousand dollars to get the tank out, have it repaired or replaced, and reinstalled. Is this within the norm?? Seriously, I can take the tank to a guy I know to fix it, but should it really be that pricey just to get it out? There is a few gallons of diesel still in it, and it appears that you could either get it up through the starboard lazarette in the cockpit, or perhaps the engine door under the aft cabin stairs. I am located in Ventura, CA, too (just north of LA). I appreciate all your help or advice. I'm getting multiple estimates to try to minimize the potential for rip-off, but in all honesty, I am a good target because I have no idea, never had an inboard until now. Thank you all!

You can post on here or email me directly at drtaniadavidson@aol.com
Tania Davidson
S/V Carolyn (O'Day 32') Ventura Harbor

Tania Davidson

S/V "Asherah" O'Day 32' aft cabin
Ventura, CA

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the Sea"
Isak Dinesen

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin

It depends on how easily the tank can be disconnected and 'lifted out'... in some cases it may involve a lot of furniture/joinery removal and replacement.

It would probably be safest to commission a new tank rather than patch an old 'leaky' one.. you could well end up with another problem sooner rather than later. If that's the case you might empty the old tank and simply cut it up to remove it, and find a new tank that's an easier install.

However depending on the complexity of the job it doesn't take much to chew up a boat buck (aka $1K) or two once you call in a marine pro to do the work.


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post #3 of 7 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin

Tania Welcome to sailnet! I'm not familiar with your boat but it's really not a terribly difficult job. What resources do you have in the way of help and abilities of your own? Would be the least expensive way. If you heard the saying "measure twice cut once" that applies to tanks very well. When My tank was leaking It took about 2 hours once the replacement tank was in hand. Plastic Moller 19 gal. The OEM was 26 gal I believe. Moeller Marine Online - Permanent Tanks

whole job with free help cost me less then a 100 bucks. If you can take lots of photos with tape measure in view the online experts can offer suggestions. It's really not a high tech job and just about anyone that can handle a few tool and a jig saw can do it.

No you don't need a stainless steel tank. the aluminum lasted almost 30yrs. My choice is plastic.

Hope this helps!

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Last edited by deniseO30; 03-19-2012 at 07:01 PM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin

There's enough expertise here to advise on just about any project. Good questions with pics will surely get a bunch of solutions. The impossible may take a group effort but trust me, you can do it.

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post #5 of 7 Old 03-20-2012
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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).

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post #6 of 7 Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin

i wouldnt even want to know how much it would cost me to pull mine, it would mean the engine being yanked. so when i pull my engine to overhaul it soon, im just going to replace mine so i dont have to worry.
[moral of story] it really depends like said in earlier posts, lots of measurments, some pics and heck try it. worst comes to worse, u got half the job done and then have to call someone to chop stuff up cause it wont fit. dont be afraid to get ur hands dirty!!

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-20-2012
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Re: Westerbeke Diesel on O'Day 32' Aft Cabin

When it comes to boat repairs, we all get the "female" pricing.
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