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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Pacific Seacraft > Fuel tank longevity
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Thread: Fuel tank longevity Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-30-2013 05:42 PM
niftynickers
Re: Fuel tank longevity

When you get your new alum. tank I suggest that you take the tank to a place that applies "Rhino coating" to truck beds and have them apply a coating to the bottom of the tank.The stuff is TOUGH and waterproof.

Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
04-30-2013 05:07 PM
Maine Sail
Re: Fuel tank longevity

Just an update of "fuel tank longevity". This morning I pulled a .090 walled factory aluminum tank out of a Sabre 34 MKI that was manufactured in 8 of 1983. The tank was properly installed, kept dry and "isolated" from copper fuel fittings.

The owner was concerned due to the age of the tank and wanted it pulled and replaced. After getting it home and cleaning it up the tank looks about as good as the day it was installed. After a couple gallons of Acetone to clean the interior the tank looks like brand new inside and out. I can't find a single sign of corrosion anywhere and I was in there with my scope camera for about 30 minutes.. One of the threaded tank fittings was leaking so I R&R'd all of them and put fresh clean pipe dope on. I will install a new WEMA sending unit and re-install the tank for what may be another 30 years..

Properly installed aluminum tanks, even thin ones (.090), can last a loooooooong time..
04-29-2013 06:01 PM
34crealock
Re: Fuel tank longevity

Plan B. After cleaning the scuzzy goo off of the bottom of the tank I found several corroded spots including a deep 3/4 of the way through the alloy corroded spot about 1/4 by 2 inches in the lowest part of the aft end of the tank. I guess I dodged a bullet. Thanks to our discussion my checking the tank saved me a bilge full of fuel halfway to Bermuda. Front Street Shipyard is welding me a new,thicker tank and we are coating it with zinc chromate. It will be about $1100.
04-28-2013 09:37 AM
34crealock
Re: Fuel tank longevity

After reading the above comments I decided to yank out my fuel tank for two reasons, to see how much it holds and check for corrosion. ( PC 34 # 286, almost 20 years old)the tank holds 32 gallons and had minor corrosion behind the screws that secure the tabs to the hull. The bottom and sides of the tank had a gray sort of non skid coating of some kind which was peeling on the bottom of the tank. The bare parts were stained by bilge but not corroded. The hull already had a half pipe insert to keep the tank from sagging onto the keel bolts. I plan to get it pellet blasted and coated with truck bed liner. The tank was very easy to remove and lug out of the boat.
04-22-2013 04:35 PM
BirdBrain333
Re: Fuel tank longevity

Dear Bob,

A bit late but .... you asked about PVC tanks and all I can say is DON'T!!! The tank on our 1986 PSC 37 was original but weeping slightly and obviously ready to let go. We had a plastic tank "welded" so we'd never have to worry about it again. WRONG. Two years later it sprang leaks in 11 different locations, some from poorly welded seams and some from cracks near corners and other stressed areas.

We just hauled the tank out and got a new one from Pacific Seacraft. It was a perfect fit and about the easiest job I've ever done on a boat (except for cleaning up the bilges, that is).

Jay, enjoying the lack of diesel smell!!!!

PSC #171, Kenlanu currently in Oriental, NC
04-12-2013 06:35 PM
niftynickers
Re: Fuel tank longevity

I've seen that inspection camera at Costco-thought it would be great for do-it-yourself colonoscopy. Just a thought.
Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers
04-12-2013 01:59 PM
BMLipiec
Re: Fuel tank longevity

There is another option for emptying your tank, if you have an electric fuel pump installed. I disconnected the fuel supply line at the mechanical lift pump and added a three foot piece of hose with a double hose barb, which allowed me enough hose to stick into a fuel can. Then you just need to run your electric pump to pump it dry (I pulled the instrument panel audible alarm wire temporarily in order to mute the oil pressure alarm). Most of the Walbro type pumps, pump at around 20 gals/hour, so it isn't fast, but it is easy and effective. The biggest advantage to this is that you are running your fuel through your Racor filter and polishing it in the process. This will also give you an indication of how dirty your fuel is/was by checking your filter afterwards.
04-12-2013 11:38 AM
AlLorman
Re: Fuel tank longevity

When I looked into the cost of a new aluminum tank for my 31 last year, the prices ranged from about $500 (from the guy who built the original tanks in CA) to about $1,200 in Annapolis.

As to emptying the tank, I found that a cheap pump designed to pump kerosene did the job just fine for about $20. Battery Operated Pump Kerosene Gas w Auotostop Buzzer | eBay

Al Lorman
04-11-2013 09:31 PM
whimbrel
Re: Fuel tank longevity

Hi Folks,

The PSC 37 tank Bob mentioned is mine (1998) and it was luckily leaking when the boat was on the hard. However, it came as a surprise since when I purchased it 2 years ago the tank had already been leaking and repaired & I figured this would have been adequate.

Mainsail is right about the "production shavings" but in my case it was the saw dust and left over construction materials that were found under the tank in the bilge that kept it damp from below that contributed to the corrosion. I also wonder about boats laid up for the winter with water in the bilge some of which is salt water from the anchor. Sitting for months like this could also contribute to the corrosion. The tank sits on glassed in, half round, pvc pipe covering the keel bolts. You will have to remove the tank to find out about the corrosion since looking at it from above, it looks great.

The repair that was done did not include a primer of any kind and the corrosion was worse in this repair area and near the welds but then it is the lowest area of the tank and most subject to corrosion from the bilge water. Photos are attached.

A new tank from Pacific Seacraft is $1,950 plus shipping. The good news is that they are easy to remove and re-install. Cleaning up the diesel mess and pumping it out was much worse given my lack of experience in doing this. Don't bother trying a siphon.


Curtis Smith
s/v Cilantro
Tubac, AZ
04-11-2013 05:39 PM
svjobeth
Re: Fuel tank longevity

With the inspection plate off, it's easy to use a handheld or point & shoot type camera to get pictures of the internal tank sections, as Al mentioned. For the external undersides, I use a scope or snake type camera. The one I have is from Costco, and shoots still images and video. It costs around $100 and extends to 3' and is extendable to 6'. It's also water resistant to 9' or so, if memory serves. They can also be found at stores like Home Depot, Lowes, AutoZone, etc. It's proven to be very handy on the boat.
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