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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Replacing my fuel tank this Spring, and need your sage advice.
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Thread: Replacing my fuel tank this Spring, and need your sage advice. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-04-2008 08:39 PM
Capnblu Look up KBS coatings. I have used their system before, and am in the process of repairing my own fuel tanks now. As for the removal of your tank, drain it out as best you can, and lift it out, they are not that heavy, or that big. I picked up an in-line fuel pump at the wrecker, and used it with a long hose into a 55 gal. barrel. Both my tanks filled 2 barrels.
06-04-2008 08:03 PM
Rockter It is EXTREMELY difficult to rid a tank of gasoline, even if you flood it with water in the hope of it floating to the top. It will not rid the tank of all of it. I really don't have an answer and it will just kill you if the conditions are right for combustion. Perhaps you can flood it with CO2, maybe by dropping big lumps of dry ice in there, and plenty of it? Is CO2 denser than gasoline vapour? I know not. It would need to be for that idea to work.
Pls be careful, in Egypt a while back, three men were killed instantly welding an oil rig mud pit with diesel fumes in there. Yes, my friend diesel can turn nasty too, it seems.
06-04-2008 07:58 PM
Rockter Someone advised cutting a big hole in the hull to get the tank out?

A joke in the pub', when everyone is drunk?

Insanity.
06-04-2008 06:06 PM
timday5 I just cut my aluminum tank out of my boat and didn't blow up. The tank was too large to pull out through the lazerette hatch.

I used a special hand saw ($10) I bought at Lowes that allows you to use sawzall blades. Used a 14 Tooth Per Inch sawzall blade. If I had to do this again, I would have used a longer blade (more efficient cutting, ie, less back and forth).

First, I had to cut away the fiberglass from the aluminum tabs that held the tank in.

Second, I had to make three long cuts (18 - 20") in order to cut a corner of the tank off (it was an odd shape) in order to get the tank down to a size that could be pulled through the hatch. It took an afternoon.

If you do fill the tank with water, remember that legally (I'm pretty sure) you have to dispose of the water as hazmat (like the gas). I would not want to risk my life using a sawzall, even after rinsing the tank out with water. I just don't know enough about how to make sure all the fumes are gone prior to using a heat and spark generating device on the tank.
03-09-2008 07:58 PM
sailingdog Dawn or any good detergent or alcohol will act as an emulsifier and allow the gasoline to mix with the water.

If in doubt, get some dry ice and drop it in the tank and let it sublimate. It will force most of the oxygen out of the tank... and reduce the risk of explosion. However, try not to use too much Dry Ice since the CO2 concentration in the boat might go up and put you at risk too.
03-09-2008 06:56 PM
craigtoo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
I don't think this is a good idea. When I was 17, I had a leaking gas tank. I removed it from my car, drain it and rinsed it out with water at least 15 times. I planned on welding the hole in the tank. I touched the torch to the tank and I launched it at least 50 feet in the air. It crashed on the road crushing part of it. I ended up doing to the junk yard and getting one for $5.
Well...that does it for me.

Based on the testimonial above....I wouldn't cut the tank. Gasoline is just too dangerous.
03-09-2008 06:39 PM
Freesail99 I don't think this is a good idea. When I was 17, I had a leaking gas tank. I removed it from my car, drain it and rinsed it out with water at least 15 times. I planned on welding the hole in the tank. I touched the torch to the tank and I launched it at least 50 feet in the air. It crashed on the road crushing part of it. I ended up doing to the junk yard and getting one for $5.
03-09-2008 06:37 PM
sailingfool I would expect that a plastic tank would not pass a survey, even if you properly secure and vent it...have we ever seen a internal plastic tank in a new boat...not that I know of. Maybe our resident surveyor can comment.

If my suspicion is correct, you are likely to find that you end up spending the money to properly install a new alu trank when the next buyer can't get financing or insurance on your boat...you may have trouble with your insurance.

Gasoline is dangerous, probably not an area for the handyman to have a learning experience.

just my opinion.
03-09-2008 06:24 PM
craigtoo Disclaimer.. I've never done what you're about to do.

I'm not aware of anything that can "neutralize" gas.

That being said.... repeated rinsing with Dawn would probably be a good idea.

If you're using a sawzall etc. there will be sparks. Make sure that you've rinsed several times and allowed any and all fumes to vent before starting this. Nothing worse than a fire in a confined space. Be very... very .... very careful.

Vent Vent Vent.
Rinse Rinse Rinse.

Maybe even rinse to overflow a few times. Capture what flows over as it may have gasoline in it.

Have fire extinguisher handy.
Don't work alone.

Think Safety.

craig
03-09-2008 01:47 PM
ChicagoNewport27 Good advice guys. Thanks! After pumping out all the gas, it does sound like a good idea to refill the tank with water to get any remaining fuel out.

Should I fill the tank with water that has some kind of soap mixture added to it (I'm thinking good ol Dawn), or other additive to neutralize whatever gas remains?
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