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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Cleaning a fuel tank
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Thread: Cleaning a fuel tank Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-28-2013 07:34 PM
katsailor
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Nice!


But at $171 each (and I need three) that's a bit rich for my blood! My local stainless shop quoted me $50 each for 3 custom covers, but I cheaped out and went for $10 plastic ones.... Not shiny, but they do keep the diesel in the tank and the dust out of it.

MedSailor
With my luck, I would find out the plastic ones are interacting with my diesel fuel at an extremely inappropriate time, $50/ea would be palatable instead of wishing I had not cheaped out when at sea.
03-28-2013 06:55 AM
ambianceack
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I agree with you about the cost of the access plate but the cost of doing something twice is just as much since time, in my opininon, is more expensive. Moreover, once my tank is back in place I do not have easy access to readily check on the integrity of a home made cover, especially if there is a potential fuel leak.
03-28-2013 12:37 AM
MedSailor
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambianceack View Post
About four years ago I installed an 8-inch inspection port into the top of my 20 gallon aluminum tank. I purchased it at Seabuilt - Access Plate Systems
Nice!


But at $171 each (and I need three) that's a bit rich for my blood! My local stainless shop quoted me $50 each for 3 custom covers, but I cheaped out and went for $10 plastic ones.... Not shiny, but they do keep the diesel in the tank and the dust out of it.

MedSailor
03-27-2013 03:18 PM
rbyham
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I just went through this asw ell. Ultimately a new tank from Moeller was within $20 of clean out fee. So I trashed the old and went new thinking the new tank would also be ethanol tolerant. I did have to modify tanks beds but not much. New tank, lines, filters and carb rebuild have my atomic 4 purring with no worries about residual tank gunk.
03-27-2013 02:43 PM
sd1953
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Round covers (think of the heavy manhole covers in the street) cannot fall into the sewer system. Or in this case, a round inspection port cover cannot fall into the fuel tank. Any other shape CAN fall in and then get lost under the tank contents.
I just had my tank cleaned by the boat yard (using a high pressure polishing system). The OP should ask the yard where gets other work done, or a yard attached to his marina. The polishing system is generally just several LARGE racor type filters in parallel with a pump and hoses to allow them to pump the contents out of your tank, filter them and then pump the fuel back in. If you pump it back in under pressure you can use the high pressure spray to wash down the inside of the tank.
03-27-2013 02:05 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
Is there any reason why the majority of the inspection ports are round? I am going to add a port to my tank top. The top is rectangular and it would be easier for me to fabricate a rectangular hole and plate than a circular one.
I've seen them all shapes & sizes. Oval ports seem quite popular on tanks. I'd make sure that any "square" corners were rounded somewhat to avoid creating stress risers that could propagate cracks. Drilling holes at each corner prior to starting the straight cuts is all that is needed.
03-27-2013 01:56 PM
Captainmeme
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Is there any reason why the majority of the inspection ports are round? I am going to add a port to my tank top. The top is rectangular and it would be easier for me to fabricate a rectangular hole and plate than a circular one.
03-27-2013 12:36 PM
copacabana
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Use clean fuel from a known source and add a biocide to keep the gunk from growing again.
03-27-2013 11:24 AM
jimgo
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

OK, I understand how to clean it, but how do you keep the gunk from coming back?
03-26-2013 12:58 PM
copacabana
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I think Medsailor has hit the nail on the head. The only way to really clean your tank is manually and that requires a big inspection port or two so you can get in with a brush and rags. As my tank is integral to the hull I can't remove it for cleaning. I have a big inspection port (I can get my head inside!) and I can reach every corner of the 280 liter tank. I clean mine the following way: (1) remove and dispose of old fuel in tank. (2) remove any solids with hands and paper towels. (3) Add some kerosene and go at it with a scrubbing brush. (4) wipe out the tank with lint-free rags and refill with new fuel. Like Med Sailor, my tank is still squeaky-clean after 3 years and my Racor filters never have any water or sediment in them. I think the investment in inspection ports is really worth it.
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