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  #1  
Old 02-23-2011
Lou Ann
 
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Crealock 34 - Fuel tank

Greetings everyone,

Sorry to start a new thread but I was not able to access the archive.

I have owned a 1987, # 68 for the past five years and would like advise on cleaning the tank and suggestions about possible replacement.

The tank is not leaking but I am sure it could use a good cleaning.

On top of the tank near the fuel inlet there is an inspection plate which also has the fuel gauge in the center.

Questions:

1. For those that have done this before, by removing the plate does this allow for proper access for inspection and cleaning?

2. When I replace the plate, which type of sealant should I use?

3. If I decide to replace the tank, are instructions available for this process?

4. The current tank is aluminum, is this the best choice for replacement? I have seen where PSC offered a fiberglass option at one time.

5. The boat is located near Destin, FL ... Sources for a new tank? or Should I contact Thumper at PSC?

6. Other thoughts/suggestions?
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Old 02-23-2011
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When we bought Irish Eyes in 2004 the surveyor suggested that the fuel tank be cleaned. I did it. It is not hard, but don’t expect to do a perfect job. To start off lay your hands on enough empty 5 gal jugs to hold the fuel that is in the tank, a few rolls of paper towels, a bushel of rags, a plastic netting type kitchen scrubbing pad, a wooden stick about a yard long, a plastic putty knife, a couple of trash bags, few feet of fuel hose, some paint thinner, a tube of Permatex Type 1 (Hardening) Sealant from an auto supply store, a small mirror, a flash light, some duct tape, clothes you don’t want to keep, and some way of cleaning up before you get in your car to go home.

Disconnect the fuel line after the Racor filter and after the electric fuel pump. Attach the length of fuel hose and put one end in a 5 gal jug. Tape one wadded up rag over the alarm horn with the duct tape. Turn the key on and begin pumping the tank empty filling the jugs one after another. When the tank is empty; stop. Remove the hose and reconnect the original fuel hose. Take the rag off the horn.

Clean off the top of the tank around the inspection plate. Scratch match marks on the plate and on the tank top so you can put the plate back with the right orientation. You might also want to scratch a line around the edges of the plate. Carefully pry off the plate and clean up the tank top and the plate bottom being careful not to bend the level gauge float wire.

Now, dig in. All that residual fuel and black junk on the tank bottom has to come out. The putty knife, rags, paper towels, and kitchen scrubber, will be your tools. The stick and duct tape will make your arm longer and let you get to the far corners. The paint thinner will help get up some of the more stubborn bits. A baffle will keep you from getting to the whole tank, but you will lose interest rapidly anyway. Try to keep the mess to a minimum putting the dirty rags and paper towels in the trash bags as soon as they come out of the tank.

When the tank reaches your personal cleanliness target, do like a surgeon and be sure you left nothing behind. Clean the tank top around the opening and the bottom of the inspection plate with paint thinner. Wipe it off and let it dry. Put a thin wide bead of the Permatex on the top of the tank just inside the screw holes with a circle around each screw hole. Don’t go overboard. You don’t want the stuff to ooze out into the tank when you put the plate back over the hole. Give it a couple of minutes to partially dry. Without messing up the level gauge, install the inspection plate. Put a little Permatex on each screw and tighten them up, round and round, a little at a time. Go and clean up. Give it a day. Go home. Have a drink. Figure out some responsible way to get rid of the filled trash bags.

Now it’s time to refill the tank. You may want to calibrate the level gauge now either by refilling the whole tank 5 gal at a time from jugs, or by later really irritating the boy at the fuel dock by having him fill your fuel tank 5 gal at a time. Fill the tank completely to check for leaks at the inspection plate. It might also be a good time to change the Racor and maybe to drop its plastic bowl and wipe it out. Bleed the fuel system before you start the engine.

Good luck.

Bill Murdoch
1988 PSC 34
Irish Eyes
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Old 02-24-2011
Lou Ann
 
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Hi Bill and thanks so much for taking the time to explain the process.

Does your fuel gauge work properly?

Mine seems to be stuck as there are approximately 10 gallons in the tank and the gauge shows 3/4 full. Is this a mechanical float type gauge?
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Old 02-24-2011
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Mine is mechanical -- cork float on the end of a lever arm wire. The gauge itself is labeled "Rochester Gauges Inc. of Texas, Dallas, USA" "Dial No 5-1834". It is different from others I have seen in that it is non-linear. That is the spaces between the quarter marks gets bigger at the empty end and smaller at the full end. The gauge functions fine; empty is empty, there are about 8 gal between quarter marks, and a couple of gallons will go into the tank past full.

Bill Murdoch
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Old 02-24-2011
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That's one of the chores on my bucket list to do one day! Thanks Bill for the detailed instructions. One other consideration that I believe is important is trying to keep the bilge dry to prevent salt water contact with the aluminum tank. I am somewhat obsessed about this and do whatever it takes to keep water out.

The tank in our 1990 34 is original and still appears to be in good shape. I had to re-caulk the seal around the inspection port as it was weeping fuel when filled and underway. The permatex sealant mentioned above does the trick.

One other method to remove fuel from the tank would be to close the fuel shut off at the tank end and pump the fuel out with a separate fuel pump fitted with a filter system. That way you won't have as much trouble bleeding the system when you re-fill it. I typically close this valve when changing Racor filters and it prevents the fuel line from emptying back into the tank.

John S
PSC 34 #201
Norstar
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Old 02-24-2011
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While we're on the subject of fuel tanks, I have a question about the fuel pickup fitting at the tank. The fitting on mine threads into the tank and inside the tank is connected to some kind of plastic hose. There is no clamp on the hose to fitting connection, because a clamp wouldn't fit through the hole where it threads into the tank. I am concerned that this connection may be sucking a little air when the fuel gets low. Does anyone know how this connection is supposed to be made and what the material of the fuel pickup hose is?
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Old 02-24-2011
Lou Ann
 
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Hi John,

I will check the pick up when I decide to clean the tank. Thanks for question.
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Old 02-25-2011
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Pull the tank

Another option is to remove the two floor boards and pull the tank out. Seems like it would be easier to work on the tank in your garage on a work bench. That would give you good access to all sides and also give you the opportunity to inspect it better.
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Old 02-25-2011
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In my memory the fuel pickup tube inside my tank is metal. It comes very close to the bottom of the tank. Touching in places; too close to really suit me. It might be a spot where junk could plug the system up. Next time I open the tank up I'll trim it, knotch the end, force an aluminum wedge under it, or if it is threaded at the top, back it up a turn.

Bill Murdoch
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Old 02-25-2011
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This is a great discussion, thanks for starting it. On the PSC 37 the fuel tank has a baffle such that removing the plate holding the fuel gauge gets you into only the aft portion of the tank -- no way to clean the forward half. How would one go about installing an inspection plate in the forward portion of the tank.

I agree that taking the tank out after emptying it will make everything MUCH easier. I highly recommend it plus it allows you to clean and paint the bilge.

I replaced our tank with a new one of welded Polypropylene. When filling the tank I filled from 5 gallon jugs and marked the fuel gauge every 5 gals with magic marker. This is proved to be invaluable 'cause "1/2" on the gauge was WAY off and 1/4 was even further off.

Good luck with the project, Jay

PSC 37, Kenlanu sitting under yet another 10" of snow!
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