Need a new fuel tank - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 27 Old 08-30-2011 Thread Starter
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I've already removed all the fuel. (There's a great $15 battery operated pump that can handle diesel.) I plan to stick a digital camera in and take lots of photos of the areas I can't see directly.
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post #12 of 27 Old 08-31-2011
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Al,

Since the dirty work's already done and the tank's out, I'd probably take it around to welding shops to at least get a few estimates on what a welded patch would run you. You may find that it'll be comparable to the cost of epoxy supplies, and in the long run will be the more satisfactory solution. If it turns out to be appreciably more expensive, then you'll know for sure and will only be out the cost of a few gallons of gas and some drive time.
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post #13 of 27 Old 08-31-2011 Thread Starter
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I totally agree. That's my plan, actually.
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post #14 of 27 Old 09-01-2011
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All good advice, the other thing I would do, with tank out, would be a hammer test.
Same as you see the surveyorS do. Small ball pien hammer, tap all over the tank listening for the sound of thin/ aft metal spots. Or another 3/4 hole may appear.
Best to know now.

I wonder if we could have account of the number of owners and the age of their boats when they first had tank problems? I assume most of us that have not yet gone thru this, are about to!
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post #15 of 27 Old 09-01-2011
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I had the same problem (corrosion) on the aft end of the tank on our 37. Our hole, however, was much smaller, 1/16" or so. As we were (are) broke, and it was winter and were using the tank for our Espar, we pulled it, peened and cleaned it, filled the hole from the inside with the "fuel" version of plumber's putty, then applied two tubes worth of JB Weld to the outside. Been fine for eight months, I'd expect to get a year or two out of it.

As you mentioned, that probably wouldn't work with a large hole, but it should not be a problem for a competent welder/tank shop to put a new bottom plate in.

There's alot of debate about aluminum vs. fiberglass tanks and corrosion. My personal opine is that a properly coated aluminum tank is fine. Key being properly. If you can find a super hard and durable epoxy like coal tar epoxy, that will give good protection in the bilge area and is very resistant to chipping, rubbing, scratches during install, etc., which is what causes most of the coated aluminum tanks to develop a local corrosion cell.

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S/V ARGO - Pacific Seacraft 37 Hull No. 309
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post #16 of 27 Old 09-01-2011 Thread Starter
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I tried to get a quote on welding a patch on from Atlantic Spars today and they said they never repair fuel tanks. They would gladly build me one for about $1,100. John Justin gave me a ballpark estimate of $450.

I examined the inside of my tank today by putting a digital camera into the access port and taking photos. In general, the tank looks to be in quite good shape inside. The welds look somewhat like they are rusting, which they're obviously not, but that may be how an unpolished weld in aluminum looks. I am really tempted to try the epoxy and fiberglass method that the West System folks suggested so I can get the project done and go back to doing some sailing.

Al
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post #17 of 27 Old 09-12-2011
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If you do that you're out only about $50 plus your time. Sounds like an acceptable risk Vs. the $$ savings.

I'm always torn when repairs are needed between having it (re)done perfect, Bristol, factory fresh versus whatever farmer's fix I can come up with that is safe. The lightness of of my wallet at the time is usually the determinant. And doing the cheapest, lowest tech quasi-temporary repair will give you practice for when something breaks in some far-flung locale during your circumnavigation!



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Originally Posted by AlLorman View Post
I am really tempted to try the epoxy and fiberglass method that the West System folks suggested so I can get the project done and go back to doing some sailing.

Al

Ryan Roberts
S/V ARGO - Pacific Seacraft 37 Hull No. 309
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post #18 of 27 Old 09-12-2011
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fuel tank

try pacific seacraft , thumper or steve could give you a price on a new tank fiberglass, the alum. fuel tanks set to low in the bilge. a patch will work but , for how long ?
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post #19 of 27 Old 09-14-2011 Thread Starter
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A new factory fiberglass tank is ridiculously expensive, 2 or 3 grand (frankly, as is everything I've asked Pacific Seacraft for a price quote on). My tank developed a hole not because it sat too low in the bilge, which was surprisingly dry, but because some wet crud was trapped against one spot in the tank. I've eliminated the crud trap.

Al
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post #20 of 27 Old 09-14-2011
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The tank can be repaired using the same technique as used in the fabrication of the Vans RV series aircraft. You could even cut an inspection hole in the tank to make sure you are doing all of the corroded areas. Not that tough. Just some sheet aluminum, rivets and sealant will do the job. Not to mention the grunt work of R&R.
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