Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 154 Times in 120 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Re: Fuel tank longevity
A properly installed & maintained aluminum tank can easily last 40+ years. The sad reality is that the vast majority are improperly installed and maintained.
* Tanks need to be 100% isolated from where they sit. I use 1/4" to 1/2" G-10 bedded/sealed to the tank bottom with Sikaflex 291. This prevents the tank from sitting in any moisture and creates an air layer around the tank to keep it dry.
*Water must be kept out of the tank. Change the fill cap o-rings regularly.
*Tank must be periodically cleaned.
*No dissimilar metals can fall into the tank. I have seen fill cap chains rot out a tank. I remove my fill cap chains before they become an issue.
*Any production shavings, filings, slag etc. should be vacuumed out of the tank before installation.
*No copper alloys should be used with an aluminum tank. All tank fittings should be aluminum including the pick up, return, shut off valves & barbs. If you must use a copper alloy it needs to be isolated from the tank.
*Avoid going with the bare minimum wall thickness (most factory tanks are a .090 wall). I would suggest .125 as a bare minimum.
*When building a new tank I would always advise installing at least one extra pick up/supply fitting. This way you can add a dedicated fuel polishing system. If you are in the North add a third for a future heater. Easpar, Webasto etc. DO NOT like to be connected via a "T" fitting.
I am currently replacing a 31 year old tank on a Sabre. The tank is 100% fine but the owner wanted to remove it and fully inspect it as he does some off shore racing and did not want a "failure".. For the $500.00 he decided to just replace it, while it was out. He added two more pick up tappings and we upped the tank wall thickness.....
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 04-02-2013 at 08:55 AM.