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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I've got a pretty inaccessible diesel tank but managed to drop a metal file down the fill tube into the tank. It's gonna be ugly taking it out so... do I need to? Any thoughts other than the obvious screw-up.
 

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What have you tried thus far ?

Presuming the file is not stainless the obvious is a magnet but what about access into the tank ? Even if there is no specific access panel can you remove the sender and get into it that way ?
 

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Dirt Free
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There is some amount of water sitting in the bottom of pretty much all diesel tanks. If you can't get it out more frequent filter changes until it disolves may be the order of the day.
 

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If the tank is aluminum there may be some interaction between the two different metals with the softer aluminum scarifying itself before the file? As mentioned by Boatpoker, water may be present, speeding up the process? Maybe some chemical expert could comment?

If the tank is steel/iron, maybe not a problem except for the file possibly moving around & stirring up gunk in the tank. Magnet, or flexible claw grabber?

Amazon.com: Flexible Claw Pick Up Tool Automotive Mechanic Shop 24"@@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@31Q75xUV2eL

Paul T
 

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If the tank is aluminum there may be some interaction between the two different metals with the softer aluminum scarifying itself before the file? As mentioned by Boatpoker, water may be present, speeding up the process? Maybe some chemical expert could comment?
Excellent point on the aluminum, I should have thought of that. Galvanic corrosion could happen quite quickly if that is the case.
 

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Is the fill tube straight or are there curves. Has it gone all the way into the tank or could it be stuck somewhere in the tube? Try the magnet first. They have some really strong ones and then check out the tube. Hope this adds to the help.
 

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From whatever access there is, removing the sender or fill pipe, whatever.

Buy a length of bicycle chain or similar metal link chain. Buy a couple of high strength rare earth magnets from ebay or Amazon. Stick the magnets on the end of the chain and snake it around till it hits the file and grabs it. Then just ease it out.

Unless you've got a steel/iron tank in which case the magnets buy you nothing. Those rare earth magnets can do some serious flesh pinching, be careful with them.

If it is a magnetic tank, I suppose you could simply place some magnets under it to grab the file and keep it from banging around, and then just ignore it.
 

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Yea there are some really good strong magnetic tool retrievers. I think it could really cause issues, even rough seas could cause this to go through the tank if it happens to hit a weak spot that it had been sitting on causing it to corrode. I saw a flexible tool grabber that had a magnetic pickup in the center at either Lowes or Home Depot. The biggest issue is that the magnet did not seem very strong, but should hold onto the file enough to let the claws to hold on to it. Good thing was it was like $2.99 or something. It was in one of the cardboard displays in the middle of the row in front of the tool section.
 

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I recently found a thirty year old screwdriver in the bottom of my fibreglass tank. The water had extensively rusted the shaft and the handle was half dissolved by diesel. As far as I know it never caused any problems.

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Get something like this, tape a magnet to the end of it. Or use a magnet probe and use the scope to guide it.

They had these at Wal-Mart the other day for about $65.

Fuel won't hurt most of these. Police use them to inspect gas tanks for contraband.
 

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That's a real *****. Has to come out, however. Maybe a good time to install an access panel to clean the tank, if you don't have one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanx lots
The magnet thru the fill tube luckily worked out.... Otherwise I'd have to pull the tank as there's not the clearance to remove the top plates. Lesson learned maybe to put in a access port in the cockpit floor above the level gage sensor assembly plate.
 
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