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Discussion Starter #1
I had some pin holes in tank last year and am considering replacement.

Looking for suggestion on fiberglass or aluminum.

Looking for vendor recommendations.

I contacted PSC and they do have one for 31 but cost is $2000. Is there less expensive alternatives?

Steve PSC-31 #84
 

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Tell me about the pinholes since I have Hull 83. I have never seen any evidence of a problem but I keep my bilge dry.
When I toured the new factory I did see that they are using fiberglass tanks, which they claim solves all problems. The thing that concerns me is if we start getting ethanol in diesel are fiberglass tanks going to have the same problem that they do in gasoline applications?
Larry
ASYLUM
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My hull #84 was always on Lake Michigan so no salt water but I suspect the bilge was never dry. I could see water line stain about six inches off bottom. Every time it rains water comes through the hawse pipe to the bilge.

Last summer as I walk to the boat I see some diesel on the water surface. I thought it was from one of those old trawlers but when I checked the bilge I realized where it came from. Not a lot of diesel - maybe a couple ounces - but that goes a long way on water.

I removed the tank and we pressure tested at 2# and it would not hold pressure over night. I cleaned up the tank and coated with this sticky epoxy material and it worked for a couple months but before winter haul out I had some diesel again.

What happens is the tank rubs off the epoxy where it meets the keel bolts. Then constant contact with water apparently corrodes the aluminum. I think this is corroborated by others.
 

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makes sense, glad I put in a PSS shaft seal and keep my bilge dry. I wonder if the shoal vs normal keel makes a difference?
Larry
ASYLUM
 

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Bart at Cruising Yachts may have a source for new PSC aluminum tanks. Also, its possible the pinholes may be limited to the seem welds. If so, you may be able to have your seems redone.
 

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Steve,

Our tank was replaced prior to our purchasing the boat. Likely for the same reasons you describe.

The good news is the PSC tanks are very easily removed. If you can find a reliable source for a replacement tank, it shouldn't be an especially difficult job. The original vendor (name escapes me) in CA should be able to weld one up for you. Other owners, like Dave Pomerantz, have found good vendors up in New England.

One point specific to the PSC 31: Originally, the tank for the standard draft 31 was 27 gallons. This was later changed to I think 23 gallons, by chopping a few inches off the bottom of the tank. This should help keep the bottom of the tank from contacting bilge water quite so often. Our new tank is the 23 gallon version and it sits several inches above the bottom of the bilge. This info is n/a if you have a scheel keel.
 

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I had a tank builder (at their suggestion) simply replace the bottom plate, where the corrosion was located, pressure test the tank, and then re-epoxy. Most of the cost in a new tank is supplying and welding the fittings (vents/fills/etc.). Obviously, depends where the problem is.

Roger
Starkindler II
 

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Fuel tank recommendations

I'm looking to have a new tank fabricated for my PSC 34, and have formulated some ideas about the design but still have several questions unanswered. I plan to incorporate the following:
1. New sending Unit (How do I calibrate it?)
2. Engine draw tube (How far off the bottom should it be?)
3. Heater draw tube (I'm guessing 5 inches shorter than the engine draw tube to act as a warning on fuel level)
4. Diesel return tube ( 2-3 inches)
5. Vent
6. Fuel Fill (2/3 depth of tank to minimize foaming)
7. Aluminum tank with epoxy coat ( What type/brand of epoxy - coal tar?)
8. Inspection Hole ( 8 x 8 inches)

What type material is used for a seal on the fuel gauge and inspection hole?
Pacific Seacraft quoted me $2,400 plus crating and shipping but I have found a locate metal fabricator that is eager for the job and promises a good price.

Carl
s/v Credence II
PSC 34 #159
 

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I had some pin holes in tank last year and am considering replacement.

Looking for suggestion on fiberglass or aluminum.

Looking for vendor recommendations.

I contacted PSC and they do have one for 31 but cost is $2000. Is there less expensive alternatives?

Steve PSC-31 #84
Fiberglass,polly is the way to go solved my problems more than 10 years ago
tank is stil as good as new(make sure you support this tank good
 

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Discussion Starter #11
cvsheppard,

RTV sealant - here's a reference from Yanmar book
Yanmar 1-, 2-, 3-Cylinder Diesel ... - Google Book Search

As for the other questions - I think I'd get these answers from the builder. I ended up going with PSC. But I talked with Bud Luther at Marine Tanks, Fuel, Water, Storage Tanks, Luthers Welding and he's done quite a few tanks for a 34 so all you need to do is call him and he's got the programming on file. I would have used him for my 31 but he didn't have my tank plans so I went with PSC factory at about twice the price. I understand the fiberglass is a lot more expensive to make and the other downside is you lose about 20% capacity.
 

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Tank Replacements

We replaced our tank last year with one built by John Justin. John supplied PSC with tanks and made one for us with pickups, gauge, etc. and an additional pickup for a polishing system. The tank was a perfect drop-in fit. We also had him make some propane tank brackets and anchor bails - all were well made and competitively priced.

John's info:

Work: 714-642-8941
Fax: 714-898-0740

Work Address:
15171 Pipe Lane #102
Huntington Beach, CA

Hope this helps,
Sam
s/v Grace PSC34#163
 

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fuel tank

I am starting to see some evidence of fuel in the bilge. At this point it is possible it is something else but I have an '88 so I am figuring the worst is likely.

I called the guy who made the tanks here in California for Pacific Seacraft. He gave a ballpark figure $450 but we did not discuss any refinements like baffles, connections, inspection ports etc etc so who knows what it will really cost.

Steve, or anyone else who has done this, - what should I be prepared to do and what should I look out for?

John Van Dinther
PSC 31 #28 sheel keel
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It cost something around $2200 (including shipping) for the factory fiberglass. The price really hurt and losing 5 gal of capacity was disappointing. But the tank looks perfect. I haven't installed it yet since I'm waiting for spring weather but the curves look right and they used all bronze fittings.

I would have used Luther (link above) but I needed to get my tank out and take dimensions since he didn't have a drawing for our tank - only the 34. His cost was somewhere around $900 and that included everything. He does make the tanks thicker walled than the original so they should last longer but not like fiberglass.

I only had pinhole leaks as well but I was afraid it would change to disaster without warning.
 

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It cost something around $2200 (including shipping) for the factory fiberglass. The price really hurt and losing 5 gal of capacity was disappointing. But the tank looks perfect. I haven't installed it yet since I'm waiting for spring weather but the curves look right and they used all bronze fittings.

I would have used Luther (link above) but I needed to get my tank out and take dimensions since he didn't have a drawing for our tank - only the 34. His cost was somewhere around $900 and that included everything. He does make the tanks thicker walled than the original so they should last longer but not like fiberglass.

I only had pinhole leaks as well but I was afraid it would change to disaster without warning.
Our tank was replaced before we bought the boat, with the smaller 22/23 gallon version. But so far it has not been an issue. JVD has the scheel keel, so his tank will be smaller (18 gal) anyway.

Gosh, that seems like a big premium to pay for the fiberglass tank, but what price piece of mind? Not to mention it can't hurt your resale value, either! :)
 

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I'm not sure I would get peace of mind from fiberglass. I thought power boats started having a lot of problems with fiberglass fuel tanks when the ethanol percentage in fuel increased. Maybe I am not remembering that well, but if the wackos in our govt start insisting on alcohol in diesel, I would want to know that the fiberglass tank is impervious.
Larry
ASYLUM
PSC 31
 

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Larry,

You're right, some fiberglass tanks have had trouble with ethanol. But not all of them, and so far as far as I know it's been limited to gasoline/ethanol-fueled boats.

It's an interesting question. I have some vague memory that the problem relates to certain resins used, and that some are more prone to this problem than others. Hopefully PSC has done some research and made sure to avoid those resins, just in case ethanol finds it's way into diesel.
 

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John,
To prolong the debate/concern, I don't think there is enough real world experience with alcohol in diesel to know what we might see in the future. On the other hand, there is plenty of experience with metals. If I were going to spend that kind of money on a tank, I think I would want to go with a proven system. My chemistry background tells me that there is a solvent for every plastic. On the other hand, I am not sure how to completely avoid saltwater issues with metal unless you get really exotic. The guys at the factory are convinced that their new fiberglass tanks are the solution for the future...maybe
Larry
 

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Larry,

Good points. I think we're mostly in agreement. If I were faced with replacing again, I'd stick with metal.

Unlike a lot of other designs, on our boats it's a relatively simple matter to pull the tank and swap it out. If I can get 10-15+ years of reliable service from an easily replaced tank, I'm happy.
 

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Don't know what type of sailing you do (cruising, Bay sailing, etc.) but you might want to look at a post I did "smaller diesel tank".
 
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