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I am not sure what your lazerette or tank area look like but if you are concerned about the integrity of the boat then support everything that is being supported by the plywood then cut out the old section, repair or install new tank and put back the plywood etc. One thought if you are not removing the entire piece of plywood then you may not need to worry about the integrity since you will still have some support. If you are not going to move the boat etc. during tank extraction what could be the harm? Consider all that is being supported then support as necessary or consider leaving as much plywood as possible. If its the floor to the cockpit it my not matter that much just cut out what you need to remove the tank. I would seriously consider removing the old tank and repair. In the future you might be glad you did since you could have a headache trying to secure an old tank on new. Besides do it right the first time even if it takes more time vs. a quick fix. As posted above, pictures would be helpful to see your problem.
 

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To be honest, I am not really sure if fumes would be an issue. I think it should be ok since the tank will be able to vent out the hose connections. That is if the hoses are disconnected. Beyond that, diesel has a relatively high flash point and it would take some hot sparks to iginite it in air (e.g., >100 F ?). If I remember correctly, diesels run on compression not on an ignition source. That is no spark plug, so I am thinking the sawzall should be ok. Have you tried calling a diesel garage or scrape yard?

I just pulled my tank this weekend with the intention of installing (cutting) an inspection port in about two weeks. Hopefully, I can let you know how cutting the port goes:laugher. Seriously though I am not to concerned since I was able to drain the tank down to nothing using a jabsco hand pump and no fuel was in the tank while pulling out of the hold.

My question to you is how are you going to install a new tank if you cannot remove the whole old tank?
 

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I saw this ad in a magazine last night for fuel tanks. I do not know anything about the company but there web site is SpeedyTanks.com: ACW Marine Fuel Tank Fabrication Experts Perhaps talking to them before cutting the tank might offer some more insight on your project. Another thought would be to take some good measurements of the existing tank before you cut the tank, good enough that you can draw the all three dimensions on a piece of paper. It might be easier for reinstalling and securing using a similar design.

We replaced our head hoses last year. They were easy to remove but difficult to reinstall. I warmed the hoses on my dashboard of the van then installed, it seemed easier to work them when warm. Laying them in the sun also helped.
 
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