New problem for me - fuel tanks

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New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby FrugalWife » Fri May 03, 2019 3:21 pm

So the proverbial poop has hit the fan. Boat was surveyed and the fuel tanks came up as needing replacement. Not really unexpected as I've been watching the tops of them for nearly 15 years! Anyhow, I know what to do I guess but still have a few questions. It all starts with the old tanks getting drained & cut out ... sawzall & lots of blades. Manageable task.

The questions are around the new tanks. There will be 4 new tanks sized as close as possible to get back to the 400 gal capacity of the original tankage.

1. How do I decide the shapes? Do I follow the original tank profile and have new ones made that are simply narrower fore/aft and set two side by side? Or two on top of each other?

2. What material is preferred for the tanks? Original are iron, go to aluminum? Plastic?

3. How is it best to predict whether the new tanks will fit through the deck hatches?

BTW, I did try to search the forum for these subjects but as per usual the search feature has stymied me again!

Thanks for all the inputs.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby Berger » Fri May 03, 2019 6:52 pm

Mine are aluminum and stacked on top of each other.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby AllanKay » Sat May 04, 2019 12:29 pm

Curious how you are told to replace the fuel tank that isn't leaking? Did the person use a thickness gauge of some sort? ... and then it only gauges the immediate point. All steel tanks have some rust and flaky rust isn't unusual.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby FrugalWife » Sat May 04, 2019 9:14 pm

I’ve been watching these tanks for a long time. The tops are very corroded and it is very easy to feel a significant soft spot. If you gently tap you can actually hear rust chips falling into the fuel. This diagnosis is not a guess or speculation, it’s the real deal.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby Charlie0 » Sun May 05, 2019 5:39 am

Sorry to hear about your mis fortune. I will be watching closely. I am sure that you have tank manufacturers in Maine. However Luther tanks down here in R.I. has an excellent reputation. I had them give me a quote before purchasing our GB 36 single screw (hull 715). 4 tanks that can supposedly be installed with out engine removal. PM me your email and I will forward the quote if you are interested.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby Jastafford » Sun May 05, 2019 7:41 am

Do you really need 400 gallons? My thought is much smaller plastic tanks and create new storage base.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby AllanKay » Sun May 05, 2019 1:41 pm

Here is an alternative solution for you. They say it drops down inside your existing tank and uses it as a cribbing. Call the manufacturer for questions. Good luck.

http://atlinc.com/pdfs/Marine/DS607-marine_installation.pdf
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby FrugalWife » Sun May 05, 2019 5:17 pm

Jastafford,
I could go w/smaller tanks but I don’t want to go too small as it’s part of the characteristics of the boat. And the boat rides better with full tanks. For fit if the tankage drops to 350 (175 each side) I could live with that.

AllanKay, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check that out.

I am also going to consider plastic tanks. There’s a local company that builds many types of custom tanks for industrial use and also builds fuel tanks for marine use, primarily commercial fishing boats. It’s worth looking at this option as well. A friend familiar with the company says they can build in place; an intriguing idea.

Keep the inputs coming & stay tuned for updates!
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby FrugalWife » Sun May 05, 2019 5:21 pm

Charlie O,
BTW, my boat is #721 ... a not too distant sister (brother?) of yours, mine also a single screw w/135 Lehman.

PS. I did send you a PM.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby jchrissharpe » Wed May 08, 2019 7:57 pm

I recently purchased a 1978 GB42 CL hull 583. The fuel tanks were beyond gone, as were a host of other items. I made contact with Vince and American Fuel Tank. I have not had the tanks installed yet, but he has been professional and timely thus far. My vessel is located in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Vince works from California. While this is not optimal, it seems to be working. Feel free to PM me with questions. I will try to post pictures when the tear out and install commence.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby FrugalWife » Sun May 12, 2019 10:23 am

Alright gang, I’m off & running!

Using Craigslist I bought a 330 gal tote and a fuel transfer pump w/filter to offload the approx 300 gal of fuel in the tanks. The boatyard owner was kind enough to give me permission to let the tote full of fuel sit next to my boat during the duration of the project. He was more worried someone would view the tote as their personal fuel depot than an oil spill.

I’ve got a new reciprocating saw and a bunch of carbide blades being shipped to me. Figured a new saw would be able to take the abuse ok ...probably better than me!

I built a simple mock-up of the tanks to be sure they would fit through the doors and engine room hatch. They fit through both the deckhouse door (starboard side) and actually a slightly better fit thru the aft cabin companionway. The door into the aft cabin from the deckhouse is bigger than either exterior doors.

Sent the specs for the new tanks out to two shops for quote. Four tanks, stacked in pairs on each side. I configured them to pretty much use up the original fuel tank areas and it looks like the sizes work out to about 198 gal each side. I am considering to shrink the sizes back an inch or so simply to provide me a little wiggle room getting them in place and reconnected. The new tanks will have all fittings in the same places as the original tanks so the refit should more or less plug ‘n play. One quote has come back @ $6,350 w/6 day build from date of order and the tanks will be epoxy coated. Should have the other quote tomorrow. As soon as I know who will build & when the tanks will be completed, I’ll figure the deconstruction timeline. I’m gonna give myself a week to pump out and cutout the old tanks and clean up the engine room.

Maybe I m optimistic but I’m planning a week to tear out and a week to install. Wish me luck.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby Charlie0 » Sun May 12, 2019 3:40 pm

I don’t envy you. That’s 1 big job. Take pictures.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby Charlie0 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:14 am

How are the fuel tanks coming?
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby Bob Jack » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:52 am

If you cut out the old tanks I would try and contain the tiny bits of iron. They can get into all kinds of places and then rust - leaving stains behind.
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Re: New problem for me - fuel tanks

Postby FrugalWife » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:41 pm

Quick update.
One tank is out. About 7.5hr of labor & 11 Sawzall blades. Not too bad. The 2nd tank will come out quicker. I am going to have to do the job one tank at a time because the tote I bought to hold the fuel is more than half full after emptying just one tank.

The tank mounting location is cleaned up with new supports added for under the new tanks. I used a shop vac to vacuum the bilge and then washed everything down with boatsoap & a big sponge. Then I also glued down the rubber vibration tape that goes under the tanks on top of the supports. I have purchased new fuel fill hose, new vent hose and one new gate valve for each side. I still need to clean out the Racor filter.

Where are the new tanks? They're ready so I'll drive down tomorrow and pick them up! There are four tanks to be stacked two to a side. First install would then be Thu. Wed will be spent glueing on some fiberglass support spacers needed to prevent crevice corrosion. There will be four on the bottom of the bottom tank, four on the top of the bottom tank and then again four on the bottom of the top tank. I'm following specs for aluminum tank installations.

I've taken a few pics along the way but need to download before I can attach. Here's a couple teasers!
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