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Old 02-04-2015, 08:21 PM   #1
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Fuel Tank Replacement

I'm looking at an Albin 40 with twin Lehmans. It seems like a nice boat (1989), decks were already glassed, but I understand it has the original iron tanks and will need them replaced. Anyone have any experience with this and the bill associated? From what I've heard it can be extremely pricey. I'm also looking at a 43 with the same issue....
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:46 PM   #2
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I did my own but I have a single engine.

Cost me $100 a decent sawzall and blades...then $650 for two 58 gallon poly Mueller tanks the just fit where I wanted them. I also spent about $100 on misc wood and fasteners to build platforms for the tanks and storage.

I have lots more storage in the engine room and still have a 300 NM range.

I love being to be able to see the exact fuel load and when to stop the pump. I find the weekly fueling a bit annoying but then again it doesn't take long to put in 75 gallons or so.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:08 PM   #3
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For resale I would not down size the tanks by much. In fact in some cases you can gain fuel volume with custom tanks.

Besides, if you're really cruising you want to be able to carry the largest amount of the cheapest fuel you can find as you travel. I'd want to buy and hold as much fuel as I can here in the States before heading to the Bahamas and points south.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:16 PM   #4
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Its almost always a deal breaker when you factor in doing it right. Find a boat thats already had it done and pay a little more. Unless you are VERY experienced in this type of work it is not a DIY job.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:12 AM   #5
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For boats that will probably never cruise farther than the Bahamas and the loop....and that many cruisers here say fuel costs are meaningless...throw in all the worry of too long stored fuel....and I can make the case for my tankage just fine...in fact it will be a plus over most of the custom tanks I have seen/heard installed.

As far as a DIY project...probably true for a boat with twins. Not too many allow for decent tankage unless you pull the engines. So unless you go for something pretty unusual, or can lay in some sizable belly tanks if your bilges are empty ( with appropriate structural mods)....your choices are pretty limited.

There is a lot of info here as to sealing the tanks, repair them and painting them....maybe replacing them isn't as necessary as you think. Mine looked like cap and I was worried a leak may develop....but when I cut them out....that may have gone another 30 years unless they rusted through the tops which I may have been able to nurse as I had already stopped the salt water leaks over them.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:29 AM   #6
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I replaced my tanks and gained fuel. It was pricey tho. Doing all the labor myself it still cost me $5000.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:34 AM   #7
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I looked at a 40 with a single engine that the owner had the tanks replaced professionally. One side at a time (1 per year) , and by two different yards.
This was circa 2004/5 and the cost was about the same, it was right around 10K in Connecticut.
They put in two approx. 50 gallon plastic tanks per side, with separate fills and I think they were plumbed together in pairs at the bottom.
That's about all I remember. (The rest of the boat was a mess so I didn't pay too much attention)

So far (knock on lots of wood) mine are still ok.
However IF and WHEN I would cut them up myself and remove, and most likely go with poly tanks as PS has done. But I'd probably go with more than 58 gal per side, but would definitely not put as much capacity as I currently have. 360 gal is way too much for a single engine trawler with a 120 Lehman.
I would use the saved space and weight for extra fresh water and "boat junk".
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:35 AM   #8
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I replaced my tanks and gained fuel. It was pricey tho. Doing all the labor myself it still cost me $5000.
Cool picture!
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:50 AM   #9
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I did my tanks this year. Here is a link that may give you an idea about the effort and cost of replacement. I had to remove the engine for other reasons so that helped. Materials will end up at 5K. I did the labor.

Saving Tortuga: Fuel Tank Removal and Replacement

Hope this helps..
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:04 AM   #10
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Nice job on the new tanks. They were definitely ready for replacement!
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:07 AM   #11
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Nice...removing the engine (s) and not living aboard makes a world of difference.

I'm jealous...
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:07 AM   #12
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Are the tanks leaking now? Are you sure they are iron? Just because they are old does not mean they need to be replaced.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:20 AM   #13
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The tanks on our 30 year old TT are steel and I have not noticed any signs of rust nor did our survey indicate an issue. The boat has always been fresh water. When we get back to the boat, I will make it a point to look and feel as far back as possible. Definitely plan on changing the fuel filler cap o-rings.

Some of the things I've read on 30 y/o tanks are making me paranoid.
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:09 AM   #14
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Fuel Fill Orings

Where do you find orings for the caps. I have always had trouble with his as they are odd sizes.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:01 PM   #15
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Are the tanks leaking now? Are you sure they are iron? Just because they are old does not mean they need to be replaced.
From what I know they are not leaking now, and the broker represented them as original iron tanks...but I am not 100% sure and wanted to get an idea on whether this job is something so huge that I should skip out on even going to see the boat.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:08 PM   #16
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Where do you find orings for the caps. I have always had trouble with his as they are odd sizes.
Take the cap to a hydraulic hose shop (Google to find a local one). They generally stock a large selection of orings. Usually under $1, so do all your filler caps and buy a few spares.

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Old 02-05-2015, 12:09 PM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. SB. Welcome aboard. Auto supply stores usually have a good selection of neoprene o-rings.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:16 PM   #18
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The tanks on our 30 year old TT are steel and I have not noticed any signs of rust nor did our survey indicate an issue. The boat has always been fresh water. When we get back to the boat, I will make it a point to look and feel as far back as possible. Definitely plan on changing the fuel filler cap o-rings.

Some of the things I've read on 30 y/o tanks are making me paranoid.
the chances of 30 yoa steel tanks having no or little rust on them without some kind of annual maintenance is possible...not probable.

the trouble with tanks are that 99.9 percent of them can be solid....let that 0.1 percent be one an issue and the tank is an instant problem.

tiny fixes for tiny problems is OK....but can't let it go too long usually.

usually with tanks.it is the places you can't see that bite you.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:46 PM   #19
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usually with tanks.it is the places you can't see that bite you.
We have side tanks and I would guess I can only see about 30-40% of the tank. That is a lot that can bite you! But I would hate to spend $5-10K on new tanks unless I know we really them. There are a lot of other competing candidates for our boat bucks.
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Old 02-05-2015, 12:56 PM   #20
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We have side tanks and I would guess I can only see about 30-40% of the tank. That is a lot that can bite you! But I would hate to spend $5-10K on new tanks unless I know we really them. There are a lot of other competing candidates for our boat bucks.
set up a simple pressure test system....probably what I should have done.

then you can check it at regular intervals....don't quote me but I believe around 5 psi for new tanks and around 3 for older ones. It should hold overnight at least.
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