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Old 01-16-2020, 12:21 PM   #1
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Fuel tank disaster...

Wondered where water was getting in to the port 350 gallon tank.. Suspected condensation.. Removed 1 gallon of water from racor! Had remaining fuel polished with little water or muck... Then had fuel truck top her off with new fuel. At 291 gallons we noticed my bilge pump pumping mega gallons of fuel into the harbor... Bilge full of fuel..major flow coming in from under the tank... Stopped after a LOT of fuel pumped out... Leak has stopped, currently pumping fuel from that tank to my starboard tank to level the boat... Water in the fuel stopped the port engine two weeks ago and haven't restarted it. Bled all the lines and replaced secondary filters and racor.. Will probably limp out of this boatyard back to my mooring ball on the one engine and lick my wounds...
Where's the leak? Rusted out top of the tank on my 1981 Formosa 42?? If so, then what???
Bad day... Still haven't heard from the coast guard... Yard owner reported the spill...
Anybody replace these old tanks???
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:02 PM   #2
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You have the right to remain silent...

You also have the task of replacing both fuel tanks. Don't think you have any choice in the matter. Only choice is replacement material, and who will do the work.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:06 PM   #3
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More expensive than the boats worth... Time to part it out??
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:09 PM   #4
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What a bummer! We had a tank leak almost 4 years ago and ended up replacing both tanks. I started sleeping again 48 hours after the initial “WTF is all this fuel doing in the bilge”. Relax, take a deep breath. I’ll post the link to the tank replacement project later.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:17 PM   #5
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First it's time to figure out if the issue is actually the tanks or if it's a bad filler hose, bad sender seal, etc. Even if it's the tanks, it's likely not a boat killer, just an unpleasant project.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:12 PM   #6
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I feel for you Bigfish . We had two go out last year . Luckily I didn’t have much fuel in either one so I was able to transfer to other tanks.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:16 PM   #7
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Quite clearly; there are two leak issues. Water leak from above (deck?). And now a rust hole in the tank top.
Just throwing this out there:

If two motors in the ER, perhaps try for a deck side repair. Carve out a 2í x 2í hole on outer deck, yank out coring, then slightly smaller hole on inner glass layer. Now inspect the tank top easily. If the leak is close to the fill tube, the way forward seems almost easy. If the entire tank top is perforated, then more bad news awaits, including an engine pull.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:23 PM   #8
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Thanks...
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:50 PM   #9
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They're saying I have to pull the engines to replace the tanks... I can't afford that..
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:13 PM   #10
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Not knowing the specific layout of your boat, where in the boat do the engines sit? And where in the boat are the tanks?
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:24 PM   #11
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Need more info, it might not be as bad as you think.

You can either cut holes in the boat or cut up the tanks with a sawzall. Then you install 2 or more smaller tanks (as many as you want, as small as they need to be to get in there) and you stack them. Doable with effort, expensive to pay a yard. You will lose some fuel capacity but fuel is easy to get.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:32 PM   #12
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What are the tanks made of?
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:42 PM   #13
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I know what you are dealing with. I was going to replace one of my fuel tanks this winter so I pulled one of the engines. It was pretty easy once I made my crane. I stacked the port engine above the starboard engine. Then my back flared up again so I decided to pass on the tank replacement and just settle for refurbishing the engine compartment. I spent a couple of hours hetting ready to pull the engine, unhooking wires, fuel lines, etc. then it took 2 hours with 2 of us to pull the engine and set it on the starboard side of the salon. I am now cleaning up wiring, hoses, painting the bilge etc. while I have the engine out I am replacing the damper plate. Good thing as when I pulled the old one out to see how many splines I needed the old damper was beginning to crack in a couple of places. If you would like more info on how I built my crane, PM me and I will give you the info.

There is no way with my engines in place that I could even cut up the old tanks much less get even a couple of smaller ones back in.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:46 PM   #14
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She's a 42' Double Cabin Formosa trawler, 1981. Twin Ford Lehmans with two 350 gallon tanks behind a bulkhead next to the engines.. Old guy boatyard employee said they have to remove one engine, then remove the tank on that side and replace it. Then move tge other engine to the mounts of the first engine and do the other tank, then replace the first engine into the second engine spot... Very expensive procedure, "probably more than tge boat's worth... " I paid $45k 6 years ago when everything worked and before hurricane Irma beat her up... 3400 hrs on engines... Recently serviced... so far they're over $4000 for what they had to do to stop the spill... Still adding things up...
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:50 PM   #15
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Doing it the way I did mine and you can do the engine R and R yourself and save a bunch of money. You could also cut out the old tanks and just pay the yard to install the new tanks.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:57 PM   #16
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I have to ask. Have you called your insurance company?
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:08 PM   #17
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No insurance...
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:11 PM   #18
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Just anchor the boat in Jacksonville, grind off the HIN, and walk away. Isnít that where old boats go to die?
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:12 PM   #19
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You are saying that you donít have any insurance including environmental spill insurance? The cleanup, if any, could be very expensive without any insurance. Hope it goes well for you.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:15 PM   #20
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I'm turning 70 this year with two hernias in my stomach where they took out the whole left lobe of my liver because of cancer two years ago... Cancer's gone but I'm pretty low on energy and strength... Hernias keep tearing more if I strain... Sucks.. I'm also totally broke now after today... $1000/mo SS plus what I make as a cab driver working 4 12 hour shifts... Plus I live on a mooring ball where big jobs are even more difficult... Anybody want a good deal on a boat??? Engines? Chartplotter? New $2000 stamoid bimini?? Feeling bleak...
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