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Old 01-15-2016, 03:09 PM   #1
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Leaking diesel fuel tanks

I have a 1992 Grand Banks 46 classic with a leaking fuel tank. I would be grateful for some advice on how to correct the problem. I believe the tanks are mild steel. Please help.
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Old 01-15-2016, 03:23 PM   #2
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Could be a simple pin hole repair leaky fittings or require new tanks ??? Any other information where the leaks are or photos ?
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Old 01-15-2016, 03:44 PM   #3
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Are the leaks from the inside or on the outside at the top or bottom? If they are from the inside out and pin holes or a leak from pit corrosion, you could try Flamemaster 3204. I know of several diesel tanks where it has been used successfully. We used it as a preventative measure.

http://flamemaster.com/wp-content/up...-rev-01-07.pdf
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:07 PM   #4
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Could be a simple pin hole repair leaky fittings or require new tanks ??? Any other information where the leaks are or photos ?
Port tank, forward outside corner. I'm 6ft 3in and 72 years old. I just don't bend the way I used to. Using a mirror I can see some rust on the top of the tank near the fill hole but the tank is half empty and so the only other place I see deterioration is the front corner I mentioned.
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
Are the leaks from the inside or on the outside at the top or bottom? If they are from the inside out and pin holes or a leak from pit corrosion, you could try Flamemaster 3204. I know of several diesel tanks where it has been used successfully. We used it as a preventative measure.

http://flamemaster.com/wp-content/up...-rev-01-07.pdf
I can't see it very well but it looks like the port tank forward outside corner seems to be weeping
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Old 01-15-2016, 05:12 PM   #6
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I believe you should have at least one access plate on that tank. If not you need to add one so either way you can empty it then open it and look inside.

You also should look into renting, borrowing or buying a fiber optic camera so you can see the potential leak site better.
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:51 PM   #7
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Leaking fuel tanks

I will have to pump the remaining fuel into the other tank. Then I'll open it.
In the meantime, I'm open for suggestions
Thank you
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:05 PM   #8
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I'm in the process of replacing my original fuel tanks on our 1986 GB 42. I considered attempting to repair/seal my tanks and hope for a fix. However, after discussing this with some folks on the GB Owners forum and friends in the industry in the San Francisco Bay Area, I elected to replace the tanks rather than throw good money at the high risk of not being successful.

I'm having American Tanks out of San Diego cut out the old tanks and replace with aluminum tanks of near equal volume. I'll post the results when the job is complete.

Feel free to send me a private message and I can put you in touch with my contact at American Tank, should you decide to take that route.
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:45 PM   #9
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I'm having American Tanks out of San Diego cut out the old tanks and replace with aluminum tanks of near equal volume. I'll post the results when the job is complete.
How many tanks are you putting back in, Ray and will you be able(or willing) to do a show and tell along the way?
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Old 01-15-2016, 11:12 PM   #10
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We plan to install three horizontal tanks on each side. The reason for three tanks is because we don't have the room to fit one single tank without removing the old tanks through the bottom of the boat. A solution looking for a problem!

The tanks will be plumbed together on each side to form essentially one tank. The old tanks are 300 gallons each for a total of 600 gallons. The new tanks will have a total volume of about 520 gallons.

I'll document the tear out and installation when we start in about two weeks.
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Old 01-15-2016, 11:26 PM   #11
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Check out a product called Por15. After "priming" the rust with the liquid product, apply a layer of the paste and you can forget your leak. You will have to pump the tank (maybe one into the other), tip the boat till the remaining fuel is away from the leak area, wash with the Por cleaner, dry, make sure the weep has stopped, then apply the stuff. A starter kit and a tube of paste should do both tanks unless you are going to coat the entire tank. Hire a small helper.
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Old 01-15-2016, 11:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
We plan to install three horizontal tanks on each side. The reason for three tanks is because we don't have the room to fit one single tank without removing the old tanks through the bottom of the boat. A solution looking for a problem!

The tanks will be plumbed together on each side to form essentially one tank. The old tanks are 300 gallons each for a total of 600 gallons. The new tanks will have a total volume of about 520 gallons.

I'll document the tear out and installation when we start in about two weeks.
Thanks Ray, I don't envy the work but it does seem like you have a good solid plan and I look forward to seeing it unfold.
Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2016, 02:49 AM   #13
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You also should look into renting, borrowing or buying a fiber optic camera so you can see the potential leak site better.
Check out Amazon for their boroscope or endoscope which is simply a tiny camera in a brass housing at the end of a long USB cable. Plug the USB cable into your laptop and fish the camera end wherever you want to see. The camera end has a few LED's to light up the area around the camera in darkness.

Range in cost from $15-$30 for up to 20' length. Good to go exploring all over a boat. They are waterproof so you can tape it to a boathook and check out your prop / rudder, and even bilge areas.

Fiber optic cameras are far more expensive due to the fiber bundle accuracy. Also, they are length restricted since you get loss by the foot.

Stu
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:37 AM   #14
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"The new tanks will have a total volume of about 520 gallons."

For someonr that winters aboard in a cold area thats a great number.

But for coastal cruising it seems like a lot to attempt to keep clean.
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #15
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If you are too tall or too old to inspect the tank yourself, hire someone to do it for you.


My thought is that if the tank is rusted to the point where it's leaking, it's probably about to leak somewhere else. The "right" way to fix this is to replace the tank. Anything else is temporary at best.
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Old 01-16-2016, 03:57 PM   #16
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Por15 is a good product for arresting rust formation on the surface of fuel tanks and other equipment. It is not intended, nor will it cure, an established leak; pinhole or otherwise.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:24 PM   #17
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Por15 is a good product for arresting rust formation on the surface of fuel tanks and other equipment. It is not intended, nor will it cure, an established leak; pinhole or otherwise.
I beg to differ. Por 15 will not only bond to and seal existing rust to prevent it from continuing but the thick paste will replace the metal that is already gone. I have helped two friends repair their steel tanks with the stuff and one has lasted 9 years. It will cure an established leak but not while it is leaking. That is why you must tip the boat, wash, & dry the area; it can't be weeping while you fix it. Of course cutting out the tanks and replacing with new is the best way if you have the time & $$$ and if the boat is worth it.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:59 PM   #18
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http://www.por15.com/POR-15-Technical-Data_ep_69.html
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:16 PM   #19
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I'm glad it has worked for your friends. Really, I am. I've never heard that using rust arrestor or any type of glue on an active leak has worked.

In my case, the leak is in the bottom of the tank blocked by baffles. When the tanks are full, about two pounds per square inch of hydrostatic head will overcome any rust stopper or glue. It's like painting the side of your house and expecting to cure the dry rot problem.

I still think, in the majority of leaking fuel tank scenarios, the replacement of 30 year-old leaking tanks (in my case) is the best solution. Do it now or do it later after one gets the middle-of-the-night phone call from the Coast Guard...!
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:41 PM   #20
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Giggitoni
Thank you for your response. I just joined this trawler forum and do not know how to send a private message. Not very computer literate.
What engines do you have? I think the type of engines will dictate the size of the replacement tanks. Also the size a placement of the generator. I am leaning towards a quick fix until I can do the job properly. We live aboard and timing is crucial. If anyone knows of any other products to fix the tank from the inside, I would be grateful for your comments.
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