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Old 11-11-2015, 11:26 PM   #1
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Replacing fuel tanks

I was advised that the starboard fuel tank is leaking and needs to be replaced (Not news I needed to hear) the Mechanic transferred fuel to the port tank avoiding more serious problems. My boat is a 36' Monk Trawler. 120 single Lehman. Does anyone have experience changing these tanks? Boat is berthed in Sausalito Ca. Any recommendations for mechanics who do this type of work in the Bay Area? Should I haul the boat for this work or leave at the berth? Any and all ideas/suggestions are welcome.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:44 PM   #2
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My suggestion, search this forum for one of the many threads on this and all your questions will be answered. Many times, with many different answers.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:53 PM   #3
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Did you ask the mechanic who drained the tank if he did this? Or does he know anyone local?

This is usually not as simple as 'rip it out and throw in a new one'. Especially if you were thinking of DIY. You have to assess whether the tank can be cut up in situ, or will have to have beams, engine or other tanks removed also. Someone will have to come look at your vessel. Ask at several yacht yards for recommendations.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:29 AM   #4
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One recommendation you will find discussed if you do a thorough archive search as Capt. Bill suggests is if the only way to remove the tank(s) is to move or remove the engine, have the original tank(s) cut up in place so the pieces can be removed without having to do anything with the engine. Then have several new smaller tanks designed and fabricated that which be installed without having to do anything with the engine to get them in.

Depending on the amount of space and clearance in the engine room and the design of the tanks you may or may not lose some fuel capacity by doing this but if you do it probably won't be much.

For example the twin-engine cabin cruiser we have in the PNW was built in 1973 with three 150 gallon fuel tanks: one on each side of the aft end of the engine room and one across the back of the engine room. I assume one or more of these tanks developed problems because the year before we bought the boat (1998) the previous owner had all three tanks removed, the generator repositioned, and five new tanks fabricated and installed.

Four of the new tanks are 85 gallon "cubes" with a pair on each side of the engine room where the original saddle tanks used to sit. The fifth tank is a 60 gallon day tank which is mounted in the bilge on the center-line of the boat under a new set of floor plates.

This arrangement reduced the boat's fuel capacity by 50 gallons which is good, actually. We still have more than enough range but we go through the fuel a little faster which means it doesn't sit on the boat as long. And having five tanks gives us some nice options for fuel management.

I suspect the original tanks were cut up in place and the pieces removed. The new tanks are all small enough to have been lowered into and positioned in the engine room without having to remove the engines. However judging just by eye I suspect the transmissions had to come out to provide sufficient clearance to get the saddle tanks into their mounting frames.

Finally, if one tank in your boat has gone bad and these are the original tanks it's very possible the other tank may not be far behind. Given the effort and expense of removing and replacing one of the tanks, and if you plan to keep the boat for a fair amount of time, it might be smart in the long run to replace both tanks.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:44 AM   #5
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You might want to ask on the Monk 36 Owners Assoc site on yahoo. I know there are discussions there on the topic.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin
Finally, if one tank in your boat has gone bad and these are the original tanks it's very possible the other tank may not be far behind. Given the effort and expense of removing and replacing one of the tanks, and if you plan to keep the boat for a fair amount of time, it might be smart in the long run to replace both tanks.
If you don't plan to keep the boat for any length of time and if you don't replace the port tank, any potential buyers will beat the cost of replacing it out of you.

Either way you are going to pay for both tanks.

Here is a start:
http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s3/tank-material-13452.html
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Old 11-12-2015, 08:15 PM   #7
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I had a fuel leak in the corner seam of a large diesel tank on a Albin Tri-Cabin. The leak was toward the top of the tank. I had the boat in a charter program on The Chesapeake at the time and the charter company watching over the boat broke the news to me over the phone.

We were considering cutting the side of the boat out to replace the tank. We were considering removing the engine to get to it. We were talking about it being out of charter (and my use) for months.

I got a call the next day from the charter manager who told me that his welder had meandered into the office and overheard them talking about the problem. He went down to look at it and stated that he would weld the seam for $200. The charter manager asked me what I thought?

I was in Cincinnati at the time, so I said: "Go ahead."

Turned out that the weld worked. Never leaked again. I was also surprised to find out afterward that the welder didn't even empty the tank. He drained it so the fuel level was about a foot lower than the weld.

Best $200 I ever spent on the boat!
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:47 AM   #8
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This has got to be the most ridiculous post I've ever read, "give it a shot", more like roll the dice on an explosion! Don't ever repeat this story again PLEASE!
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Originally Posted by Cuttyhunk47 View Post
I had a fuel leak in the corner seam of a large diesel tank on a Albin Tri-Cabin. The leak was toward the top of the tank. I had the boat in a charter program on The Chesapeake at the time and the charter company watching over the boat broke the news to me over the phone.

We were considering cutting the side of the boat out to replace the tank. We were considering removing the engine to get to it. We were talking about it being out of charter (and my use) for months.

I got a call the next day from the charter manager who told me that his welder had meandered into the office and overheard them talking about the problem. He went down to look at it and stated that he would weld the seam for $200. The charter manager asked me what I thought?

I was in Cincinnati at the time, so I said: "Go ahead."

Turned out that the weld worked. Never leaked again. I was also surprised to find out afterward that the welder didn't even empty the tank. He drained it so the fuel level was about a foot lower than the weld.

Best $200 I ever spent on the boat!
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:04 AM   #9
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VERY lucky, but VERY stupid welder! I concur with Mr. Mm. Not only ridiculous but insane! I'm quite sure some tanks can be welded in situ but not without a strict protocol to minimize risk. NOTE: I said minimize NOT eliminate.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:25 AM   #10
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Atl makes a blatter tank that fits inside the old tank don't know of anyone who has done this before but it should work you will have to cut the tank and remove any baffles
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:38 AM   #11
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American Tanks, LLC Call a pro and get expert advice
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlinmike View Post
This has got to be the most ridiculous post I've ever read, "give it a shot", more like roll the dice on an explosion! Don't ever repeat this story again PLEASE!
The story was told in a flippant way because I couldn't believe that it could be done, but the welder knew what he was doing. The yard was convinced that there was no danger and the procedure did work. This was not a yarn. It happened.
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:24 PM   #13
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I have had a fuel tank welded we did drain the fuel out filled tank with argon
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:53 PM   #14
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I have had a fuel tank welded we did drain the fuel out filled tank with argon

Nitrogen works. Never heard of argon being used.

This is not unheard of with DIESEL tanks.
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:01 PM   #15
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I thought nitrogen to but a welder has argon for welding so that's what he used
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:27 PM   #16
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Nitrogen, argon, co2, makes no difference its just used to replace the oxygen. No oxygen NO EXPLOSION. Personally I prefer fuel in the tank to below the spot to be welded, less air space. I generally use a MIG welder but have used stick on steel (black iron tanks. I would suggest doing a little research and maybe learn a little about welding and what is considered normal practices befor saying something is "stupid" that any proffesionall welder considers everyday stuff.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:20 PM   #17
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Before making remarks using the word [stupid ] --better to keep one's mouth shut than open it and remove all doubt-- The weld was completely routine. What would be [stupid] is spending thousands to cut apart the old tanks , fabricate new ones, move engines and transmissions, for a repair that a 200 weld obviously fixed.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by steveandtina View Post
Before making remarks using the word [stupid ] --better to keep one's mouth shut than open it and remove all doubt-- The weld was completely routine. What would be [stupid] is spending thousands to cut apart the old tanks , fabricate new ones, move engines and transmissions, for a repair that a 200 weld obviously fixed.
That same concept can be applied to so many thing here on TF that people have never seen or understand.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:46 PM   #19
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Greetings,
Welding Forum > welding diesel tank

Fire and explosion in motor vehicle repair

2 of many examples...
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:58 PM   #20
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Hmm. I vote for JB Weld.
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