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Old 03-06-2016, 09:28 AM   #1
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Taiwanese trawler fuel tank

I know the average life expectancy of a steel fuel tank in a saltwater environment is approximately 20 years. Does the same hold true for a freshwater trawler?
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:39 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. t. I think it's safe to say that the greater number of fuel tanks rust out from the top due to deck leaks which is most probably fresh water (rain/wash downs). The presence of salt in both the atmosphere and in on board splashes will exacerbate any top tank rusting. So my GUESS is freshwater boats should suffer less rusting problems.

IF the deck leaks are held in check and water is kept out of the fuel, black iron tanks can last the life of the boat.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:47 AM   #3
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I know the average life expectancy of a steel fuel tank in a saltwater environment is approximately 20 years.
This is news to those that have 40+ year old steel tanks and are still doing well. RT nailed it, whether salt or fresh water keep the fresh water from getting onto the tank. Inside the tank, now that is laborious story.
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:14 AM   #4
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There are thousands of 40+ year old mild steel tanks. As mentioned before keep the exterior of the tank dry and rust prevention maintenance. Connecting the tank to the zink loop helps protect the tank.

Also reduce the moisture water in the tank by using turning the fuel, keeping the tank warm, and additives to prevent separate and absorb moisture water into the fuel. Fuel polishing helps as it clean and mix the fuel up. Lastly changing the trim of the boat so stuff does not settle in the same place.

So to have a tank last it has to be maintained.
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Old 03-06-2016, 12:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Phil Fill
Also reduce the moisture water in the tank by using turning the fuel, keeping the tank warm, and additives to prevent separate and absorb moisture water into the fuel.
Phil; I know, or think, you were trying to say something there and the posting process probably got in the way. Can you restate it so I can understand what you meant by turning the fuel?
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:14 PM   #6
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He guessing he means using the fuel. Not letting it sit around for long periods.
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:19 PM   #7
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He guessing he means using the fuel. Not letting it sit around for long periods.
Thanks, Bill. Going back and reading it again, I see a comma would have made my feeble brain see it differently.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of your very useful replies. Looking at a freshwater trawler and this information is a big help.
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Old 03-06-2016, 03:37 PM   #9
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Thanks, Bill. Going back and reading it again, I see a comma would have made my feeble brain see it differently.
I know the feeling.
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Old 03-06-2016, 05:29 PM   #10
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"Using/turning over"
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:39 PM   #11
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Averages really mean nothing. Just like talking about engine life. Maintenance and upkeep override time and each boat is different. A 40 year old tank can be in better condition than a 5 year old.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:39 PM   #12
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BandB, is that a boat or one of Michael Jordans tennis shoes
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:44 PM   #13
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BandB, is that a boat or one of Michael Jordans tennis shoes
Darn..you weren't supposed to know I had a pair of his tennis shoes. lol
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:01 PM   #14
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A pair !!!!, dang you are livin large.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:18 PM   #15
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A pair !!!!, dang you are livin large.
Actually no shoes. I was never a sports apparel or autograph collector.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:32 PM   #16
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Oh, my bad, I thought you meant you had a pair of those boats
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:34 PM   #17
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I know the average life expectancy of a steel fuel tank in a saltwater environment is approximately 20 years. Does the same hold true for a freshwater trawler?
Actually it can be as short as 15 years. My trawler had been run on Lake Michigan for it's first 15 years. The original mild steel tanks let go the next year.

If any one says 'they all smell like that', you tell them ' only when they are leaking'. Diesel boat's tanks and engine room do not smell of diesel. If there is a spill, it's wiped up and the smell leaves. Lingering odors point to a problem.

Check all the bottom corners of the tanks, check the deck fills' o-rings, check the tops of the tanks, check how they are mounted. Take a fuel sample from the bottom of the tank - either by disconnecting the balance tube or by a tube lowered to the bottom. You need to check for water and rust. If possible use one of those small TV things to examine the bottom corners of the tanks when they are empty. (transfer the fuel to the other one)

If you think all this sounds like a pain in the a$$, let me tell you having the 16 year old tanks in your new trawler drop 300 gallons of diesel into the bilge is even a bigger PIA.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:01 PM   #18
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It seems to me that old rusty steel tanks are the number one major problem on older boats, Taiwanese or otherwise. Am I wrong ?
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:08 PM   #19
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I cut mine out because of all the surface rust after 26 years....they had another 20 years in them no sweat....

The question is...how do you know? You don't without some fancy investigation.

For me...getting rid of them was no big deal as I wanted smaller tanks with more storage in the engine room...but the tanks would have lasted years and years longer despite the surface rust.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. 44. Rather, I think it is much truer to say water leaks "...are the number one major problem on older boats, Taiwanese or otherwise." Sometimes, more often than not, steel fuel tanks just happen to be in the line of fire.
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