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Old 06-06-2019, 08:57 AM   #1
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City: Paris,TN
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Vessel Name: William
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Fuel tank gave up

This is a 150 gallon fuel tank that is original to the boat. The tank sprang a leak this weekend. It had about 80 gallons in it that I was able to transfer to my other 4 aluminum tanks . The aluminum tanks were installed in 2002. Without this tank I will still have 275 gallon fuel capacity in the 4 aluminum tanks. This tank is on port side in engine room. It’s approximately 2-1/2 ft square x 6-1/2 ft long.
We need more water capacity. My plan is to cut it out this winter and install a new water tank. I can get to this through the engine room door. I’m hoping to get another 50 gallons at least of water. This “should” be easier than my last water tank install.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:22 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. PM. Bummer. The first thing that springs to mind is trim. As you use up your water on the port side and/or your fuel on your starboard, will you be able to keep William somewhat level?
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:40 AM   #3
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Hey RT ,
William seems to already have a funky “built in” list to starboard. There are two 62 gallon fuel tanks directly across on starboard side from this tank. I have 75 gallon each port and starboard under aft deck. It will be a challenge but maybe not as a great a challenge of only having 20 gallons of water capacity.
I know that being organic is really cool these days, but Joy says I’m a little too organic for her lately.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:51 AM   #4
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Old 06-06-2019, 01:16 PM   #5
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Hey Pack Mule,

Where is the leak?

If the whole tank is rotting out from water at the bottom -- that's rough.

If there is an isolated bad spot in a weld or similar, you can probably clean it/drill it out and fix it with a fuel tank epoxy. In my last boat there was a tiny bad spot in a weld around a fuel tank fitting. I was able to clean the corrosion around the fitting with a dremmel brush tool; drill through the point leak to get clean, good metal inside all the way in; and pack the cleaned out defect and a bead around the fitting with fuel system epoxy. It worked like a charm and lasted at least years and, to my knowledge, and counting. I tried to dry out the repair area as best as possible, but there was likely still oil residue -- and it still bonded fine. The epoxy was from an auto parts store, was specifically for fuel tanks, and claimed it would work even with oil residue.

When I was crawled in the working on it, I actually noticed that it was the 2nd repair -- the other one had seemingly been done decades earlier. The fittings were originally tapped and threaded and had subsequently been welded. One still looked good -- the other was the one with the corrosion leak problem.
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Old 06-08-2019, 02:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkesden View Post
Hey Pack Mule,

Where is the leak?

If the whole tank is rotting out from water at the bottom -- that's rough.

If there is an isolated bad spot in a weld or similar, you can probably clean it/drill it out and fix it with a fuel tank epoxy. In my last boat there was a tiny bad spot in a weld around a fuel tank fitting. I was able to clean the corrosion around the fitting with a dremmel brush tool; drill through the point leak to get clean, good metal inside all the way in; and pack the cleaned out defect and a bead around the fitting with fuel system epoxy. It worked like a charm and lasted at least years and, to my knowledge, and counting. I tried to dry out the repair area as best as possible, but there was likely still oil residue -- and it still bonded fine. The epoxy was from an auto parts store, was specifically for fuel tanks, and claimed it would work even with oil residue.

When I was crawled in the working on it, I actually noticed that it was the 2nd repair -- the other one had seemingly been done decades earlier. The fittings were originally tapped and threaded and had subsequently been welded. One still looked good -- the other was the one with the corrosion leak problem.
Is 17 years an acceptable life for an aluminium tank? Properly installed, I wouldn't have thought so. Do you know the cause of the failure ? How thick is the aluminium ?
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Old 06-08-2019, 01:04 PM   #7
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For the curious, the epoxy I used was JB Weld SteelStick.

And, as I am thinking more about it and remembering better, I didn't get all of it dry first.

It was initially a slow ooze-becomes-drop-and-drips leak from a pinhole. I cleaned the outside of it and around the fitting and then drilled through it with a 1/16" or 3/32" bit. When I did, it became a real leak.

I pushed a few tiny balls of epoxy into that, leaving a good ball on the outside, then dried off the rest of the area I cleaned and wiped it with acetone, then I did the final pack over the hole and around the fitting, making a relatively flat ring about 3/16" thick, deeper right against the fitting and shallower at the very edges. The rung was probably 1/4" wide. I did it all very quickly, before and of theb epoxy started to set.
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