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Old 09-02-2016, 05:57 AM   #21
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Custom made bladders installed in each tank are not that expensive and do not require the boat to be ripped apart.

A bonus is they are removable so they can be cleaned if bugs get in the fuel.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:19 AM   #22
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We sold our MT 34 Aft Cabin Whistful back in 2000, I think.
The couple that bought it ran it for a few years and had tank failure. Not sure if one or two, doesn't matter though. They replaced them with plastic, not sure of the cost.
We had the boat for 8yrs, our survey didn't pick anything up, and neither did theirs, but we did have teak decks, and we all know how that goes.

I would definitely do the plastic tank route myself. I have 3 saws-alls (and not afraid to use 'em), 2 are battery powered And our boat carried way more fuel than we would use in 2 original tanks.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:26 PM   #23
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My last boat had black iron tanks. One leaked so I cut them out and replaced with them multiple smaller tanks as others have suggested.
Current boat the 100 gallon aluminum tank started leaking one month after purchase. It was a 35 year old tank that came out through the ER hatch after moving the engine out of the way into the salon.
If you buy an old boat, be prepared to get dirty, sweat and bleed or have a good reserve for repairs. For me it's a little of both.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:06 PM   #24
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"I would definitely do the plastic tank route myself."

Plastic is probably the best but the install is a PIA.

You need to place the tank, fill it with fuel, let it grow a bit , then lock it in place.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:24 PM   #25
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Custom made bladders installed in each tank are not that expensive and do not require the boat to be ripped apart.

A bonus is they are removable so they can be cleaned if bugs get in the fuel.


This is a sensible alternative, leaves you with some beer money too!
Take care to provide a safe environment for the soft tank, and it will last forever.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:41 PM   #26
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This is a sensible alternative, leaves you with some beer money too!
Take care to provide a safe environment for the soft tank, and it will last forever.
Think of resale. Today's dollars are cheaper than tomorrow's dollars.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:54 PM   #27
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Holes are cut into the side of the boat all the time to replace tanks and engines. If done right there is no issues. There are many pics from boat yards even doing this to 100'+ yachts. It's the only way for some. There is also a video of it being done to the bottom of the hull on a grand banks.
Yes but t ain't going to happen for only $10,000.
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:58 PM   #28
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Think of resale. Today's dollars are cheaper than tomorrow's dollars.
I seriously did...I think tank reduction done well is an easy sell when explained correctly...

Like getting rid of teak decks....can be sold as a positive either way...just typical media slant.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:02 PM   #29
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This is a sensible alternative
No it's not.

At least in the majority of cases.

If it was, it would be done all the time.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:44 PM   #30
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hardest part of putting a bladder in a steel tank is getting rid of the baffle...for me to cut the baffles out of my steel tank...I had to make many more cuts in the tank than just removing it.

just that labor alone starts to get close to just cutting the whole tank out.


so many different boats and combos and needs...hard to say what solution fits each case.
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:48 AM   #31
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"hardest part of putting a bladder in a steel tank is getting rid of the baffle...for me to cut the baffles out of my steel tank...I had to make many more cuts in the tank than just removing it.

just that labor alone starts to get close to just cutting the whole tank out."

True , but its a heck of a lot less labor and risk to install the bladder than remove the engine to get the NEW tank in place.

A huge tank replaced by 3 -4 plastic boxes for fuel would have the advantage to install and more important

all but 1 or 2 could be empty most times when extreme range has no value.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:03 AM   #32
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Every time the repair or replace fuel tanks issue is raised I comment that a boat owner needs to check with a broker about the effect of repaired tanks on the resale price.

Many times I have cautioned potential buyers that if they find a boat with 25+ year old mild steel tanks to assume the tanks will soon need replacing and reduce the price accordingly. A repair with epoxy is not the same as new tanks.

The problem for the seller is complicated, perhaps there is a buyer who will accept the repaired tanks and not discount. However, if the buyer discounts then he or she will discount more than the cost the original owner could have paid and give no discount for owner supplied labor. Thus the repair may end up costing more as the original owner pays for the repair and the eventual discount.

This is the gamble a owner with leaking tanks must face.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:51 AM   #33
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[QUOTE=Bay Pelican;476276]
Many times I have cautioned potential buyers that if they find a boat with 25+ year old mild steel tanks to assume the tanks will soon need replacing and reduce the price accordingly./QUOTE]

This was the number one worry for us. Certainly the risks are greater with older tanks, but I think it's possible to allay the risk considerably by getting a service to pull the inspection ports and take a good look inside. We did that with our 29-year-old fiberglass-encapsulated tanks and were relieved to learn that they look like new inside (once the sludge was mucked out). We can see across the tops of the tanks to the inner hull and there are no water or rust stains anywhere with sound fiberglass decks above. Not a guarantee, of course, but we do sleep easier.

And lest we think leaking tanks are a problem exclusive to older boats, I was at a marina yesterday (no names to protect the owners from embarrassment), where the yard crew was scrambling to stop a tank leak in what they told me is a brand new steel-hulled trawler. Gorgeous boat but a seam just started leaking for no obvious reason. They pumped 30 gallons out of the bilge and presumably transferred the remaining diesel from the leaking tank to a sound one. The owners must be livid; but the boat was built offshore (not East Asia) and I'm not sure what recourse they'll have.
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:32 PM   #34
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In my case removing the engine above the other to set the tank was my way. Had cutup old tank and removed. Put in aluminium tanks , fast forward 8 years and had a bad weld start leaking,so did it again with a boom lift at the yard. Came thru window and lifted engine,trans up and over while crew removed tank thru other side window to ground so welder could do repairs. Then same to put back in. A pain in the ass but can afford the boat/ repair but not the crazy prices that I got for someone else to do it. $30,000.00!!!!!!!
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:02 PM   #35
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Hah, I just vacuumed the outside of the stbd tank for the second time since Ive had this boat. Seriously I can run the shop vac along the wall of the tank and load up on it, if only it was gold. I carried probably 40 pounds of rust flake to the dumpster. I reckon I have ,0001 metal and .005 of tank sealer left before it collapses.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:13 PM   #36
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As always this is a interesting subject. I note lots of good advice above, with lots of practical experience talking. But before going ahead in panic mode I think you should assess the real damage. In some cases I've removed the smaller damaged area and installed acess ports for the normal damage from leaky decks. I've never seen an hull panel removal look "right" after a year or so, the gelcoat ages differently. So you finish respraying at no small cost. The earlier GB's had cast steel tanks that made repairing difficult.
Severly damaged tanks we cut out, whipped the engine out install new tankand replace the engine. Some times installing 2 for one, the cost of breaching the hull or deck always seemed to add substanially to the cost. Would be nice to see some pictures drawings of the damage, to gain a further insight. I'm sure the rest of the forum, could supply more advice with extra information.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:32 PM   #37
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"hardest part of putting a bladder in a steel tank is getting rid of the baffle...for me to cut the baffles out of my steel tank...I had to make many more cuts in the tank than just removing it.

just that labor alone starts to get close to just cutting the whole tank out."

True , but its a heck of a lot less labor and risk to install the bladder than remove the engine to get the NEW tank in place.
I wonder how much you'd really save going with bladders? One off the shelf 200 gallon bladder is going to cost close to $1000.

And you might have to have one custom made to properly fit the old tank. Which could cost a lot more. Then there is the issue of how you're going to plumb it, since the bladder will collapse as the fuel is drawn out of it so the hoses have to move with the bladder.

You suggest this method all the time. Have you actually done it instead of replacing tanks with tanks? If so, how much did you save over installing new tanks?
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:47 AM   #38
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"And you might have to have one custom made to properly fit the old tank. Which could cost a lot more."

In the larger sizes ALL the tanks are made "custom" so there is no price problem.

My use of bladders has been on NEW boats , where the space is fitted with 2 bladder tanks .

One for diesel, one for FW so the owner can chose which he prefers to have aboard.

Bahamas water is expensive , winter liveaboard diesel is heavy on a snow covered dock.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:29 AM   #39
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"And you might have to have one custom made to properly fit the old tank. Which could cost a lot more."

In the larger sizes ALL the tanks are made "custom" so there is no price problem.
I was talking about a bladder.

If you were replacing your old tanks with a bladder you might need/want to have a custom sized bladder made.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:47 AM   #40
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"I was talking about a bladder.

If you were replacing your old tanks with a bladder you might need/want to have a custom sized bladder made."

ME TOO! after a certain size OTS just doesn't work.

Esp if you wish to specify fill and vent size and location or the tank has an unusual shape.

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