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Old 09-01-2016, 08:55 AM   #1
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Bad Fuel Tanks

I have read a lot about costs to replace both tanks lets say on a Marine Trader 38. Now the tank top is bad due to deck leaking probably around the fill hole. I read 10,000 dollars to replace both tanks Engine haul etc,etc. Is is crazy, stupid and worse to cut the deck out since the core is no good and pull tanks, thus leave engines alone. Repair the decks. Seems like it would be easier and maybe done by someone handy. Archie Bricker/Remedy
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:06 AM   #2
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My tanks would not fit through the deck and the deck is not directly above the fuel tanks. When you replace the core in the deck, I would leave at least the bottom layer of glass to support the new core. My two cents says to remove the engine then replace the tanks. I did it for $4k my labor. See my blog for pics.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:11 AM   #3
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A large part of the costs are labor. Once you have determined how much work you are willing and able to do, then the costs fall into place.

Several good tips and threads in the archives on TF on how to do the job. Review this information, talk with tank shops, determine your metal preference, talk with experienced yards etc to further pin schedule, activities and costs down.

Don't forget to fix those deck and window leaks. Pulling the engine(s) allows you to do ER cleanup and repainting. Get the old girl fixed up right!
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:04 AM   #4
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MAN, YOU ARE NOT AFRAID TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY. Advice taken. Thanks Archie/ Remedy
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:34 AM   #5
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I am closing on a 36 marine trader today. (1986) There is no visual sign of a problem yet. I did get an estimate to replace both around 10 grand. Holes would be cut in the sides for the new tanks. I have started a separate account for "boat problems" and when a problem arises will have the money for repairs as I cannot do that job myself. Just something to think about.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:58 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Ms. D. "Holes would be cut in the sides for the new tanks." You may want to re-think that approach. I think there was a thread dealing with disturbing the structural integrity of a boat in such a fashion. As usual, two camps. One said "Don't do it" and the other "No problem". I'm on the "Don't do it" side.

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Old 09-01-2016, 11:56 AM   #7
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gelcoat will almost never match up over time if the hull sides are repaired. Painting is the solution but while beautiful it is costly.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:00 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:10 PM   #9
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One place drops Grand Banks through the bottom...easier than repairing the sides to match they say.

Either you trust major fiberglass repair or not..

My solution was cut the old ones out and replace with smaller plastic tanks....a one handed Sawzall from Rigid made it tolerable.

Unless you plan on voyages beyond the Atlantic East coast or theBahamas/Cuba....my 300 mile range on 2 - 56 gallon tanks gets me from cheap fuel to cheap fuel..... back and forth from NJ to FL year after year.

Even if it's not enough range to always get cheap fuel...my replacemental tanks cost a total of $500 and what is cool...I can see into the tanks so I can top off to the very top and drain down to the very bottom...so all but a few gallons are usable. An always fresh fuel with no water or sludge build up...if there was...add some solvent, release the restraint, slosh around and siphon out in an hour or two
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:17 PM   #10
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There are all kinds of options these days to replace failed tanks with many price points and levels of hands on involvement. Don't break out the SawsAlls just yet.

How about some solid ideas on how to avoid premature fuel tank failure?
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:29 PM   #11
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As it turned out, my tanks were solid as a rock...just rusty as heck on the outside...which leaves one in doubt no matter what the repair if some experts claim many rust from the inside out.

Plus they had a layer of crud in them that was only coming out with a scrubbing...no amount of motion and polishing was getting this out.

Plus I more than doubled the amount of storage space in my engine room. Utilizing space on a liveaboard that was being wasted by storing old fuel didn't make sense to me.

All in all...I would do it again for the reasons stated even if I had a guarantee the tanks would have lasted another decade. With no gurantees, cruising away from home 4-6 months of the year, replacement on my terms seemed a no brainer.

But as in all things boating...if I couldn't do it myself, I couldn't afford large boating at all.

Plus, not too many options I think that are all the easy, practical, cost effective, really effective, and have as many plusses in other columns that I like.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:39 PM   #12
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Cutting holes in the topsides to take the tanks out makes no sense. You'll spend more time patching, fairing, gelcoating or painting the topsides than you would on the rest of the project combined. Cutting holes in the bottom makes less sense. Never actually looked at it but I'd be surprised if you could get the tanks out through holes in the deck. Besides that rebuilding the decks after would be a project. Pull the engine, cut the old tanks up if you have to to get them out. Then size new tanks that you can fit in.
While headed down the slippery slope of repairing TT's while the engine is out look at you engine stringers. Seen a lot of rotten ones.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:49 PM   #13
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As RT stated ' don't do it " There are yards around that could replace the tanks with smaller ones only losing a little in capacity. Yes they do it on big yachts because there is no other way. Cut a hole in the side of my boat - no way !
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Old 09-01-2016, 02:46 PM   #14
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I just went through this exercise. Look for the topic I started. I looked at all options. What made most sense for ME and MY BOAT was to cut up the old, leaky tanks and replace with smaller tanks that could fit in without removing engines.

I personally wouldn't mess with removing whole tanks through the hull. Too difficult to find a glass dude that knows what he or she is doing. They all say they're the best in town. Not true. And should you find a true expert, they're expensive!

I replaced two 300-gallon steel tanks with six aluminum tanks (three on each side) totaling about 550 gallons. My final cost was about $19,000.

Good luck!
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Old 09-01-2016, 03:55 PM   #15
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Replacing two same tanks with two same tanks has cost two people I know about $20K without cutting the hull or bottom. No work done by owner.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:40 PM   #16
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You realize that we have yet to prove the tanks are in fact actually leaking....
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:43 PM   #17
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It's more fun to spend other people's money on tank replacements than on correct diagnosis.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:49 PM   #18
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Glad I am enjoying my extra storage and $19,400 in beer money for doing it my way.

And I was still enjoying the $28,000 in beer money saved on my own peel, fix and reglass/barrier coat my bottom.

Then there is there is the.....getting fed up with working on boats!!!!!!
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:12 PM   #19
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A couple of places in my area of WA state offer epoxy repairs for tanks as well at a fraction of the cost of replacement. It no doubt requires a tank that is not totally rusted out I should think. The tanks in my boat were cleaned and declared good to go when I bought it and so far so good, but I did have that leaky stand pipe fitting on one tank, but that's fixed.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Bricker View Post
I have read a lot about costs to replace both tanks lets say on a Marine Trader 38. Now the tank top is bad due to deck leaking probably around the fill hole. I read 10,000 dollars to replace both tanks Engine haul etc,etc.
If the defect is confined to the tank top and or filler tube, confine the fix to that. Cure the rust, seal the top, fix the filler tube. Yes, the entire tank may eventually need replacement, but the cost to fix what presents now is modest and the alternative scary. Who knows how long fixing all that is wrong and leaving be what is not an issue, may last. Quite a while in my experience.
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