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Old 09-21-2019, 06:57 AM   #1
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fuel tank replacement

I may have to have my fuel tank on my 1987 43ft President, What is the cost to hve the tank removed and replaced. Do they cut a hole in the side of the boat to remove? I would think removing the engine would be a very big job .. thanks for your help... I had looked but the pads were not soaked ...…………… surveyor or boat broker or owner never said anything about it. im sure the owner and broker knew as there was absorbent pads stuffed between the fuel tank and engine stringer... the surveyor was not that good of a surveyor, missed a lot of things
kevin G
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:50 AM   #2
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That’s a bummer and shame on that surveyor.

Lots of threads here on this. Some documenting each step and cost. Search for fuel tank and you’ll find a lot of advice.

Cost will depend on the amount of labor required more than the tank and what your paying for it ($100/hr at the yard or $0/hr DIY).

I’ve heard of GB tanks getting cut out through a hole in the hull but it seems most get cut into pieces in the ER and then bought up through the hatch (engine removed first).
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:53 AM   #3
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Hello Kevin.
I'm not familiar with your boat but have lots of fuel tank experience, both on our trucks, static engines and boats.
Much depends on who does the job because removing an engine may not be as big a job as you think, providing you have the right tools. Some are just able to be put to one side and some are built in and require drastic measures. DO NOT replace your tank with mild steel, replace with stainless 316 grade with bright annealed finish inside is my choice (I fitted it on my own boat).

This next statement is guaranteed start a nuclear WW3 on TF, nearly as big an argument as to which anchors to use.

When fitting a new tank as well as having the usual correctly spaced baffles and cleaning hatches (to access each side of the baffles) is to take your fuel pick-up from the very bottom of your new tank (with a shut off valve) your tank will then become self cleaning, changing your filters at regular service intervals will be all that's necessary keep your system clean.
Virtually all boats take fuel from the top of the tank via a suction/pickup pipe which goes down into the tank and stops about 3 inches from the bottom, that allows a build up of sludge (fines) in the very bottom of the tank over time which can be completely avoided.

You will see on here many accounts of tank cleaning woes and fitment of supercadgeafragilistic recirculating fuel cleaning systems which in my opinion are totally unnecessary.

Eliminate the cause instead of rectifying the symptoms.
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:54 AM   #4
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Do they cut a hole in the side of the boat to remove?

On an aluminum or steel boat , NEVER for me on A GRP boat.

"I would think removing the engine would be a very big job ."

Sometimes the engine is simply lifted and not removed to make space to get a new tank in. The tank is usually cut out with a cut off tool (after its empty)

New smaller plastic tanks can sometimes be fitted with out touching much of anything , which is a good repair.

I would look to see if the tank is really leaking or just the fill or vent hose that is bad.

If the boat has more than one tank, could you cruise with out the leaking tank?


"surveyor or boat broker or owner never said anything about it. im sure the owner and broker knew as there was absorbent pads stuffed between the fuel tank and engine stringer... the surveyor was not that good of a surveyor, missed a lot of things "

It would help other folks if you posted names and business location.
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:16 AM   #5
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I have a 44 ' chung wha. So similar to ur boat. I replaced the steel tanks. Removed the steel tanks with a sawsall. Replaced each tank with 3 fiberglass tanks. Took about 5 hr each to cut out the old tanks
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by FF View Post
Do they cut a hole in the side of the boat to remove?

On an aluminum or steel boat , NEVER for me on A GRP boat.
Well, maybe occasionally. It would be a last resort though.
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Old 09-21-2019, 02:18 PM   #7
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I have two 200 gallon saddle tanks that are in the process of being replaced with four 100 gallon fiberglass tanks. I considered aluminum, but ended up with FG as aluminum was considerably more expensive, and I like FG for tanks.

Single Perkins 4.236 (75hp) diesel engine was out in under a day. Other work being done so engine isn't back in, but probably 1-1/2 days to reinstall with alignment.

Having the work done in Mexico. Turns out Ensenada, jumping off point for the Baja 1000 off road race has decent fiberglass workers due to custom truck /car industry. Not including fittings or engine removal, total cost including install and removal/disposal of old tanks was $6500. Fittings were about $1200 when done as I went with beefy fiberglass clean outs made for oil field fracking usage - they are glassed in and have no fastener penetrations into the tank.

When splitting two tanks into four, there are two options for fuel pickups. One is to have four pickups (and returns) - one for each tank, though this increases the valve complexity by quite a bit. Second, you can combine each pair with crossover valves at the tanks low point, which is what I did. I'm told that crossovers meet ABYC but should be protected from accidental impact.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:54 PM   #8
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We have a 41’ President. I am going to replace one of my fuel tanks this winter and the other one next winter. I am going to do it myself. I have built a crane to lift the engine and stack it over the other engine. My tanks are 210 gallons and a new 1/4” aluminum tank is going to cost about $2500. I will have about $1800 in the crane and chain fall, etc. My tanks are not leaking now but they are 32 years old so I want to replace them on a proactive basis and while I am still able to do it physically. I am going to do a bunch of other work while the engine is out and access is much better.
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:05 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=FF;804262]Do they cut a hole in the side of the boat to remove?

On an aluminum or steel boat , NEVER for me on A GRP boat."


Why not? Properly done 'glass work ground back with appropriate taper, what's the problem? Inside and outside are readily accessible for the repair after all.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:50 AM   #10
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"Why not? Properly done 'glass work ground back with appropriate taper, what's the problem?"

Even when built to massive military specs a GRP boat will flex from wave impacts.

It is near impossible to create a patch that will flex the same way the rest of the hull does.

For a displacement boat, used only inshore or as a house afloat it might be ok.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
We have a 41’ President. I am going to replace one of my fuel tanks this winter and the other one next winter. I am going to do it myself. I have built a crane to lift the engine and stack it over the other engine. My tanks are 210 gallons and a new 1/4” aluminum tank is going to cost about $2500. I will have about $1800 in the crane and chain fall, etc. My tanks are not leaking now but they are 32 years old so I want to replace them on a proactive basis and while I am still able to do it physically. I am going to do a bunch of other work while the engine is out and access is much better.
Good for you! This is a logical approach to preventing future problems. Hope you take lots of pictures and document your project on TT. Who knows when you are done with the second tank you might be able to sell your crane to one of the members and recoup some costs.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
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My tanks are 210 gallons and a new 1/4” aluminum tank is going to cost about $2500. I will have about $1800 in the crane and chain fall, etc.
I'm sure you've done your research, but for the archives and folks who might be considering a similar project, I thought I'd insert a reference from a 2001 Steve D'Antonio article in Cruising World that I found when I was considering aluminum tanks (I decided on fiberglass tanks vs aluminum):

The ABYC specifies that aluminum fuel tanks be made of alloys of grade 5052, 5083, or 5086. The minimum allowable thickness is no less than .090 inch, but larger tanks should be thicker--.125 to .250 inch--to meet structural requirements and provide a measure of security.
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