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Old 05-06-2016, 05:03 PM   #81
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The saga of the tanks continues. Thought it might be helpful to others that may encounter the situation. With a little time to stand back, several notions come to mind.

First, Iím glad I discovered the issue while in the slip and not 300 miles from home.

Second, I guess I always assumed that a leaking tank would be discovered as fuel coursed its way through the bilge and puddled up at a low point Ė at least not the case here. Itís obvious that this oozing has been going on for a long time. Odor (and not that strong) was the tell.

Third, at least in this case, you can hope that thereís a localized problem that a patch will cure; after a good bit of looking and talking to pretty solid and reliable folks, it seems that localized (barring a mechanical puncture or a stress crack) damage is rare. Corrosion is the likely enemy. More like a disease than an event.

Fourth, although there are many material choices for fuel tanks, the drivers of cost, availability, internal baffles, and tank size favored aluminum, at least in my situation. If wishes were things, I guess theyíd be monel.

Fifth, and probably obvious and old news to the experienced hands, aluminum fuel tanks (unlike my statement in the original post) are not bulletproof. In fact, aluminum is quite susceptible to moisture induced corrosion in an oxygen deficient atmosphere.

Sixth, the boat builder (Viking) got 40Ī good years out of the installation. I really donít expect they planned that Panache would still be on the water that long when they built her. There were flaws (at least as they are now understood) in the install related to the use of neoprene and other resilient foam material as electrical isolation and shock absorbing material.

If I can figure it out, Iíll post some pictures of the damaged items.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:13 PM   #82
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This is pretty much what I was looking at when they were installed. The lower, darker discoloration is from contact with the neoprene surround at the base. The transverse discolored strip is where the steel holdown brackets were installed. Installed and with the sight lines available, they looked pretty good to my eyeball.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:14 PM   #83
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Well, that was a failure.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:19 PM   #84
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I'm going to give this one more try.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:22 PM   #85
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Now, the bad news:
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:24 PM   #86
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One more time. Patience is a virtue.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:28 PM   #87
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Tank bottom in full contact with the well supported (robust full structural shelf) covered with neoprene shock absorbing material. Exactly what all of the sources I've consulted say should not happen. An engineered moisture trap.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:36 PM   #88
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If you having new tanks fabricated, perhaps they can place supporting legs on the tank along the stringers/shelf to keep the tank above the moisture trap. You lose a little tankage, but it's worth it if the tank lasts for the next 50 years.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:02 PM   #89
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Yeah, new tanks are in fab right now. I took the advice of several local TFrs, kicked around the industrial waterfront and talked to several high quality commercial marine shops that are on their a** due to the offshore oil "slump" and found a good deal.

Good suggestion on the frame, Al, but there are some location specific issues that make that difficult. It's kind of a sight gag, or I'd try to describe it.

I'm going with starboard or GPO3 transverse strips bonded to the tank bottom with the devil's spawn (5200 or similar) at say, 6" intervals with sufficient depth to have at least 1/4" clearance for air circulation. Basically what D'Antonio recomends in the piece I cited above. Will probably bond the lower side of the impermeable strips to same size neoprene (or something) strips to provide a modicum of vibration damping. Still working on details.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:10 AM   #90
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Then of course there is Monel.

Or if the tank is being custom made a steel tank with a deep servicable sump will see all the water , and bugs in the sump , (if its serviced) not in the tank.

ONLY a working sump can solve the hassle of a bad (say 50/50 fuel and water) load.

Gravity and a simple hand pump does the trick.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:19 AM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbu22 View Post
Tank bottom in full contact with the well supported (robust full structural shelf) covered with neoprene shock absorbing material. Exactly what all of the sources I've consulted say should not happen. An engineered moisture trap.
Cold tar the bottom (contact points) with PVC strips encapulated into the tar. Should last you another 100 years.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:05 AM   #92
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Yes, seal the tank bottom and going up the sides a few inches, maybe seal the entire tank.

What you want is a reinforced sealant, not just goo. Easiest to just use milled fibers or cloth.

I would still use something like 3 M 5200 or a less expensive but worth polyurethane like Loctite S30. Both can be set in fiberglass cloth, both will stick very well to aluminum. Epoxy sticking long term to aluminum I have doubts about that. The entire goal being to prevent water from corroding the aluminum, so the coating will keep it dry. And a rubber like polyurethane coating will not crack and will easily move when bumped or temperatures change. Simply adding milled FG fibers to rubbery polyurethanes makes them very tough like your tires.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:20 AM   #93
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Unlike your tanks mine had corrodion from the inside out thru a faulty weld,gap in the v-shaped area were the tank is shaped up the v of the hull. After cutting the section out,for a repair patch over the area, you could see an area inside were the sediment from the fuel settled and as you said worked thru the fault/corrosion and leaked out . This tank was only 8 yrs old and outside corrosion was not there. Talking to my fuel supplier ,he said that storing even clean fuel from him ,it will degrade over time. If my tank was a box shape this sediment would be on the bottom and not consentrated as in this v-area. Of course, his answer to my problem was burn more fuel to circulate/ clean it or polish it . I'm working on that now. Good luck
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:28 PM   #94
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rajin cajun reminded me that I hadn't followed up on the tank refit. Not a lot to tell, actually. Shopped tank fabrication from Morgan City to Maine. Then one of my pier mates asked me if I'd checked with the old school prop shop about 300 yards from my slip. By old school, I mean no computers, steel pitch dies, torch and bid dense hammer. The guy does a booming business for a tiny shop.

Anyway, found my tank builder for about 60% of what the big guys wanted - and fabbed out of 0.125 material versus the apparently "standard" 0.09 that evrybody else quoted.

Tanks in fab:
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:36 PM   #95
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"Air hydroed" each unit to 4.5 psi for 24 hours. Did the temperature compensation calcs - tight as a drum.

Due to whatever moisture event happened in the past (see prior pics - the old girl at some point had 8-12" of water in the aft bilge), applied a coat of offshore helo anti corrosion epoxy to the lower foot and a half of the tanks. Scared off of fully coating by some of the references I've read about fully coated tanks "concentrating" galvanic corrosion at localized imperfections in the coating.

This was followed by Starboard stand off strips applied to the bottom with 5200 to permit air circulation to get rid of moisture due to condensation or whatever.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:37 PM   #96
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Pics this time
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:52 PM   #97
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Reinstall in progress.

Hats off to the Viking guys. I didn't need a sawsall for removal/reinstall. Everything accessible by hand tool removal. Tank dimensions were such that they fit through cabin doors and companionway without trim/molding removal. With that, it was just like moving furniture.

The tanks had about 200 gallons of fuel when this odessy started. I did pump it off and drum it. Filtered it and reused.

Although I knew the tanks dry hydroed successfully, I was still apprehensive about reloading. No problems with the partial load. Crossed my fingers, went to the fuel dock and topped them up. All good after a couple of weeks and, now, a month or so.

I might add that I took this opportunity to replace all fill, vent, and fuel feed hoses with the latest and greatest. Took care to route fill and vent to eliminate low spots and cured a persistent "burp" in the stbd vent due to a poorly routed vent line. Net out - good to go.

I should take this opportunity to thank all of the TFers that gave me advice and caused me to consider a bunch of factors that would have escaped me otherwise. And a shoulder to cry on. I was pretty bummed when this started.
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:02 PM   #98
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Looks fantastic. I'd be very happy with that installation.
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:28 AM   #99
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sbu, looks like very nice work! Congrats on having it all behind you in a relatively short time.

Can you share with us the cost of the job as a reference point for future replacers?
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:51 AM   #100
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After going through the same thing last year I really felt your pain! Glad to see everything worked out for you. You were very fortunate that you could remove your tank and place the new one in without major tear out!
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