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Old 07-10-2016, 01:09 PM   #21
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We had a leak from the port forward tank. Much easier to replace as it did not require removing engines. The rear tanks are the ones I lose a bit of sleep over......
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:42 AM   #22
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I have 3 tanks. One under the forward V-berth deck that leaked and was de-commissioned before I bought the boat. It was about 45 gallons I believe and I'm trying to figure how to get it out without tearing up the deck and v-berths. I have two side tanks of 125 gallons each. The port side leaked before I bought the boat and it was pulled by cutting out the decking next to the engine under the settee. They cut about 1.5 inch off the bottom and then welding a new bottom on. I'm dreading when the starboard tank leaks. LOL. All the tanks are aluminum.

Kevin
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:21 AM   #23
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I have four aluminum tanks, and finding one leaking is my nightmare scenario. I also assume it'll happen some day.

I read (was it here?) about a place where they cut a large access hole in the side of the tank, go in and seal it up with some sort of coating, then bolt a cover over the access hole, which itself has a removable access port in it to allow the bolts to be tightened, and presumably future inspections.

Sounds like a better solution than removing tanks and engines, unless you want to do a rebuild anyway. A project to replace tanks and rebuild engines might end up being more than the boat is worth, I'm afraid.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:16 PM   #24
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I also have four tanks, two starboard and two port, outboard of the engines. They are mirror images of each other with the aft tanks being about 30% longer than the forward ones.
When I first discovered the leak I called my broker to see if the PO had replaced any of the tanks since they had owned the boat for over the last 30 years. The answer was yes, but they couldn't remember which one or when.
I guessed it was the port aft tank as it had been coated black. But then the port forward tank also had a green coating. While both starboard tanks were bare aluminum.
I later found that a number of tank fabricators coat the exterior of the tank with a black coal tar epoxy, as was recommended by the fabricator that made my tank. So I bought some Rust-Oleum coal tar epoxy and coated the new tank before it was installed. It now looks very similar to the port aft tank that was coated black.
I'm now fairly confident that the black coated port aft tank was the one the PO replaced. However, that doesn't explain why the port forward tank has a green coating. I'm going to be optimistic and think that tank was also replaced but the PO forgot about it.

Rick - On my boat the generator sits next to the port forward tank, so I would think it would have to be moved out of the way to get the tank out. However, that would be much easier than moving the engine.

Kevin - Once the tank was out and the pin hole leak was found at the bottom I asked a couple of fabricators if they could cut off the bottom and weld on a new one. One replied with, "the USCG doesn't allow it." The other did cut the bottom off and after further inspection was not comfortable putting a new bottom on because he saw some additional corrosion and the material was very thin. So I opted for a new tank. Break Out Another Thousand - BOAT.

Tom - I have also read about the interior coating, but don't know who does it. I would think that 3 access ports would have to be cut into the bigger aft tanks due to the 2 internal baffles. But I don't know the process on coating the tank interior, just guessing.
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:41 AM   #25
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One of the Mainships we looked at had a tank recently replaced and it had something that looked like Tyvek on the bottom and coming up the sides about 6". Not sure if that will solve these problems but has anyone done this?
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:26 PM   #26
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Here's what I learned when replacing the tank back in Spring of 2012:

The leak started right after we launched the boat in the spring of 2011. Fortunately, not enough went into the bilge to activate the bilge pump, but cleaning up the mess was no fun! I turned off the pump and closed all the thru-hulls while I contacted the insurance company (Boat US). They sent a surveyor and covered the cost of pumping out the fuel, reimbursed market value of the fuel (I used a waste oil company that measures how much they take), and paid for the removal of the old tank. I promised not to use that tank and carried on with the season using only the rears, planning to address the project after haul-out.

If I remember correctly, the reason the tank leaked is due to the way it's installed. As I'm sure you Prairie owners know, between the two tanks and behind them is filled in with foam and therein lies the problem. Aluminum corrodes due to moisture AND a lack of air, so the foam right up against the tank is the perfect recipe.

The good news: RDS Aluminum, which manufactured the original tanks, is still in business and were fantastic. They needed a couple of days to find the drawings in their archives, but came through. Tank cost $932 + $140 for shipping and I had it within a couple of weeks. A heads up, because I missed it on the drawing, the original tank had an 1 1/2" fill, the new one had a 2", so I had to buy a new fill plate and grind out a bit of FRP, no big deal. but double check ALL the measurements . It comes with a high quality Moeller Reed style send unit.

The generator is directly in front of the tank so I had to move it and it's muffler. Years ago we replaced the original Onan anchor with a 4.5Kw Northern lights, so it was a 2 person job to slide it over onto a temporary platform. I also had to remove to the two 2x4 supports at the front of the ER opening for the tank to fit through, but removal was not too bad. Fortunately most of the foam stayed in place, so I cut out 4 sections and made templates for new supports made out of starboard. Once they were perfectly sized, and locations marked, I removed the foam and fiberglassed in the new supports (see photos). I also made several 1x1" strips to under the tank, so that any water that got underneath would not get trapped. Once the tank was test fitted, we loaded up the supports and bottom strips with appropriate adhesive (boat-life I think) and put the new tank in. As you can see, not all the supports touch everywhere, but I don't think it's going anywhere.... I did not put any coating on the new tank, because the old one lasted 30 years and I don't see myself owning a 60+ year old boat! The tanks walls are not thin and as long as they are kept dry, they should be fine

While I was at it, I replaced all the soundproofing on the front wall of the ER since I don't plan on ever moving any of that stuff again!!
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Old 07-13-2016, 02:51 PM   #27
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I think if either one of my forward tanks fail, I'll just de-commission them.
Or maybe I'll cut the front panels off, change them to doors and use the tanks for storage.
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:10 PM   #28
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Thought about that too, but a total of 200 gallon fuel capacity, even with the Prairie's miserly consumption is on the low side, might take a harder hit on resale value that what it costs to replace, especially if you're handy.

If either of my rear tanks fail (fingers crossed they don't!), I would seriously consider replacing both at the same time, one less thing to worry about.
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:16 PM   #29
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I burn just under 4 gallons per hour at 8 knots cruise with both engines. That's a range of 400 nautical miles at that speed. Not sure where I would go to exceed that distance. I know others may want to go further in a 35 year old boat, but not the FOG.
I agree with you Rick that resale may be an issue. But additional storage is also a plus.
I was half joking about using the tanks for storage and I hope I never have to get serious about it, but I have seen stranger things on boats.

I hear you on the rear tanks. As I stated in an earlier post about my confidence going up regarding the PO replacing the port rear tank when I saw the coal tar epoxy coating on it. I'm not 100% convinced, but I'll be able to sleep at night.

Just had another thought, possibly a crazy one. Raise the tank up and slide a piece of 1/4" aluminum coated with epoxy under it cut to the size of the tank bottom. Drop the tank back down on to the aluminum and let the epoxy cure. or ???
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:16 PM   #30
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well, in my case, the pinhole was about 1/3 of the way up the outboard side, so an added bottom wouldn't have helped. Seems like too much trouble anyway. But, I'm a little OCD, either do it perfect, or don't do it at all
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:05 PM   #31
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I'm the same way, sometimes to a fault. Besides I'm sure Murphy's Law would prevail and as soon as you fixed one area of the tank and reinstalled it another area would start leaking.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:18 PM   #32
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Back to the Improvements

[/QUOTE]After getting the new fuel tank installed, moving the boat to a new marina, a trip to California for a wedding and a visit with family and friends I was finally able to get the new windlass mounted.

Now I'm trying to figure out how much chain I want to buy. I want to use an all chain rode for most of my anchoring.
It appears that 90% or more of the anchorages along the Great Loop are in 20 feet or less water. So using a safe 7:1 scope and 6 foot of freeboard to my anchor roller, around 200 feet should be sufficient.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:25 PM   #33
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Nicely done!
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:55 AM   #34
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Is that a Lewmar 1000? I have that and anchor in similar conditions on a regular basis with the infamous Lewmar Claw. (insert applause here) I found 120 ft (36.5M for you metric guys) of chain and 240 ft (73M) rode to be a good compromise. Most of my anchoring in 20 ft (6M) or less is easily accomplished with this combination rode.
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:20 PM   #35
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Thanks Todd.

FlyWright - Yes it is the Lewmar 1,000 Pro Fish. Thanks for the feedback on the amount of chain. Are you using the 5/16" G4 High Test that Lewmar recommends?

BTW my anchor is 55 lbs. (insert applause for NOT mentioning brand name)
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:00 PM   #36
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There is a Simpson Lawrence windlass on my boat. I hate it. It has a plastic base and the guide has cracked off where the gypsy runs. That has actually made things better as it is less likely to jam and I can easily see it and clear it if it does. I currently have a 30' chain/150' rope rode that I need to at least re-splice. My biggest gripe is just feeding the rope back down the hole into the locker. My windlass has a rope drum on it so I have begun using it to haul in the rope until I get the chain on the gypsy and then I feed the rope down. The chain falls in just fine though. I am seriously considering going to at least 200' chain before we leave on the Loop trip.

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Old 08-27-2016, 03:07 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
Thanks Todd.

FlyWright - Are you using the 5/16" G4 High Test that Lewmar recommends?
Yes, 5/16 G4. This is my rode with 90 ft of chain added and 30 ft of Brait lost off the other end. (It's a long story...)
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Old 08-27-2016, 03:43 PM   #38
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That looks like a good set up. I just might go for it. It would certainly be lighter than all chain.

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Old 08-27-2016, 04:20 PM   #39
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Tallswede, I had a setup like yours when I bought my boat. Mine was a Powerwinch.



It was a lot of work and left a muddy mess on the decks without a washdown. Like you, I had to manually feed the line and chain into the anchor locker pipe.

Once I installed the new Lewmar windlass, I found anchoring to be an simple task...not one to be dreaded. Once I had the windlass working well, I added the 90 ft of chain to complete the system and have been very pleased with the results.

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Old 08-27-2016, 07:46 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallswede View Post
There is a Simpson Lawrence windlass on my boat. I hate it. It has a plastic base and the guide has cracked off where the gypsy runs. That has actually made things better as it is less likely to jam and I can easily see it and clear it if it does. Kevin
Kevin: We also had a Simpson Lawrence on our boat when we bought it. I started looking around for one to replace it and discovered that the Lewmar 1000 Sport Fish was the same unit with a Stainless Steel case. I use the 5/16" all the way on one side (300 ft.) and about 15' of the same chain on the other side with 300' of rode. The windlass works well with 45 lb. anchors. Here's a couple of shots of the old Simpson Lawrence side by side with the SS Lewmar. If you decide to switch, just wire it to the old relay. The Lewmar relay is about half the capacity and a real POS.
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