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Old 02-16-2015, 12:14 AM   #1
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Ocean Alexander 38 Fuel Tank

I am looking at an 1988 OA 38. Currently one of the fuel tanks has been decommissioned since it was leaking and the broker doesnt seem to know the whole story. Anyone know or have experience on cost and effort it is to removal and original tank and replace it?

Alex
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:45 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:54 AM   #3
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On a boat that has been let go like this one assume the worst - the other fuel tank is bad too and the list goes on. If you have the time and money after two years and a minimum of $50k you may or may not have a boat you can cruise in.

Sorry to sound negative but a boat that has been abandoned by the owner is no fun unless you are very handy, experienced at marine repairs and enjoy DIY challenges.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
On a boat that has been let go like this one assume the worst - the other fuel tank is bad too and the list goes on. If you have the time and money after two years and a minimum of $50k you may or may not have a boat you can cruise in.

Sorry to sound negative but a boat that has been abandoned by the owner is no fun unless you are very handy, experienced at marine repairs and enjoy DIY challenges.
Exactly, and when you fix the broken tank you might as well fix the one that has not YET failed.

On Seaweed the doors (two in pilothouse, one into cockpit) hang on rollers. When the first one failed I replaced all three runners. I knew it was a matter of time before the others gave me fits. It was one of those "we might as well moments" --

And tanks are FAR WORSE. Generally they are added first so all manner of equipment is in front of them. Even free, this boat might not be worth a thing -- and scrapping a big boat is too often a break-even or lose proposition.

Question for the experts: Which is worse?

#1) Mushy leaky teak decks
or
#2) Failing/failed fuel tank.

(Is there something worse than those two?)
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:01 AM   #5
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Is it a single engine or twin engine boat?

Has anyone with the knowledge of what to look for and how to look for it looked at the other tank?

What is the condition of the boat otherwise?
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:15 AM   #6
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It just seems to be one 100g tank. The boat still has 300g capacity without it. Otherwise the boat seems to be in pretty good condition. 1000hrs in twin Cummins 210h diesels.
Other needs are in exterior canvas, window leaks, wood refinished on exterior, bottom paint and some general clean up.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:49 AM   #7
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I like the 38 OA a lot and wouldn't just walk away based on a secondary fuel tank. The later boats had steel alloy tanks....sounds like the 38 is mild steel.. The location and accessibility of any tank defines the issue with removal/replacement. They can be cut up and removed in sections, and smaller sized units can be stacked and interconnected in the same space. I think it depends on how ambitious you are to do-it-yourself. I'd get the measurements of the tank and shop around for something that fits...even if it took a couple of smaller units to do the job. Also, is that extra fuel capacity really needed. Might be that the space could be better allocated to an extra battery bank, or an additional black water tank.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:57 AM   #8
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I'm in the camp that most boats have too much fuel capacity too. If long coastal trips are in your future then by all means extra gallons are good to have. But then again most boats never venture that far from a fuel dock.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:20 PM   #9
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Remember guys, he is just looking. Twin engines and systems and a thrifty/lazy owner is a tell as to other things lurking. Such as why did the tank fail, leaky decks, humm.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:51 PM   #10
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I agree with you Sunchaser, those Cummins engines and neglect do not bode well either. Sounds like a potentially expensive boat waiting for a checkbook to devour. Hire a good surveyor and find out.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:29 PM   #11
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A survey is an obvious must. I just don't want to spend $1k for it if the boat isn't worth the consideration. Sounds like the fuel tank isn't too big of a deal if I don't want to replace it. 300g is enough fuel for most uses.

Good point brought up about the engines with little use and sitting. The current owner only put less than 200hrs on the engines in 10yrs. The previous survey said the boat to be in "excellent" condition. I just hope the current owner didn't ruin that reputation.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:32 PM   #12
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What style OA 38?
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:21 PM   #13
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I saw the listing on YW. It looks well maintained from the pics. Make sure you get eyes on all the fuel tanks. Many times they are hidden behind tile and plywood. Surveyors will tell you they cant use tools so they wont look at tanks too hard. Make it a condition of the sale to actually SEE the tanks. If they are bad, you may need to remove both engines to replace, 10s of thousands if a yard does it. Much less DIY but a big project. No teak decks a plus, plan to replace all hoses and service all seacocks. Check for hull blisters. It would have to really survey well to command that price. Check out fuel tank replacement post in my blog below.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:24 PM   #14
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guess my signature did not save last time, Ill try again.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:31 PM   #15
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The previous owner of our PNW boat had all new fuel tanks fabricated to replace the originals. It can be a big job but it's certainly doable. Since fuel tanks can rarely be removed without removing other major components like engines, the common practice is to cut up the original tanks, once they are emptied, in place and remove the pieces. Then new tanks of smaller capacity that can be installed without removing things like engines are fabricated, installed, and plumbed.

That was what was done with our boat. The original three 150 gallon tanks were replaced with five smaller tanks, four 85 gallon saddle tanks and a 60 gallon day tank. The boat's fuel capacity was reduced by 50 gallons but we see that as a good thing. Having five tanks also gives us the flexibility to manage our fuel so we don't have a lot of it sitting on the boat for a long length of time.

The bill for fabricating the five tanks in 1997 was about $10,000. I have no idea what the labor charge was for the removal of the old tanks, installation of the new ones, and plumbing the system. The engines did not have to come out but the transmissions did and they also repositioned the generator to sit where the original aft fuel tank sat across the engine room.
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:50 PM   #16
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There is a nexus between leaky decks and rusty fuel tanks.
Don`t can the boat for one fault, but be on guard.
Like many boatbuilders, IG made mistakes, but the fuel tanks on my IG36 are not behind the engines, and are very accessible. However, the water tanks....
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Old 02-16-2015, 09:26 PM   #17
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What style OA 38?
Aft cabin style.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:14 AM   #18
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I like the blog posts GreatLaker. I hope it doesn't come down to needing new tanks, but nice to see it's doable. I saw a few hull blisters since it on the hard, but they seem to be just paint. The most of the pictures on YW are older because it's been out of the water for 8 months.
When I get the story on the tanks, I will let the forum know. I am also worried about engine problems since it has only used 100hrs in 10yrs and has been sitting for at least 8months. Does anyone know if the cummins 6BT5.9M are original to an 1988 OA?
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:18 AM   #19
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I am also worried about engine problems since it has only used 100hrs in 10yrs
How many times in the past 10 years has the oil been changed?


BTW, the engines pretty well take up the hatch opening in the 38 don't they? Does this mean for tank replacement out they come.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:30 AM   #20
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It's official. I'm a trawler owner.

This thread is worth reading through if you have not already. Post #60 is where the "fun" begins and is a great example of someone who did everything right pre-purchase and still wound up with some pretty major issues to deal with.
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