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Old 07-05-2010, 07:31 AM   #1
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Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

My 35 year old steel fuel tanks are just about history.* They are not leaking
but the tops are extreemly rusted and I'm afraid that they wont last much longer.
The boat is under restoration and I have just about everythig from the engine
room removed so now would be the time to replace them.* Everybody here
in S. Florida want's to make aluminum tanks, at outragous prices i feel, so I was
wondering if anybody has had any expiremece with fabricating tanks out of
epoxy/glass.* Would be easy enough to do and should be strong.* Tank capacity
is presently about 200-225 gal a side, so they say, and the existing tanks will
have to be cut up as they are just a tad to big to fit thru the opening in the salon.
I wouldn't mind having steel tanks made as the existing ones have lasted 35 years
if I could find a shop that would make them at a reasonable price.*
Just surching for ideas all.
Bill
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:12 AM   #2
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

One thing I have seen is going back with multiple tanks instead of one big tank, this might give you some better options. Just an idea
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:44 PM   #3
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

I am currently setting on 175 gallon of fuel for a customer that started the demo of their tank in Dec 09'. They called last week to schedule the return of their fuel. If you have twin engines, removal can be very taxing.


We use Best Fabrication for new tank replacements, try www.bestfab.com.


Absolute,

"Suckin Sludge & Havin a Gas"
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:55 AM   #4
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Bill,
I would be inclined to have some polypropelyne tanks made up.
May be 2 each side to make them easier to install in the limited installation space.
You can have them fabricated to any size you want.
Other than that I would go for steel tanks blasted and tar epoxied on the outside and descaled on the inside.
Especially with the steel tanks I would ensure than an adequate small sump for sludge & water collection is built in.

Benn
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:56 AM   #5
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

If the tank is structurally sound , 'cept for the top rust , a simple bladder or two will do the job .

A custom bladder will loose zero capacity and best of all it can easily be removed and cleaned.

ON our 90/90 new builds we would build glass tanks , and install matched bladders.

The owner could go for fuel (usually a winter liveaboard) or water (summer guests or cruising) with no hassles.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:20 AM   #6
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Quote:
FF wrote:

If the tank is structurally sound , 'cept for the top rust , a simple bladder or two will do the job .
FF, you keep saying that but surely you are aware that steel tanks have baffle plates welded internally. The labor required to open the tank enough to cut out the baffles, then grind the welds smooth and prep the tank to insert a bladder is as much as simply removing the tank.

The cost of bladders is probably even more than having a custom poly tank made and way more than off the shelf poly tanks.

Bladder tanks have their place but this doesn't sound like one of them.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:56 AM   #7
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Agree with you Rick.
Not a big fan of bladders as permanent storage solutions when tanks can be easily fabricated and installed.
Must admit i do carry a 500 lt diesel bladder for when i want extra fuel for long trips.
Fill it and carry it on the aft deck.
These Turtle bladders are pretty good for that.

Benn
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:15 AM   #8
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Rick, stop calling FF Shirley.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:35 AM   #9
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Surely he can face*the unpleasant facts!*
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:21 PM   #10
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Thanks for the feedback guys, I agree, a bladder would be as costly as replacing the tanks. I work in aviation and the price of bladder wing tanks for some aircraft are out of sight. El Sea, I am going to see if I can get my autocad skills toghether and send that company in Bartow a draing of approx what I have and see what I get for a quote. Yes steel would work
just fine, it has for 35 years so far. Well the tops of the tanks have scaled rust up to about 1/2" think chunks that I have picked off the tops so I don't believe there is much steel left. Dont really know how much there was to start with. I'll try and get some pix tomorrow and show what I'm up against.
Bill
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:57 PM   #11
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Bill,
I did the tank thing last (30 years old) year. Mine are 100 gallon each located in the lazeret so not too hard to get out. I had them sandblasted to white then brought them to my neighberhood welder. Brian did a great job repairing them. I had him add another big inspection plate on top so I can inspect the entire tank. Next was 3 coats of mil. speck epoxy primer and three coats of white epoxy.

My original thought was to have new tanks made. Once the bad was cut out and new welded in they looked great. Could you cut it down enought to get out then look into repairs? My total cost for yard time to remove and return, sandblasting, welding and epoxy was just over $800. I may have been better off to replace with plastic.

Rob
37' Sedan now for sale.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:43 PM   #12
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Rob, I'd say you got a screamin' deal for $800 for all of that!!!

I was going to suggest repairing as well. I guess it is just a matter of the condition of the rest of the tanks.
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:01 AM   #13
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

A second question would be the condition of whatever is leaking above the tanks ,

causing all the rusting ,

and what if anything is securing the tanks where the leak water ran off?
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:03 PM   #14
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Thanks John. I should have mentioned the primer was in exchange for helping a buddy prep the deck of his barge for recoating. Brian the welder is very fair and I have done a lot of work (floor sanding) for him. The yard, Seaport Marine in Stonington CT was also*quite reasonable*with crane charges.

Rob

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Old 08-01-2010, 10:57 AM   #15
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

Well the leaks have all been fixed. That is a subject for another story. Here are a couple of pix of the tanks as they currently are. Not a pretty sight.* These are pix of the starboard tank.* It is the worst of the two.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:19 PM   #16
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RE: Epoxy/Glass fuel tanks?

not sure if you are still considering epoxy / glass as an option or are looking at all these other great ideas but wanted to share our bad experience with an epoxy / glass tank. Luckily it was a water tank or we'd have been in deep doo doo.* We had a custom epoxy / glass water tank made in February and used it for several months with no issues.* We filled it up in early July*prior to a long trip and within a couple of hours (before we left the dock) we heard the bilge pump running.* One of the seams in the tank had failed and all the water was draining into the bilge.* I guess a seam in any kind of material could fail but seems like some of the other options people have suggested may be more reliable??* Any way, best of luck on the project.*

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