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Old 08-26-2013, 11:22 PM   #21
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Is aluminum a good material for the tanks?
Designed and installed correctly yes. My previous precautions regarding stainless not withstanding there are no inherently "bad" materials IMO.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:10 AM   #22
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Is aluminum a good material for the tanks?




I would prefer mild steel over aluminum or SS. Aluminum goes not have a very high corrosive and galvanic value and SS is heavy and hard weld and has to breath. As mentione before multi small plastic is my first choice. The reason aluminum is used its light and easy to weld.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:51 AM   #23
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FRP, aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel ... Each of these materials have their own caveats, all are fine if built and installed properly. Now your task is to research proper fuel tank installation.

Many Far East built boats were built with what has improperly been called "Black Iron". I don't know where the name came from, I guess its like "osmosis" and "electrolysis", just a catchy moniker improperly applied 98% of the time. "Black Iron" tanks are actually mild steel with a treatment that makes the steel turn almost black.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:35 AM   #24
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Conversely, my single 125gallon aluminum tank is in a most obvious place: right across/below the opening to the rear (lazarette) hatch in the cockpit. It blocks the 36"x36" opening so much that I can only reach an arm into the rear hatch (where the house battery bank resides). It makes accessing things such as the rudder stocks/steering mechanism, rear bilge pump, and rear through-hulls nigh impossible.

I guess that in some boats, in an attempt to cram so much equipment in the engine room, accessibility is compromised.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:02 PM   #25
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Fuel tank access

Having suffered failures of both water and fuel tanks on my present boat, I have some pretty strong opinions regarding recreational vessel tankage. For what it's worth, I am attaching an "open letter to the marine industry", which is (perhaps) my way of venting my frustrations regarding this issue. As with all things, your mileage may vary, but here's my $.02.

Pete
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File Type: doc AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MARINE INDUSTRY.doc (38.0 KB, 121 views)
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:38 PM   #26
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Having suffered failures of both water and fuel tanks on my present boat, I have some pretty strong opinions regarding recreational vessel tankage. For what it's worth, I am attaching an "open letter to the marine industry", which is (perhaps) my way of venting my frustrations regarding this issue. As with all things, your mileage may vary, but here's my $.02.

Pete
An excellent letter, I thank you for posting it. I surveyed a boat this morning and each of my eight points of fuel tank inspection were marked ... "Not inspected due to lack of access"

Professional Boatbuilder is an influential magazine read by all boat builders, naval architects and anyone else ivolved in repair, re-fit or new builds. The magazine is free to anyone in the marine business (wink, wink). I suggest you submit your letter to them.

I'd also suggest you send a copy to Mr.John Adey at ABYC. All of the major boat builders are in regular contact with ABYC and many sit on various committees.
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:34 AM   #27
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Is aluminum a good material for the tanks?
I helped a friend remove the aluminum fuel tanks that failed, from a late 60's, 40' Tolly. Interestingly enough the failure points were all at the lower welded seams on the tanks. It didn't appear that there was any corrosion?
I'm not a metallurgist, but it looked like some sort of stress fracture in the welds. It would have been interesting to know what caused this. The tank company offered to grind out and re-weld the seams. They said the tanks would be as good as new. However the owner elected to replace them with stainless. So I guess we'll never know?
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:17 AM   #28
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Aluminum goes not have a very high corrosive and galvanic value a.

Could you explain this.

Marty
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:10 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by jungpeter View Post
Having suffered failures of both water and fuel tanks on my present boat, I have some pretty strong opinions regarding recreational vessel tankage. For what it's worth, I am attaching an "open letter to the marine industry", which is (perhaps) my way of venting my frustrations regarding this issue. As with all things, your mileage may vary, but here's my $.02.

Pete
An excellent letter. I suggest that you submit that to Passagemaker or another boating magazine. With just a little editing, your words would impart some amount of wisdom about the situation to the cruising community at large. In addition to the marine industry, boat owners should know about these issues when viewing prospective boat purchases. And, your comments about engine access/removability are just as important as tankage access/removability.

Bravo, sir, for expressing thoughts that most of us keep pent up.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:29 AM   #30
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While I agree production boats are for the most part not maintenance friendly...it's because they sell because they are pretty...not user friendly.

Ask any boat marketing guy what goes on in boat shows and showrooms. The head of marketing in the Northeast for Sea Rays once told me that they would use a $20.00 set of plastic hinges instead of the $50.00 stainless ones if the engine guys said the cost of filters just went up from the engine manufacturer. I said you got to be kidding me. He said nope...people beat up sales guys for dollars much of the time...they say I can get the XXX for $350 cheaper over there ...even though the 2 boats aren't even close in size, design, etc...etc..

The average boat buyer is woefully uneducated and fully expects the seller to warranty much of the boat and will usually have someone else maintain it anyhow. They are NEVER thinking tank replacement at that point.

Granted trawlers should be a different breed when it comes to new boat shopping...but I'll bet that because so many little "nice things" are left out...they are still shaving price points when and where possible. My guess is designing around tank removal is the last thing on their minds. They probably think the tank was well made and they installed it correctly...with "proper" maintenance that tank will outlast several owners..... Used boats that far down the line I seriously doubt affects anyone back in the design teams let alone their ability to convince marketing they should build into the boat those additional costs.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:58 AM   #31
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Agreed...my 26 year old steel tanks were nearly perfect except in a couple spots...some surface rust/bubbling

Just hard to repair when crammed in like they were. But I bet after me fixing the leaks ans some PM they would have lasted another 10-20 years without leaking a drop. Seemed a shame I cut them out...but the room is super!
psneeld, that's what I call 'chasing problems'. You read horror stories about tanks, blisters, teak decks etc...... then you chase, only to be lighter in the pocket and frustrated in the end. The Previous owner of my boat said "before you make major improvements, wait 1 year". Those were wise words, get to know your boat before chasing problems. Thanks for your honest assessment. Hopefully others can learn from your experience before they throw the baby out with the bath water.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:21 AM   #32
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Could you explain this.

Marty
Phil got a copy of a galvanic table a few years ago and the materials world has not been the same since.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:35 AM   #33
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Could you explain this.

Marty


Very seldom ank I asked to explain backup what I post?

The galvanic rating of aluminum is low a.d in some industries aluminum is used to protect higher rated metal and used to fail to save guard equipment. So special care has to be taken. Weld for most metal are the usually the first to fail so the welder has to know how to weld aluminum. The good thing is most welds can be repaired.
The reason aluminum is used is its light and easier to cut and weld.

SS has to breath 0 so its usually not covered painted and the fluid has to fresh. Both aluminum and SS has a protect surface. Aluminum and does corrode but its not as visible as rust.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:45 AM   #34
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Phil got a copy of a galvanic table a few years ago and the materials world has not been the same since.



Not true the fabrication plant is constantly making sure different mettles are compatable.

Such as I final took my anchor in to have mudders plates added and the first questio was. What is it made of? Turned out its galvanized so SS can be used with the right welding wire. I our industry aluminum is used to protect and or fail. So what ever metal make sure they know how and what they are doing.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:03 AM   #35
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psneeld, that's what I call 'chasing problems'. You read horror stories about tanks, blisters, teak decks etc...... then you chase, only to be lighter in the pocket and frustrated in the end. The Previous owner of my boat said "before you make major improvements, wait 1 year". Those were wise words, get to know your boat before chasing problems. Thanks for your honest assessment. Hopefully others can learn from your experience before they throw the baby out with the bath water.
There was no "sole" reason that I took out my tanks buy many...I wasn't chasing a problem... I was solving 4-5 AND doing PM that may have saved me a bundle if one did get a pin hole in it on my next long trip.

People think differently and short replies that these forums tend to be filled with never really tell the whole story.

But you are correct...If I was worried JUST about leaks..I could have done a better job checking/pressure testing...but that would probably taken at least half the time/money due to the tanks being partially covered with glued on foam.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:15 AM   #36
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steel boat tanks

I know most people don't like steel boats. I owned a 42' steel boat for many years. There was four fuel tanks (total 1000gal). They had large manhole covers. About every year or two I would empty the tank, open the manhole, get in the tank and wash it out with soap and water. Then dry the tank, close it up and fill it with fuel. You woul be surprised how much gunk I would get out of the tank. I never had problems with fuel tanks. Steel tanks are great if you can get to them and get in them for cleaning.
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