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Old 07-24-2018, 06:43 PM   #1
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Fuel tank replacement job

Well, its time for another tank replacement thread. I know we have done this many times, because I have spent hours reading the TF threads during my pre-job research. The tank has had about a 4 oz a week leak for about a year. It was very manageable but I want it fixed before it is not manageable and things go really bad. The tank is 175 gal, 62"X27"X31 shaped like the hull.
We spent the first day removing the holding tank, removing interferences and pumping the fuel over to the port tank. The hold tank hose removal was a little gaggy. Today we removed some of the soundproof enclosure and cut a hole in the forward wall to see what we a dealing with inside. Using Diablo carbide tipped Sawzall blade and I am impressed so far. The steel is slightly less than 1/8" thick.
The tank will be replace with two aluminium 31"X 27"X29" tanks piped together with 1 1/2" hose. Wish me luck. I will try to keep up with the pictures.

BTW, the sludge next to the fuel return pipe is 1/2" deep.
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Old 07-24-2018, 06:59 PM   #2
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Are you going to have to pull the engine to get them out and the new ones in?
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:07 PM   #3
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Are you going to have to pull the engine to get them out and the new ones in?
No, I will cut it up into pieces to get it out of the boat. It is a tough job but, I have a great deal of patience and time.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:26 PM   #4
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No, I will cut it up into pieces to get it out of the boat. It is a tough job but, I have a great deal of patience and time.
Ain't nothin an old Nuke can't handle! Just like a steam generator replacement.....lots of planning and "slow is fast"!
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:31 PM   #5
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Ain't nothin an old Nuke can't handle! Just like a steam generator replacement.....lots of planning and "slow is fast"!
You got that right. Add a little Old Weller Antique 107 on the rocks after a long day and we will get ur done.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:57 PM   #6
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I see these type problems and often wonder why the "blivets" (rubber tanks) used by the army and others couldn't be put into a frame to prevent rolling around and use that as a tank replacement. Rather than removing engines and using a Sawzall on anything but the offending tank.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:15 PM   #7
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You got that right. Add a little Old Weller Antique 107 on the rocks after a long day and we will get ur done.
Ha! I wish I could find Weller Antique over here......love that wheated bourbon!
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:24 PM   #8
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I'll definitely be following along as I will be doing the same job later this year.

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Old 07-24-2018, 08:25 PM   #9
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I am thinking about replacing my tanks. This is apparently the last boat of any size that we will own so I want to get everything done that may need doing, except routine maintenance, before I get too old to do it. I will have to pull the engines in order to even get to them. I probably will do one tank a year over the winter and clean up everything that is inaccessible with the engines in. Something to keep me busy over the winters.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:26 PM   #10
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Ha! I wish I could find Weller Antique over here......love that wheated bourbon!
Found a case in Southport NC in 2016. Had my name on a list here for 18 months and finally was "rationed" 3 bottles. I am a big fan of wheats too.
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Old 07-25-2018, 05:20 AM   #11
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Fryedaze:

Thanks for taking and posting this brilliant series of photos. I appreciate how you started with the photo of the waste tank in front of the fuel tank, then one with the waste tank removed, then a photo of the hole you had cut in the front of the fuel tank, and then those last two shots of the interior of the fuel tank.

The visual image of the corrosion and sludge inside the old steel fuel tank is very revealing. Even though I have read about the corrosion inside old steel fuel tanks for years, it is remarkable to actually see a picture of it. The sludge, so close to the fuel return pipe, is mind-blowing. May I ask how old the fuel tank was?

I noted you are having to cut up the old fuel tank in order to remove it; how do you plan to get the new fuel tank back in? In other words, are you going with a smaller new tank?

Great job, and really great documentation.

Thanks,
Pea
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:07 AM   #12
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Fryedaze:

May I ask how old the fuel tank was?

I noted you are having to cut up the old fuel tank in order to remove it; how do you plan to get the new fuel tank back in? In other words, are you going with a smaller new tank?

Thanks,
Pea
The tank is 29 years old. 5200 engine hours. Probably about 10,000 gal of fuel through this tank. I will use two smaller tanks.
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:51 AM   #13
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"I will use two smaller tanks."

This is a great solution as smaller tanks can be empty , until required .

Plastic tanks seem the ultimate solution , tho I have not yet seen plastic with useful sumps , just bottom drains.
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:15 AM   #14
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Hi Dave,
Definitely time to do the job. That's an amazing amount of sludge. Are you planning to replace the sanitation hose with the non permeable type?

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Old 07-25-2018, 07:17 AM   #15
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"I will use two smaller tanks."

This is a great solution as smaller tanks can be empty , until required .

Plastic tanks seem the ultimate solution , tho I have not yet seen plastic with useful sumps , just bottom drains.
Plastic is probably the best. I assumed the cost would be significantly more, but I haven't researched it. The two custom aluminium replacement tanks will cost around $1600 to have fabricated. I would loose too much capacity if I used off the shelf plastic tanks.
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:19 AM   #16
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Hi Dave,
Definitely time to do the job. That's an amazing amount of sludge. Are you planning to replace the sanitation hose with the non permeable type?

Ted
Yes, man they are pricey!
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Old 07-25-2018, 08:12 AM   #17
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Did you price the hose by the roll? I bought a 50' roll and had about a foot left. Think the Trident 101 was around $300 for a roll.

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Old 07-25-2018, 08:27 AM   #18
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Did you price the hose by the roll? I bought a 50' roll and had about a foot left. Think the Trident 101 was around $300 for a roll.

Ted
Not yet, thanks I will.
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Old 07-25-2018, 09:19 AM   #19
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Plastic is probably the best. I assumed the cost would be significantly more, but I haven't researched it. The two custom aluminium replacement tanks will cost around $1600 to have fabricated. I would loose too much capacity if I used off the shelf plastic tanks.

Peggie Hall has often mentioned (Ronco? I think) tanks that can be had in a bazillion various sizes and shapes... and maybe she's said they'll custom make one for you, too. (Not sure about that last.) Anyway, if those tanks, or some products they sell, are rated for fuel, might be worth a look...

BTW, our club will be in Solomons, first week in August at Zahnisers. I might be able to spring for a beverage...

-Chris
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Old 07-25-2018, 08:11 PM   #20
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Day 3

Today we spent 8 hrs cutting up the tank. The Diablo carbide tipped blades are GREAT!. When making vertical cuts the weight of the saw is all you need with a fresh blade. I used 8" and 4" blades. the 4" blade were used against the hull so I didn't risk cutting a hole in the boat. I only used 5 blades and I didn't that so the cutting went easy.
The tanks had two baffle plates. The sludge was the same through out the tank. I took 1.5 gallons of sludge out. The sludge had the consistency of thick cake icing. I believe it is made up of rust and what ever the black coating is on the inside of the tank.
Cutting up the tank is a heavy physical job and I will be "feel the burn" for many days.
The boss monitored the job today. She was Safety, QC, Supervisor, Management, and HR. At the end of the day she said " now I see why the boat yard owner said this was a nasty dangerous job, you wont be doing the other tank, someone else will cut it out." I hope she forgets by next year. I just saved a bundle.
Tomorrow is clean up and measuring for new tanks. After tomorrow I will take a break until Tuesday.
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