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Old 12-05-2019, 01:57 PM   #1
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Jefferson 42 Black Iron Fuel Tanks

I'm looking at a 1987 Jefferson 42 and have spent the last coupe of days going over ll of her systems. Today I looked at the engines, genset and fuel tanks as best as I could. There was only a small opening in the wall insulation where the fule lines came out and I ran a borescope over the top of the tanks. One tank had a considerable amount of rust that was curling up on top. Couldnt see the sides. Other tank top looked fairly good. No leaks or diesel small. There was a nameplate that indicated the tanks are each 210 gallons and material is black iron 3mm. Can anyone give me a ballpark figure to replace them if done by a yard? I want to adjust my offer accordingly. I appreciate any advice and comments
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:35 PM   #2
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Don't be so quick to condemn the steel tanks. They last many decades in work boats, and in trawlers if kept dry.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:36 PM   #3
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Agree. Check the access to them. If you unbolt them can you slide them out far enough to reach all 6 side? Some power wire brushing followed by proper coatings night revitalize them.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:53 PM   #4
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I have a 1987 41í President that has 3 mm iron tanks. 210 gallons each. I was going to replace one of them this winter just because they are 32 years old. Unfortunately my back is not cooperating and doesnít seem to be getting any better. I have twin SP225s so I have pulled one engine to get to the tank before I finally realized I canít do the work due to my back. It was fairly easy getting the engine out after I made a crane to lift the engine. It was going to cost about $2600 for an aluminum 1/4Ē 5052 alloy tank with shipping to Michigan. I would guess that if I were to have it done it would cost around $10K. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:01 PM   #5
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Not bad mouthing them. Just trying to understand my potential risk before spending a substantial amount of money. These tanks are hard to examine because they are behind the bulkhead insulation. Comodave gave me a good feel for potential cost and I will get a surveyor to look at them as well. Thanks for everyone's response.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:11 PM   #6
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I was going to replace mine just because they are old, not because I have any indication of leaking or even potential leaking. However my back isnít cooperating so I will just clean up the area since I have the engine out. I will replace anything that looks questionable. I also was able to get in and replace the head in the aft cabin with the engine out I could climb back and run new hoses and wiring for the new head. Next winter I will do the same with the starboard engine because I like the way the port side is looking. Good luck with the possible purchase of your new boat, hope it works out the way you want it to.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:20 PM   #7
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If you have rust on top of the tank, the sealant around the fuel inlet has deteriorated. Water runs down the filler hose and pools on top of tank. At a minimum, you'll need to re-bed the fuel filler.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:27 PM   #8
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Answering your original question from post #1, the cost to replace them by a yard should be within the range of $12,000 to $20,000. Donít ask me how I know!
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:02 PM   #9
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Thanks Ray. I won't ask....
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:03 PM   #10
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My steel tanks are from 1942. I use a algae-x magnet the fuel flows thru before the primaries. The magnet catches all the rust. I clean it once a year. But primary filters will catch any rust. I don't know if the magnet does it's designed purpose.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:31 PM   #11
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the cost to replace them by a yard should be within the range of $12,000 to $20,000.

Wow thatís yacht yards for ya!

How about just go to a welding shop with a set of plans and be out the door for less than a grand. Replace them yourself.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:33 PM   #12
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I would not have an uncertified fuel tank in my boat. Your insurance would probably not cover any loss due to the tank. They have to be pressure tested and built to specs in order to be certified.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:31 PM   #13
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Wow that’s yacht yards for ya!

How about just go to a welding shop with a set of plans and be out the door for less than a grand. Replace them yourself.
The replacement of my old tanks was the smallest cost increment of the total job. Labor, removal of old tanks, moving other engine room stuff around, etc. was very time consuming...ie costly. If I were to attempt the job myself, I’d still be working at it! That’s not why I got into pleasure boating.

Also, the OP’s question was the cost of professionals completing the job so he can ask the seller for a proper reduction in asking price.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:39 PM   #14
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WE seem to spend an awful lot of time here on T.F. talking about tanks. Steel, glass, stainless, water, fuel and used food.

I think I can pretty well sum it up.

1) Steel generally fail at around 30 years.

2) cost of replacement will be between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on if you have a single engine or twins and how dirty you want to get.

3) Many owners opt to cut up the steel and replace with several smaller plastic or aluminum tanks, generally at a substantial savings but the loss of a few gallons of capacity.

4) Steel tanks fail from the inside from internal water or from the outside from dripping water or sitting on wet beds.

5) Some owners have tried patching, fixing and other band aid ideas. The consenses seems to be to do it right the first time.

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Old 12-06-2019, 06:27 AM   #15
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My steel tanks are from 1942. I use a algae-x magnet the fuel flows thru before the primaries. The magnet catches all the rust. I clean it once a year. But primary filters will catch any rust. I don't know if the magnet does it's designed purpose.
Sorry for thread drift here.

Lepke help me with this algae- x thing. I have one on my boat. (Came with the boat) I never serviced it. I checked them on line and they are expensive for sure. I cannot seem to find any maintenance instructions. If in fact they really do work their must be crud inside the algae x unit that needs to be removed. Do you just remove the cover?
Sounds like snake oil to me but I will listen
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:39 PM   #16
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I would not have an uncertified fuel tank in my boat. Your insurance would probably not cover any loss due to the tank. They have to be pressure tested and built to specs in order to be certified.

Nothing magical about a fuel tank. Pressure test it to 3psi. Depends on how handy the OP is.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:15 PM   #17
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I am having two 200-gallon tanks with four 100-gallom tanks. Fiberglass. With fittings, engine removal, and installation, around $8k in Mexico. Aluminum would have been a. Additional $1500 due to low labor costs for fiberglass and high material costs for aluminum. Estimate of $15k for both tanks feels about right in US.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:12 PM   #18
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Thanks. Wish I was able to take advantage of those Mexican prices but I'm on the east coast! The $15K number is in the range I've been hearing from folks who have responded here. Did you avoid removing the engines by going with the four fiberglass tanks?
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:28 PM   #19
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I would not have an uncertified fuel tank in my boat. Your insurance would probably not cover any loss due to the tank. They have to be pressure tested and built to specs in order to be certified.

Your assuming that tanks made in the Far East are all certified?




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Old 12-09-2019, 12:05 AM   #20
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Your assuming that tanks made in the Far East are all certified?




HOLLYWOOD


40 years ago ABYC standards were different. Most original equipment seems to pass a survey. Once you upgrade insurance companies like to avoid paying claims for non ABYC repairs. Of course if all goes well you wonít have to make a claim. I did the work on my tank replacement but had the tanks made at a certified shop. $3500 plus my labor.
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