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Old 04-28-2014, 01:26 PM   #41
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Could it be said that no diesel fuel tanks used in boats have a better track record than steel - IF - water inside and out is kept at bay?

IMO yes. I'd only add they have the same stellar track record in gasoline applications with the same proviso. One more example of design and maintenance standards trumping material choice.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:58 PM   #42
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Could it be said that no diesel fuel tanks used in boats have a better track record than steel - IF - water inside and out is kept at bay?

Unquestionably NOT.

Monel is unsurpassed , weather full of water or diesel or both .If not Forever , at least till Dooms Day.

It just takes rudimentary skills and MONEY , as monel is not as cheap as steel.

Easy tho in monel to make a genuine useful fuel tank , rather than just a box of fuel.

Monel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monel‎Wikipedia


Monel is a trademark of Special Metals Corporation for a series of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel (up to 67%) and copper, with some iron and other ...‎
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:20 PM   #43
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The Eagle tanks are 36 years old. Every year I add additive that absorb water back into the fuel, keep the exterior of the tank bone dry as the engine room kept between 55 to 70+ degrees. I try to use/turn the fuel every year, and polish the fuel through out the year.

When we bought the Eagle the middle tank did leak, so cut a 18 X 18 hole, crawled into the tank and found were the weld seam had broken. The tanks was in good shape no rust so had a welder weld the seam and closed up the tank. So if a tank does leak, will again cut a hole in it and see if it can be repaired/welded. If not then several smaller tanks will be installed inside the old tank.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:35 PM   #44
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A drawback to plastic seems to be, stuck with available designs and no inspection ports. They say they cant be installed in a plastic tank. How to you get the sludge out? Looks like Aluminium custom will be what I look into next.
Replacing 2 tanks with 4 is pretty common. Can you get 2 full sized tanks back into your engine area without cutting the sides or bottom out of the boat or moving your engine/s?
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:41 PM   #45
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Monel is unsurpassed , weather full of water or diesel or both .If not Forever , at least till Dooms Day.

It just takes rudimentary skills and MONEY , as monel is not as cheap as steel.

Easy tho in monel to make a genuine useful fuel tank , rather than just a box of fuel.

What are the weld characteristics of Monel? When it's welded is it as susceptible to having porous seams as stainless steel? I've seen a number of stainless steel tanks that started leaking fuel at their welded seems after being installed and used for a while. I've also seen SS water tanks develop leaks where the baffles were welded to the tank tops. SS is a bit tricky to weld when it comes to getting a fuel tight seam. Where as "black iron" is very easy to work with.
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:05 PM   #46
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Bill11 - Not without removing the engine. I have been researching non integral FRP tanks. With out moving the engine, They can be built in place to almost the same size and with the right resin should hold up to even Bio diesel. Cost will be lower as well. I can add bottom drain an sump. I have built small boats using cold molding before so I feel comfortable with that material. Sound reasonable?
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:31 PM   #47
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Sound reasonable?
Yes it does. Just make sure they are baffled properly and that you can brace them properly as well to prevent them from oil canning.
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:23 AM   #48
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Monel is normally constructed with out welding.

100 years ago it would be braised or silver soldered .

Today I assume its the same.

I have used tanks I am guessing were from the 1920 era (from the boat they were removed from) with zero problems.

Many from the post war 1950 wooden boat boom era , again no problem.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:23 AM   #49
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Monel can be welded with special monel rods.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:33 AM   #50
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Monel is normally constructed with out welding.

100 years ago it would be braised or silver soldered .

Today I assume its the same.

I have used tanks I am guessing were from the 1920 era (from the boat they were removed from) with zero problems.

Many from the post war 1950 wooden boat boom era , again no problem.
I was using "welded" in a generic way. While it would seem Monel can develop pin hole leaks at it's seams like SS, if braised carefully it's not likely to.

Now if there was only a way to get the price down.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:08 AM   #51
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Monel is not a magic metal, it is one of many used for corrosive liquids that have been tinkered with and improved upon over the last century. Monel was "devised" by INCO one hundred years ago to bolster their nickel business. Monel is about 65% Ni with a high copper content - think cupro nickel too. It has one very bad trait for the marine environment, it is quite prone to electrolysis and must be isolated from any steel, so don't use it with a steel hull unless you know what you are doing.

In the industrial world unless a metal can be cost effectively welded and fabricated it will see little if any application. This is Monel's Achilles heel. Various alloys of Monel have been improved upon over the years so that it's weldability is improved and fabrication then more cost effective.

Each liquid and slurry has a specific tank material that is suitable for it. For diesel fuel, mild steel is one of many that can be economically used. If properly installed and taken care of it may well outlast the vessel.

Here is a factoid, mild steel works just fine with 95% Baume sulfuric acid but dilute the H2SO4 with water to 65% and the steel goes kapoot - not unlike diesel and water. All the H2SO4 tankers you see driving down the road are mild steel.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:22 AM   #52
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>In the industrial world unless a metal can be cost effectively welded and fabricated it will see little if any application. This is Monel's Achilles heel. Various alloys of Monel have been improved upon over the years so that it's weldability is improved and fabrication then more cost effective.<

Industry is seldom willing to pay extra for extra for Piece of Mind , years away.

Yachtie$ are different.

For a person purchasing a 1/2 or Million dollar toy , increasing the purchase price .01% for a properly constructed , easily maintained fuel system is a no brainer.

The labor cost would be less than steel (easier to cut and shape) only the material is more costly.

It has amazed me for decades that the first purchaser does not DEMAND a proper fuel tank and system , rather than accepting a box of fuel and a batch of filters.

>For diesel fuel, mild steel is one of many that can be economically used. If properly installed and taken care of it may well outlast the vessel.<

Its the > properly cared for< , no water contact, that can NOT be counted on over the decades, and variety of owners.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:08 AM   #53
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Fuel tank leak

I started this thread a year ago due to all the stories I have heard about tank leaks. Well it finally happened to me. We took on fuel just prior to going into the lift slings for a prop repair. The next day I found fuel in the bilge. It was coming from the port tank. The boat was sitting in the slings on blocks with the bow up a few degrees and a port list. I got the yard to level the boat and the leak stopped. The tank has a 8"x12" rust spot around the fill and vent. The rust flaked off in sheets when I cleaned and degreased it. The area around it is clean, solid and painted. I spent a day degreasing and wire brushing the area. The next day I put a half quart of Marine Tex on for the repair. The holes have probably been there for years and were never challenged due to tank level.
I am having my remote inspection camera shipped to the yard so I can inspect my repair and take a good hard look at both tanks. My repair should do the trick but I will start planning for a tank replacement.
Most of the work was done by feel. I only found the holes by sticking a camera inside the space and taking pictures. You can only see a small area with your eyes.
Timing was good because we are sitting in Brewerton NY for a week waiting on the Erie Canal to re-open.
In the picture is the vent. the shot was taken about 3" from the tank. I think the vent is about 1/2"
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:05 AM   #54
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We repaired leaking tanks on our 30 year old boat in 2013. Just could not afford to replace the tanks. For the details read:

@ TheOffice: A little bit of Diesel makes a big mess

The fact the boat set up for 7 years most likely caused the internal rusting. No problems so far.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:10 AM   #55
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Although I’m a firm believer in the marine usability of Monel material in not just tanks… I can't help but wonder why a thicker aluminum material can't simply be used… with a high tech inner resin coating affixed to all surfaces (or not). Tank weight should remain reasonable. As long as mounted correctly for exterior surfaces' air-flow/condensation-evaporation purposes and kept dry in general the aluminum tank should virtually last forever. ??? Correct ???

We have two 100 gal aluminum tanks that seem to still be in good condition. I believe they are original 1977’s. Being that we are 2nd owner and the Original Owner seems to have been fastidious in boat/engine/tank care it shows via camera review on all accessible areas that these tanks have not been abused by standing water against their bottom, top or sides. 90 + yr old OO passed away before we purchased. Our Tolly was thereafter well tended by the OO’s decade long marine assistant. That said... the original tank installation does leave much to be desired regarding tank bottom elevated slightly off the plywood base for air-flow and vapor evaporation. I place water and bio remover additive (Soltron) into each refill. For general area cruises and near marina anchor outs I keep tanks approx 50% full then use down to the 10% level… refill to 50% so new gas consistently replaces the old. When taking longer cruise we fill em both up and replace with new as needed.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:53 AM   #56
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If you keep water from collecting in the bottom of aluminum tanks they do pretty well...


In a perfect world...I love the poly tanks but once they get too big, I would go fiberglass.


That's what gas stations use for their storage tanks underground at least around here...(out of sight in a rough environment...kinda like many boat tanks)
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:54 AM   #57
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Replaced tanks after 28 years in 2013. One was leaking and the other had a hidden dangerous rust area. Tank split open as we removed plywood covering panel.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:04 PM   #58
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"The rust was from outside in, tank sides that were against the hull and on bottom."

That it in a nutshell.

If the boat assembler knew and followed proper techniques ,,,and the owner will be kind enough to stop deck leaks ,,few will ever have a problem.

The rare tank with constant standing water inside will usually leak at a seam, an easy patch from outside.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:39 PM   #59
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Iron Fuel Tanks, If a frog had wings! Leaking Tanks Story

You have identified the cause and effect of leaking BUT some one built a boat around the tank, installed engines with in inches of them! You can not always patch the outside and getting to the inside is a chore. I know many will have this problem if not today then soon as tanks get near the 30+ year mark. Ours started leaking at the stringers hold the tanks level and the corrosion was on the inside that gave the iron a pocked moonscape look from the acid breakdown of the fuel. Some sainted boaters will dodge this bullet because they burn copious amounts of fuel, but dock queens will suffer.
Our fix or patch if you will cost less than one boat buck at the time we did it.

@ TheOffice: September 2013


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"The rust was from outside in, tank sides that were against the hull and on bottom."

That it in a nutshell.

If the boat assembler knew and followed proper techniques ,,,and the owner will be kind enough to stop deck leaks ,,few will ever have a problem.

The rare tank with constant standing water inside will usually leak at a seam, an easy patch from outside.
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:28 AM   #60
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"Some sainted boaters will dodge this bullet because they burn copious amounts of fuel, but dock queens will suffer."

Any boat with a proper fuel tank , not a box of fuel can last almost indefiniatly.

The difference between a uel tank and a fuel box id weather it has a servicible sump.
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