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Old 02-02-2014, 01:22 PM   #1
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Steel fuel tank age survey

Rather that hijack an ongoing thread I thought I would attempt to get some age info on tanks. So, how old are your steel fuel tanks?

Mine are 25 years old.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:34 PM   #2
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Mine are 34 years old and when I had them open this fall for inspection and polishing, they were in good shape. No leaks or major rust.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:25 PM   #3
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27 years old. No leaks or exterior rust. We're in the process of servicing them (2-350 gallon) by adding another inspection port, cleaning and coating the interior bottoms and sides with Flamemaster CS3204. Hopefully they'll be good for another 27 years.

http://www.flamemaster.com/Technical...ev%2001-07.pdf
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:03 PM   #4
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47 years. It was pulled, sandblasted, inspected and painted 2 years ago as part of a refit. Tank was determined at that time to be good as new.
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:48 PM   #5
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33 years old. Both port and starboard were rusted on the tops, due to leaking decks. Both were treated for rust, the stbd one was repaired with fiberglass at the filler tube junction.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:03 PM   #6
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Ours are 29 years old and looking good.....but still a concern. Opened them up about 5 years ago, a little rust inside on the bottom but nothing to be concerned. No surface rust, but still wondering, so I follow all posts regarding fuel tanks and possible replacement.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:28 PM   #7
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Just had their 40th Birthday! They have nice big access ports so access is no problem. Cleaned every 10 and thoroughly inspected on the 5s, with the occasional peek in between.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:18 PM   #8
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Mine were replaced 18 months ago. The old ones were 31 years old, and were 5/32" black iron. One wing tank was leaking, and the other wing tank had thin spots and was not far off leaking. One of the rear tanks was in fair condition, although the other rear one was on its way out. I replaced all 4. The insides had some reasonably hard sediment in them, but hardly any rust. The rust was from outside in, tank sides that were against the hull and on bottom.

At the same time I fixed the primary cause of degradation. Problems arose from the engine room vents being vertical louvres with no dorade box inside. I am guessing it was mostly rain that entered. Where the tanks touched the hull sides then rust was fastest. I now have horizontal louvres for the vents plus a custom dorade drainage. If not storing in a boat shed then covers for the engine room vents would be a very good idea to help keep the tanks dry.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:01 PM   #9
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35 years in my trawler. midship side tanks, 400 gallons each, had rust on the tops, no rust thru. They could have been easily repaired and put back in service, had I not cut them up to remove them. Lower 250 gallon tank had a leak in the bottom, again would have been easy to fix but the tank was "dissassembled" to remove. These were all 1/4 in mild steel, installed to James Krogens specifications. The rust on the top of the side tanks was due to window leaks. The lower tank I dont know for sure, but it had rusted from the outside. Other than that it looked like new. The 250 gallon stainless steel (316l) water tank also looked new, and was modified with cleanout ports and reinstalled. Of all things, this boat had a bladder tank for black/gray waste. A later retrofit is my guess.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:06 AM   #10
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Original 1976 black iron tanks, all four tanks are under the two double beds in the aft cabin, 500 gallons total. Tanks are kept full and I have never had a problem with exterior or internal rust.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:37 AM   #11
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Original tanks are 31.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:53 AM   #12
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Tanks replaced at 28 years. Serious rust forward bottom of both tanks where water accumulated in front of the tanks from pilot house leaks.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:53 AM   #13
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20+, Six tanks total, 4 - 200gal main tanks, 2 - 100 gal keel tanks. Mine are steel completely encased in fibreglass. No problems I am aware of but then again I can't see the condition of the metal. Don't know what to think of this fibreglass over steel, could be good or bad.
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:02 AM   #14
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30 years, no end in sight to mine. Virtually no rust on the outside. Not worth it to inspect the inside for rust when 99% of failures are due to lack of exterior boat maintenance.
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelaide View Post
30 years, no end in sight to mine. Virtually no rust on the outside. Not worth it to inspect the inside for rust when 99% of failures are due to lack of exterior boat maintenance.
Adelaide, where did you come up with the 99% exterior failure number? I started this thread because my biggest worry with my boat is the unknown of if or when I will have a fuel tank leak. I am trying to get a feel for failures. I am considering installing inspection ports this spring so we at least know the condition of the tanks.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fryedaze View Post
Adelaide, where did you come up with the 99% exterior failure number? I started this thread because my biggest worry with my boat is the unknown of if or when I will have a fuel tank leak. I am trying to get a feel for failures. I am considering installing inspection ports this spring so we at least know the condition of the tanks.
It's common knowledge that iron tanks fail from the outside in. If your boat was properly maintained (deck fittings,windows, teak decks etc...), then your tanks probably have very little to no rust on the outer surfaces.....they don't have an expiration date. By all means inspect them and clean them for piece of mind. In my situation, the tanks are in great shape and I choose to continue to watch my Racor, changing filters when necessary and visually inspect the fittings, tops, sides, and bottoms of my tanks. I'll be looking for obvious signs of water intrusion, or rust formation.
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:43 AM   #17
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I started this thread because my biggest worry with my boat is the unknown of if or when I will have a fuel tank leak.

Ease your mind and simply eyeball the tanks , as suggested.

Dont see Rust? No problem.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:15 AM   #18
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34 years.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
...Ease your mind and simply eyeball the tanks , as suggested.

Dont see Rust? No problem.
How about tanks leaking from the inside because of water and sludge? Most of our tanks are not designed with a sump. I know of 3 tanks that leaked from the inside. Two were repaired successfully in place. The owner of the third replaced his. Just saying.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:07 PM   #20
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One of my black iron tanks lasted 30 years and the other had been a leaker years before we bought the boat.
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