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Old 06-14-2017, 06:25 PM   #1
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Steel TT Fuel Tanks access ports

Our 84 Fu Hwa has the 'glass-covered steel fuel tanks. These tanks have access ports with multiple bolts and a gasket. One of our (full) tanks has developed a leak. The gasket looks as though it has squeezed out from the joint. I've snugged the bolts and it seems to be dripping much more rarely.

Anybody else been there with a good solution?
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:35 PM   #2
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My greatest nightmare. New tanks?
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:42 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. DH. So, the leak is from the gasket area? If so, depending on the severity, you may have to bite the bullet, have it drained, the fuel retained, repair the gasket and re-introduce the fuel. Leaks never get better or go away.
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:46 PM   #4
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Only option appears to be to drain tank to below level of the inspection plate and replace gasket with Buna Neoprene gasket (for diesel).
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:13 PM   #5
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The original gasket material is sorta' gooey and crumbly. You're right, I fear, either pay to pump it out and replace the gasket or burn it to below the port and replace the gasket. Checked again this evening and it's not leaking.

OTOH, there are 'spatters' of diesel arriving on the center kneeling area of the ER. Can't see where they are coming from. The tank gasket would not 'spatter'.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:28 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. DH. Well, maybe your snugging up of the bolts did the trick for now BUT I would, as you suggest, burn fuel to below the bottom of the port and change out the gasket. Wherever you do it, I would suggest you have everything immediately at and in hand before you even think about loosening the first nut. Some may suggest some sort of gasket compound to apply to the new gasket.

Regarding the spatter. Pressurized fuel line? Injector or injector tube? Anything overhead? What about a remote leak traveling along a wire or deck beam and then dripping to create a spatter? Can you lay down some paper towels or diaper material in a wide enough area to possibly detect the direction the spatters are coming from (a spatter trail, as it were)?
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Old 06-15-2017, 05:53 AM   #7
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Replace the tank gasket with a better more modern material.

You may have picked up some bio diesel which dissolves old rubber.
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Old 06-20-2017, 11:47 AM   #8
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It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings.

The port tank is not leaking anymore from the access port gasket. But it has acquired a dandy leak from somewhere else. Gallons of diesel in the bilge.

We're in Barnegat Light, at anchor and there is no one here (or even for miles around) who can pump the tank dry. There is a tank mfr and service firm across the Bay in Barnegat; awaiting a call-back.
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Old 06-20-2017, 12:30 PM   #9
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Do you have two tanks? Can you move fuel from one to the other? Can you run on just one tank?

On your planned trip there is nowhere except crossing Lake Ontario that you will be away from a source of diesel for any length of time. Keep the one tank empty, one at 50 gallons and move some groceries over to the empty side.

You'll have plenty of time to deal with this problem next winter.
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:13 PM   #10
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Check your injector lines. One of mine broke flush at the injector pump and squirted diesel on every (other) revolution. Looked like a Longwood Gardens fountain in the engine room. Bilge seemed to have gallons of diesel when in reality it was a quart or so floating on some bilge water.

New injector line and all was well. Didn't even need to bleed it.

Hope your problem is a simple.

I'm 30 minutes away in Trenton if you need a hand.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:11 PM   #11
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We're in Key Harbour Marina in Waretown NJ. The plan is to empty the offending port tank into the starboard and into a plastic 55 gal drum which we will carry with us(!). Now, we have to decide whether to have both new tanks made and installed here, or to risk the planned trip with a starboard tank of equal age. KHM will do the transfer pumping and SP Marine Aluminum Marine Fuel Tank Repair will be asked to look at the tank work. Sheesh!

I called every number I could find or be recommended for to find a service to meet this need. Not a happy, nor easy experience, but I hope we've now got it under control.

Meanwhile we personally smell like diesel. Sheesh!

Happily, my read of our yacht insurance policy seems to cover us against pollution. Sheesh!
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:59 AM   #12
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Just to put it somewhere, I saw on line where you can buy a braided flex injector line to use as a spre in any location. Might be a good part to have.
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:35 PM   #13
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A temporary fix for the gasket is any material (thin cardboard, thick cloth, leather) and a good gasket sealer like silicone. Non hardening Permatex also works. It won't last forever, but could last weeks.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:53 PM   #14
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Fuel has been transferred to the starboard tank and to a 2/3 filled 55 gallon plastic drum. No more diesel in the bilge. Scrubbed out, too (doesn't look any better). Both tanks have been stripped of their underlayment plywood and ceiling tile enclosure. Port tank 1/3 chopped out.

Progress!
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:53 AM   #15
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Well, I've been there, done that and got the T-shirt. By about now most 1980's vintage TT's will have suspect tanks. I replaced all 4 of mine even though only one was weeping. Easier to deal with the problem just once in my view.

I'd suggest replacing with epoxy painted mild steel rather than aluminum, which can be problematic unless done really well. Of course the company you linked to above should do a good job, so aly could be OK. The point is, steel tanks already lasted a very long time, and with modern prep and coatings steel might well outlast the rest of the boat. Particularly if you deal with any potential sources of water ingress - deck fills, ER vents etc.
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Old 06-22-2017, 04:19 AM   #16
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Don't worry my friend you are not alone with this type of problem.
I had the same problem on my Birchwood and had a new tank made in mild steel, I made sure I had a sump and drain fitted.
I was doing some work for Bombardier at the time and some paint 'fell of the back of a lorry'. I now have the distinction of having diesel tank paint that can withstand minus 50 degrees at 500 mph, in a boat !
Our new boat has stainless tanks.


Seriously, if you're getting new tanks made insist on having a sump and drain tap at the lowest point. Once fitted you simply open the sump drain valve slowly and drain off a glassful. Hold it up to the light, if there's any water or fine particles in the diesel drain it slowly until you have clean diesel.
Do this once a month and you'll never break down with dirty filters or get diesel bug .
When fitting tanks I use cans of spray foam to fill in any voids between tank and hull to stop condensation and cut down on noise (empty tanks are echo chambers). Be sure to follow the instructions for a neat, clean job.
Good Luck with your tank replacement.
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Old 06-22-2017, 04:46 AM   #17
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I am in the middle of the same project on s twin engine chung wha. My pork tank sprung a leak p drained it and trapped it out with a Sawzall period I am in process a building three tanks out of fiberglass to replace the one steel tank which was 48 inches long. The new tanks are each 16 inches long
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:53 AM   #18
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"Fuel has been transferred to the starboard tank and to a 2/3 filled 55 gallon plastic drum. No more diesel in the bilge."

That depends on the life of the plastic drum filled with Diesel fuel.

Some plastic last "forever" , some just weeks.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:02 PM   #19
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You found someone to put in new fuel tanks in while you wait?

Is this the legendary "Fuel Tanks-R-Us"?

It took a summer to replace the tanks in my little trawler. They did have to pull the engine which could not have been fun.

Sounds like you'll be on your way in no time. I actually left Delran NJ on July 5th and still had a leisurely loop ending on Sept 1st.
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:40 PM   #20
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1 of 3 new glass tank before making top. Test fitting to make sure it will I can get it around the motor
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