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Old 10-25-2018, 05:07 PM   #121
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Add my thanks for the ongoing progress reports on this arduous but important job; one of the most fascinating threads I've read (even the whiskey reviews!). Well done on both the job and the continuing updates! It caught my interest because I'm facing removing an ancient badly corroded steel tank from a 1979 motorsailer.

One thing I didn't see in the thread that I've been worrying over is purging the tank of residual diesel fuel and fumes before attacking it with a saw or cutoff wheel; rather not blow myself up from a spark. How did you do that...or I am worrying unnecessarily?
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Old 10-25-2018, 05:28 PM   #122
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Add my thanks for the ongoing progress reports on this arduous but important job; one of the most fascinating threads I've read (even the whiskey reviews!). Well done on both the job and the continuing updates! It caught my interest because I'm facing removing an ancient badly corroded steel tank from a 1979 motorsailer.

One thing I didn't see in the thread that I've been worrying over is purging the tank of residual diesel fuel and fumes before attacking it with a saw or cutoff wheel; rather not blow myself up from a spark. How did you do that...or I am worrying unnecessarily?
I cut a large access hole and cleaned out all the sludge. I then sprayed degreaser and wiped it out. I only used a saw all with agressive carbide blades. I would not use a cutoff wheel. Too many sparks and too much heat. I never saw a spark and it didn't heat the steel because it chipped the material out.
Good hunting😉
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Old 10-25-2018, 05:32 PM   #123
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At room temperature diesel is amazingly hard to ignite. When we had a fuel tank replaced, they drained it then cut off the top with a sawsall. There was still about 15 or so gallons of diesel in the tank that would not pump out thru the pickup tube. Then they scooped out the diesel and crud and finished cutting up the tank. We have tried to ignite diesel for a fire fighting training exercise. Used a road flare and it would not ignite. After we tried everything we could think of we finally put about an ounce of gas in the diesel and it went up with a match. After it was ignited the first time and extinguished it would relight easily since it had been heated up.
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:56 PM   #124
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Thanks for the feedback. I understand that diesel fuel is hard to ignite at normal temps, have been mainly concerned about the buildup of fumes in the tank (believe the tech term is 'ullage') and the potential for that igniting from a random spark.

Not to digress into a long background story but I was close to the TWA flight 800 investigation where the fumes in a nearly empty fuel tank exploded from a stray spark, diesel and jet fuel being close cousins. In that case the plane had been sitting all day in 90+ temps, 'boiling' the residual fuel. Maybe my answer is to use a Sawsall carefully on a cold or cool day to open an access to the tank and clean it out as Fryedaze suggests.

Thanks, guys.
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:21 AM   #125
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If you are concerned pump a co2 fire extinguisher into the tank before cutting. Watched a fellow cut many empty auto gasoline tanks up with a cutting torch using this method. From a distance I may add.
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:50 AM   #126
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Hadn't even thought of that. Good suggestions - thanks.
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:51 AM   #127
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Hadn't even thought of that. Good suggestions - thanks.

I know one person who dropped a bunch of dry ice in the tank before starting. After a while the tank would be flooded with CO2.
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Old 10-26-2018, 10:30 AM   #128
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Be careful! You don’t want your confined space (engine room) filled with CO2. It’s much better to have oxygen!
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