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Old 03-03-2019, 12:24 PM   #81
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replacing fuel tanks F.Y.I

I am in the process of replacing my 2x 300 gal. iron fuel tanks on board my 1988 G.B. 42" classic. I didn't have any fuel leaks but 3 people who had come on board to look at the boat, and perhaps make an offer for her, indicated that the tanks would have to be replaced. This was due to apparent rust on the exterior of the tanks and the current wisdom that the tanks would normally deteriorate to the point where they would require replacement....I had my starboard tank cut up and removed. This was the worst of the two tanks. On inspection I found no rust on any part of the interior and started thinking that perhaps they didn't need replacing after all. I took off all the rust with a steel brush and used a micrometer to the determine the thickness of the remaining metal. The worst loss was .0015" I did some research and found a surveyor who did Ultra Sonic testing for the Coast Guard. He tested both tanks and determined a minimum thickness of .1869" The original gauge was 3/16 or.1875/. I had the tank pressure tested to 5 PSI for 2hrs. It passed 100%. Saved $12,000. and I have peace of mind. Good for another 30 yrs.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:37 PM   #82
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“I did some research and found a surveyor who did Ultra Sonic testing for the Coast Guard.”

Do you have name / contact info? I have a GB 36 and the tanks appear to be in good shape. Would like to have them surveyed / tested.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:52 PM   #83
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“I did some research and found a surveyor who did Ultra Sonic testing for the Coast Guard.”

Do you have name / contact info? I have a GB 36 and the tanks appear to be in good shape. Would like to have them surveyed / tested.
Yes but they are in central west coast of Florida. Is that convenient?
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Old 03-03-2019, 01:02 PM   #84
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Yes but they are in central west coast of Florida. Is that convenient?
Wish I could say that it is convenient but I am still stuck up here in the Northeast. I saw the Massachusetts address and thought you had the tanks tested up here.

Thanks for the response.
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:27 PM   #85
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EVELYN B: Your tanks are probably mild steel. Iron plating has not been common for about 100 years. My 1942 mild steel tanks are still going.
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:18 PM   #86
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EVELYN B: Your tanks are probably mild steel. Iron plating has not been common for about 100 years. My 1942 mild steel tanks are still going.
I guess I knew that they are mild steel. I was so excited about not having to tear out the port side tank I got my metals mixed up. Thanks for reminding me.
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Old 03-03-2019, 05:41 PM   #87
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Hi EVELEYN B,

How the heck did your surveyor access your in-place fuel tank for ultrasound? Although it's been years since I've been in the engine room of a GB42, seems to me that, while the inboard sides of the fuel tanks may (after removing the sound insulation) be accessible for ultrasound, the balance of the tank is not.

Unless you've got a custom tank install, which includes man-sized access holes in every baffled compartment of the tank, and the tank is cleaned and accessed from the interior, it seems highly unlikely that the surveyor could asses anything but one or two walls of the tank. And a successful ultrasound for a mild steel tank still begs the question of corner weld condition, water intrusion on the exterior of the tanks, and resultant rust-through that's REAL hard to inspect visually with the tanks in-situ.

Not trying to be a naysayer here, and I'm glad your surveyor gave you a warm-fuzzy for additional life in that existing tank. Personally, I'd have replaced 'em both at the same time, and reluctantly swallowed the $12K. Your future buyer may agree.

Regards,

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Old 03-03-2019, 05:47 PM   #88
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It makes no sense to replace a tank because at some time in the future it might leak. The engines might wear out one day,should they be replaced too?
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Old 03-04-2019, 06:11 AM   #89
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"The engines might wear out one day,should they be replaced too?"


And the constant worry of pollyestermites!
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:50 AM   #90
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Thank you for your input. For brevity I did not include all of the steps taken. It is an ultra sonic test that determines the thickness of metals in a non destructive way. It is true that we didn't have complete access to the aft wall and some of the bottom of the tank. There is no insulation to remove it is outboard of the tanks. We had total access to the top, front, forward and outer port side and took multiple readings including welds. We removed all the fuel and cleaned both tanks. Remember we had previously removed the starboard tank (the one which appeared to have the most corrosion) and found nothing to indicate any points of concern. This tank had to be cut up for removal and we had total access inside and out. There are no absolutes in boating but we can cut the possibilities to a minimum by making conclusions based on available facts. As a boater I do this every time I leave the dock. I did the homework, I hired professionals and made a decision. Time may prove me wrong but I fully expect that these tanks will still be here long after I am not.
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:12 AM   #91
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I wonder if there is not an off the shelf solution to the fuel tank rot hassle.

On How Its Made was a program on the making of SS beer kegs.

Probably too small for boat uses as too many would have to be joined to get a reasonable capacity.

But many folks replace huge tanks with more modest units.

Are there any OTS 30-50 gallon SS tanks that might be useful to cruisers as a replacement , from some industry?
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:32 AM   #92
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Off the shelf 58 gallon poly tanks were my answer. Still 300 mile range, inexpensive, no moving machinery to get them in or out, tripled engine room storage area and moved stuff away from engine and genny for better access to everything, no sight gauges needed as you can instantly see fuel level for max full and consumption, have a baffle molded in, easy self install, no corrosion worry..........
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:24 AM   #93
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Off the shelf 58 gallon poly tanks were my answer. Still 300 mile range, inexpensive, no moving machinery to get them in or out, tripled engine room storage area and moved stuff away from engine and genny for better access to everything, no sight gauges needed as you can instantly see fuel level for max full and consumption, have a baffle molded in, easy self install, no corrosion worry..........
did you do any post on the replacement .do you have any pics ? i was thinking about 2 50's each side but i think one 58 each side might be enough (for me).the piping would sure be simpler . i would put them as far aft as possible. and i could probably put the battery in the leftover space and push the generator out a little to open up the engine room .
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:11 AM   #94
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No pics, pretty simple.


Just built shelves out of 2 by ressure treated and exterior ply to sit up on the "ribs" the former tan sat on.
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Old 12-27-2019, 04:59 PM   #95
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I'm in the process of installing new aluminum tanks (2 side by side on both port and starboard sides). When I went to find appropriate fuel hose for a connection I was not able to find 1 1/4 inch hose that would be adequate for full time diesel contact. I purchased stainless steel union joints to make the connection but I'm not sure that's the right way to make a connection. What type of fuel lines were used between the tanks. I don't see why that wouldn't be suitable in my situation.
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Old 12-27-2019, 08:15 PM   #96
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Please post the testers info. I have a 36 GB, and I know they are in great shape, but...I might sleep better
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:12 AM   #97
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I'm in the process of installing new aluminum tanks (2 side by side on both port and starboard sides). When I went to find appropriate fuel hose for a connection I was not able to find 1 1/4 inch hose that would be adequate for full time diesel contact. I purchased stainless steel union joints to make the connection but I'm not sure that's the right way to make a connection. What type of fuel lines were used between the tanks. I don't see why that wouldn't be suitable in my situation.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/trid...-hose-321-1146
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:33 AM   #98
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Thanks for that

Thanks for that suggestion. I've actually searched high and low and had decided to connect them with smaller diameter hose but this might fit what I needed perfectly.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:28 PM   #99
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Thanks for that suggestion. I've actually searched high and low and had decided to connect them with smaller diameter hose but this might fit what I needed perfectly.
Are there any tanks that have an inner fuel bladder that holds the fuel, inside a tank-like box that supports it, so that as fuel is used, no moist air is introduced into the bladder to condense and cause problems?
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:16 AM   #100
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Condensation may or may not be a problem , but ANY water in the fuel hassles are solved with a proper sump that can be easily bailed.

For most boats I think a retro fit with plastic tanks , small enough not to need internal baffles , and a 24 hour day tank of metal with a sump would solve most problems , especially if mounted high enough to gravity feed.
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