fuel tank replacement

  • August 17, 2012 7:47 PM
    Reply # 1050166 on 772857

    George, et al, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I had 3 new SS water tanks fabricated.  I used 316 stainless which was about twice the guage and weight of the old tanks.  They also represented a large investment.  I installed the new tanks about 2 weeks ago and am in the process of finalizing the hold-downs.

    In retrospect, it is a shame the old tanks had not been properly cared for.  Were it not for the snapped baffles and holes at the baffle weld-points, the original tanks were still in fine shape externally.  Given their 36 year age, AND the fact that they were just lying in the comparments with no material to protect from water pooling or to provide air circulation, they looked great.

    However, I give high marks for the production of Harmony because whatever was done worked for over 36 years.  Our new tanks certainly look wonderful and fit like the old ones.  Since the new tanks were so heavy, I did need to use the boatyard's crane to lift them into the boat. 

    The project was certainly not for the uncommitted, though.  The "gut-job" of removing the entire galley/dinette furiture and the old sole decking took me almost 3 months single handed.  Well, some of that time was spent ferreting out the myriad of water leaks.  As I may have mentioned, our starboard salon berth, as well as both the galley and dinette was rotted out including the teak ceiling. 

    Thankfully, I have finished repairing/remaking the salon furniture, and once the water tanks are finally "tied" down, secure, and plumbed, I will begin to remake the galley/dinette furniture.  However, before that I do need to replace 4 cracked gate stanchions, rebed the other stanchions,  install bronze cleats on the bulwarks for spring lines, and begin rewiring while the goat is "open".

    Anyway, I did not need to replace the fuel tank, but if I had unlimited funds, I would have fitted 3 separate diesel tanks in the floor just aft of the water tanks.  The capacity would have been close to 200 gallons.  Aluminum would have worked fine for that application.  However, the 100 gallon poly tank installed athwartships will work for our cruising plans.

    I have taken lots of pictures, and will try to pick out a few that convey a clear visual of the process.

    On the issue of caprail chaulking, I used a System Three Epoxy product, SA2100, I think it was called.  The company was very supportive and the product worked great.  It was easy to apply, but doing the inboard chaulking required more gymnastics than our Olympic team.  Most of the old chaulking was gone by the time I got to it, so I did not have to scrape out much.  I doubt that that joint had been touched since the boat was made.   I used screw driver that I had bent the blade 90 degrees, as well as a small paint scraper.

    I spent 2 full days:  1 to prep with scraping, vacuuming and tacking and 1 to do all the chaulking. Its tight now.  I can go into more detail in another post.


  • August 18, 2012 7:52 PM
    Reply # 1050640 on 772857
    Deleted user
    I have a W43.  Like Doug my tanks were nearly perfect but alas not maintained and thus needed replacement.  I gutted both the salon and the undercarriage because water intrusion had made the dividers and cabin sole support very tired.  This also allowed me to rearrange the tank partitions allowing off the shelf poly tanks for water and diesel.  But the money  I saved in tanks was easily spent in labor and materials redoing the dividers.  So either way it's a big expensive job.  Since I took the task on I decided to "overbuild" the tabbed in components which costs little extra but should result in an even stiffer boat.  The W43 is already stiff so I can't wait to sail it after completion.  I can take pics soon as the dividers will be tabbed in 2- 3 weeks (whenever I get enough time).

     I am sure that between Doug and I we can help you through the process hopefully saving a little time and money.


  • August 25, 2012 8:41 AM
    Reply # 1056373 on 772857
    Deleted user

    Six tanks:

    4 water wing tanks all identical:  Ronco B145  (http://www.ronco-plastics.com)  26 gallons.  These are the wing tanks port and starboard, fore and aft.

    2 Gas tanks center.  Moeller  142 gallon fore, and 70 gal aft. (http://www.moellermarine.com/oem/fuel_tanks,
    FT14202-R3 142 GALLON FUEL TANK 84.12"L x 27.65"W x 16.95"H
    FT7016-R1 70 GALLON FUEL TANK 50.50"L x 24.74"W x 16.14H
  • September 04, 2012 5:05 PM
    Reply # 1064534 on 772857
    Deleted user
    All dividers tabbed in.  I am now going to use 8lb 2 part PU pour foam with styrofoam peanuts mixed in to mold a custom fitted tank bedding by pouring the foam in a heavy walled plastic trashbag supported by heavywall cardboard and backed by plywood.

    Basically making a cheap easy one use mold for each tank.  I'll cut trim the foam, open up the limber holes then coat with epoxy.

    At that point I will stop as I need to make the structure water tight before I go any further and it is really easy to get to every thing with the cabin apart.

    So far I filled in a couple faulty deck fills, caulked the caprail, etc.  But I think I'll just use 2x 5 gallon jerry cans as day tanks and sail around it for awhile before I take it out of service for another 4 months or more fitting the tanks, plumbing, and plywood sole.

    Two other things----- while I was in the the bilge I drilled a million small holes in the keel cap and put a new epoxy layer along  the whiole bilge to waterproof and prevent pooling.  Also replaced the water tank manifold and valves as they were corroded and it was way too easy with everything apart.

  • September 04, 2012 11:33 PM
    Reply # 1064779 on 772857
    Hi Doug, Ed, everyone, thanks very much for the info on the fuel and water tanks. At the moment we are reassembling the boat from being transported, etc. Dealing with mast, hood inmast furling, corrosion; bowsprit install, etc. Then the tanks will be addressed.
    Did any of you pressure test / di test any of the tanks to detect leaks...? I cleaned the bilge b/c the bottom of the hatch area just forward of the cabin step down ( W42) was filled with water /oil / diesel fuel. Once cleaned, water with diesel fuel kept running filling the area forward of the water tank. On our W42, the forward center tank is a water tank. It's bottom , perhaps only an inch or less off from the bilge. Now after having the bilge  pressure cleaned, the bilge area at the most aft part, just before it goes to the very deep part of the bilge, just where the engine and transmission mate  is showing some fuel pooling..... I don't know wether it is from 30 yrs of sludge perhaps stuck between the bottom of the center water and fuel tank seeping.... or because of the bottoms being so close to the bilge, with 30 yrs of crap accumulating under the tanks and possibly corroding a hole through both of the bottoms of the center tanks. All the tanks are aluminum in our W42. 
    Doug, on our W42 where the ( I guess one would call it) the upper bilge drops into the aft deep bilge, there is perhaps a 1 " to 2 " lips between the two bilges. So the forward bilge would have to get 1 to 2 inch of water, etc before spilling into the deep bilge. Does your W42 have a hole drilled through that lip so that whatever is in the upper part can drain to the lower part or is it supposed to be there to keep engine /trans contaminates going into the deep bilge...? But then the engine has it own drip pan.....

    Thanks in advance to all.
    George W42
  • September 05, 2012 8:10 AM
    Reply # 1065013 on 772857
    Deleted user
    My tanks were mostly SS.  There were a couple aluminum tanks and they were in very poor condition----corrosion.  The SS, however, probably could have been epoxied and repaired.

    I poured a cap on my bilge which remedied the "flow" to the bilge pumps.
  • September 22, 2012 8:19 AM
    Reply # 1079951 on 772857
    Deleted user
    Making progress.  I am fixing all rot before permanently installing the tanks.  Many leaks....  Hawse pipe, deck fills, caprail, stancions.  Oh yeah STANCHIONS!!!  Anyone know some tip(s) for easily rebedding the stanchions?  They are very difficult to reach it appears.

    My wife made me do a short video on her iPhone to show the fuel tank replacement in progress which I'll gladly have her send to anyone interested.  It is too poorly made and boring for general viewing however those "in the bilge" may be interested. When I am all done I'll gladly write up the tank replacement.

    I do wish in many ways I had cusom fabbed new metal tanks instead of poly but I think it is almost a wash they each have their bugaboos.

    BTW anyone see the shuttle yesterday?  I poked my head out of the bilge for a couple minutes and it was a WTF----oh yeah space shuttle fly by.......
  • September 22, 2012 11:37 AM
    Reply # 1080051 on 1079951
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Edward Herold wrote:

    My wife made me do a short video on her iPhone to show the fuel tank replacement in progress which I'll gladly have her send to anyone interested.  It is too poorly made and boring for general viewing however those "in the bilge" may be interested. When I am all done I'll gladly write up the tank replacement.

    Please email it to jay_bietz@sbcglobal.net -- I'll post it on the westsail youtube site if usable.... sounds interesting.


  • October 24, 2012 2:03 PM
    Reply # 1113028 on 772857

    George, et al, I have been buried with some heavy business that has kept me off line for the last several weeks.  However, to answer your question about the "lip", I have looked at that area, and, yes, there is a lip.  I can't say if it is 1" or less, but I don't see any indication of a drain hole.

    While I had the water tanks out, I tried to do a thorough cleaning of the bilge area.  Before I became owner of hull #91, the engine had been removed and it seems as though the vital fluids of that engine ended up in the bilge.  After several rounds of degreaser and medium pressure water, I did make progress.  However, lacking access to the area under the engine room pan prevented me from actually scrubbing the area.

    The water coming out of the garboard drain did not show any oily residue, but I can still detect an aroma of antifreeze, etc.  While not overpowering, it still is there.

    I am having a new engine installed in the next couple of months, and will request that the installers try to clean that area.  While I know I will never get that new boat smell, it would be nice to not worry about my bilge having an oily discharge.

    I did speak with the boatyard staff that had done work on the boat over the years.  Originally, the boat had 3 steel tanks (the boatyard called them cast iron), which leak significantly.  The prior owner removed those leaky tanks and the boat yard installed an athwartships poly tank of 105 gallons.  This is where some of the bilge contents could have come from, but I really thing that when they took out the old engine a lot of fluids made their way to the bilge.

    If I am lucky with timing, I will have all of the seacocks replaced in the next week or so, and may be able to begin remaking the dinette/galley furniture. 

  • October 25, 2012 8:40 PM
    Reply # 1114194 on 772857
    Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the reply on the lip between the forward part of the bilge and aft deeper section. What kind of engine are you re-powering with ? You have quite a project going on... Where is your boat located...?

    I have put the fuel tanks on hold getting other projects done. Re bedded the outside of the caprails, and lots of the deck hardware, trying to get it done before the rains begin in Seattle.. There were some things that I did not get too and thought perhaps they were water tight. Well it finally rain last week after 80 or so days without rain. I stayed to watch for leaks... Well, all the large windows leak, 1 port hole, main hatch, front hatch, and front staysail traveler which leaked  like a water fall ..!!!! Aft traveler was removed b/c and hole temp. sealed b/c some of the cabin ceiling was rotted from water damage, etc..Pretty, annoying....I am now in the process of removing all the large windows and  replacing the teak laminate. I think that I will replace the 3/4 in acrylic with same instead of going to the 3/8 safety glass. What does your boat have for the large windows..?

    I have also replaced all the through hulls with Spartan through hulls / seacocks.. And I used G10 board for backing plates.... Came out very nice.. I used the Spartan b/c the mounting holes line up and are pretty much a straight replacement. 

    Put the rear arch back on and the bow sprit which was a bear... Our bow sprit mounts on the cap rail with a plate coming up the bow to help support it. I believe the whole thing was a design  flop.... It has a large 1/2 in plate located on the very top front  of the cap rail with 2 holes for mounting bolts .... However, No bolts were used there, filled up with sealant, one was drilled through while the other was partly drilled... The space between the inner and outer hull is too small and impossible to get to. AND if the bolts were to be installed they would end up going through the outer hull because of the bow curve... I think it is a very poor design and the bow support plate was added b/c of the cap rail plate mis calculation. Some bolts were extremely hard to get to - some located above the hawse pipe rubber.  I inspecting the bow sprit while on the ground before re mounting it and found dozens of weld cracks... Welding it was very difficult b/c every time they welded it a new crack would develop. Very interesting, perhaps work hardened over the years of use. Bud said that he did not think it was Chinese SS b/c of it age. Will have to keep a close eye on it...!!! And if new cracks appear once she is re commissioned, a new bow sprit may have to be made. This one I would have it made to mount on the outside of the hull as I have seen on other 42 and 43s...

    I have replaced all the chain plates which was a project especially the one by the com station. I also added an additional chain plate where the one used to carry the 2 shrouds, so that each shroud has its own chain plate.

    Also, removed the lower bow tang and had a new one made b/c of crevice corrosion ...

    So, many projects and delays. Like they say the " one does not own the boat, the boat own you "....

    I have photos of projects as I go along if anyone could use them for reference if desired.

    Have you done anything with your mild steel I-beam which supports the compression post? Since the mast is not yet replaced, I may replace it with a SS beam....

    Again would be great to see anyone else's photos of fuel tank replacement, etc. if available ad would like to share...

    All the best,



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