fuel tank replacement

  • February 02, 2013 3:37 PM
    Reply # 1196772 on 772857
    Doug and Ed, 

    Ed, I tried the link but no luck seeing your photos... Well it looks like I will be replacing the fuel and water tanks in our 42. The main water tank looks to be getting contaminated by diesel fuel. Interesting....  Hope your project are coming along and if either of you have some insight and or photos to share that would be great. I am going to see if I get the 2 main tanks out, if it is possible to get the saddle tanks out without removing more furniture... Took up the deck to remove the  I Beam supporting the compression post which actually was not too bad. Made a new I beam and doing some repairs to one of the main bullhead / floor support that was directly beneath the compression post...  Water damage, rot....

    Sometime in the near future an engine swap may happen. Doug I know that you went with the Yanmar 4JH4-HTE....  Why did you choose this engine ...? I know in previously in this blog that the 115 was not to much more than a lesser HP engine, I believe.  Do you think that the turbo may cause problems down the road wether it is maintenance or parts availability some place in a remote location.. I have read that a few folks have had over heating issues... That the engines w/ turbo need to run at high RPM for best performance, carbon buildup, etc. Somewhere someone mentioned that the warrantee may be void if one does not run the engine at certain RPM ranges specified by Yanmar...? Have you heard any of this...?

    Went to the boat show here and looked at Yanmar 4JH4-HTE 1 100hp. and Beta 75, 90 and 105...   

    Ed, what engine do you have...? 

    Any insight would be helpful and greatly appreciated....  Hp / hull speed, best engine, etc..
    Would be nice to have the right HP, but perhaps extra for certain situations...

  • February 03, 2013 5:06 AM
    Reply # 1197082 on 772857
    FYI, Soundown has two types of insulation. The foam which has a life expectancy of 10 years then turns to an oily rubber mess and they also have a Fiberglass type insulation which is fire proof and CG certified. The cost isn't much difference. We used the CG certified panels. The job wasn't easy but we do like it. Also on the standard WS 42 dinettes there is a space behind the port dinette seat  and we used standard home fiberglass insulating battens there to further insulate the heat from the engine room warming the backs of anyone using that space.

    As an aside. When we inspected, cleaned and repainted (fuel only) our tanks I put back the flooring and the cabinetry with caulking and NO Epoxy. Ready for another tear out should the need arise. Also where there was glueing like on the floor I put did not glue down the flooring over the subflooring edges. And to help identify those edge pieces I used larger bungs and varnished them in in lieu of glueing them in. Also the floor is sealed with Ultimate Sole varnish (which is basically Gym floor varnish). For those that care.

  • February 03, 2013 9:22 AM
    Reply # 1197228 on 772857
    Doug, Ed, Everyone- 

    Fuel tanks :

    When you replaced the tanks did you make 2  water and 2 fuel tanks to replace the center tanks so that they would fit through the companion way....? 


  • February 04, 2013 6:51 AM
    Reply # 1197946 on 772857

    George, your questions are the same ones I wrestled with prior to making the decisions I did fr Harmony.  I'll address each in order.

    Fuel & Water Tanks - My foray into this are was inspired by 2 things, dry rotted galley and a survey that stated I had a black steel fuel tank that leaked.  Anyway, since I had to gut the galley and dinette area anyway,  I removed every thing or had to because of extensive rot.  I removed everything including the decking in the galley dinette area.  I found that instead of a steel tank, the prior owner had removed the 3 steel tanks and replaced them with 1 polyethylene tank of 105 gallons mounded athwartships.  Now, the fuel tank area was designed to hold 3 separate tanks totaling 200 gallons, and I would have preferred that arrangement.  However, the cost of fabricating 3 aluminum tanks was too much for the budget.

    The water tanks were just forward of the fuel tank(s) and were 3 separate stainless steel units.  The port and starboard tanks were 50 gallons each and the center was 100 gallons.  While the 18 gauge steel look great for the age, the baffles had ripped holes in the top of the tanks.  I used the old tanks as templates for the new 72 gauge 316 stainless steel tanks. 

    Once I had the decking up, the removal and replacement was fairly straight forward.  The old tanks were light enough for me to lift out of the boat. However, the new tanks were much heavier and I needed a crane! 

    Since the floor members were in great shape with the exception of being somewhat saturated with diesel from leaks from the old steel tanks, I just replaced the decking.  I did not glue any of the decking panels down and just used new stainless screws into beefed up supports.  Currently, I am fabricating new galley / dinette furniture.

    Yanmar 4JH4-HTE - I chose Yanmar because of its reputation and the proximity of service.  The size was recommended in order to have a "reserve" of power to deal with currents and seas.  Other than a non-Yanmar option, which didn't appeal to me, I had the option of a 75HP Yanmar. In the end, I felt the extra $1500 or so was a good deal for extra heft.

    Soundown Insulation - Both products are good and relatively easy to apply.  The company is responsive, too.  I fabricated mahogany studs between which I put the Soundown.  I then "paneled" the fore and aft engine room bulkheads with 3/4" merranti plywood painted white.  Upon these panels I am mounting equipment, wiring, plumbing, and etc.


  • February 04, 2013 7:38 PM
    Reply # 1198985 on 772857
    Deleted user
    I replaced all tanks w/ 2 fuel and 4 water primarily because that was what fit best and available off the shelf in poly.

    While at it I did a lot of added structural work to strengthen the boat by doubling up bulkheads, adding sisterboards, a couple cabintop glue lams and an extra compression post.  Why not?  I used foam where possible instead of plywood to save weight but add strength.

    The bigger motor is better.  I have the 58hp Yanmar but wish I had 100hp, why not?


  • February 05, 2013 5:23 AM
    Reply # 1199278 on 772857
    Deleted user
    We replaced all 6 tanks on Abake (W42).  Custom tanks from a shop in NJ.  We liked the idea of having tanks that fit the space and had baffles.  Off the shelf poly tanks do not.  Obviously a trade off that is more $$, effort and time.  You're only doing this once, right?  Abake came with a Ford Lehman 80 HP.  Seems to be more than enough power.  An engine in that HP range (70-85) should do nicely.
  • February 06, 2013 12:44 PM
    Reply # 1200915 on 772857
    Deleted user
    Yeah but poly doesn't corrode.  It wasn't about the money.  In fact it cost more to do it in poly ----it was not a cheaper solution. 
     Having said that the W42 and W43 are different.  Accessibility to the tankage is different.  You may be able to remove the tanks in the W42 without taking out the tank divider and cabin sole supports.  In that case custom tanks properly constructed and seated may be a better solution.  I know of an individual that made new tanks and in less than 2 years were holed because they weren't properly installed with airflow and limber holes to keep the water and subsequent corrosion at bay.

    SS is not USCG approved for fuel.  Aluminum is good for fuel.  SS is USCG approved for water.  Poly is approved for both although the poly for fuel must be crosslinked.  You can get baffled poly tanks.
    Last modified: February 06, 2013 12:47 PM | Deleted user
  • February 07, 2013 8:34 AM
    Reply # 1201700 on 772857
    Marine Liquidators in Fort Pierce, Florida has a huge selection of poly tanks salvaged from hurricane damaged boats, maybe even salvaged Westsails.   

    If you send them the dimensions you need, they can check to see what they have that might fit.  If you are in luck it should be much cheaper than having custom tanks built.

    I'm sure there must be numerous other marine salvage outfits who also might have one.

  • February 08, 2013 12:03 AM
    Reply # 1202378 on 772857
    Hi Doug, Ed, Mike and Everyone,

    Thanks for the input. I was thinking of SS for water tanks and Aluminum for the fuel. I am not sure about poly tanks...? I guess not used to them... Those of you that have poly tanks - do you like them...? Doug you mentioned that you found poly tanks for fuel in your boat... And if budget allowed would have made aluminum ones...? 

    What everyone choose.... SS and Aluminum or Poly......?

    Yes, I only want to do this once....!!!!

    Ed, what happened with the individual who made tanks and they leaked 2 years later...?
    Were they SS and Aluminum...? If you can pass on the mistakes, it would be great so that they are not repeated and I, we can learn from them.... )

    First, before tackling the tanks, I made a new I beam for the mast compression post. I also found that the bulkhead that the I beam sat on directly under the compression post was rotted.... So, I have pulled up the floor, cut out the old bulkhead ( quite a job in it's self ) and will be making a new bulkhead out of meranti marine ply, seal it with resin, and glass it in... I know one thought is to run the compression post to the top of the ballast, but I opted to keep it the way it was.... Good thing that I did b/c some of the floor and hatch edges were not properly supported.... And interesting, I found about a gallon of water hidden behind the port forward stringer of that bulkhead... Will have to see if it is from a leak, etc..? Seamed pretty old...

    On the bulkhead, have any of you reworked some of the bulkheads and glassed them to the hull...? Have you placed foam between the bulkhead and hull or held the bulkhead uniformly off the hull and filled the space with resin / micro ballon mix...? Or just placed the bulkhead directly on the hull...? All this addresses Hard spot issues...? But our hulls are so thick that that may not really be a problem....? Any input.....

    Another note for W42 owners - What do you all have for the 6 large picture window...? 3/8 glass, 3/4 acrylic ...? Our boat had the 3/4 acrylic for which I have found a source... Problem is that they scratch easily and craze over time... But, I can hit it with a hammer and not crack them...  I have seen one W42 in our area with opening rectangular port which was pretty neat... Ventilation etc. All my ports, the six picture and all but 2 of the 
    5 x 8 leak....  Several areas I have pulled the teak ply off b/c it was water damaged and rotted....(  May look into finding similar ports... Anyone know of any approx. 13 x 18 ports may be found ...? I have contacted Richard at Newfound Metal and he is getting me a quote for modifying ports he has to fit as one possibility.... We'll see....

    The boat looks like a  tornado swept through it .....

    Going back to the engine question.... Yanmar having particular recommend RPM to be run at or warranty pay be void...?  And Idle speed or powering around at low RPM may not be the best for the turbo engines...? Carboning, fouling turbo, glazing, etc ...?  Feed back on turbos on our boat engines...? reliability, overheating, etc.. ?  Seem like the turbos are commonly on engines 75 and up - Yanmar. Ours Perkins 4-236 has 9000 hrs on it and it will probably have to be addressed in the future....

    Hmmm, I know I have some other questions....

    Thanks, All the best .....


  • February 08, 2013 8:21 AM
    Reply # 1202603 on 772857

    George, I'll try to address most of your questions.  I have used Merranti Plywood, as well as traditional marine plywood in several application on Harmony.  With the Merranti being more expensive and a tad better looking, I have used it for bulkhead replacements.

    Regarding your question on attaching bulkheads to the hull, I do not attach the bulkhead directly to the hull.  Even though the hull is a very stout solid glass, and won't show deflection like a foam cored hull, I put a base down before glassing the bulkhead in.  While one could use an airex like foam, I have used either kerfed 3/4" Merranti or 3/4" marine plywood.  The kerfing allows the plywood to mold to the curvature of the hull.

    The kerfed board(s) are roughly 3" - 4" at the base with a 30 degree bevel on the side.  I bond these to the hull and glass them in place.  Once cured, I trace the curvature onto the bulkhead panel, cut and fit, then glass the bulkhead onto the kerfed base.  I do apply a fillet of thickened epoxy in order to give the tabbing a stronger structure.  By having the kerfed base extend an inch or so beyond the bulkhead provides me with an attachment point for ceiling strips.

    Relative to the ports in the galley/dinette area, Harmony has an opening center port.  It is a very large opening port, and, when we took ownership, the gaskets were leaking like sieves.  I purchased gasket material from Bud, and fixed the leaking problem.  Our ports are tempered glass.  The other large ports show no signs of leakage.  We are glad to have the opening port, even though it will have to be watched for leakage.

    Most of our water leakage and dry rot damage was sourced from (1) poorly bedded deck fills; (2) leaking galley ports; and (3) failure of the caulking on the cap rail. 

    On tankage, we now have new SS water tanks.  Had I had the budget, I would have removed the poly tank and installed 3 aluminum fuel tanks.  However, this move would have been to increase the fuel storage from 105 gallons to 200 gallons.  We are satisfied with the poly tank for fuel, as it has internal baffling to prevent major sloshing.  Given the way the floor was designed to house 3 water tanks and 3 fuel tanks, I would have preferred to have the increased capacity.  My blank canvas approach would have been SS for water and Aluminum for fuel.  However, I could have gone with baffled poly for fuel, as well.

    I don't have any info on what Yanmar sets as warranty issues, but will check into it.


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