OT- (way off topic) Fuel tank repair

I have a continuing fantasy about owning a 32'-38' trawler. One of the common problems in a vessel of a certain age and price range are leaking diesel fuel tanks. The proper repair is to pull the engine (the tanks are generally on either side of the engine, requiring getting the engine out of the way), and replace the tanks. The cost of doing this approaches the price of the boat. Is anyone aware of a reliable method of tank repair in place?

Kevin Gallimore

Reply to
axolotl
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Sure. Weld in repair panels OR CLEAN the interior of the tanks very well and epoxy coat them inside. You can buy fuel liner epoxy at many marine stores.

Reply to
Steve W.

On 1/8/2011 4:34 PM, Steve W. wrote: Is anyone aware of a reliable method

Steve,

My concern would be access. In most of these installations, one could not get to the bottom or back of the tank to weld it, and the tank coatings I have found have directions to rotate the tank (like "sloshing" an aircraft tank) to coat the interior. Are you aware of any coatings that can be "painted" through an access port?

Thanks,

Kevin

Reply to
axolotl

The tanks are typically steel. Most of the "trawler yachts" of the 70s, 80s, and 90s are out of one or two yards in Taiwan using different brand names. The construction methods (and hull molds) are identical for most of them. Any good methods of cleaning a diesel tank?

Thanks, Kevin

Reply to
axolotl

I would try to do it right the first time, pull the engine, service the engine, pull the tank, service or replace tank.

i
Reply to
Ignoramus26282

On 1/9/2011 9:48 AM, Ignoramus26282 wrote: Is anyone aware of a reliable method

This is the right way to do it. The cost of doing it is upwards of seven grand. I am just looking at vessels. If there were a reliable method of fixing a tank in situ for a grand, it might be the making or breaking of a deal. Remember that a vessel of this size is probably not in your garage where you can tinker with it after work. It sits in a boatyard that charges money to have it sit there. Because it is away from home you don't have the resources of your shop to bring to bear against the problem.

Thanks,

Kevin

Reply to
axolotl

I did not think about that. I would think that having an old boat with issues, facing repair costs like these, makes it uneconomical.

i
Reply to
Ignoramus26282

On 1/9/2011 11:16 AM, Ignoramus26282 wrote: t the problem.

You are using too many words.

"having a..... boat .......uneconomical."

Kevin Gallimore

Reply to
axolotl

As a former boat owner, I agree with the saying: there are two happy days in a boater's life. The day when he buys a boat, and the day when he sells it.

i
Reply to
Ignoramus26282

But you are NOT going to do either with the tank in place on a 36 foot trawler, I'll bet.

The tanks will need to come out, one way or the other, unless you put in a bladder like is used in some race-cars and some aircraft tanks - with the fuel take-off inserted from the top.

Reply to
clare

Most of the epoxy coatings can be thinned so you can spray them. Just like spraying a two part paint. Just be 100% sure to clean the gun very well before the pot life expires.

Depending on the size of the access port you might be able to get in there with a chopper gun like the ones used to lay up the fiberglass on boats. With that the resin would have the fibers to bind it and reinforce the repair. All depends on how much access you have.

Reply to
Steve W.

Google Proseal

Not really true that MOST epoxies can be thinned for spraying. And those that can, thinning reduces their physical properties proportionally.

Epoxy, in the cured state, is hard and brittle. The thing that gives it strength and flexibility is the matrix that it is used with.

By itself it's pretty useless for this kind of repair job.

Reply to
CaveLamb

Google Proseal

Not really true that MOST epoxies can be thinned for spraying. And those that can, thinning reduces their physical properties proportionally.

Epoxy, in the cured state, is hard and brittle. The thing that gives it strength and flexibility is the matrix that it is used with.

By itself it's pretty useless for this kind of repair job.

Reply to
Califbill

Reply: There was an epoxy for fixing gas tanks I used maybe 20 years ago. got it at the autoparts store. A putty type you kneaded to mix.

It's still a patch though, Bill.

100 miles off shore is not the same as pulling over on the side of the road. And a few hundred gallons of fuel in the bilges pretty much ruins dinner.
Reply to
CaveLamb

Boat (b?t) n: A hole in the water, lined with wood, fiberglass, or metal, into which one pours money.

;-) Rich

Reply to
Rich Grise

Put one hand on the bow of the boat, and another on the stern, so that you are looking at the deck. Pick up the boat. Rotate your wrists forward. Now rotate them back. Tip the bow up, then tip the bow down. Repeat. This should get the coating thoroughly distributed on the tanks.

Reply to
Tim Wescott

I've seen a bloke with a 36 ft. sloop that had a similar problem - tanks leak; can't get to it. He removed the old tank by cutting it into small enough pieces to remove and then fabricated a tank that was small enough to get back into the hole and replaced them. He ended up with rather small tanks and so added another tank which was in a locker he said he didn't use.... which was probably a lie but he is still using the boat.

Another solution was a Farr 42 ft. that had very small fuel tanks. The boat was lying in Singapore and the plan was to take it back to Australia. The Charter Captain wanted to make a non-stop voyage so they bought bladder tanks and loaded them in one of the unused areas and away they went.

Cheers,

John D. Slocomb (jdslocombatgmail)

Reply to
J. D. Slocomb

Or sail it through 12 foot surf. ;-)

Cheers! Rich

Reply to
Rich Grise

Twice, once for each tank.

That sounds much more practical.

Reply to
Tim Wescott

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