I have a 31 aluminum work boat with an under deck fuel tank which must be
leaking. The aluminum deck is welded in place. The tank is a 100 gallon
aluminum tank. The boat is only 1 year old. I removed the drain plug from
the back of the boat and about 2 gallons of gas came out, this leads me to
believe that the crack must be on the top of the tank because the tank is
almost full and this is the only time I ever opened the drain plug. Before I
do any work I want to make sure I don't have an explosion. If I fill the
bilge area with dishsoap and water and then drain it will this remove all
dangerous vapours? Any other ideas?
On Tue, 06 Apr 2004 22:11:56 GMT, "habbi"
brought forth from the murky depths:
No, but it will reduce them.
With the shop vac on the deck, connect the hose to the output,
then shov it down below to blow out the vapors. (Don't suck the
explosive vapors through an arcing motor!)
- Boldly going - * Wondrous Website Design
- nowhere. - *
That thing hasn't already blown up? Install a bilge fan and a vapor
detector. Then get with someone that knows what he is doing. Trial and
error don't make it with that sort of death trap.
I wouldn't touch that thing in a blizzard, and certainly wouldn't want
it in the same marina with me.
On Tue, 06 Apr 2004 22:11:56 GMT, "habbi"
vaguely proposed a theory
......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
For you....zero metalwork content. Touch a 31" boat 1 year old and you
are a twit IMO.
Unless you can ID the _reason_ for this leak (ie something you did to
the boat, either handling or work, that was not what the boat was
intended for), you should try to get the builder to take
responsibility, or be made very aware of it.
The builder should be made aware of the trouble, and the actions you
are going to take _in writing_. They should declare their intentions
in the matter _in writing_. You touch that boat and you risk any
If you repair the problem, but there is a weakness somewhere, you (and
maybe others) could have a rocket-powered ride sometime.
I also think this should be left to a boatbuilding yard for three
- One is safety.
- Next is is, you go in there _stating_ that you want this
investigated for problems by a pro. The pros do the work, not you. No
claims of your having caused the problem.
- if there is a design or building flaw, this needs finding by
somebody who knows what to look for.
If there is serious work involved here, and not just a loose pipe
(whcih still should not happen) I think there are two ways. The legal
way or the "noise" way. I think that a 31' boat is enough to justify
the builder's becoming actively involved if it's only a year old. If
legal actions don;t work. Start to threaten noise. ****************************************************
I went on a guided tour not long ago.The guide got
us lost. He was a non-compass mentor.........sorry
........no I'm not.
It sounds like you?re gonna be doing some cutting to get to it and you don?t
want to go pop. First thing to remember is that gasoline does NOT burn (or
explode) it?s the vapor, so adequate ventilation is appropriate.
I would guess you might want to try the same procedure you use when welding
a gas tank. Just fill the compartment with engine exhaust. I?ve done it
for gas tanks and it does work. Of course you?ll need to get some fresh air
for yourself so keep that in mind.
And yes, welding a gas tank does spook the hell out of you at first. Even,
better you get to use a torch when you do it.
As far as removing the remaining gas in the compartment, you might want to
let the exhaust flow through for a while and let it all evaporate, a nice
hot day will help.
Lastly, your idea to flush it out with dish soap (Dawn) and let it fill up
and soak for a while should help rid the remaining smell.
Do a Google on "Pro-Seal". It comes in a lot of versions, so look for
something for the type of fuel you are using. I've seen it used to
seal "wet-wings" fuel tanks on airplanes, which was done while the
wings were being built, but I recall that there is a version that can
be applied "later".
I performed a tank repair last week. Here is how I dealt with the
This is a steel 110 gallon tank that I have in the bed of my truck. I
use it to haul av gas to the airplane from the bulk storage tank at
home. The bottom (external) was rusted badly. There were deep pits
and I suspected a slight leak. I was replacing the entire bottom of
the tank with a new 10 guage steel sheet.
First the rank was drained. Then set outside for a day. Then air
from a blower was pumped into the tank overnight. At first there were
fumes exiting the tank and later the fumes all were diluted. Then I
heated the tank while pumping air in. When no odor was detected I
finally poured in a gallon of liquid nitrogen. Then I went at it with
the plasma cutter and cut off the bottom.
These measures may have been a bit overkill, but I wanted to be
doublely safe. After all you on't get a second chance to get it right
if it were to explode.
For you with the new boat. Take it back. Let them deal with it.
I heard a "boom" that shook the windows, one day. Poked my head out
and saw a speck of something floating in the air above a junk yard 3
The news paper said a gas tank blew up. The thing must have gone up
like a rocket to still be that high by the time the noise got to me.
No one was hurt.
Damage to shorts was not mentioned.
Haven't seen that name since wrecked.boats! I am assuming that you
are the manufacturer, since my first stop would be them....
Otherwise, you need to have the tank defueled by whatever means
necessary. Some fuel trucks will de-fuel and some hazardous materials
people will com on-site to defuel. You could, using the appropriate
equipment defuel on site in appropriate containers for refilling the
tank(s) after repair.
Once "de-fueled" you have reached the truly dangerous stage. If there
is no way into this area, you need to ventilate any area containing
liquid and/or fumes until there are no more fumes.... should only
take what will seem like forever. NO SPARKS.... you have tanks full
of GASOLINE VAPORS.... you have a BIG BOMB. Exercise extreme caution
and if you don't feel competent to do this seek local competent help.
Once ALL of the flammables are removed and there are NO more vapors,
you may want to try your water trick... soap suds aren't necessary...
or if appropriate, flood the area with a heavy inert gas like
nitrogen. Using a guide to achieve a workmanlike cut.... use a
pneumatic (toothed) saw to cut the offending panel out.
This is not a project forgiving of any errors. Considerable property
damage and death are the most likely result of any mistake... no
matter how minor.
Keep us apprised of the leak that you locate. A slosh might be more
appropriate to seal than a weld....
Just a side not. I was welding a trailing arm for my offroad car awhile
back I had a board across an empty (so I thought) trash can with the
trailing arm on it. I was welding for a few seconds and then Boooom!!.
There was a large flash It was like it was in slow motion. The garbage can
(plastic) swelled funny the boom followed by my trailing arm flying across
the shop (it weighs about 26#) And a fireball creeping up the front of me
and feeling the heat. I was wearing my gloves leather long sleeved welding
apron and my helmet.
Come to find out someone working on a car outside had just thrown there old
fuel filter away a few minutes before I was welding on it. Scared the crap
out of me and my dad. It was such a small amount of gas that had so much
I have built boats but this one is one I had custom made. The manufacturer
is going to take care of all costs and they want me to get a local shop to
do it, they are a 1000 miles away. Anyway the local shop wants to have the
tank and bilge steam cleaned by a local petroleum company who frequently
does this to repair steel gasoline storage tanks, then we are going to cut
open the deck and see what the problem is. I'll post the results.