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 Post subject: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2009 16:12 
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Skipper

Joined: 19 Mar 2007 16:40
Posts: 195
Well my bilge filled with fuel the other day and the bilge pumped emptied it out for me. The up side is the boat was on the hard at the time. Would have made the evening new had she been in the water. So I have determined that the tank is leaking. Tartan wants 2 months lead time for a replacement. Anybody have a source for a tank? Or pearls of wisdom as far as replacement goes?

Jim Boissier
Ardea T-37 #285


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 09 Nov 2009 16:28 
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Skipper

Joined: 29 Dec 2006 09:38
Posts: 583
I would be very sure that it was leaking first. It is an aluminum tank. Not very prone to corrosion. My history of repairs on my T37 is my over reaction to symptoms. Did you have multiple gallons of diesel? Is the tank empty? Sure it is not a leaking pump on the engine? You just replaced the engine, right? Is it possible that you have a siphon somewhere?


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 10 Nov 2009 07:12 
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Skipper

Joined: 27 Oct 2006 10:32
Posts: 826
My tank started leaking a few years after we got her. She was probably 20 years old then. I had noticed diesel stains at the foot of the nav station by the access hole, then I drill a 1/4 diameter hole careful not to go too deep to see if anything was apparent and diesel started flowing out. The cavity that the tank is in was retaining the diesel and just seeping through the plywood little at a time. The tank was definitely steel and it had rusted at the foward lower corner on the inside edge by the nav station. This is the lowest point inthe tank and the spot which would collect water. I bought a replacement tank from Joe Palmer who used to run a company specializing in Tartan parts but has long since closed its doors. The replacement tank is aluminum and was built somewhere in Florida, but I can't remember the companies name. If I remember next time I am down on the boat, I'll make a note of it to pass it along. I am sure this company would have all of the specs on the tank.
Removing the tank requires a bit of surgery where you will need to carefully cut the fiberglass tabbing that bonds the top surface of the quarterberth to the hull. I used a little trim router with a straight bit set at just the right depth and zipped it along the berth using the hull shape as a guide. Worked like a charm. The tank is held in place with two stainless straps and a bit of pour-in-place foam insulation. It use fairly easy to get out, but if you have retro fitted any cabinetry above the nav station, you will have a tight fit.....the tank needs to rise above the nav desk for removal.

Hope this helps.
Tom


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 10 Nov 2009 13:51 
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Skipper

Joined: 19 Mar 2007 16:40
Posts: 195
Ray it's definately the tank. All fuel lines are new, tight and dry. It seems that aluminum tanks can fail due to corrosion if water is allowed to be held against the metal surface. Much like stainless steel it is prone to crevis corrosion. Probably the tank wasn't installed correctly from the factory (foamed in place for instance). We may have had fuel collecting in the space the tank sits in. I didn't notice a leak until the boat was hauled last week. It's sitting slightly bow high now in the cradle and the bilge was FULL of fuel. I got a quote from a "local" fabricator of $600 to $700 (he hasn't seen the old tank yet). Tartan wants $575 + $150 shipping + 2 months lead time so the local guy is gonna get the work.

Tom, thanks for the pointers. I just need to cut the lid away from the hull now. I didn't have the right tools at the boat last weekend to do that.


-Jim


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2009 15:52 
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Grinder

Joined: 22 Jun 2008 10:54
Posts: 85
The tank on Abraxas was changed before we got her. The manufacturers is a firm in RI called Luther's. It is located in Bristol RI at 500 Wood St. Sorry I don't have the phone number but they are still in existence because I recently called them to ask if they put screen on their pickup tubes. The answer was no. Very Happy

_________________
Neal Musto
T37 #31
Abraxas


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2009 17:29 
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Skipper

Joined: 19 Mar 2007 16:40
Posts: 195
I ended up ordering a new tank from the orginal manufacturer (Thanks team Grrrrrr for the contact info). They sent me a drawing of the original tank. The manufacturer is Florida Marine Tanks. The part number is FMT-53-TM. That would stand for Florida Marine Tanks - 53 gallons - Tartan Marine. T-37 was noted on the title block of the print. Looks like an exact replacement. I sprung the few extra bucks for 3 inspection ports in top. Looks like about 3 weeks delivery. Off to study David Pascoe's instructions for installing an aluminum fuel tank.

-Jim


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 18 Jan 2019 21:19 
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Midshipman

Joined: 31 May 2017 22:18
Posts: 65
Location: Gulf of Mexico
Anyone else have any experience here? We got back to the boat after leaving her high and dry for the summer and noticed a pretty strong diesel smell. (Our boat has never smelled of diesel.) On further inspection, we noticed some diesel at the foot of the chart table, we thought maybe we overfilled the tank when leaving her for the summer, and perhaps with the fuel level above the tank, the deck file hose was maybe leaking at the connection with the tank.

Unfortunately we're still getting diesel on the floor after two months in the yard and I'm fairly certain the level is below the connection at the tank now. I've used a tiny inspection camera to get into all the spaces around the tank that it will fit and haven't been able to see anything that indicates a leak, but there is definitely still fuel leaking.

I really don't want to cut into the quarterberth without knowing it's leaking but I'm at a loss.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 20 Jan 2019 08:20 
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Skipper

Joined: 09 Jul 2008 12:51
Posts: 250
My tank was leaking at the corner, bottom. The first sign was diesel under the nav seat. If you are unsure that it's leaking, siphon some out through the sender hole then see if it's still "leaking". My guess,,,, it is. All of these original tanks are suspect.

I know your apprehension cutting the tank out, I was too but I was amazed how easy I cut out the bunk floor (only one side the other side is screwed). Leave enough along the outside to tab against when you re-install. The handrail above the nav desk was used as a hoist. It was pretty easy all in all.

There was a local aluminum welding shop that was going to custom make a new one,,, it was a little lower price than ordering one. The guy at the shop took a look inside the tank and saw no pitting or rust except in one spot,,, the bottom corner where water would naturally collect. He saved me a lot of money by suggesting that he cut out the corner. I lost about 1 1/2 gallon capacity but saved $1000 ,,, he charged me $90 to cut it out and reweld.

Now,,, putting the tank back in was the trick. It was difficult positioning it so as to fit back in it's resting place. This is where a second set of hands would have been "handy".

good luck but it's not as bad as you might think,,,


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 20 Jan 2019 17:45 
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Midshipman

Joined: 31 May 2017 22:18
Posts: 65
Location: Gulf of Mexico
Thanks for the reply Mike. We just did some more inspection today, and really can't tell where it's coming from. We were hoping for a leak in one of the hoses, but haven't seen anything to suggest that. However we discovered that it's wicking all the way up the set of drawers under the chart table as well.

I'm debating whether or not cutting some sort of inspection port in the bulkhead is worth it, or if I should just cut out the top of the quarter berth to remove it. It's an incredibly slow leak wherever it is coming from.

About how far away from the hull did you cut? When you say you left something to tab into, did you just glass a "butt joint" so to speak, with the cut wood laying right back down right next to the original and laying a piece of glass horizontally across the two?

Or did you cut right along the hull, and tab it back into the hull with a 90 joint? Do you have any photos of the tank or top as it was cut out?

Thanks again in advance,

Kirk & Lauren


 
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 Post subject: Re: Replacing fuel tank
PostPosted: 21 Jan 2019 08:49 
Offline
Skipper

Joined: 09 Jul 2008 12:51
Posts: 250
I cut along the hull,,, stayed about three inches away from the hull wall so I could use it for a tab to connect the bunk floor when it was ready to be re-installed. As I said in the previous post, the bunk floor is screwed in on one side so all the cutting is along the outside hull wall.

If the level of diesel in your tank is below the sender/inspection port and you still have diesel pooling down around the nav desk/nav seat I'd say it's leaking because all hoses connect above that point; the vent hose and filler hose.

Once I cut the bunk floor out and removed it,,,, a quick look down and I could tell that my tank was indeed leaking. When I re-installed the bunk floor and I installed it so I could remove it quickly if necessary. .... SO removing it might just be worth it in the long term to be able to inspect the tank when needed. Just a thought...

Oh to answer your question specifically,,, I added a lip on the piece I cut out and connected it to the 3" tab side with screws,,, so the bunk floor simply sits back in ,,, screws on one side and the lip resting on top of the tab side.... some folks have simply connected it with Fglass but I like the idea of removing it when I want.

I have attached 3 pictures, two are of the tank with the bunk floor removed. You can see how the tank is held in place,,,, metal straps... the third pic is the rusty corner of my tank,,, that corner was cut out and rewelded.


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