2012-08-13 Fuel Tank Debacle

Last winter while Magnolia was on the hard Annette and I discovered a small amount of fuel below the galley. I used to completely freak when it came to anything about fuel which I think my friend Greg still looks on with some humor. As I have spent time and learned more, yes fuel issues are not good but freak out? Nah, not anymore, keep it on the boat (we actually carry oil spill insurance) and get it cleaned up, not the end of the world, but I digress. We cleaned up the fuel and started our search for the leak. Nothing looked likely, so went away for a week. On our return we found some more but a much smaller volume. The only part of the system we could not examine was the tank. Consequently we pumped out the 25 gallons of fuel in the 50 gallon tank. Moving the fuel over to our other tank so we could eventually remove the tank and have it repaired or replaced. You have to remember, in the 80’s and 90’s they installed the tanks and built the boat around the tank so we were not even sure we could easily get at it. Thankfully this summer with ugly hot weather was the time to do it. So after removing about 50 screws we were able to expose the tank.

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After another 50 screws, 4 hoses (Vent, Fill, Feed, Return) and 8 hose clamps we had her free.

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The tank is amazingly light but bulky!


Our mechanic took the tank pressurized it and reported he could not find a leak! WHAT? As an additional test he put some alcohol in which is less viscous than diesel fuel and easier to leak out, all to no avail, no leak! Crap! Oh well can’t find the leak unless the tank is installed and fuel in it. So before re-installing we cut an access under the galley sink so we can observe the tank better than we could before. We followed that up with a fresh coat of paint in the tank compartment.

Well with the tank installed where does that leave us? About where we started but we now know how to get that tank out when it does fail, and it will. As far as the leak, well we chase after it when it comes back. Its diesel fuel, its nothing to freak out about!

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