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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    hampshire, uk
    Posts
    970

    Default Diesel tanks replacement

    My winter job is the diesel tanks so gathering advice.

    40 year old twin cross linked 40 gall galvanised or mild steel tanks each side of the engine in a 32 ft motorsailor with a 42 HP engine.


    The starboard tank that takes the direct fill and engine splash back shows several diesel smelling rust streaks that makes me think water has got in and the tank is rusting, at the moment an ooze but...…


    So options are to remove the tanks, maybe needing engine out and likely to be an unpleasant job involving angle grinders judging from removing a rusting water tank last winter and semi hidden in the sides of the engine bay...….


    Or decommission, drain, seal but leave existing tanks and fit a totally new system with a plastic tank ( tek tanks probably) in spare space in a cockpit locker. This should be a relatively clean simple job and places the tank outside the engine bay as best practice.

    I could then go for new and more modern hoses, racor filters, filler cap etc.

    it might need a reduction in capacity but the log shows 2 litres per hour and I want enough range to cross the channel Solent to Cherbourg and back, and my usual refill is about 40 - 50 litres so would a 80 - 100 litre tanks be sufficient?


    As a reserve I could try to link the non rusty port tank via a filter and transfer pump but is mixing new and old wise and might the other tank be not far behind in terms of rust?


    I could just carry a jerry can as spare for long trips: say cross channel to somewhere that my not be easy to refuel like Alderney at low tide.

    Has anyone else replaced tanks in this situation, what was your solution and what size tank did you fit, what size racor filter and keep it simple or try to link old and new?

    Anyone bother with day and reserve tanks and polishing systems or KISS?

    I have never had the dreaded diesel bug but motor quite a lot, keep the tanks full, dose the fuel and only run off the top half of the tanks and when refuel from somewhere reputable put in between 40 to 50 litres several times a season.


    Advice welcome?


    have collected the ASAP, vetus and tek tanks brochures from SIBS in anticipation of a fun winter!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    UK East Coast
    Posts
    1,841

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by chubby View Post
    My winter job is the diesel tanks so gathering advice.

    40 year old twin cross linked 40 gall galvanised or mild steel tanks each side of the engine in a 32 ft motorsailor with a 42 HP engine.


    The starboard tank that takes the direct fill and engine splash back shows several diesel smelling rust streaks that makes me think water has got in and the tank is rusting, at the moment an ooze but...…
    The tanks should not be galvanized on the inside as diesel reacts with the zinc. The rust you are refering to, is that on the inside of the tank? I have had mild steel diesel tanks in the past and providing the outside is maintained never had a problem with rust on the inside.

    www.solocoastalsailing.co.uk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    hampshire, uk
    Posts
    970

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    I suspect they are mild steel but certainly not stainless or aluminium and similar to the previous steel water tanks, they are so hidden in the sides of the engine bay and behind some sort of sound proofing material that inspection let alone maintenance is nigh impossible but there is a streak of rust with what looks like diesel coming from the region of the bottom of the tank: I haven't investigated too much more in case probing causes a torrent rather than smear and puts paid to the end of the season! Did yours last 40 years? the boat was built in 1979.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,405

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    Use a "Sabre saw" rather the an angle grinder

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Wales, sailing Aegean Sea or Menai Strait
    Posts
    21,958

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    The tanks on my motorsailer are mild steel, built in 1973. There was a layer of sludge and rust on the floor of each, plus external rusting, but pressure washing and drying seems to have sorted it out well. The only rider to this is that they are 5 or 6 mm thick, so although there has been rusting they seem good enough for many more years. At worst you could have new floors welded in them.
    Answers to some technical queries at new website http://coxeng.co.uk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    We have a 12 ton Hillyard and mild steel fuel and water tanks were installed 1964. On return from Dutch cruise in 2007 we refuelled with 220 Lts only to find fuel seeping out of rust holes an inch or so down from the top of the tank. Decanting 250+ Lts while on the mooring was a pain but when along side the tank came out reasonably easily once the cockpit locker and retaining beams were removed. Quotes for MS and SS 316L quickly confirmed another 43 years of MS would be just fine! Removing the tank gave access to a large expanse of side and timbers that had not been available for inspection or paint since building. The tank was delivered to a local fabricator to ensure the replacement was an exact copy (including shape and dimensions, swash plates, top access, drain pot, filling, vent and supply connection orientations). The new tank was also blasted, primed and thoroughly painted before installed.
    We kept the boat in commission while tank-less by installing a plastic 20 Lt outboard tank which I fitted with a return line.
    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    3,699

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    I replaced my rusting steel tank in my Moody 33. I had to cut it into 3 pieces in situ using a Sabre saw, very easy - DON'T use an angle grinder. Had to rotate them to get all the way round. When inspected they had obviously had some sort of filler along the lower seams but this obviously didn't work. Had to totally clean the underneath as it was filthy, boiling water and Bilgex sorted that, plus new timber to support the new Plastimo 91 Litre tank. Although much smaller than the original tank, I still have enough for over 24hrs motoring and created toom to fit the calorifier alongside thus freeing up a galley cupboard. New tank supported on a ply base with retaining strips along the base and 2 ratchet straps holding it all down. Don't bother with the Plastimo mechanical fuel gauge which is useless as was unreadable after a couple of years. The Plastimo tank was much cheaper than a purpose made TekTank, other standard tanks are made by other suppliers(and TekTank).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    hampshire, uk
    Posts
    970

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by PetiteFleur View Post
    I replaced my rusting steel tank in my Moody 33. I had to cut it into 3 pieces in situ using a Sabre saw, very easy - DON'T use an angle grinder. Had to rotate them to get all the way round. When inspected they had obviously had some sort of filler along the lower seams but this obviously didn't work. Had to totally clean the underneath as it was filthy, boiling water and Bilgex sorted that, plus new timber to support the new Plastimo 91 Litre tank. Although much smaller than the original tank, I still have enough for over 24hrs motoring and created toom to fit the calorifier alongside thus freeing up a galley cupboard. New tank supported on a ply base with retaining strips along the base and 2 ratchet straps holding it all down. Don't bother with the Plastimo mechanical fuel gauge which is useless as was unreadable after a couple of years. The Plastimo tank was much cheaper than a purpose made TekTank, other standard tanks are made by other suppliers(and TekTank).
    Thanks, very helpful especially the comments that smaller was still OK and must look into a sabre saw

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    hampshire, uk
    Posts
    970

    Default Re: Diesel tanks replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by WFA View Post
    We have a 12 ton Hillyard and mild steel fuel and water tanks were installed 1964. On return from Dutch cruise in 2007 we refuelled with 220 Lts only to find fuel seeping out of rust holes an inch or so down from the top of the tank. Decanting 250+ Lts while on the mooring was a pain but when along side the tank came out reasonably easily once the cockpit locker and retaining beams were removed. Quotes for MS and SS 316L quickly confirmed another 43 years of MS would be just fine! Removing the tank gave access to a large expanse of side and timbers that had not been available for inspection or paint since building. The tank was delivered to a local fabricator to ensure the replacement was an exact copy (including shape and dimensions, swash plates, top access, drain pot, filling, vent and supply connection orientations). The new tank was also blasted, primed and thoroughly painted before installed.
    We kept the boat in commission while tank-less by installing a plastic 20 Lt outboard tank which I fitted with a return line.
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks, very helpful

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