Fuel tank pull on E33RH

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
I pulled my diesel tank a few years ago and haven't gotten around to re-installing it yet. With tank is out, it's pretty handy to re-work battery cables and other wires that are hard to access in the forward tank compartment. I rigged a temporary, plastic fuel tank while the aluminum one is out.

Last night, I finally got around to cutting inspection ports and begin cleaning the tank. There was about 3/4" of sludge in the bottom corner of the tank. The fuel pick-up tube sits about 1.5-2" above this bottom corner, so I can see how sediment contamination could become an issue on a long journey in churning seas. I didn't have any tank leakage, but I'm debating having that lower corner of the tank replaced, or, maybe having a second layer of aluminum welded on top of the existing layer.

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I'm putting in Seabuilt access plates. Luckily, I bought them a few years ago. I think they were about $190. Now they run about $300!

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Took my tank to Berrys tanks n LA for replacement on the weekend. It’s going to be made of 1/8” aluminum with same fittings but welded pickup tubes , two baffles, inspection port . I thought about reducing size to 30 gallons but decided to keep original capacity of 40 gal . Hopefully install is plug and play . I asked him to keep layout of pickup/return and filler / vent hoses .
 

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
New fuel tank complete. Work-of art in 1/8” aluminum. All new h/w and sensor . I had given him the old tank so it’s a plug-in replacement. He pressure tested when I picked it up in Santa Ana.
 

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K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
Ughhh , the fuel tank is about 2” too long and doesn’t fit . It has to go between two bulkheads . Another drive for San Jose to the shop in Costa Mesa . I keep telling myself this is all part of the sailing hobby..hopefully will get the tank fixed while I wait . The good part is owner seemed very interested in making me a happy customer.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Yeah but if he copied the old tank, why's it too long?

But I agree, this is all part of sailing, and a year later you forget. Which is good.
 

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
Yeah but if he copied the old tank, why's it too long?

But I agree, this is all part of sailing, and a year later you forget. Which is good.
I brought the tank back to Orange County ( from San Jose ) . We measured the tank and it was 1” longer than the old tank but all other dimensions ok . I didn’t bother to check measurements when I picked it up . The owner was very accommodating ( he met me there on a Saturday) . He told me he could make a new tank and ship if back free of charge or cut the tank shorter if I came back in 2 hours. I decided on the latter and went to visit my old sailing club in Newport Beach and toured a 54’ catamaran while I waited . I don’t know how accurate this is but they weee telling me slip rates down there are up to 3K/mo for a 40’ boat . I couldn’t believe it .
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
A good outcome.

But, ugh. You probably noticed that the elaborate tanks of Tally Ho, custom made in plastic, leaked after a long wait for delivery. An entire new set of tanks was ordered--this time, not plastic.
 

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
A good outcome.

But, ugh. You probably noticed that the elaborate tanks of Tally Ho, custom made in plastic, leaked after a long wait for delivery. An entire new set of tanks was ordered--this time, not plastic.
I’m hoping it is sound . He did a 2psi pressure test while I was there . Doesn’t sound like a lot of pressure but I guess that is standard for an aluminum tank .
 

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
The vent hose seems to be routed upward toward the deck with the filler hose. Anyone know where the vent hose would ultimately go ? I have not tried to unscrew the deck filler fitting , but from what I can tell from the parts catalogs, this part should just have the filler hose connected to it with a clamps.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
where the vent hose would ultimately go

On the 32-3 and 381, the fuel vent is high on the transom near the fuel fill. It has to be external, because fuel spurts out when topping off.

fuel vent.jpg
 

K2MSmith

Sustaining Member
Can someone answer this question pls..
when I reconnect the fuel line to the new tank and put fuel in it , does the fuel system need to be primed in some way ? - or should the pump be able to suck fuel from the new tank ? I’m about ready to test things out Friday .
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Well, when I change fuel filters I have to prime the system by filling the bowl* and bleeding air. So I wouldn't be surprised.

But the pump is designed to draw fuel, so the issue will likely be not the tank, but the path from filter to fuel pump to injectors.

I'd expect to just have to make the filter seal good and then bleed at the injectors.

*I happen to have an electric fuel pump installed only to fill the Racor 500 (my 5432 engine has a mechanical pump). If you have a Racor 200 filter manual filling is a good idea.

.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I did not have to bleed the fuel system after replacing and filling the tank, but I was prepared to bleed it if necessary. It wasn't.
Frank
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
I’ll have to figure out to do this . Maybe a bleed screw near the filter ?
Ours has a bleed valve that feeds back into the fuel tank. When I change fuel filters I'll fill some diesel in each and install them. Then, with the battery off, I'll turn on the ignition switch in the cockpit. Back down by the engine, I open the valve and turn the battery on to operate the electric lift pump. (Thank you @Christian Williams for this maneuver) When I feel like it's had a chance to push all the air through, I turn the battery switch off. No fuel spills, no trying to catch overflow with rags. Pretty slick. Some people leave the valve cracked open all the time. We don't. I guess the injectors are downstream from this valve. I've never had to bleed them.

We were dogged by fuel problems our first year with the boat. Someone in it's previous ownership had twisted the knob off the bleed valve so I didn't know what it was supposed to look like. I thought it was bled by opening the nut at the end which didn't do anything. Scrounging around the internet I finally found some pictures of a complete unit. We were able to find a replacement through a Westerbeke dealer. IIRC, it was a Westerbeke part. I couldn't find a picture of our new valve installed, so the image below shows the old one.

fuel bleed E35-3 M25 a.jpg fuel bleed E35-3 M25 b.jpg

Replacing this valve coincided with the engine working properly, but I can't say definitively that's what fixed it.

Cheers,
Jeff
 

Pete the Cat

Sustaining Member
Just a reminder....remember to turn the fuel off to the tank (usually there is a valve between the filter and the tank at some point) before you remove the filter for replacement. This will hold a column of fuel in the feed line so that when you try to start it after replacement, the pump will have less to do. Much of the time this can eliminate or greatly reduce the time needed for bleeding. FWIW.
 
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