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Gas Tank Leak

Luffin it

Member I
I need some ideas on what everyone else has done with there leaky gas tank on thier Ericson 27? I've replaced the fuel filler hose which took care of some of the problem but I now see a small amount of fuel leaking from beneath the tank above the lower bracket on the forward side. I can only assume it's leaking from the bottom of the tank. What has everyone done to cure there fuel tank problems? It's to large to remove unless you cut it up. I thought maybe sawing the top off and having a bladder made to fit in the tank would work but since our boat is #1287 (1979) and one of the last ones made there must be sailors with this problem with the earlier ones. Any help will be great.:esad:
 

Glyn Judson

Moderator
Moderator
Sawing off the top of your gas tank.

Tom, I feel your pain if yuour tank is where the 24 gallon one was in our former boat, an Ericson 25+. Had the boat had an inboard engine, it would have been directly aft of it and impossible to remove without first taking the engine out. Even if your tank is elsewhere, please don't cut the top of the tank off with a saw, etc. The slighest spark and you and your neighbors will go airborne. Others on the list might have suggestions on how to do it but be careful however you do. Glyn Judson, E31 hull #55, (with Yamnar 3 diesel) Marina del Rey, CA.
 

gareth harris

Sustaining Member
The slighest spark and you and your neighbors will go airborne.

I know someone who did it and lived to tell the tale. His tank had been empty for years, and I think he flushed it through just to make sure. He also talked about filling it with sand as another possibility. Liquid nitrogen might be another option, or CO2 from a fire extinguisher.

That said, there is absolutely no way in hell I would take a cutting tool to a tank myself, except with one of the robots that bomb disposal engineers use, on somebody else's boat. I think it would be too easy to make a mistake.

I replaced my tank, Tom, by cutting through the deck, since it had wet core anyway, and I needed repainting anyway. I got a replacement made to order from www.floridamarinetanks.com, for $300. I am not familiar with trying to fit a bladder to tanks, if access really is that much of a problem for you, but it would surprise me if it worked out financially better than fitting an off the shelf tank, even if not a custom, through whatever access is available.

Gareth
Freyja E35 #241 1972
 

Annapolis E-27

Member III
I had leaks in the same area in my 1978 E-27. The tank was located aft in the port locker but was to large to remove without destroying the tank or destroying the locker opening. I chose to destroy the tank. I was lucky because it was diesel and had been allowed to dry for over a year. I had originally planned to cut the top off and install a bladder but found the tank had a baffle across the center so that changed the plan. Right now I have a removable 3-gallon tank while I prepare to build a frame to glass in for a 12-gallon Tempo tank.

Good luck and I know what you are going thru.
 

Luffin it

Member I
Gas Leak

Thanks for the input you guys. The tank is about 3/4 full and no longer leaking so I'm going to change out the breather hose first and see what happens. It was leaking when the tank was full so I'll keep an eye on it. I did install a CO2 system in the locker for now. If I can be assured that it won't leak at 3/4 or 1/2 full I will only fill it half full since I only use the motor to leave and get back in to the marina. :confused:
 

gareth harris

Sustaining Member
It is certainly possible that your tank could have developed a pinhole leak at that age (mine was pretty thin in places when it came out at the age of 32), so I would be sure to find the leak one way or another. Even if just vapour is escaping, if enough sunshine causes the pressure in the tank to rise, and the vapour is sealed in the boat for long enough, very bad things could happen.

Gareth
Freyja E35 #241 1972
 

rwthomas1

Sustaining Partner
FWIW, I had a custom tank built for my E38 last year but this outfit: http://www.lutherswelding.com/ They are very highly regarded. My tank was 39gallons and under $600 with new sender, fittings, etc. If you can make the space accessible enough to get a custom tank reinstalled that is likely the preferred way to go. RT
 

Randy Rutledge

Sustaining Member
See the post on this forum "fuel tank failure on E29"

If you take an aluminum fuel tank, a copper pickup tube that is very close to the bottom of the tank sump, add a little water in the sump of the fuel tank and what do you get. Answer a battery and the aluminum electrode (the tank) bleeds off and leaves a nice hole just under the pickup tube. See the pictures on my post from my tank. A hand bone saw cuts the aluminum just fine and should not spark. I would flush the tank and ventilate the locker. Do not use a shop vac or anything like that to evacuate the tank. If you flood the tank with water and keep it full while you saw the deep part off then you will remove the hole and make it possible to remove the tank.

I cut my tank dry after several months of it being bone dry and lived.

I pick my tank up from the shop tomorrow. They welded a plate over the hole created by my cut. The tank other than the deepest part of the sump was like new inside.
Good luck and be careful.
 

chaco

Member III
Fuel Tank Warning

Your fuel tank is most likely Monel (steel). Any fuel tank ROTS out at the fuel
level you leave it at for long periods of time. This is where the leaks occur.
The water vapor in the air condenses on the inside of the tank at this level
and CORRODES the Tank over time. The other common leak points are on the
bottom corners where the tank CHAFES on the hull.
My tank was Monel, 30+ years old and TOTALLY rusted out on the inside
above the fuel line. Replaced the Tank with 3/16" welded aluminum.
Do not advise Bladder Tanks....not a long term (20+ years) solution.
Bite the Bullet and replace your existing tank :nerd:
Your leak is probably above your fuel line and will be a HUGE danger as fuel
sloshes around while you are sailing.

Happy Motoring :egrin: :egrin:
 

timday5

Member II
How'd it go?

How did your gas leak affair turn out? I just had my leaky tank pumped out and am getting ready to cut it out (hand saw only, slow...)
 

mherrcat

Contributing Partner
Are we talking gasoline or diesel fuel? I suspect a leak in the tank on my 30+. I keep finding diesel fuel collecting on the starboard side of the shaft log just in front of the tank. I stuffed oil absorbing pads under the tank on either side of the shaft log and a week later the one on the starboard side was soaked; the one on the port side had a little pink in it but was not soaked.

I traced the fuel supply and return lines as thoroughly as I could and could find no leaks. The fittings on the top of the tank (supply, return, fill, vent and sender) all look clean and dry.

Are there any other fittings I don't know about?

There was an earlier thread that mentioned a fabricator on California who made the original Ericson tanks and can still make them from the original plans.
 

Bill Sanborn

Member III
I had this problem on my E29. It was leaking from the lowest spot on the tank.

I cut thru the fiberglass where the feet on the tank were glassed to the hull with a dremel tool and was able to get the tank loose. I was then able to remove the tank thru the lazerette hatch. Sort of like rubicks cube with a few less combinations but it did come out.

The prior owner had slightly widened the hatch opening by removing a short section of the lip around the lazerette hatch opening. That extra 1/4'" or so made the difference.

The tank was repaired by an aluminum shop located near the NE corner of Boeing Field in Georgetown along Airport Way. I can't remember the name except it has Engineering somewhere in it. When I questioned them about welding a gasoline tank they told me they repaired airplane tanks all of the time. They fill them with water first.

I see you are in Kent. I keep my boat at Shilshole in Ballard. If you want to see if my installation is like yours you are welcome. Contact me off line.

I have also found other small leaks by spreading paper towels around. One particularly hard one was in the overflow/vent tube. It only leaked when the boat was heeled over.

Good luck with your project.
 

bwb

E/30+ Berkeley, CA
Are we talking gasoline or diesel fuel? I suspect a leak in the tank on my 30+. I keep finding diesel fuel collecting on the starboard side of the shaft log just in front of the tank. I stuffed oil absorbing pads under the tank on either side of the shaft log and a week later the one on the starboard side was soaked; the one on the port side had a little pink in it but was not soaked.

The tank on my 1985 E/30+ was slowly leaking diesel into the bilge. I had the boat yard deal with it, and they found 3 places where the bottom of the tank had corroded through over the years. Fortunately, the tank is easily removable in one piece; you just unscrew the plywood cover and then remove it through the cockpit lazaratte. They pulled the tank, cleaned and repaired the holes with epoxy, coated the entire tank in epoxy paint, and reinstalled it with some spacers to keep it slightly elevated off the hull to avoid any spots where moisture might accumulate. Took them forever to get it done and cost me a couple of boat bucks, but at least that problem's solved!
 

Jarod

Member III
The tank can be changed out with some difficulty

I have an atomic 4 in my 74 e27 and I pulled out the old tank in one piece via the port locker. I swapped it out for an 18 gallon Tempo poly tank which increased my capacity by 3 gallons. I am not sure where the tank is on the wheel model but it is directly beneath the cockpit floor on the tiller model. You will have to cut out the wooden supports beneath, but these will need to be replaced to fit the new tank in any case. It is a tight squeeze and not a comfortable place to work, but it can be done without cutting the tank. If you go to the trouble you should replace the tank and not repair as the cost of a new tank is reasonable if you go the poly route and I have no complaints with mine to date.
 

crznhwy1

Member II
E27 tank removal

I recently replaced the rusting tank in my 73 E27. I was able to get the original 15 gallon metal tank out without cutting the supports. I just slid it out the lazerette. I replaced it with a 12 gallon Moeller plastic tank. To support the new tank I attached a section of plywood painted with BilgeKote on top of the two side supports. It took a few weekends, but wasn't a bad job at all.

Mike
Great Salt Lake, UT
 

Jarod

Member III
I may have been able to get it out without cutting the supports but it did make it easier in my particular case and I knew I had to have a new support structure for the new tank. I think the difficulty of the job can have a lot to do with how large of a frame you have. I am a pretty big guy so I pretty much need a crowbar and a grease gun just to get into the port side locker and when I do get in there I never know if I am going to get out again:egrin:! Good luck to you and if you do go with the poly tank it might be better to go with the 12 gallon as some of the others have done. The 18 gallon Tempo was tough to get in there and I havent ever needed the extra capacity anyway as I have pretty good acess to fuel in my cruising grounds.
 
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Luffin it

Member I
THE FIX and I'm still alive.

Since this is a gas boat and everyone to include the boater’s right next to me at the marina are all concerned, which they should be. So I hauled her home. I drained the fuel tank completely and then removed all the hoses. Which I replaced with new trident hoses. I filled the tank full of water 5 times, manually sucked it out. I used a clear Becker for sampling the water/gas to see what was floating to the top. The fourth tank didn't have but a light sheen and fifth one looked drinkable. I then filled the tank with water one more time and with it full (I kept the water running) I drilled a .375 dia. Hole,(cordless) and then taped the bottom vents closed on my jig saw and used duck tape and Scotch Bright to cover the sides. I cut a 6.0 dia. hole and installed an access plate just in case. I drained the tank and dried it out. It looked real good except in the lowest corner which had a fair amount of pitting and corrosion. I then stuck my digital camera in the hole and took lots of pictures. I used an air grinder with a 150 grit disc to clean up the sides. I then cleaned up the sides with MEK. I used an epoxy made for fuel tanks spreading it out blindly and would wait a day to check it out on the laptop. It took four tries and the job looked good. I waited seven days before hooking up the new hoses and filling her full. It’s been a year now and its working just like I never had a problem. I do not Condon this method with Gas tanks period. People do get hurt or killed with gas fumes and gas. I brought “Luffin It” home on a trailer to our farm and did the work about 100 yds out in the field. I double checked my life insurance before I started this project. :egrin:
 

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mherrcat

Contributing Partner
Where did you get the cover plate for the inspection port? What gasket material did you use to seal it? And what was the brand name of the epoxy sealant you used?
 

timday5

Member II
Another Approach

I used a hand saw (from Lowes; uses reciprocating saw blades) to cut off part of my tank so the remainder would fit through the port lazarette. The new aluminum tank from Florida Marine Tanks, custom built to the dimensions I sent them, costs $350 + UPS, including pickup, sender, vent, and fill tube. The new tank will have a 12 gal capacity, down from the original 15 gal, but it will fit through the lazarette.
Of course, I still have to install the new tank.

If anyone has an E-27 w/ T-cockpit and needs a new tank, I'm happy to send them the drawing. Florida Marine Tanks has been very responsive during the tank design process.

Of course you may want to wait until I have successfully installed it...
 

Scott Abbott

Member III
I used a hand saw (from Lowes; uses reciprocating saw blades) to cut off part of my tank so the remainder would fit through the port lazarette. The new aluminum tank from Florida Marine Tanks, custom built to the dimensions I sent them, costs $350 + UPS, including pickup, sender, vent, and fill tube. The new tank will have a 12 gal capacity, down from the original 15 gal, but it will fit through the lazarette.
Of course, I still have to install the new tank.

If anyone has an E-27 w/ T-cockpit and needs a new tank, I'm happy to send them the drawing. Florida Marine Tanks has been very responsive during the tank design process.

Of course you may want to wait until I have successfully installed it...

do you still have the dimensions since you posted this? I sure could use them! I have pulled my tank and need to replace it!
 
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