Need advice, please, on aluminum diesel tank repair

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Thanks Frank,
My tank will not come out whole and as I said it's glassed to the hull which is another whole process even if I could get it out the locker. Ah yes the other issue.. my locker has only 12 3/4" clearance at it's widest point and down to 12" on the aft end(had to cut up my WH to get it out). The only way the tank would come out is in pieces and to get a whole one back it will be a much smaller tank. While our boats are the same model built just weeks apart structurally they are vastly different. The design changes in 84 were substantial and right now I am wishing I was on the post side of that change. I digress...I'm going to continue with my in place repair of the tank and feel pretty good about that and I'm right there with you Frank as I'll be 70 in just a few short months !
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
posting pics on this site

For what it;s worth, Sean's recent upgrades have made posting photos easier. I just drag photos into the message body from my PC desktop, then adjust the size by pulling the corners. Orientation, cropping and so on still need to be corrected on the computer first.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave,
I took a couple of pics today as you requested and will try to post them here. You'll see the tank coming out of the locker with enough space, the locker as you requested, the fuel tank, and the hull inside the locker with the water heater, locker floor and fuel tank removed.
Today I removed the heat exchanger, cause it's been three years since I had it cleaned and serviced with new gaskets, and I had easier access with more space in that locker. Tomorrow I'll take the fuel tank and heat exchanger to the radiator repair shop. I'll be glad when I can start reinstalling everything and the boat doesn't look like a war zone any more. Then I can go sailing again, knowing this significant project is done!
Frank 20210321_102451.jpg20210321_102407.jpg20210321_102354.jpg20210320_143944.jpg20210320_143903.jpg
 
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Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Thanks Frank,
Good pics ! Doesn't resemble mine at all. Mine is open to the hull when you look into the locker. I recognize the aft end of the icebox and the back of the galley organizer anyway. Your tank is a little bit different shape than mine & seems shallower. How long will it take for the shop to repair the tank?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Thanks Frank,
Good pics ! Doesn't resemble mine at all. Mine is open to the hull when you look into the locker. I recognize the aft end of the icebox and the back of the galley organizer anyway. Your tank is a little bit different shape than mine & seems shallower. How long will it take for the shop to repair the tank?
Dave,
Interesting that our boats seem so different, as our hull numbers are only 5 hulls apart!
I have used this radiator shop in the past to service the heat exchanger, and it usually takes about 2 days. I don't think cleaning and welding the fuel tank is a big job for them, so maybe an extra day. I'll know better after I take it there tomorrow. In the meantime I'll trim the floor board a bit so it fits in easier, cut out a larger circle to better accommodate the fuel sender, maybe paint the floor board and then get ready to reinstall it all.
Frank
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
I sure hope I don't need to repair my strut anytime soon. I'd have to cut my tank out to get to it !
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I sure hope I don't need to repair my strut anytime soon. I'd have to cut my tank out to get to it !
Yeah, I love our boat for many reasons, but they didn't build them with easy maintenance in mind. For the strut, I wonder if they could have epoxied a metal plate inside where the bolts are, but inserted the bolts from outside the hull with strong lock washers, so the strut could be tightened or even replaced from the outside.
But I'm too old to be thinking about becoming a naval architect or boat builder. :)
Frank
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave, I looked inside today with flashlight and small mirror, and saw no sign of a baffle. I don't know why some tanks have them and others don't.
Frank
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Frank, check your shaft seal and coupler too while you unfettered access to back of engine/trans.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Frank, check your shaft seal and coupler too while you unfettered access to back of engine/trans.
Dave, I replaced the PSS shaft seal bellows last year, another big job that required removing the coupler from the shaft. Afterwards I redid the engine alignment - another not fun job!
I took the opportunity yesterday to undo the steering cable at the quadrant and remove /check the bushings on the two large bronze sheaves. It all looked good, so I lubricated it all and reconnected the cable to correct tension.
Frank
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
There is upside to having all that room for sure. I've decided I'm going to replace the prop shaft so now going to drop the rudder tomorrow. I needed to replace the coupler because it had a broken set screw when I got the boat. I had to drill that screw out and the shaft got a little dinged in the process. I pulled the cutless bairing today and hoped the shaft would slide by the rudder but not even close. I was going to just sand the shaft down to get the burs off and put a split coupler on it but I don't want to risk having to do it all again.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Dave,
That sounds like a big job too! I hope it goes well for you. I've heard that cutless bearings can be problematic to remove,and dropping the rudder doesn't sound easy either. Have you given any thought to a different propeller, or are you happy with the one you have?
I'll be interested in how that goes, in case I have to deal with that some day.
Frank
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Yeah not looking forward to taking another system apart as it seems when you do you get the proverbial can of worms. I borrowed a tool from the marina to remove the cutless, a StrutPro I think it's called. I had expected the bearing to be 1 1/4" od but it was 1 1/2" which meant I had to improvise and make some shims. So it took a while to get it mounted and aligned but a little heat and a large wrench and it finally broke loose and came out. I highly recommend that tool to remove a bearing with shaft in place. Unfortunately still have to drop the rudder. I have a 2 blade fixed sailor prop and yes I was hoping to replace it with a Flexofold 2 blade but @ $1200 it fell off for this year due to all the other items on the list.
 
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bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Frank, it sure looks like the strut was replaced or re-secured at some time in the past. That is different from how the factory did it. They left those six bolts in place to provide some extra bearing surface but covered the entire thing in thickened epoxy. and glassed it over. I wonder if that was a modification that would allow it to be more easily dropped from the bottom just by removing some hull fairing compound and loosening those bolts. That would be a great upgrade should the strut ever need replacing again.

Maybe now is also the time to open up that quarterberth panel for better access? That is still my best boat mod ever. No more rain down your backside when you are crouched over in the lazarette! While you are in there, right? Imagine lying comfortably on your side, with unfettered access to everything on the back of the engine, maybe even take a little nap right there if you get tired... :egrin:
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Frank, it sure looks like the strut was replaced or re-secured at some time in the past. That is different from how the factory did it. They left those six bolts in place to provide some extra bearing surface but covered the entire thing in thickened epoxy. and glassed it over. I wonder if that was a modification that would allow it to be more easily dropped from the bottom just by removing some hull fairing compound and loosening those bolts. That would be a great upgrade should the strut ever need replacing again.

Maybe now is also the time to open up that quarterberth panel for better access? That is still my best boat mod ever. No more rain down your backside when you are crouched over in the lazarette! While you are in there, right? Imagine lying comfortably on your side, with unfettered access to everything on the back of the engine, maybe even take a little nap right there if you get tired... :egrin:
Thanks for this! I have considered cutting out the panel on the quarterberth as you did, cause it would make access so much easier. But on that bulkhead I have a metal accumulator tank and a battery charger mounted on the engine side. I can't see a way to relocate them well.
Frank
 

bigd14

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Yeah its a problem when all the stuff is mounted on that bulkhead. Mine had the fuel filters, fuel pump, and a bunch of wiring and hoses on it. These all were relocated straight down below the wood panel. I put my battery charger on the little angled aft facing wall just behind the storage cubbies to the starboard of the nav desk. I suppose one could leave the aft end of the bulkhead in place for mounting items and only cut out the front half.

Frank do you have pictures of the rest of the compartment back there? I am always interested in how other's boats are sorted out.

Thanks
 
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