Small fiberglass tank - Remove?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by thill, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    I picked up a 17' Dusky Open Fisherman, and I notice that the front seating area of the center console is actually a fuel tank, 12-14 gallons or so. You can see the fill plate in this factory pictures to the left of the seat area:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I've never had a fiberglass tank before, and have read that ethanol fuel mixtures slowly degrades them. That is the only kind of fuel we have around here, unless you want to pay $1.50/gallon more, which I'm not willing to do, in general.

    So is this a real problem in smaller tanks? Should I replace the tank with an aluminum or poly one? Can the tank be painted inside, maybe, to help with this? Or is it okay to use in a small application like this?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    -TH
     
  2. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    It might depend in what year the tank was made.
     
  3. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    Sorry, I thought I put in the year!

    The boat is a 1987, and the tank is the original one.

    -TH
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's probably not a 'glass tank. The vent and fuel fill lines should be accessible from inside the console. If not, the whole console should be removable. Once removed, you'll likely find an alloy tank.
     
  5. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    Par,

    I wish!

    When you unscrew the fuel cap, it looks just like a livewell inside- smooth white gel-coat and rounded corners inside. It's definitely molded into the console.
    And the tank is not removable, nor is the console. They have the console glassed down to the deck, which is really annoying, since I need to replace the deck.

    So what's the verdict? I'd really like to leave it, but not worth engine troubles, if that's what it could cause.

    Thanks.

    -TH
     
  6. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    And I have been thinking...

    If I have to get a new tank, my plan is to cut the top off the old one and convert it into a livewell, after a LONG detergent and hot water soak.

    Then, I'm thinking a 20-40 gallon fuel tank under the floor, which should give the 90 HP decent cruising range.

    IF I have to go that way, which is better? Aluminum or Poly? Also, what is the best way to mount the fuel tank? Suspended between the two big stringers, to keep it out of bilge water? Foamed in place, on a small platform, maybe? Any suggestions?

    I'll try to get pictures tomorrow, to make it easier to give suggestions.

    Thanks.

    -TH
     
  7. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Location: Mexico, Florida

    Yobarnacle Senior Member holding true course

    thill.

    Are there any bone yards near you? Somebody salvaging fittings off wrecks with a stack of old boats?

    You might find a used stainless steel fuel tank in a wreck that suits your boat.
    goodluck

    You could also cut the top off your seat tank, leaving a flange to bolt a cover to, and insert a tank or two in the seat.
    Two 7 gal portable tanks might fit in there.
     
  8. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    UPDATE:
    I spoke to the factory today, and they suggested that I either use pure gasoline, or install a tank under the floor, directly below where the current tank is, to maintain proper balance.

    It just happens that I have a 30-gallon poly tank already. I'll have to extend the fill and vent, but that should be simple enough.

    Another project I don't want, but at $1.25 extra per gallon, ethanol free is not cost effective.

    -TH
     
  9. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Yobarnacle Senior Member holding true course

    Sounds like a solution. And maybe there is enough space left in the console seat above the new tank, for a shallow storage compartment with hinged lid.
    Not for tackle or your lunch or anything ruined by a gasoline odor, but tools and filters ect.
     
  10. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    The new tank will be completely under the floor, so it won't take up any storage space at all.

    It's a 30-gallon tank molded into the console. According to the factory, if I soak it in hot water and strong grease-stripper detergent (like Castrol Super-Clean or "Purple Power) several times, the fuel smell will eventually go away. I can then cut out a lid, and turn it into a storage space, or even a live-well, eventually.

    I like the live-well idea! As long as I can get the smell out, I plan to install a 750 GPH livewell pump and needed plumbing. At least I'll be getting a useable benefit from having to replace the tank!

    -TH
     
  11. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Location: Mexico, Florida

    Yobarnacle Senior Member holding true course

    They claim tomato juice will take away skunk smell. Maybe gasoline? :)
     
  12. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Actually you'll want powdered laundry detergent, mixed 50/50 with kitty litter. Baking soda will work too, though it'll take a bit longer.
     
  13. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    Powdered laundry detergent mixed with kitty litter - VERY INTERESTING!

    I think we have both on hand. How do you get it to stick to the sides and top of the tank?

    Thanks, Par!

    -TH
     
  14. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Yobarnacle Senior Member holding true course

    My wife is mixing up a tub full of kitty litter and laundry detergent, plans on giving ME a bath!

    THANKS PAR! :mad:







    :D
     

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You don't, just pour it in a pile, a few inches (several) thick, cover and wait. It'll clump slightly from condensation, so stir occasionally. It helps to give all the surfaces an acetone bath before, to remove/dilute any resident petroleum molecules left in the pores of the gel coat. I use Tide . . .
     
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