Monday, March 11, 2013

Fuel Tank Removal

Last weekend while I was fiberglassing in the fiberglass hawser tubes I took some time out to remove the fuel tank. I figured that I better at least pull the tank and see what shape it is in. The last thing I need is to have it start leaking after I put the engine in.
I pulled 26 gallons of fuel out of the 35 gallon tank and gave it away to anyone who would take it. Needless to say it was gone in short order. Now getting the tank out of a Westsail is a bit of work. Mind you the engine is removed so that did help greatly. I did have to cut the corner of the shelf it sits on.
You can see the shelf I cut and the cockpit drain and hose I removed. I had reattached the hose as you can see.

 I also had to remove the cockpit drains and hose in order to make it so the behemoth would come out. This would be the same cockpit drain I re-bed not to long ago.  It took about an hour to get the tank out. All in all it wasn't too bad to remove I guess. Being that the Westsail 32 has a engine room really helped. At least I didn't have to remove any furniture like some boats do!

And here is the tank looking down on me laughing. I'm sitting in the engine room it is on deck.

Once I took the tank home I was able to give it a better look.

 I found that I could not read the tank plate.
So I took a marks a lot and marked over the writing then immediately wiped it off with a rag. This left enough ink in the "groove" of the writing to be able to read it if you held it up to the light just right.

It says the tank holds 35 gallons, was made in 1974, and is made of 18 GA. galvanized steel, made for diesel and tested to 5PSI.

The outside only had two surface rust areas on forward end. These were not bad at all.

I shone a light in the tank and used a mirror to look inside. There was very little crud and I saw no rust. Over all the tank is in great shape. But I will have the shop make two new ones. One for the port side and one for the starboard side. The tank above came out of the port side. It was an option to have two tanks but this boat only had one. I think it will serve us well to have two tanks with 35 gallons each. With two tanks it should give us a motoring range of about 538 mile figuring that we will burn about .65 gallons an hour traveling 5 knots an hour. Actual mileage may vary...
 The new tanks might be shaped slightly different so that they will be easier to get in and out. But I do not plan on taking them out ever again once they are in!
I am having them made of 14 GA. black iron (mild steel). This is a normal metal to use and will last a lifetime if I take care of them. A lot of people are making them out of aluminum these days but I the price I am getting the steel tanks for is so great I can't say no. (Thank know who you are!) I had the option of stainless steel but doing research found that the welds start to leak after a few years compared to steel. Plus the coast guard does not like to see tanks made of stainless steel holding more than 20 gallons.
 Being the tank that came out is 39 years old I think the new ones will last just as long. They will get several coats of paint and possibly a tank sealer put inside just in case.
Once the new tanks are fabbed I'll post about them and the install.
 I'm still working on the engine at home. I will be installing all new hoses, gauges and sending units. I am  designing a fuel system that will allow me to "polish" the fuel. I hear there is some nasty fuel in some of the places we want to go. So now is the time to plan for it!

FYI if you want to see another Westsail 32 that is being refitted down in New Orleans take a look at Tate and Danni's Sundowner. It has some great history and they are preparing it to make some more! I get a lot of great input and ideas from them!