Go Back  The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > The Boating Forum
Reload this Page >

Advice on removing/installing a corroded, foamed-in aluminum gas tank

Notices
The Boating Forum

Advice on removing/installing a corroded, foamed-in aluminum gas tank

Old 03-18-2010, 08:14 AM
  #1  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Advice on removing/installing a corroded, foamed-in aluminum gas tank

I have a 2005 McKee Craft 172 Marathon.
You may, or may not know that McKee is now out of business.

My 36 gal foamed-in aluminum tank is all corroded on the top with many
pinholes.
See attached pics

I would like opinions on a few things.....

I need to remove this tank.....what is the best way to get it out since it
is locked in with all the foam on the sides (& presumably on the bottom)?

Once out...I would like to replace it with a smaller tank....I don't need 36
gallons.
The tank manufacturer; Ezell Engineering in FL, will make me the same tank,
or a smaller tank with fittings exactly where these are, for ease of
installation......they have the diagrams for the tank, so it makes no
difference to them if they make it identical, or a little shorter. What do
you feel about a smaller tank?

Finally, it is the general concensus that foaming-in is NOT the best way to
re-install a tank.
I would like advice as to how you might suggest installing it.

Mind you; this boat has NO BILGE....the hull is completely foamed in......no
bilge pump.
(actually...there is a tiny square section up against the transom, that has
a bilge pump, & might have a 10 gallons capacity....it's there to hold a
fishwell pump as well)
So...if I choose to use a smaller tank, and to remove all the foam around
the existing tank, I will need to design a bilge pump system to get any
water out that sits around the tank, & under it at the keel.
Also: should I have the tank coated by the manufacturer?
He uses a 2-part epoxy that coats the tank externally, making it alot more
resistant to corrosion (assuming that that epoxy isn't compromised, with
chipping etc)
Attached Images     
Old 03-18-2010, 08:21 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: St Pete, FL
Posts: 1,377
Received 33 Likes on 25 Posts
Default

If the foamed all the way around, that will be a biotch to remove. I'd try and get a long hacksaw blade down the sides and see if you can pop it up once you remove all the foam on the sides - maybe do from the front and rear also if you have access.

I personally would just get the same size replacement tank - 36 gallons is nothing - and get them to "coal tar" epoxy coat the thing at the shop.
Old 03-18-2010, 08:22 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Suffolk, Va.
Posts: 17,801
Likes: 0
Received 2,198 Likes on 1,096 Posts
Default

That tank looks really bad for only being 5 years old. When I removed mine a took a serated (spelling) knife and just went around the entire tank cutting between the tank and foam. I was then able to wiggle the tank out. I'm guessing hatch over the tank leaks water and I would think about caulking that hatch so it will not leak onto the tank.
Old 03-18-2010, 08:28 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Ogeechee River
Posts: 357
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

There are a couple of Whaler forums that have information and ideas on removal and installation that might help.
Beans...
Old 03-18-2010, 08:55 AM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Saugus, Ma. USA
Posts: 12,655
Received 1,852 Likes on 1,035 Posts
Default

If aluminum is installed properly and allowed to breathe and stay dry, they can last for 20 years or even longer. Foaming in a tank is never a good idea, as you are guaranteeing that water will stay between the foam and the tank. If you can find a compatible size, I'd go with a cross linked poly plastic tank. As long as they are supported, they will outlive you and the boat. After having both, I would never go back to a metal tank.
Old 03-18-2010, 09:03 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: North Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 8,516
Likes: 0
Received 1,359 Likes on 737 Posts
Default

I've tried just about every imaginable thing to remove tanks that have been foamed in place. The best thing I've found is a pressure washer with a zero degree tip. It will cut through the foam on the sides of the tank in a second. The problem you'll have left is the foam on the bottom. If it's adhered to the tank, you'll have some effort to get it out.

The problem is that you can't get a good hold on the tank. I've set screw eye into the corners of the tank before that allowed me to tie on to it and lift with a forklift (these were much larger tanks). You can use a prybar and a block to provide leverage to break the tank free. I usually work at one end, going back and forth from one side to the other, kind of like rocking it seems to help loosen the bottom.Sometimes the screw eye hold, sometimes the pull out.

A time or two I've drilled 2" holes in the tank to get a hold on it. I used an air drill to prevent sparks. It's not something I do without some trepidation.

Danny Ezell and company do great work. Epoxy paint is good, Coal Tar epoxy is even better. It's hard to believe that tank is only 5 years old. I've pulled out tanks that were over 20 that didn't look that bad and didn't leak. Sorry you've got to go through this so soon.
Old 03-18-2010, 09:36 AM
  #7  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Plymouth Ma.
Posts: 8,105
Received 250 Likes on 154 Posts
Default

On my formula I cut around the tank with a wood saw and used a comealong with a couple of 4X4's, I would crank untill the gunnels were gonna cave, let it sit a day, crank some more, 3 day of cranking it popped right out. good luck




Old 03-18-2010, 09:43 AM
  #8  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Charleston, SC USA
Posts: 22,073
Likes: 0
Received 25 Likes on 25 Posts
Default

How about just leaving the tank in place and cutting the top off (remember, there are gasoline fumes in there so deal with them) and then just installing a slightly smaller tank inside the remains of the original.

Why not a poly fuel tank? Many boats use them and they will not corrode.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:15 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Fla / Curacao / WA
Posts: 5,157
Received 466 Likes on 271 Posts
Default

You may want to go over to classicmako.com there are lots of posts on how to do this type of work.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:21 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Yorktown, VA
Posts: 101
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default I honestly wouldn't bother replacing the tank on a boat that size

Why not just get several portable poly tanks? A friend of mine had an old 23' Sea Ox that didn't even have a built in gas tank in it and he used portable poly tanks and ran all over he Chesapeake bay in that thing. We do the same thing with our 16' Carolina Skiff that has no built in tank.

It is easy to see why Mckee is out of business...wonder why they didn't use a poly tank that wouldn't ever corrode? That tank must have had salt water ponding on top of the tank from day one to corrode that bad in only 5 years!
Old 03-18-2010, 11:38 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 468
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by OReely View Post
I've tried just about every imaginable thing to remove tanks that have been foamed in place. The best thing I've found is a pressure washer with a zero degree tip. It will cut through the foam on the sides of the tank in a second. The problem you'll have left is the foam on the bottom. If it's adhered to the tank, you'll have some effort to get it out.
Now this is a great idea.

Where were you when i was trying to take my tank out.

Suggestion if i may for removing the foam from the underside.

A fine wire (piano wire) wrapped around two wood handles, coming out on either side of the tank. Then pull, like your home alone.

Should cut the foam away from the tank.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:42 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Florida, Port Saint Lucie
Posts: 1,500
Received 24 Likes on 22 Posts
Default

Just use a hand saw and remove the foam from the sides.Drill 4 holes with a 2 inch hole saw and run chain thou the holes and attach to a come along with the 4x4 method posted above.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:52 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Suffolk, Va.
Posts: 17,801
Likes: 0
Received 2,198 Likes on 1,096 Posts
Default

Use a long saw blade and cut the bottom of the boat out just a little larger then the tank. Jump up and down on the tank until it falls out.
Old 03-18-2010, 11:57 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Coastal North Carolina
Posts: 175
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default

[QUOTE=rwidman;2859258]How about just leaving the tank in place and cutting the top off (remember, there are gasoline fumes in there so deal with them) and then just installing a slightly smaller tank inside the remains of the original.

This would resolve how to secure your new tank without foaming in place. Install a drain in the original tank to carry off any water that leaks in from above.
**(after draining the old tank, flood with water to evacuate all the fumes before cutting.)
Old 03-18-2010, 12:05 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: North Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 8,516
Likes: 0
Received 1,359 Likes on 737 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by ReelScreamer69 View Post
Now this is a great idea.

Where were you when i was trying to take my tank out.

Suggestion if i may for removing the foam from the underside.

A fine wire (piano wire) wrapped around two wood handles, coming out on either side of the tank. Then pull, like your home alone.

Should cut the foam away from the tank.

I heard you were home alone and didn't want to disturb you.


I've tried single strand leader wire, didn't have much luck. Ditto with some 1/16" and 1/8" wire rope (thinking the twisted strands would act as a saw). Your post reminded me, we did use the wire rope to form a loop to pull the tank out of one boat. That worked pretty well.
Old 03-18-2010, 12:10 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Magnolia Springs, Al,
Posts: 1,049
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default

Originally Posted by fishingfun View Post
Use a long saw blade and cut the bottom of the boat out just a little larger then the tank. Jump up and down on the tank until it falls out.
Now that is what I am talking about !!!
Old 03-18-2010, 12:35 PM
  #17  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
ScarabChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Dania Beach, FL
Posts: 28,413
Likes: 0
Received 43 Likes on 40 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by CMEBoston View Post
On my formula I cut around the tank with a wood saw and used a comealong with a couple of 4X4's, I would crank untill the gunnels were gonna cave, let it sit a day, crank some more, 3 day of cranking it popped right out. good luck





Thats pretty much the easiest way to do it. I had to pull the fuel tank on an old SeaCraft I had. Even after you think you cut all the foam there is no way you are moving it by hand. The 4X4 across the gunwales and a come-a-long popped it right out.
Old 03-18-2010, 02:01 PM
  #18  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Venice, Florida
Posts: 16,901
Received 625 Likes on 345 Posts
Default

Love the pressure washer idea. Ingenuity at its finest. I'll bet you could even rig a 90 degree fitting to cut under the tank quite a bit.
I was going to suggest cutting under th tank with wire but it was mentioned. Heavy braid fishing line works very well too. This is how I remove fittings, emblems, etc. Will even cut through 5200.
Old 03-18-2010, 03:37 PM
  #19  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 2,271
Likes: 0
Received 26 Likes on 13 Posts
Default

Cut mine out of an old Robalo with a pressure washer. I wore a welder-looking face shield and a poncho and probably got dirtier than I've ever been. Bystanders were extremely amused.
Old 03-18-2010, 04:13 PM
  #20  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

[QUOTE=CMEBoston;2859248]On my formula I cut around the tank with a wood saw and used a comealong with a couple of 4X4's, I would crank untill the gunnels were gonna cave, let it sit a day, crank some more, 3 day of cranking it popped right out. good luck


CME Boston,

Do you have any pics of the bottom of the hull under the tank, after the tank was out?

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.