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Can I repair this fuel tank?

Old 06-14-2011, 06:41 PM
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Default Can I repair this fuel tank?

Here are pic's of my tank I just removed from a 1980 Formula 233SF. It holds pressure and does not leak. However it does have a few nasty pits. Can these be repaired? Will coal tar epoxy primer seal it up sufficiently to use safely? Don't want to spend money needlessly on a new tank but do want to be safe and not have to pull the floor back up later due to a leak.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:47 PM
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that pit is the worst one and looks worse in the picture than it really is due to the shadow inside of it however it is significant and I don't know the gauge of the material.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:53 PM
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I'm in the midst of repairing much the same issues...but not that extensive

recommended repair...if it's possible with the pitting depths you've got

clean and etch with phosphoric acid...making sure the pits are etched and clean....

fill with an aluminum based epoxy...some of the epoxys these days are strengthened with steel, don't use them (dissimilar metals) Devcon Aluminum or comparable

smooth off and clean the excess filler....apply a layer of "Ceram-Kote"...it has a high concentration of nano ceramics suspended in epoxy....coats and insulates against trace currents...which you have...as did I.

re-bedding the tank....you're against the keel..without a drain through the bilge...see if there's a way to relieve any excess water through to the drain and keep the tank dry...

don't use neoprene...check and see if the bedding material you decide to use is fuel resistant...if you have trace amounts of fuel from the wave action your beating that fountain against you'll be moving the tank...ever so slightlyand the fuel line connections bear the brunt of the movement

a dry, insulated, aluminum tank, is a happy aluminum tank

Those are some deep pits though

make sure the clamp access ports are sealed too. I'm installing rubber gaskets on mine to keep out the moisture....you've had salt in there
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by thunderfish View Post
Here are pic's of my tank I just removed from a 1980 Formula 233SF. It holds pressure and does not leak. However it does have a few nasty pits. Can these be repaired? Will coal tar epoxy primer seal it up sufficiently to use safely? Don't want to spend money needlessly on a new tank but do want to be safe and not have to pull the floor back up later due to a leak.
You have a 31 year old fuel tank (I'm assuming gasoline) and you don't want to have to pull the floor up later due to a leak.

Do yourself a very big favor, replace the tank with a new one while you have the boat apart. Not only will replacing this tank later be a big inconvenience and expense, there's nothing more dangerous on a boat than a gasoline leak.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:24 AM
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What he said....and the hoses as well....with torquing clamps

Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
You have a 31 year old fuel tank (I'm assuming gasoline) and you don't want to have to pull the floor up later due to a leak.

Do yourself a very big favor, replace the tank with a new one while you have the boat apart. Not only will replacing this tank later be a big inconvenience and expense, there's nothing more dangerous on a boat than a gasoline leak.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
You have a 31 year old fuel tank (I'm assuming gasoline) and you don't want to have to pull the floor up later due to a leak.

Do yourself a very big favor, replace the tank with a new one while you have the boat apart. Not only will replacing this tank later be a big inconvenience and expense, there's nothing more dangerous on a boat than a gasoline leak.
I agree with rwidman. You have everything apart now and that tank is old.
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:14 PM
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replace it while it's out
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:40 PM
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just for comparison...here's the one I'm dealing with...after cleaning...you can see the pitting at the lower left hand corner

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:46 PM
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Replace it!
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:08 PM
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Here are pic's of it cleaned up. Who do you recomend for price checks for a new 100 plus gal tank?
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by thunderfish View Post
Here are pic's of it cleaned up. Who do you recomend for price checks for a new 100 plus gal tank?
It will make a nice flower box.

Get on the Internet and do a search for fuel tanks. There are many builders. Call them with your measurements and requirements and ask for a quote.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:29 AM
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Got one return estimate of close to $1000.00 not including shipping. That is a basic aluminum 118 gal. I figured it would be in that range, the last time (about 5 years ago) I bought a custom tank it was $700 for twin tanks 42 gal ea.
And $1000.00 is alota clams when the old tank can be saved with epoxy coatings.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:45 AM
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Can't see your picture "Rusty Hooks" whats up?

Originally Posted by Rusty Hooks View Post
just for comparison...here's the one I'm dealing with...after cleaning...you can see the pitting at the lower left hand corner

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Old 06-16-2011, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by thunderfish View Post
Can't see your picture "Rusty Hooks" whats up?
I see it..on your post and mine..........

my corrosion problem is nothing compared to yours...I've less than 20 small pits the largest is about 1/8" across and 1/32" deep. Alot of my problem is minor crevice corrosion where there are hundreds of small pin sized pits which come out with minor sanding....you can see the ribbon track in the photo below. That ribboning corrosion was caused by partially melted neoprene which had twisted....when I removed the goo...that was underneath....a little fuel had melted all of the neoprene tank padding...some years ago

can you see this

1000 clams is a cheap 30 year insurance policy

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Old 06-16-2011, 11:45 AM
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I have a tank that I pulled from one boat to put into a project boat. Has just 1 area that is pitted just like yours. I understand the replace it with new mentality but I also understand the holy crap - wasn't really planning on an extra $1,000 for the boat this year. So, is there anyone out there that has sucessfuly fixed pitting in a tank like this and has had it last for a while?? Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:52 PM
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Not a knowledgeable suggestion by any means, but here goes...

If you fill it with epoxy of some sort, I suppose you are betting that the remaining metal thickness in the tank is sufficient as long as you can keep any further corrosion at bay. Don't really know that though, do you?
I'd rather weld up the pitted area and build the metal back up and finish smooth.

BUT- how wise is it to weld on a fuel tank, which is porous, and may contain explosive residual vapor?
I'd get some opinions on that from someone that really knows.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:08 PM
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I'm sure that can be fix,a new tank is no cheap
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:45 PM
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I just paid 2,260.00 plus 400.00 shipping for a 243 gallon.



27' Cape-Horn
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Port Monster View Post
I have a tank that I pulled from one boat to put into a project boat. Has just 1 area that is pitted just like yours. I understand the replace it with new mentality but I also understand the holy crap - wasn't really planning on an extra $1,000 for the boat this year. So, is there anyone out there that has sucessfuly fixed pitting in a tank like this and has had it last for a while?? Thanks!
You've been advised by several experienced people not to try to repair the tank, to replace it instead.

It's a safety issue, being on the water with a bilge full of gasoline is a serious safety hazzard. How much is your life worth? Your wife and children's lives?

Think about the advice you've been given.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:53 PM
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Take it to a machine shop and have them cut out the bottom and weld in new material.
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