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fuel tank replacement on 96 251

fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby MadScientist813 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:52 am

I've got a beautiful boat (251 WA) I just recently iherited from my grandfather. The boat was well taken care of, just never used. I got the boat to what I thought to be in running condition, replacing lots of stuff that didn't work among other things. We found out when we tried to run the boat that there was a large amound of debris that had built up from the boat sitting (around 5 years) with a near empty tank. I've tried having the tank cleaned, using large quantities of filters, etc... with no luck. I think the easiest option for the future would be to go ahead and replace the tank. With that said, how do I go about finding dimensions for a tank, should I go with a poly tank if I can find one that will fit or stick with aluminum, and how much is the appearance going to change on the deck once I cut the old tank out? Any guidance or ideas will be much appreciated.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby justjon » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:03 pm

You may want to pm 56 sport he just replaced his tank on 231 walk do a search in members and pm him not an easy job--deck needs to be cut and patch...good luck
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby Bob C » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:28 pm

Madscientist,
First, welcome! Second, I would contact some members at THT, classicaquasport, classicmako, in regards to getting crap out of your tank. Removing and replacing a tank is no easy undertaking, even when there is a tank hatch, which you don't have. Typically on a Proline, about the only reason you would remove and replace your tank was if you have a leak.

I'd work on tank flushing, and use the value of the internet to help you through the process...
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby Hugh » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:20 am

Welcome!

I agree with Bob...if you have an intact aluminum tank, you'd be better off cleaning the tank. Make sure you plan on replacing your fuel fill, vent, supply, return, etc. hoses with ethanol compatible hoses as well...then install a 10 micron Racor in front of your engines.

A few links for you to browse. I googled "boat fuel tank cleaning"

http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-for ... aning.html

http://www.wecleantanks.com/
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby MadScientist813 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:45 am

any ideas on cleaning the tank. I've had a few folks look at it but they weren't sure how to solve my problem. I had it cleaned by one guy but it didn't get everything out. He was unable to get the top of the tank since there is no access panel. I've thought of getting an inline pump and recirculating the fuel through a filter until it cleans itself out.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby Hugh » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:52 pm

Keep on reading and googling till you get some answers. Call up and talk to some of the tank cleaners from your searches, even if they aren't in your area...they can give you a clue on cleaning the hard to reach areas of your tank. Then bore down into the locals and ask questions you already have some answers for...and see if you like what they say. Then hire one, and tell us how it goes.

THT is a good forum for this. Go join it and you'll read and receive plenty of advice. :605_thumbs_up:
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby MadScientist813 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:53 pm

am a member and have asked. As far as finding someone with this experience, only guy I have found that can do the job and is equipped to do so is in Tampa. No one in our area has the capabilities of doing it without cutting a hole in the floor and in the Tank. It's the reason I have just been running through filters trying to clean it all out. It just doesn't seem to stop. Only solution I have thought of is to convert a well-water filter system into gas and run an electric pump to filter it. I tried just the well-water filter but it just won't allow enough fuel through to power the motor.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby Hugh » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:21 pm

Water filters for gas service...on board the boat? Hmmmm...me thinks you be axin for some trouble.

I'd get that tank emptied, pop the float plate, inert it (with what? I dunno, use up a couple CO2 fire extinguishers and make sure the fumes are out), and then scope it out with a mechanics boroscope. Find where the sludge is hanging out, and see if you can reach it with a shop vac, or a piece of tygon or copper tubing cobbed to a shop vac hose. Become the sludge and know how much of it you have and where it is hiding, as it may be so plentiful that you'd be changing filters for ten years before you get it all.

Cutting a hole in the deck, then in the tank, at the far end isn't a bad idea-and it will really help you to ventilate the tank and inspect it...I like that idea. You just make a new, bigger plate, and screw it in and caulk/gasket it down just like your sending unit plate. Clean up the deck hole with a deck plate and Robert is your mother's brother. I'd say 'Bob's your uncle', but then Bob would correct me :2261_high:

Keep looking for tank cleaning corps as well...don't give up on that.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby 231WA » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:50 am

First , can you identify the source of your "sludge", has someone contaminated that tank?
or is it just old "varnish "from old gasoline?
if its only fuel residue you should be able to get it clean enough eventually.
completely drain the tank and tryto filter it on way out. & then burn the fuel on land in something that is easy to change the fuel filter on , but if you filtered it on the way out you should be ok.
re start with all fresh fuel.

Id rather figure a way to clean the tank and or polish the fuel than to remove that bugger and replace.
find a design and build a fuel scrubber if there isnt one in your area.

get an automotive electric fuel pump, a fuel hose and 55gal drums , pump in and out of the tank until it doesent clog filters etc
maybe a bit of acetone to loosen the crud? maybe a drainable racor in the mix, maybe a real big fuel filter, maybe start with finer wire mesh so you dont go through so many expensive filters .
if the debris is big run it throgu a bunch of window sceen type wire first.
there has got to be another way.
but if you do cut the tank we are all curious as to how it goes.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby MadScientist813 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:44 am

well, I'm actually using the housing for the filter, but the filter itself is a fuel filter. I found a nice plastic filter housing and the components are all gas safe. As far as contaminants, after talking it over with some THT members, it seems to be a mixture of varnish, crystallized gas/additives, and the normal stuff you pick up at the gas station. I just ordered a large external fuel pump that I'm going to use to recirculate the system through my filter until it cleans itself. Believe me, the last thing I want is to cut the tank out, but this problem has kept me from fishing and using this boat since april.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby 231WA » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:39 pm

Sounds like you are on the right track now.
The good news is that it sounds like you don't have any phase separated ethanol water mix gel to deal with.
it plugs paper filters pretty quickly and doesent burn, gets sucked up first from bottom of the tank.

if you can get non ethanol marine fuel in your area {I cant in mine) start out using it until tank is clean, and at the end of the season either store tank completely empty or alternately, full, with plenty of stabilizer like stabil, store and start, Pri-G or seafoam brands or similar. I have stored fuel all year if its preserved, but i worry about storing plain modern gasohol for more than a few months If you store tank empty some people say you will accumulate more condensation in foggy or humid areas.
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Re: fuel tank replacement on 96 251

Postby Hugh » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:08 pm

Hope it all clears up for you. Funny thing about sludge...just when you think you got it all, it comes back when you go out of the harbor and slosh around a while.

Sludge can come from the interior of old fuel hoses, old fuel varnish, aftermarket treatments, deteriorating gaskets, ethanol scrubbing the previously tenacious crud off the tank, etc.

If, by chance, the sludge keeps haunting you and the tank is otherwise fine...get a look inside with a boroscope and see what you can see. Also, get the tank model info...it should be near the sending unit access plate on the tank. Call up the tank mfr. and ask them if they have any good ideas.
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