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  Wet "foam" around gas gauge-18 outrage

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Author Topic:   Wet "foam" around gas gauge-18 outrage
North Beach posted 03-24-2002 05:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for North Beach  
Looked at a 1985 ourtage--lifted up the inspection port for the fuel gauge. extremely wet inside. noticed foam like substance sort of "framing" the inpsection port--it, like all else underneath, was soaking wet.

What was this foam?
why so damn wet?

Thanks

jimh posted 03-24-2002 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The 18-Outrage c.1985 has the fuel tank mounted in a molded cavity of the main hull structure. A fuel tank was set on rubber mounts, secured with straps, and then foam in place. The cavity is completely finished in gelcoat, just like the deck and hull. It is water-tight

The fuel tank cavity is covered by a molded cover, backed with plywood for strength. The cover is fastened in place mechanically then caulked to the cockpit floor.

It is not unusual for some water to enter the cavity, especially when the caulked joint between the deck and cover is in poor shape.
It is also possible for water to flow into the cavity through channels molded into it which permit the fuel lines to enter and exit.

Water that enters into that area exits only by evaporation. It the boat has recently taken some water into that area, it could be wet. It might even be possible to contain a fair amount of water in there if the foam has become saturated with it.

But seeing some moisture sitting on top of the fuel tank at the clear access cover port is not unusual. Having standing water in there is unusual.

Was the tank aluminum or plastic?

North Beach posted 03-24-2002 07:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for North Beach    
Jim:
I think it was aluminum-Do I understand you to mean that the foam at the top (ie just around--in a square- the gauge) is the same foam that foams in the tank? It was soaked and this boat was under cover for the winter. Also, it was grayish in color. I sort of assumed that it was sort of a "frame for thegauge area--not part of the faom that makes up the boat?

Thanks Jim.

Tom W Clark posted 03-25-2002 12:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
North Beach,

Just to clarify jimh's comments, the tank is not built into the hull. It is, in essence, set on top of the hull in so much as the cavity into which the tank resides is no less finished and sealed than the bow locker.

The tank sits on thin pads and then is restrained by three aluminum straps which have two layers of something called Fabreeka and a "shim" taped underneath them. Though I never pulled the fuel tank cover on my 1983 Outrage 18, I understand the remainder of the voids between the tank itself and the cavity are more or less filled with expanding foam, but I know there is room for water down there.

Whether this foam is the same type as that which fills the hull, I do not know. At any rate it is not connected in any way with the foam in the hull.

It is perfectly normal for there to be water in the tank cavity. It is essentially connected to, and part of, the bilge. The problem is that there is no good way for water to escape this fuel tank cavity once it has gotten in there. It will evaporate eventually, but I have never seen a boat that was being used on any sort of a regular basis not have water down there.

Don't worry about the moisture down there too much. Pull the deck plates and allow air to circulate if the boats is going to be stored for any length of time to allow the moisture to evaporate.

If the boat has been stored outside without the drain plug in place then there might be a problem if rain water has filled the entire bilge and then sat for a period of time, say, over the winter. I have seen more than a few boats like this. I think there is the potential for damage to the plywood under the fuel tank cover to get wet and rot under these conditions. There is also a danger of a freeze/thaw cycle damaging the foam, the tank and potentially lifting the fuel tank cover.

North Beach posted 03-25-2002 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for North Beach    
Thanks to both of you for your informative responses
jimh posted 03-25-2002 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Just to clarify a point Tom made.

You want to store the boat out of the water with all the plugs removed so that rain water will drain immediately out of the bilge sumps. If you have the plugs in you will accumulate a large amount of water in the cockpit, with two potential problems:

1-You will add literally a TON of weight to the trailer load;

2-You may build up enough water to back up into the fuel tank cavity which will then begin to fill. As Tom mentions, the only exit is evaporation, and if you are not living in Arizona in Sept-May, that can take a while.

--jimh

dreid posted 03-26-2002 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for dreid  Send Email to dreid     
The gas gauge on our '86 O/R 18' has no visible foam anywhere near it. Without removing the floor, we've cleaned everything in there we could reach and neither felt or seen anything but the now-clean gauge and green-painted gas tank. Could the prior owner have stuffed some foam in around the gauge for whatever reason? Alternatively, could the foam that holds the tank in position possibly floated loose and worked itself up around the gauge? If it restricts airflow inside the tank/gauge cavity, it certainly won't help with drying it out in there. My thought is the foam, at least the piece you can feel, can and should be removed, as it's not supposed to be there. Simple accumulation of water probably hasn't damaged anything as it's all glass or resin-coated marine plywood inside the cavity. If the plywood decking has gotten waterlogged somehow, you should find some soft spots evident in the deck. Even if you decide against the purchase, suggest the owner remove all the drain plugs and deck plates and let that rig dry out. Removing the console and deck-piece to clean, dry, re-hose and re-foam the tank into position is not a huge job and might be a final solution.

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