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Author Topic:   Fuel Tank Replacement, 18-OUTRAGE
JohnNorthEast posted 01-18-2002 09:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for JohnNorthEast   Send Email to JohnNorthEast  
I had a chance to view an 18 foot (1985) whaler ( see earlier posting) in which the stainless bow rail appeared to be non original and there were a few areas it was poorly attached with the screws raised out of the boat by a 1/2 inch or so and one area where the gel coat was re workded( a darker color). Also in the stern on the port side the flooring was slightly lifted ( a screw popped off) and looking at the "foam" convering the gas tank it was wet and black. Other flaws "seemed" quite minor and the hull itself seemed pretty sound... Any ideas about the seriousness of the flaws and how might one begin to correct them. Any Comments ? Thank you.
dfmcintyre posted 01-19-2002 06:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
John -

1 - The OEM for that rail is still in business, and you could call for a price on a total origional replacement (CMI, check the OEM section of the forum, and scroll back a few months). I would also get a quote from a high quality local stainless shop. They may be in the ballpark for a custom job, that would look almost factory. One downside to the factory forward rails is that they are assembled in sections and T fittings that become loose over time. A good quality, welded product would eliminate this headache.

2 - The one darker area, if it's just surface discoloration, should be easy to repair and repaint.

3 - Where the flooring is lifted, you may have to repair the screw hole(s). Not a big job.

4 - The tank foam is a slight concern. It indicates to me that the tank area has been wet for a long time. Has it been in salt water for most of it's life, and is the tank a metal tank? Some have been plastic. If it's a metal tank, I'd look _real_ close for any sign of tank corrosion. Even if the tank needs replacing (OEM is Florida Marine Tank, 305-620-9030. My 21' Outrage internal 40 gallon tank replacement cost $260 in 1999), it sounds like a decent boat.

Removing and replacing the tank is about a one day job.

Keep us posted!

Best - Don

JohnNorthEast posted 01-19-2002 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Don, thank you. I have made an offer and I am waiting to hear. I think the boat has been in the water, off-trailer, for the last two years. I really appreciate your response. At least I feel the work is more manageable now. In the meantime I will research your suggestions.


JohnNorthEast posted 01-27-2002 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Well I've got really good news and some bad news. The good news is I jumped in and bought the 1985 OUTRAGE. I was able to get the price significantly reduced (in part, knowing that I'd probably need to replace the fuel tank). The bad news is I will need to replace the fuel tank, and I have little knowledge on how to approach this task. The hose leading to the tank is in very poor condition. The foam under the flooring is indeed quite wet. Can anyone point me towards instructions on how to remove and replace this 1985 outrage gas tank? Also I live in Massachusetts. Any ideas where to pick up a replacement tank locally?
dfmcintyre posted 01-27-2002 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
John -

Welcome to the wonderful world of whaler owners! If you made a good purchase, it's not bad news!

Biggest problem with replacing the tank will be cutting out the old one. It's more dirty and time consuming than heavy thinking.

The tank cavity is bathtub like, solid sealed. The fuel tank is placed in the cavity and then foam is poured in around it.

Disconnect the hoses, and obtain replacements from your local marine store, cut the proper length. Check your stainless steel hose clamps for corrosion and replace those too, if needed.

Two per connection, don't scrimp, buy the higher quality ones, called AWAB stainless hose clamps. They don't have the thread portion of the protruding _through_ the clamp portion where it could cut the hose. Did that make sense?

I'd start with a heavy knife and just start carving out the foam. Don't worry about nicking the gelcoat of the cavity. You _may_ be able to lift that tank out fairly quickly. Keep checking to see if you can pull it from the grip of the foam.

Call the Florida Tank number and see if they were the OEM (probably were, I've heard of no other OEM supplier) and have them ship you a tank direct. No need to go through a local supplier.

Best - Don

hauptjm posted 01-28-2002 10:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
One precaution I would always take; fill the old tank one third with water. A mechanic friend told me they always did this when removing old tanks from cars. Apparently it cuts down on fumes. Although, the chance of an explosion from sparks off of tools may be a million-to-one, why take a chance when you're going to throw it away. Anyone else heard of doing this?
Bigshot posted 01-28-2002 11:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I heard fill it all the way up. I would never do it myself.
JohnNorthEast posted 02-03-2002 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Well, spent the morning taking off the counsel and marking off the steering and electrical (putting it back together without lablels would be impossible for me). It looks like there has been water under the floor, which froze. This caused the lifting and there is clearly some mild delaminating of the floorboard and wood underneath.

I have not yet taken up the tank. Is it really just a matter of cutting it out of the foam and pulling it out? I was able to look inside (pulled out the fuel tank gauge--mechanical device--and it is bone dry). I will replace the tank, hoses etc. My three immediate questions are: 1) Is the floorboard repair a big job? 2) Will a new tank come with a new fuel gauge? 3) Is it worth having the tank repaired locally in stead of buying a new one?

Any thoughts?

JohnNorthEast posted 02-03-2002 10:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Oh I forgot to add, the floorboard ( which was exrtremely heavy) is now resting comfortably in my heated basement. My wife is awfully tolerant (for now). I figure it should dry in one or two weeks.


DIVE 1 posted 02-03-2002 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
1. Floors are not too hard to repair if the damage is on the bottom side. Grind out all of the bad areas and replace with new wood and fiberglass. If the entire plywood substrate needs to be replaced, grind all the way around the plywood and peel the old wood out. Lightly grind the surface underneath the plywood. Cut new plywood to size. Lay floor on a flat level surface and apply 2 layers of chopped mat and resin. Roll a layer of resin on the side of the plywood to be layed on the fiberlass. Set the new plywood on the wetted mat. Put a lot of concrete blocks on the plywood and allow to dry. Remove blocks and apply resin and matting over plywood overlapping to the bottom of the original fiberglass floor.
2. Ask the manufacturer about the fuel gauge. I have seen them both ways, with and without.
3. If your tank is bad replace it. A repair job may cost more than a new tank and there are usually no guarantees.
Outrage18 posted 02-04-2002 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Outrage18  Send Email to Outrage18     

How heavy was the floor?
Is it a 2-man job?
The floor in my boat is extremely soft, so I need to replace it too.
Please keep me informed on your progress.
Also take as many pictues as you can..

Thank you!


White Bear posted 02-04-2002 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for White Bear  Send Email to White Bear     
If you've gone far enough to remove the old tank then replace it. You will always wish that you had for the peace of mind involved and the cost of a replacement item will never be any lower.
JohnNorthEast posted 02-04-2002 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
I removed the floor, which was extremely heavy and difficult to then transport off the boat and to my basement by two people alone. Underside is damaged but the top side looks very good. I will to repair the underside as there is some delaminating. Waiting till it dries more before I a can truly assess how much work is involved. I do have a digital camera and once the weather breaks I will try to take a photo of the exposed gas tank and process of ordering a new tank.
Outrage18 posted 02-05-2002 11:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Outrage18  Send Email to Outrage18     

Please keep me in the loop.
I might have to do the exact same procedure.
Please send pics when you can.



JohnNorthEast posted 02-12-2002 11:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
I was unable to identify a clear p/n from the tank. It appeared to be 63a. I am still trying to get the tank out- it is more difficult cutting in the cold and when I have only "slices" of time to work on this...I decided to contact BW and asked what tank went into a 1985 18 foot outrage. Here is the reply.
"From what I understand the original fuel tank in the 18' Outrage was a 63A, this had a raised tower for the mechanical fuel gauge. I was told that Florida Marine tank no longer offered this particular set-up and was changed to the twin site sender of the 63B fuel tank. Both of these should be the same tank, just a different sender."

My question then is, what the heck is a site sender? Any help on this? Also any further tips on tank removal? I've been cutting with a knife and saw and chipping away.


JohnNorthEast posted 02-18-2002 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Well I finally tore that 63 gallon tank out of my whaler! It was a much harder job than I anticipated. The cold weather and water in the foam which froze, made cutting with a knife unfeasible.I finally resorted to borrowing a "SawZall," then was able to pry it loose at the bow end (used a cushion on the fiberglass). Once it separated the tank easily popped out. I did some minor damage to the gelcoat at three spots with the sawzall, which I will have to fix before a new tank goes in (and when the weather in Boston finally warms up). I have photos of the process
dfmcintyre posted 02-18-2002 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
John -

I hope your not going to spend too much time repairing gelcoat that's inside the cavity, where your going to pour in foam to seal the new tank. Who's gonna see it?


dfmcintyre posted 02-18-2002 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
John -

Additional note:

I'm going out on a limb here, if the differences between the old tank and the new tank are what I ran across, it's as follows:

My old tank had only an electrical tank sender unit. It was surrounded by a metal, uh, collar (for lack of a better term) that was about 3 or 4 inches in diameter, probably same gauge steel as the tank, and was about one inch high.

The new unit has both electrical sending connections, _plus_ a sight gage.

I wanted to save panel space, and ended up cutting a 2" hole in the floor, right above the gage, and installed a 2 1/2" diameter piece of lexan plastic in the hole. The top 3/8" of the hole was routed 1/2" larger with a router and carbide bit, so the plastic disk is flush with the floor (hey, it made sense to me when I typed it....!).


dfmcintyre posted 02-18-2002 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
One more note (Geez, I wish we could edit our own posts within the first 15' of posting)

The new tank does not have that collar that the earlier one did.


JohnNorthEast posted 02-20-2002 09:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
My new tank should arrive in early march. I was misleading in my earlier post. I actually damaged some fiberglass not just the gel coat under the tank floor. I will need to repair the fiberglass to this area. Are the fiberglass packets sold at west marine the right choice?
dfmcintyre posted 02-21-2002 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
John -

If it's a small area, yes you can use the little foil packets BUT BE SURE to also mix some of the fairing compound powder into the mix, otherwise it will be a bitch to sand down level. I can't remember right now what number the additive is (All the West supplies, both the liquids and additives, have numbers and there should be a chart by the display to explain what each additive should be used for).

Your also going to need to either paint or apply colored gelcoat to the area after you've faired it. Gelcoat is thicker, but sometimes achieving the perfect color match is a problem, especially if that area is sunlight faded. The other option is to have some custom polyurthane mixed to match, and spray it on, with a small bomb type sprayer.

The custom mix isn't that much of a problem, if you can locate a paint shop that specializes in automotive paint, and they may have a handheld instrument that can read the color, and have it customed mixed.

Best - Don

JohnNorthEast posted 02-21-2002 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     
Thanks Don, you are most helpful. Now I have to wist for time off work and the right temperature here in the northeast... the boat remains covered but outside.

kdc posted 05-17-2002 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for kdc  Send Email to kdc     
john, what happened ? Did you get that tank in ? How much was a new one ? Thinking about doing the same but it sounds kinda tough. After reading this thread I'm having second thoughts. Has anyone else done this with success ? Do you really have to remove the tank to tell if it needs replacing ? Is there a way to visually inspect while tank is still foamed/in in boat ?
JohnNorthEast posted 05-18-2002 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnNorthEast  Send Email to JohnNorthEast     

I'm sorry for not responding sooner. I've had tons of non-boating work in my life. First, I want to thankcontinuousWave for all the on line assistance in starting this project. I could never have gone this far without your help. I am a marine novice and not necessarily handy, I was lucky to have a friend who was help me with this project.

As of today the new tank is in, the floorboard has been repaired, and the damage under the floor has been re-fiberglassed. All new wires have been added- I'm in the wiring stage now.

The fuel tank: The replacement tank was purchased from Florida Marine (305) 620 9030 for $440.0 dollars, however shipping to Massachusetts was an additional $140.00 (and I saved about $30.00 dollars because I picked it up from Roadway). Ask for Javier Blanco at Florida marine--while not very conversational he was extremely helpful.

Deck: The floorboard was badly delaminated--although I would not have know this until the floor was off. The floorboard actually had an entire edge of plywood separated from the deck. I let the deck dry out in my basement and then began the slow process of prying the wood off the very thin decking. It actually came off fairly nearly. Then I sanded and ground down the rough spots. I used marine grade plywood and precut the holes using the old fiberglass shell as a template (it came off as a whole).

Once the floor was off I noticed some delaminating in the tunnel where the steering and the wires are placed (up on the sides where the cables apparently slapped the side of the tunnel walls over the years). This was sanded and repaired with several coats of glass and cloth.

Also, I removed the tank in winter months and the foam was wet and frozen--it was very hard to pry out. I damaged some fiberglass underneath with a SawZall . This too was repaired with fiberglass tape (three applications over time) since there was some clear damage to the tunnel and since I cut thought the turtle shell holding the tank I was concerned about water. I then took a small square out to inspect for water. Indeed there was some water, which over time was sucked out until no more water was evidenced. I patched this hole and replaced the new tank. Iím afraid some of the water probably entered the damaged cuts in one weekend of severe windy rain in February here. I thought I had the boat well covered but water did sweep in

I should add the fuel hose was rotted at the bend area. I intended to replace the fuel hose and vent hose but was amazed at how rotted this fuel hose was. Everything was replaced with marine approved hoses and clamps (double clamps).

By far, the repair of the floorboard was the most complex and frustrating. The need to re-apply layers of fiberglass to make sure I brought the sides of the floor to the same original dimensions to keep it all "level" was a tough and frustrating job. I would not wish to do this one again. The removal of the tank was made far more difficult by the frozen foam- Perhaps I should have waited but then, I'd just be starting this project now! I have many digital photos of this project should any one wish to see them.. John (NorthEast)

jimh posted 05-20-2002 07:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
(Changed the TOPIC; was "To repair or not to repair, that is my question." Edited posts to improve readability.--jimh.)

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