This is Part 2 of the Galley Remodel Project that turned into much more than a project involving the Galley. If you’d like to get caught up, check out Part 1 first, then come on back over here.
What does a fuel tank have to do with a Galley Remodel Project, you ask? It’s a boat, so, everything.
The systems that make up a 42′ boat aren’t cut and dry in nice separate compartments or closets like they might be in your house. No, the fuel tank had been a source of much frustration until we finally A) Located it, and 2) Realized it was the reason the bilge had a couple of gallons of diesel fuel sloshing about freely.
In the early days of my boat ownership, I was somewhat clueless about these things. I was told my boat had a port fuel tank, a keel fuel tank, and a starboard fuel tank. I was told the keel tank would likely leak and I should drain it totally, ensuring no diesel in the bilge. So I did. Only, the bilge gathered more diesel.
So we turned the boat upside down until I could locate the source of the diesel, for fear of never being able to use the boat without creating an fuel spill large enough to make headlines.
And finally, with a flashlight on my forehead and paper towels in hand, we located the tank, and then the leak. Only, the supposed “starboard tank” was located just under the icebox. On the port side. So there’s that.
After many failed attempts at JB Welding the pinhole leaks, it was decided we would just drain this tank as well. It won’t leak diesel if there’s no diesel in it to leak.
So, this is how it was left for over a year–an unuseable diesel tank, hidden under the icebox.
As we discussed in Part 1 of this project, once we had all the counters ripped up and the icebox cut out, there’d be no better time to get this little situation sorted out as well.
I talked to a lot of people about this issue and “they” said that I might as well just tear the tank out and replace it with a new one. Well, “they” might be right, but I think I might’ve had to get a whole new boat for that to have worked. The tank is married to the boat in such a way that I’m not brave enough to alter.
So, I did the next best thing and called up the people at West Systems Epoxy. They promptly returned my call and said that if we cleaned the surface really really good, we could coat the tank with 5-6 layers of epoxy and it’d be like creating a new tank within the old one. This seemed more feasible.
So that’s what we’ve done. The tank already had an access hole on one side and we opened up additional one on the other.
We sandblasted the inside of the tank to create a nice surface for the epoxy to stick and began building up until we had 6 coats on the bottom and half-way up the sides of the tank.
The top of the “starboard” tank (looking aft)…
Access hole cut into the tank…
You can see the severe pitting inside the tank…
The inside of the tank after a few coats of epoxy. It’s shiny…
All sealed up, ready for a diesel test…
Honestly, during this stage of the project things were happening so quickly, I haven’t even filled it up with fuel yet to test it. I’ll have to let you know how it goes when I do. #anticlimatic
Next Up: Galley Remodel Project- Part 3: The Fridge & Freezer