Cleaning out aluminum gas tanks - SaltwaterCentral.Com

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Al27
Posts: 2
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Thu May 02, 2013 4:12 pm
I have an 85 Grady White 20' overnighter with a 65 gal aluminum tank. The boat sat for a while before I bought it, and I can't seem to get it clean enough. Every time I get in a little rough water, junk breaks free and everything gets clogged up. Does anyone know if there is is anyone in the Holden Beach/Wilmington area that does this type of work? Also, does the tank usually have to be pulled out, and what I should expect to pay. Thanks  
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WeekendHOOKER
Posts: 1567
Location: Wendell NC
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Thu May 02, 2013 7:05 pm
If you have a hatch or access plate to the top of the tank I would do it myself.

1. Remove all of the batteries from the boat. Touch all of the connections to each other after taking the batteries out + to - ... Discharge all potential charge.
2. Remove all of the fuel from the tank by pumping it out of the fuel line.
3. Remove all of your fuel lines.
4. Sureflow makes a filtration system that will remove all of the deposits and water from yourt fuel. You can get this filter system and filter your fuel into approved canisters. It will be clean and ready to use in your garden equipment or cars.
5. Open the hatch/access plate (sealed) on the top of the fuel tank where the sending unit and possibly your fuel line attachment point.
6. This hole should allow you to fit your arm down into the tank up to your elbow.
7. Leave the access plate off of the tank and walk away for a day to let all of the gases out of the tank.
8. This is where you will need to get creative. You will need to find something made of plastic or fiberglass that you can get into the tank and use as a brushing tool.
9. See if you can alter the level aspect of the hull so that all of the debris will come down to you after scraping and the next step is completed.
10. You will need a high pressure source of water to blast the remaining particles off of the tanks walls and bottom. A flexible pressure washer nozzle would be great....and you could go to your local car wash to utalize one. Remember that you have already removed all of the hazardous materials so take along something to dip out the water... A large strainer (for noodles) over a 5 gallon bucket would be great to seperate the gunk from the water. Pour the water down the floor drains of the car wash (remember----no gas is going down the drain.
11. Once you have completed the cleaning the rest is simple.
12. Allow the tank to dry 100%...
13. Replace all of your fuel lines with E10 rated hoses--just in case.
14. Seal the tanks access plate with approved sealer.
15. Make all of the proper attachments--double clamp all connection points that you cannot see below deck.
16. Fill the tank with fresh Non-Ethanol Gasoline and add your fuel treatment goodies.
17. Replace all of your fuel filters (Also make sure that you replace all of your fuel line on the motor and remove all of the fuel in the fuel rail/rails.
18. I would run a full tank out of the boat and then replace all of the fuel filters once more just to be safe and also to cut them open and check for any debris.
*If you are clean...then you know you did a 100% job. If you have some small particles then keep a close eye on the filters and replace after every tank until you have a 100% clean system.

Yamaha 10 micron high flow filters will remove all of the particles.

OR ---- PAY SOMEONE ALLOT OF $$$$$$ to do the same thing!
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2021 EASTWARD 2400 SEAWARD CATAMARAN - Twin Mercury 200s - Garmin Electronics - 240 gallons of fish fuel!
  
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Al27
Posts: 2
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Fri May 03, 2013 7:04 am
I really appreciate your reply, and advise. My problem is that I have already done every step that you proposed. The sending unit (access point) is at the aft end of the tank. The tank is about 5' long, and it has baffles in it. I feel good that I got the tank clean to the first baffle, but even sending the rotating tip of a pressure washer in there obviously didn't work past the baffle. I'm not opposed to going through this pain staking process again, but I don't want it to be for nothing. Thanks.  
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shrek
Posts: 1
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Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:30 pm
Hey fella, I have been in the fuel & tank cleaning business for over 20 years and flat rectangular tanks without inspection ports are hard to clean, We clean mostly diesel tanks and use high pressure fuel to clean out the gunk with chemicals added to aid in breaking up the tar, most gas tanks do not have inspection ports due to ABYC rules, so gaining access behind the baffles is hard, It sounds like you have already drained and cleaned the tank the best you could so at this point I would install a duel filter system where you could run on one filter than valve over to another filter while under way so you do not have to shut down and drift to change out filters, We have explosion proof equipment to clean gas tanks but its very expensive due to the low flash point of gas and the high cost of Haz Mat disposal, If you have any questions feel free to call me, Craig EMD fuel system services 252 728 9562 good luck  
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Cleaning out aluminum gas tanks - SaltwaterCentral.Com