|Posted: December 27 2006 at 22:30 | IP Logged
Well folks, here's my story: I own a 1970 36 SS Uniflite and it has fiberglass fuel tanks and I run gasoline. Previous owner had them made. 2 of them, 150 gallons each and they are located under the cockpit sole. I scrubbed the Internet trying to get smart about ethanol and the effects on fiberglass tanks (including BoatUS articles). At the time (earlier this year) I thought I may have dodged the bullet. My tanks are newer, about 10-11 years old. I was hoping maybe newer resin and maybe resistant. I'm told they were made using epoxy type resin. I inspected the tanks. They are solid and very clean inside. But when I rebuilt one of my carburetors (starboard) for some minor seepage I found the tell tale signs of the chemical reaction between ethanol and fiberglass tanks: tar like droplets on the underside of the butterflies. Upon further inspection, the intake shows signs of buildup as well. I pulled the carb off the other engine (port side) and it shows the same signs. I rebuilt the port engine last year along with the carb and hot tanking the intake. It should have been clean.
So, now I need to get the tanks out. They sit on plywood that is on top of the stringers. I'm not sure they will fit though the hatches. If they do it will be very close and I would have to take the exhaust risers and elbows off and spin the tanks 90 degrees. Previous owner swears they went in in one piece. Can I cut them? Fumes obviously are a concern.
When I do get them out what should I replace them with? The data concerning ethanol and metal tanks isn't all that great either. What about plastic tanks? I've noticed a few companies making them such as Moeller, Todd and Tempo. They are Coast Guard approved, won't rust and are alcohol resistant. The price seems attractive compared to metal tanks. I could easily get 2, 85 gallon tanks through the hatches. 170 total gallons seems reasonable to me since I very seldom filled up over 1/2 a tank with 300 gallons.
Sorry for the long post. Appreciate any feedback.
1970 Uniflite 36SS "Cherisse Marie"