Fuel Tank Replacement

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  • February 27, 2017 11:45 AM
    Message # 4637798

    We're in the process of changing out the starboard fuel on our W32 - had to cut the old one out - ordered a new replacement from Bud - tried to install it last weekend but it just would not fit - any recommendations/ secretes on how to get the new tank in place? 

  • February 28, 2017 7:00 AM
    Reply # 4639301 on 4637798
    Assuming the new tank has the same dimensions as the old:

    A few years ago I removed both fuel tanks to have them steam cleaned and have access panels installed. I have a honkin big 4 cyl 42hp engine in the way but was able to get them out (and back in). I had remove both cockpit drain hoses and cut the corner off the little (starter battery?) platform molded into the portside aft of the engine liner to get the port tank out but other than that it was just a case of LOTS of twisting & turning, tipping it this way & that to gain ground. Almost like one of those Chinese wood block puzzles that require solving one thing before you can solve another. Not that I ever want to repeat the process but it can be done. 

    The only 'advice' I can remember to give is to make use of the fact the step it sits on is more narrow at one end. Keep at it, you'll ultimately figure it out

    Last modified: February 28, 2017 7:13 AM | Anonymous member
  • February 28, 2017 10:36 AM
    Reply # 4639687 on 4637798

    Thanks for the words of encouragement.  This tank is actually smaller than the original we had to cut out so we were surprised it didn't want to go in.  We also have a big Perkins engine but that didn't seem to be the problem.  Bud came by and took a look but not until after we had given up for the day - he says it should go.  We'll give it another try and report back.  Thanks for your help! 

  • March 02, 2017 12:56 PM
    Reply # 4644265 on 4637798
    Deleted user

    It was a brute getting the starboard tank in but it was a double brute when the filler nozzle didn't line up under the deck fill port and the tank had to be removed, the nozzle moved to a new position on the tank top, and the tank reinstalled again.  But it's doable, because we did it twice. Ralph

  • March 02, 2017 1:16 PM
    Reply # 4644291 on 4637798

    More encouragement, I love it..  Thanks for your note Ralph.  We plan to try again this weekend weather permitting.  The fuel fill on the old tank we removed was outboard about one inch from the deck fill plate so we moved it inboard on the new tank - hopefully it'll line up correctly when installed. I'll report back after we're done.

  • March 03, 2017 9:50 AM
    Reply # 4646093 on 4637798

    I had a problem with my port side tank filler hose being 'off' about an inch causing a slight bend in the hose (I think it was a later add-in). I had to fill the tank very very slowly or fuel would back splash.

    When I removed the tank for cleaning I removed the deck fitting & fuel hose.  Then, once the tank was back in place I sighted thru the hole in the deck to see where the hose flange on the tank was actually positioned relative to the hole in the deck. I had to move the center of the hole in the deck about an inch and I just reversed the resulting moon shaped plug to fill the opposite side of old opening.

  • March 06, 2017 10:24 AM
    Reply # 4651093 on 4637798

    Well a somewhat disappointing install effort over the weekend.  We removed everything possible that would obstruct our ability to install the new fuel tank and it just will not fit.  The main problem seems to be that the tank is too long at 36".  We can't get the tank far enough forward to have it drop low enough to be able to tip to top of the tank into the tank cavity.  We also believe the top of the tank at 15" is still too wide to fit between the bottom of the cockpit well and the lower shelf on the hull liner but won't know for sure until we can get the tank as low in the space as possible.  The main problem is that the aft end of the tank hits the portion of the hull liner, by 6 inches, where the water heater used to sit.

    Solutions:  1) Pull the engine, 2) Cut away large portions of the hull liner, 3) pull the engine and cut the hull liner, or 4) get a smaller tank.

    We're opting for #4 - this week intend to make a full cardboard copy of the tank as a prototype.  We plan to cut the prototype tank as needed to fit into the space.  We hope that this will allow us to maintain maximum tank capacity while insuring that the new tank can be easily installed.

    We'll let folks know how that goes after we're done.      


  • March 07, 2017 7:11 AM
    Reply # 4652732 on 4651093

    You've never confirmed but again I'm assuming the tank you are replacing is the same (or smaller) dimensions as the old?

    Unless your engine is bigger than my 42hp 4 cyl Kubota there is no reason to remove the engine.  It may seem impossible but myself and others have done it (and without hacking away at the engine liner). You can you so don't give up.

    Unfortunately it was too long ago to remember the steps I took but I do remember being 'confounded' by the width of the 'fat end' of the step the (fat end of the) tank sits on. It required a lot of tilting/rotating/tilting/reverse rotating/sliding back & forth, etc. while (somehow) taking advantage of the steps narrow (aft) end. 

    Keep trying... It really is like one of those wire puzzles that cannot be solved except by taking specific steps in a certain order.  You will eventually stumble onto the 'magical set of steps' it takes to get the (actual quote while installing mine) %@#&$ stupid thing in place.  And then you will feel there has never been a more appropriate time to yell 'EUREKA!'

    Last modified: March 07, 2017 8:15 AM | Anonymous member
  • March 07, 2017 9:29 AM
    Reply # 4653080 on 4637798

    I can confirm that this is the smaller redesigned tank and I assume my Perkins is amount the same size as your Kabota and your continued encouragement is much appreciated. 

    We took some measurements that, if the tank was cut a little differently, we think it would allow us to get it in the boat.  We're going to mock up a cardboard tank to those dimensions and see what we learn by trying to install it in the boat.  It's possible we could figure out how to get the aluminum tank in by messing around with the smaller cardboard tank - as you say turn it, twist it, bop it until it goes in.  

    Either way, we're not giving up - I don't think you can own a Westsail and ever give up on anything. So, when we get it in, I'll have you over for a beer to celebrate. I'll let folks know what we figure out after next weekend.


  • March 15, 2017 1:58 PM
    Reply # 4669074 on 4637798

    An update on progress if anyone is interested...  

    So, we made the cardboard mock-up of the tank and tried it last weekend.  I first tried it full sized – would not fit.  I then cut it down from thirty five inches long to 29 inches long, this allowed it to clear the aft portion of the liner and drop down low enough to tilt back in toward the tank cavity.  The space between the top of lower liner shelf and the bottom of the cockpit only measures 13” and the tank measures 15” – it would not fit into this space.  I then cut the top of the mock-up down to 13” and, with a little persuasion, it fit.  Once I was able to tilt it back into the cavity it slid right up onto the top shelf where it belongs.

    In all, I shorten the length of the tank from 35” to 29” and reduced the depth of the tank from 15” to 13”.  To preserve the greatest amount of tank capacity, I took the 6”out of the aft portion of the tank and the 2”off the back/ outboard portion of the tank.  I have no idea how much fuel the tank will hold now but I’d guess somewhere between 25 and 35 gallons.

    Because the cardboard tank had more flexibility than the aluminum tank and I only want to do this once, I plan to mock up the new tank dimensions using door skin to increase rigidity and try the process over again.  Assuming the new tank will fit, I’m going to need to either have the existing tank cut down or have a new tank built.

    One more try and I think we'll have it nailed down - learned a lot through the process but ready to get 'er down and move on.  I'll update on any others issues and capacity info when it's in the boat and full of fuel.  Don


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