Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Port tank out Blog #156

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

After the disappointment of missing the year’s sailing season due to the leaky fuel tank problem, I get cracking on removing the fuel tanks.  When I created this vid, I had already removed the starboard side tank.

The port side tank presented a different challenge – it was full of fuel. Well, not ‘full’ but it had about 20 gallons of diesel in it. Good thing the leak wasn’t too bad. I would have HATED to have 20 gallons of diesel sloshing around the engine pan & bilge. That would have been a major bummer. Colonel Bummer? Certainly General Bummer.  I digress…

I bought a couple of gizmos to facilitate removing the fuel. One worked the other did not. That may have been more user error than anything but the mission that I chose to accept was accomplished. I got the diesel fuel out.

Now then, having removed the fuel I realized that it was quite contaminated. Water and years worth of accumulated dirt. It wasn’t really ‘sludge’ like you’d expect from an old tank but it looked like black, finely ground graphite powder mixed with the fuel which then settled to the bottom.  Oh well, time to get rid of it. No problem.

Problem: what to do with contaminated fuel? It’s not as easy as it would seem.  At least not around here. What’d I do with it?  Well I’m not telling you because the enviro-weenies would lose their minds. But let’s just say a certain gravel / dirt road has a nice water-proof coating on it now. You’re welcome.

Once the fuel was removed and disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, I got to removing the tank.  I used a ‘zip-disk’ on my angle grinder to accomplish the task. I just LOVE appropriate tools.  The right tool for the job makes all the difference in the world between a frustrating and grumpifying day and a happy we-got-er-done day.  In this instance we got `er done.  😀   Yeah, so I basically cut the tank into bite sized pieces.  The opening through which the tank needs to come out is approximately 16″ wide.  The tank, at the top, is 23″ wide. Problem.

No problem, zip disk to the rescue.  Ting tank walla walla bing bang. A bit of sweat, some gymnasty contortions and that bad ol’ tank was sliced, diced, and removed. Yep. End of day – no more fuel tanks.

It’s fall now and winter is coming. I want to get the majority of the work done so that when the nasty weather arrives I can keep Little Bear buttoned up and dry.  Well .. onwards!

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

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