Let me start with a little background. In this post I intend to fully document what I did and how I did it, because I know for certain this is a common problem on all sailboats past a certain age and like always I wish to aid my fellow sailors facing similar projects. I've previously replaced a leaking fuel tank on our old Ericson 28 and found that project straightforward as the tank was under the quarter berth and easily accessed. Not so easy on a Gulf 32. This project took a solid two months of time, and I estimate I put about a day a week, sometimes two, into it. It is now successfully completed on Aeolus, and I have the test of my repairs. I recognize there are several other ways this repair could have been completed, and I leave it to others to decide for themselves how they wish to proceed.
|View of bow side of tank, showing lines marked for cutting. This was the easiest chamber to access.|
Beginning a few years ago, I n
oticed that when I filled the tank completely I would get leaking immediately. I was puzzled by the fact that I was not getting any noticeable leaking from around the fuel fittings at the engine side of the tank. None of my hoses were leaking, nor the sender. This led me to believe that I had a leak in the tank itself somewhere, and I thought it must be at the top in one of the welds or something. Some quick work with oil absorbent towels and the lesson learned, I stopped filling the tank all the way. Since the tank holds 70 gallons, it was never a problem to only have 50 in it. But I knew this was no good, and I put it on the list to finally resolve the problem of the leaking tank.
|The general area of the stern side of the tank, showing sender location and area of hatch cut. Just out of view are the fuel lines in the tank.|