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Thread: Should I paint my fuel tank?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Default Should I paint my fuel tank?

    I am about to order an aluminium fuel tank for the Gannet 25 build. I've read some stuff on WBF about tanks corroding from reaction with water. Is it worth painitng the tank to reduce the risk of this? I've not come across any threads on this but it seems like it would be a significant amount of extra protection for relatively little cost and effort.

    All advice gratefully received, as ever.

    K

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by kakistoc View Post
    I am about to order an aluminium fuel tank for the Gannet 25 build. I've read some stuff on WBF about tanks corroding from reaction with water. Is it worth painitng the tank to reduce the risk of this? I've not come across any threads on this but it seems like it would be a significant amount of extra protection for relatively little cost and effort.

    All advice gratefully received, as ever.

    K
    You asking about inside or outside?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Outside. Sorry. Should have made that clear.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    It can do no harm.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Yes. The outfit that made Meg's tanks coated them with a thick rubbery feeling epoxy to protect against corrosion, especially galvanic which can really creep up on you in non-obvious ways.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Tank builders usually coat aluminum tanks on request.
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Jay's got the right advice since your tank hasn't been built yet.The issue with corrosion and aluminum occurs when standing water or moisture rest on the surface. ABYC standards have clear instructions about tanks being installed so air can circulate around them and be mounted on neoprene tabs and strips supporting them securely all around. Pinhole corrosion is the issue. Unpainted, thin-walled aluminum boats can develop it over time when left outside stored on rain or snow soaked trailer bunks which don't dry out and hold the moisture against the metal. Fuel tanks in some climates have cycling condensation issues, but it is addressed by proper installation. If you are limited to doing only some painting, I'd do the tops and be sure they are installed tilted so that moisture runs off and dries. One thing a good surveyor will look for is discolored or corroding fuel line fittings on the top of tanks. It can be a sign of developing corrosion and merits further investigation. Maybe TMI.

    An alternative is fuel-qualified poly tanks. http://www.oceanlinkinc.com/marine-tanks/fuel-tanks/
    "... and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Aluminum tanks? True story: One day, after spending the night on my boat and making myself a cup of coffee, I rinsed out the aluminum percolator coffee pot and put it in the stainless steel sink, filling it with about three inches of water so it wouldn't tip over when I put some dirty utensils in it before washing. Among the utensils was a pointed stainless steel steak knife. One thing being another, I closed up the boat and went home, forgetting to finish "doing the dishes." I came back a week later and the coffee pot was empty of water. I thought nothing of it and refilled it to wash it out. A steady stream of water ran out of the bottom! Upon examination, it became apparent that a pin hole had appeared where the stainless steel knife point had rested on the bottom of the pot.

    Me, I'd go for the poly fuel tanks if you can't spring for the expensive metal ones. Just sayin'.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Thank you all. It looks like a consensus on painting the tank. I'll go ahead and do it.

    Bob, I like your story. Poly isn't an option for petrol. I looked at 316 but don't seem to be able to get it certified in the UK. Also, some of the stuff I have read indicates that it is more brittle and likely to fracture in a planing boat. The CE certification is the clincher though.

    K

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Millions of outboard boats use poly gasoline tanks, and most of them plane.
    Is it an insurance thing?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    It may be a UK thing. I can't find anyone here offering a plastic tank for gasoline. I had considered shipping a tank over from the US but i seriously doubt it is worth the grief.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    A custome-made one, I should say. There are a lot of tanks available but none the right size.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Should I paint my fuel tank?

    Millions of outboard boats use poly gasoline tanks, and most of them plane.
    Is it an insurance thing?
    Portables, yes. Most built in tanks are aluminum, however.

    One challenge with permanently-installed poly tanks is expansion and contraction, which makes securing them properly, and maintaining the integrity of fittings a bit more challenging. Nothing undoable, of course.

    Here's a great reference that I have been using since it first was published on paper. Now, one can access these digitally. Some good intel with respect to installation ( much already mentioned in rbgarr's post above) as well as maintenance of, metallic fuel tanks installed aboard boats. A good read, IMO.

    https://www.uscgboating.org/library/...lars/BSC79.pdf

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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