Folks,

I have decided to replace the original 100 gallon galvanized barrels in my 38 and I have a question I was hoping someone could help with.  So far we have decided to go with a vendor in NJ who is going to fabricate some aluminum tanks.  I'll have a few buddies that will help that are very handy.  I think we understand how to install the tanks to avoid corrosion and the process seems fairly straightforward.

I would like to spend as much time as needed to fully drain these tanks and wash them as much as possible to eliminate the risk due to the fumes.  Any advice here?  I have heard to use liquid dish washing soap and  I've seen where a guy ran a pipe from his car exhaust though the empty tank to fill the tank with inert gas before he removed the tanks.  

Has anyone removed these tanks and have any advice to mitigate the fume risk?

Thanks!

Chris Mitchell

Nashville

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10 pounds of dry ice will top them off with  CO2.  This will  be  somewhat  in excess but not  expensive.  I once purchased an underground  gas tank  to be used as a culvert, it was treated this way  prior  to  having  the  ends  cut out with  a  torch.

Legalese:  This is an observation not a certified recommendation.

Tim's "observation" of using the dry ice is one of several inert gases to use depending upon the situation.

One thing I would add is that it is necessary to allow enough time for the dry ice to sublime to gas and fill the tank. You don't want all of the dry ice to be melted probably about 50% before starting the cut operation.

One very important thing to keep in mind when dealing with storage vessels containing a combustible substance is that the scale inside the tank and the corroded metal surfaces tend to fume even after several cleanings. Using an inert atmosphere will mitigate this problem but should be monitored. It is also neccessary to have the inert gas exhausting out a tank vent to the outside of the boat to ensure that new combustible fumes are not collecting. You also do not want the tank exhaust fumes to collect in the bilge. That is just moving the hazard from one location to another.

SOP would be to use an atmosphere monitor that would give you a percentage of O2 and CO2 and N. These are pricey and not practical for the average person to procure or use but this is what is used for doing this in an industrial environment.

One other warning is that the engine room and bilge should be treated and respected as a confined space. This means that while doing the work you need to maintain adequate ventilation to maintain a breathable atmosphere and at the same time you need to prevent the pooling of possible combustible gasses. Again SOP is air monitoring.

One good way to do this is to put a ventilation exhaust hose of adequate size in the bottom of the bilge venting out over board, best to have the discharge end lower than the bilge side intake to act as a siphon. A 4in. or 6in. flexible duct would be adequate. Add a ventilation fan to create positive air pressure inside the work area and you have pretty much mitigated all of the hazards.

I would also warn not be be using the regular type of vacuum cleaners to do any removal of debris or material. Vacuums are notorious for being sources of ignition. Most vacuums use the vacuum exhaust air stream to cool the motor and brushes. If the exhaust stream has any combustibles, you will likely ignite them.

There are also no-spark tools for removing the tops of barrels. Basically like a giant can opener. These work well if the tank is not thicker than a 50 gal. drum and you have the room to actually manipulate the tool to remove the tank end.

This operation can be done safely but you must locate ALL of the hazards and mitigate them. Just taking the time to thoroughly think a task as this through will be a good start.

Chris

Are you in fact trying to cut apart your old tanks or just simply remove them whole?

If your talking about cutting them,  I dont see it worth the risk especially since you still have to  install  the new ones in one piece thru the same opening  in your floor .

If your just trying go remove old tanks (not cutting them) nothing wrong with being cautious but  as long as your not doing it while lighting a cigarette  and you can have some ventilation while doing it 

The old tanks can be removed pretty easily. 

Once my tanks were removed from my boat I added some water in my tanks  and before bringing them to the scrap yard months later.

Chris,

I've removed my tanks a couple of times and I concur with Jeremy but will add this.  Assuming that you are only removing them,  just drain them as much as you can with either a hand pump or an electric pump that is specifically made for fuel transfer.  It's actually safer to leave a little bit of gas vs. trying to drain them dry.

Tim G.

Good Morning Chris

I agree with Jeremy that the risk from the fumes is minimal if you are removing the tanks in one piece. You will never get all of the fuel out of the old tanks, so consider sealing the vent and fill pipe openings to prevent spilling fuel into the bilge. I Removed two 88 gallon tanks from my Luhrs and replaced them with twin 100's. We pumped as much gas as we could out of the tanks and sealed the openings with plastic and hose clamps. Then two of us hauled them out. After they were out, we poured about 2 gallons out of each tank. 

The idea of accidentally filling a confined space with car exhaust bothers me. 

Dropping dry ice into the fuel will cause the gas to boil, creating more fumes, but as the dry ice melts, it will create a layer of CO2 above the liquid gas. This will suppress the fumes, until you start moving the tank. If you put dry ice in the tanks do not seal them, you will create a pressurized hazard (Google "Dry Ice Bomb") and possibly cause the weakest point in the tank to fail. While this should be the seal over the fill pipe, it could find another weak point in the old tank.    

I think he is taking them out intact so the dry ice will be overkill but all good suggestions for the project.

Tim on the MIssissippi

Boy do I appreciate being a part of this forum!  Thanks to all of you that sent me some ideas.  From what i gather the consensus is that if I choose to smoke while I take the tank out I better use dry ice!  Kidding of course.

I'll take some pics once we're done.

Cheers,

Chris

Folks,

I have the tanks out, I am fabricating a new support system for some 126 gallon Moeller tanks and I am starting to "noodle"on the fuel lines.  A friend who is helping me has his fuel lines set up so he can choose either fuel tank for either engine instead of just an equalizer valve.  Any thoughts on this issue which would be better?  I kinda like the idea of being able to choose to run either engine from either tank instead just running both engines of both tanks with the equalizer.

Any advice on designing and installing the fuel lines?  I am going to read up on the all of the ABYC codes, etc. but was wondering if anyone had any advice.

Thanks folks!

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell said:

Boy do I appreciate being a part of this forum!  Thanks to all of you that sent me some ideas.  From what i gather the consensus is that if I choose to smoke while I take the tank out I better use dry ice!  Kidding of course.

I'll take some pics once we're done.

Cheers,

Chris

My tanks are original and each has a shutoff at the tank as well as the connector valve.  That connector is just that, not a balance valve which would need to be from the bottom of the tank.

The setup I engineered I can run either engine from either tank supplied by their own inlet and filter controlled by one valve for each engine. 



Chris Mitchell said:

Folks,

I have the tanks out, I am fabricating a new support system for some 126 gallon Moeller tanks and I am starting to "noodle"on the fuel lines.  A friend who is helping me has his fuel lines set up so he can choose either fuel tank for either engine instead of just an equalizer valve.  Any thoughts on this issue which would be better?  I kinda like the idea of being able to choose to run either engine from either tank instead just running both engines of both tanks with the equalizer.

Any advice on designing and installing the fuel lines?  I am going to read up on the all of the ABYC codes, etc. but was wondering if anyone had any advice.

Thanks folks!

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell said:

Boy do I appreciate being a part of this forum!  Thanks to all of you that sent me some ideas.  From what i gather the consensus is that if I choose to smoke while I take the tank out I better use dry ice!  Kidding of course.

I'll take some pics once we're done.

Cheers,

Chris

Back in December Matt Cowles started a thread on fuel shut off valves. There is a lot of information that you might find useful. There is a picture of the fuel manifold from "Wanderer" on that thread that allows me to isolate either tank, either engine, or the jenny. (I have since doubled all the hose clamps on this manifold.)

Here is a picture of my valves and tanks. My tanks came from a company in Florida aluminum epoxy coated 140 gallons each. My boat is a 38 Commander 1969.    I can run tanks separate for each engine, together, and flip tanks back and forth and run generator from either tank.   Works good and fairly simple set-up.

Mark

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