-E.B. White

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fuel Tank 201

Well, this might be boring, boring, boring or interesting. Its really just what it is, boat issues. So:

OK, here's an update on the fuel tank repairs on Broulee as covered in the blog of January 1. We left you there with the completion of the leaky port tank repair and 3 new inspection ports installed. The next step for the port side was refinishing of the wall between the tank and engine room. Here it is:

Series 5052 aluminum sheet was applied to the wall for the fixed sections and King Starboard was used for the removable portions. Those would be 3 inspection port coverings and 2 access covers/doors for the above tank area inspection as well as any future needs, i.e. wiring, cable runs.  Area still needs some additional work to include securing wiring at ceiling area and re-installing the fuel polishing system.

At this point all of the fuel has been moved from the starboard tank into the now fully repaired port tank, which should be good for another "life time". Now for the starboard tank! No leaking there. At least not yet. But after seeing the pile of "stuff" and corrosion in the port tank there was no way to ignore the starboard tank.  So;
Here's the original inspection port, 9 inches. Good enough to look in and get a look at what's there. So, here's a peek into the tank.

And this is what was there, a bit of diesel and the ubiquitous "tar" on the bottom and partly on the walls.

Mopping up the diesel and a bit of the tar and the "asphalt" is visible in the corner. But not as much crust as was found in the port tank. But plenty of soft crud.

Results of the mopping up. And it is stinky!
 Petroleums and dead organics, ugh. And I could see some amount of pitting, so:

Time to cut the hole. Needed a "protractor", so made a jig with 6 inches on one end and 7 inches on the other to mark the hole to be cut out (12 inches) and the outside of the cover plate (14 inches). Marking the outside extent of the cover plate made it easier to mark and drill the plate bolt holes.

And the "fun!" of cutting. Jig saw does not fit without more wall removal, so, as before, sawsall.

New forward access hole cut so now to the cleaning and further inspection.

And after new hole cut and hard stuff removed the extent of the pitting was visible. Mostly within the area marked above with minor erosion in other areas and the light surface rust on the "ceiling". Probably some years before a hole would have developed, but only a matter of time.

Close up of the pitting in same area as previous photo.

Surface rust on "ceiling" and walls. Baffle in picture is between forward section and middle section of tank. 

Forward section prior to cleaning.

Another picture of the tar coating much of the bottom. Its likely dead organisms left over after those "wonderful" diesel additives to kill them. Guess it killed them, but even with the fuel polisher this stuff is there.

Forward section after
washing and scrubbing with water and dishwasher detergent. Wire brushing, sanding and acetone will smooth out the finish while providing some "tooth" for the epoxy, where applied, and the polysulfide.

 The aft section inspection/access hole was cut and the holes drilled for the plate bolts. The middle section was in good condition with the exception of a small area next to the baffle between it and the forward section, so did not install an access hole in that section. Cleaning for that section could be completed from the forward and aft sections.

After the water cleaning of the entire tank, the seams and areas to be worked were flushed and wiped down with acetone to remove any oils, diesel or tar residue. Time to seal the seams, so:

This time I tried West System Six10 thickened epoxy available in a caulk gun tube which mixes as it is dispensed. Previously I had mixed laminating epoxy, thickened with a high density filler and spread with a tongue depressor. Much faster applying with the caulk gun.
Also note the pitting just below the words "West System". This was at the top edge of the "stuff" on the bottom. This entire area was then treated as the port tank, layering epoxy and fiberglass cloth to seal and add strength in the pitted area. (Pictures of that work in this tank"disappeared"?.)

After the epoxy work and the area further cleaned with MEK it was ready for the polysulfide,  Flamemaster CS 3204 B4 and B2 (B4 gives 4 hour work time, B2 gives 2 hours) supplied by SealPak, Inc.
 ( www.sealpackcoinc.com )

The polysulfide fully mixed and ready for application. After using B2 formulation in the port tank and finding 2 hours was not enough time to work, B4 was used for the first application to allow more work time in the heavily worn areas. A second application was done using the B2.

 Ready to go to "work"! That stuff gets everywhere. Best to cover up cause its hard to remove later.

By the way, when the tank goo, acetone or MEK and this stuff are brought out, the Admiral and Crew (Izzy) are "out of here", time for walking or shopping or anything away from the stink!! Good to know someones smart around here.

The only area in the middle section where the polysulfide was needed.

The darker polysulfide is the second application using the B2 mix.

As in the port tank, I have opted to only apply the polysulfide to the pitted/corrosion areas and where I could thoroughly clean.
Sealing completed so time to close up the ports;

Seabuilt ( www.seabuilt.com) supplier of access plates) says the bolts are sealed with a proprietary thread seal, but my approach was I had the polysulfide available so why not further seal the bolts. (Belts and suspenders?)

The forward section plates installed. (Note the intake engine room fan above plates. It's a Lil' Champ 737cfm 12 vdc fan from Delta T Systems; but that's another story.)

 Lots of fun cutting the aft access hole and drilling the bolt holes. Required moving the water heater and will still need to re-route the inverter/charger battery cables.

OK, here's the other reason no middle tank section access plate. Sure the section had little corrosion and could be "reasonably" accessed from the forward and aft sections, but a center port would have necessitated the relocating of the distribution panel for the 2 inverter/chargers and the 2 battery banks. Lets call it a modest compromise.

Now to pressure test this tank and then install the starboard wall coverings, complete some wiring relocation, re-install the fuel polisher (do those things really work?) and get back to the "normal" boat to-do list. Oh, and, you better believe, put 'inspect/clean fuel tanks' on that periodic maintenance list!

Previous post note:
On The January 1 post we showed 'Izzy checking out the funny looking ducks...'.
Well a follower/friend advised they are Moscoy ducks. Native from Mexico, Central and South America, these most likely were the domesticated variety. Maybe you already knew that.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Just another day in paradise"

Yes, we like it here very much.  Very laid back and clean and friendly.  As I mentioned before - water is everywhere and it feels very tropical.  Most of the bars and restaurants have a Tiki Hut atmosphere. We have become regulars at Stan's on Sundays and our small group of Live Aboards is growing.  Wayne and Lynn on LeryLynn (escapees from Legacy) have now joined our happy hour group.

I heard someone say the other day - Stan's is spring break for adults.  Little did we know that our group pic (me, Diane and Lynn) was being photo bombed by an anonymous adult spring breaker. Too funny.

Another great evening out at CJ's on the Bay with our Minnesota friends - Doug, Robbie's dad Dick and Robbie.  Doug is now back in Minnesota and called to bug me about no postings on the blog.  I told him I have been waiting for a rainy day.  We have had no rain since we got here on December 2nd - guess what Doug, it rained this morning, but sun was out by 1:30 - hope this pic reminds you of what you are missing.  Hurry back!  
  Sunset at CJ's on the Bay

They have a huge farmers market here on Wednesdays - pics of some of the pretty produce.

Florida strawberries - yummy.

Also found a guy selling air plants - 

Yup, you knew we couldn't resist - can't wait to bring this home to our greenhouse - oops just noticed our Christmas lights are still up, what can I say, we have been busy.

My sister Joni married a Henning so we couldn't resist stopping for a Chicago style deep dish pizza.  The pizza was amazing - but, unfortunately we didn't get any discounts for pulling out the "my sister is married to a Henning card".  Turns out the owner is not claiming any relatives in Minnesota - all Chicago and he's sticking to that story.

I had great plans of making it to workout at Anytime Fitness after lunch - hah!  

  Sights on my morning walk - 
Update on the burrowing owls - yes, they are still here.  So much for selling this lot anytime soon.  They are classified endangered, so no disturbance of any kind.  Izzy has no interest in them, so they don't seem to be bothered by her.

Moon setting the morning after the full moon.  Darn - it's another beautiful morning, looks like no chance for blogging or year end bookwork today - the pool is calling.

 There is a reason Izzy has shoved three toys into her mouth, its called Chewie...
Meet Chewbacca (aka Chewie).  His owner was taken to the emergency room and hospitalized for 9 days - the dockmaster knew we were dog people so he asked if we could help out. He was in need of a bath, which he thoroughly enjoyed and Izzy agreed to at least share the couch.

  They actually became great friends.  Very glad to help out - sad to let him go, but happy Brian has been released and is doing better.
 Enjoying another Happy Hour at Stilts on the beach for sunset.  L-R (Diane, Lynn, Tim, Wayne, Rick and Deb)

 What can I say - we are having a great time and it is beautiful here.  

Updates on cleaning the starboard fuel tanks to follow.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fuel Tanks 101

Well, from a previous post, you know upon our return to Broulee we were greeted with the news of a fuel leak. And then the pumping out of fuel as well as how to balance the boat, like bags of cement mix and sand. A call and discussion with our friend Wayne (Take Time) resulted in his simple solution: fill the tank with water! Of course, but there's a leak in it, so, a temporary "patch".
  That's some good old gutter caulk that will stick to anything and added after an initial "cleaning" of some soft gooey deposits. Worked like a charm and lets us get on our way and for Rick to start his fuel tank education courses.  Lots of calls, reading, Google searches, Trawler World, discussions with tank manufacturers and on and on. A conversation with Minnesota friend Doug advising what oil refineries' maintenance and repair actions are in their huge above ground iron storage tanks, and lots of first hand information from friends who have gone through this on their boats or are going through it now.
It all gets down to a decision of tear it out (OMG) or repair it. And that gets down to the overall condition of the tank. So, cut some holes (sized for new inspection port closures) and inspect.

But wait, what size should the holes be?

The big one would be great but not enough room
between supports in the engine room.

OK, this will work, albeit snug, can at least see what the one arm is doing.

 3 ports cut in and sized to allow at least some access for working in the tank. 

 This is applying the "fix", but we're ahead of the story here.

What was found during the "inspection" phase?

Note the "soft" stuff on the bottom to left and then what looks like a flat section in the corner. It turned out to be a hard, crusty product that was like asphalt! Had to use a scraper to remove it. And there was a surprise under it. 

Here's a close up of the "asphalt" and the surprises waiting to be found.

 And here's the crud or "asphalt" from the bottom of the tank.

What, a hole (not surprising) and then a second hole previously repaired?! Really? Here's the bad side of that; we knew nothing of a tank repair, the previous owner was mum on that and we were never in the tank for inspection to see it. (OK, that's a significant "operator error", but never had any fuel problem and used a fuel polishing system, so why open the tank? I can answer that now.) Here's the good side of that; That previous repair lasted 14 years! What was the repair? Best guess, JB Weld or similar and done in the Philippines by the previous owner. 

So, after that discovery and inspecting the rest of the tank, the conclusion was the rest of the tank was in good condition. Some surface rust on walls above the fuel line and on the "ceiling"/top was apparent but no other holes or pitted areas were found. That, and far enough into Fuel Tanks 101 course, lead to the decision to repair. So the education continued to determine how to repair. Again, consulting "professionals" doing tank repairs and maintenance and friends who have gone the repair route resulted in using epoxy, fiberglass cloth and multi-part aircraft sealant (polysulfide compound). This thanks to another friend, Rob on Papillon, a retired FBO(aircraft fixed base operator) who suggested the product used widely in aircraft and military for fuel tank and other repairs.

After thorough cleaning (acetone), wire brushing and then final cleaning with methyl ethyl ketone (respirator mandatory), all seams sealed with thickened epoxy and the bottom pitted area with the holes covered with multiple layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy.

Then mix up some of the stickiest, stinky stuff made.  Put on the gloves, mask and cover suit and start applying to prepped areas.

Note the polysulfide is applied to only portions of the tank. This after more discussions suggesting either complete tank coating or portions are acceptable methods of repair.

Port tank repaired and inspection plates installed. Tank pressure tested, passed holding 4-5 psi for 24 hours.  All fuel transferred to port tank and boat re-balanced (move the sand bags, etc.). Wall finish to be completed, and yes, now to do it all over again on the starboard side. Ok, no leaking there, but can it be trusted? No way without opening and inspecting. Stay tuned.

And that's enough of Fuel Tanks 101 (for now), So what else has been happening on Broulee?

On a lighter note - we have also been taking some time for fun.  A couple of weeks ago a fellow boater told us about a dog park on the island, so with Izzy in tow, we went to check it out.

And as everything else here on the island is beautiful - so is the dog park.  Izzy checking out the funny looking ducks during our walk around the lake at Mackle Park.

The off leash dog park complete with trees and grass - not normally what we experience at dog parks in Florida. 

The last few mornings we have been experiencing morning fog - the temps are above average and the humidity level is reeking havoc on my hair - seriously not complaining.  Usually by 9:00 AM the fog clears with blue skies to follow.

On Saturday our niece Leslie arrived with son Macdera and also daughter Samantha and son Devin. Once again, her father's artwork was featured at the Harmon-Meeks Gallery in Naples and they took this opportunity to come down to Florida for a little R & R.  We could hardly wait to see them - enjoying a night at the Gallery and a great dinner at the Boat House.
At this event, Don was the featured artist of the Contemporary American Masters show with a room dedicated to his watercolors. Shown here are his Sneakers, Grapes and Lifesavers (sold that night). Visit his website for more information on his work; www.donnice.com

Then with work behind us - it was time to throw off the ropes and get some sun and fun.
Leslie, Macdera, Devin and Samantha - heading to Keewaydin for a day trip.  The weather, again, was a perfect warm, light breeze, some high cirrus clouds; just the right amount of sun. Ideal for shelling, swimming and enjoying the Gulf waters. A place we had visited several years ago (2005) with no other boats, we anchored on the waterway side of the island, dinghyed to shore and walked over to the Gulf. How times change! Unfortunately no pictures of the some 50 plus boats beached and/or anchored in this previously quiet place.  The kids found sand dollars, shells and played/swam in the water with Izzy (allowed on the beach while on leash).
It was a great day and the best was yet to come on the way back to the marina. How could it be any better than to have a dolphin "escort" playing in front of Broulee's "push wave". 

 They stayed with us for 45 minutes, shortly after leaving Keewaydin until we turned into the marina through slow traffic zones and a cut out to the Gulf and back. Neighboring boats were enjoying the private dolphin show in front of Broulee. We were amazed!

Our next encounter would be the fireworks at the Naples Pier.  Plan was to meet up at Old Naples Pub for dinner and drinks.  We may have arrived just a few minutes short of parking at the 3rd Street lot.  Hurry, back and get a spot at the church down the road.  
  Reservations in - looks like a hour and half wait. Lots of people - hoping we make the fireworks.  Kids show up, change in plans - suggest quick pizza and head back to beach towels they have placed on the beach.
Patiently waiting for the fireworks, Leslie, Samantha, Macdera & Devin.  
The video to a magnificent finale. Not shown was the mile of beach with THOUSANDS of people literally side by side with beach blankets, tables set up with all food and drink (oops no drinking on the beaches) and scores of boats waiting and watching the year end display.

Oh, one more thing, before the kids left - their present for Izzy
Izzy says thanks to Leslie, Samantha, Macdera and Devin, can't wait until your next visit!