Jump to content
Jeff Okun

Definitely a fuel tank leak

Recommended Posts

Well the worst is confirmed. I have a fuel tank leak, now what? I need help. We are dealing with a 2008 signature 290 which by design has its own problems. I don't know where to turn. I'm in ft Lauderdale, fl and everyone is an expert and I've been ripped off by so many "experts and marinas" who are only interested in $$$$ and know nothing. How do you find someone who has delt with my problem and actually knows what to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

post some pic of the tank and floor area  . First you will need an electric auto pump and hose long enough to get into the tank from the fuel sender and to  a container . You need to extend the wiring on the pump to reach a battery OUTSIDE the boat to start and stop the pump.

flush and clean the  bilge ,start removing the foam by hooked tools to pull out the foam .3/8 rod bent in a hook, flat steel stock bent in a L

Remove the tank to see what has failed

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try contacting intermarine.

they are a large chaparral dealer off anglers ave.

They may have run into this before.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Jeff Okun said:

Well the worst is confirmed. I have a fuel tank leak, now what? I need help. We are dealing with a 2008 signature 290 which by design has its own problems. I don't know where to turn. I'm in ft Lauderdale, fl and everyone is an expert and I've been ripped off by so many "experts and marinas" who are only interested in $$$$ and know nothing. How do you find someone who has delt with my problem and actually knows what to do.

My '08 Sig 270 also developed a gas tank leak, so this will not be news to Chaparral.  Here is a link my story and happy ending: 

Good Luck, Montreal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Bt Doctur said:

Is this a material issue, construction issue or what. Gas tank usually last longer than 8-9 years.

The tank is made from aluminum and if brackish water is allowed to sit in the bilge for an extended period of time, the tank will corrode and eventually leak.  I prefer a molded plastic fuel tank over aluminum. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the fuel tank area is a sealed area and does not drain into the bilge,thats a design flaw. Why would you ever want water to enter a fuel area and remain captive by not draining out

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A well known Florida fuel tank builder made a ton of defective fuel tanks many years ago.

See if Chap will do the job & back charge the tank company who built yours.

Get lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Bt Doctur said:

If the fuel tank area is a sealed area and does not drain into the bilge,thats a design flaw. Why would you ever want water to enter a fuel area and remain captive by not draining out

In theory and in design there is a weeping hole in the bulkhead between mid bilge and aft bilge. Chap, the award winning boat builder often messes up the execution of that hole. The hole is either above the bilge bottom, or too small, or its rough unfinished sides catch debris flowing thru, or the hole is painted over and covered with gelcoat, or just not made at all. Any of these defects alone results in the weeping hole being blocked and/or mid bilge holding some to large amount of water for some to indefinite period of time. Not a rocket science ... the consequences are easy to predict but they materialize mainly after the warranty period expires.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is insane! A 9 year old boat should NOT have a corroded and leaking fuel tank. That is what a 30 year old boat should have to deal with. 

That said, what I recommend is installing a fuel bladder inside your leaking tank. All you will have to do is cut the cabin floor and top of the tank to get the bladder in place. It's much easier than pulling both engines and dragging the tank out through the bilge. Look here:

http://www.boatbladders.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check with the company about life of tanks. They say 10 to 15 years.

IF you use E 10 get their lifespan on what fuels you use.

Unfortunately buried tanks are always treated like............

Out of sight. Out of being seen. I am working as fast as I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FMT is Florida Marine Tank. Could be and likely is original manufacturer. Sticker should be on tank. 

As for bladders stay away. They are much easier and claim to be the claim to fame but they have there own set of issues. I had a 03 Rinker 270 FV before and tank rotted out. I cut out 1/3 section of floor , climbed in tank and grinded out all rough spots and coated them with a sealer, ordered the bladder and installed. Installation was very very tough. Had to remove all the foam from the bladder , collapse it and then use a long pole to try and shove it all the way up in the 6 foot tank, then put each piece of foam in one by one.  Worked great for about 6-8 months. I had sold the boat at about 6 months to a new owner and after his 6 hour drive home on the water through some big rollers he apparently had a leaking tank.  He ended up pulling the floor up completely and removing the bladder I installed ( $3400 just for bladder) and found a pin hole leak that had started on a seam.  He opted not to go back with the bladder and install a regular aluminum tank. 

In hind site if I was to do it again I would do a stainless or aluminum tank, double wall thickness and do what needs to get it done and build the tank up so water can pass below . Bladders sounded like a good idea but never worked out as planned.  A properly installed aluminum or stainless tank will last over 25 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, 330Signature said:

FMT is Florida Marine Tank. Could be and likely is original manufacturer. Sticker should be on tank. 

As for bladders stay away. ...

In hind site if I was to do it again I would do a stainless or aluminum tank, double wall thickness and do what needs to get it done and build the tank up so water can pass below . Bladders sounded like a good idea but never worked out as planned.  A properly installed aluminum or stainless tank will last over 25 years.

+1 ... great idea in theory only.

The bladders are good temporary aux storage but make a lousy pemanent install.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Richard W said:

+1 ... great idea in theory only.

The bladders are good temporary aux storage but make a lousy pemanent install.

I know that a Prius has a bladder inside of a metal casing or plastic casing so I don't see why a bladder wouldn't work if it was installed correctly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Auggie said:

I know that a Prius has a bladder inside of a metal casing or plastic casing so I don't see why a bladder wouldn't work if it was installed correctly

Maybe because a boat bounces around more than a Toy-yotter does? And an aftermarket bladder may not be a precise fit.

brick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Auggie said:

I know that a Prius has a bladder inside of a metal casing or plastic casing so I don't see why a bladder wouldn't work if it was installed correctly

I would not compare OEM tank designed from a get go to be effectively a double wall tank and manufactured in high tech facility as one cohesive device, with an afterthought use of a bladder stuffed into what used to be a solid wall tank never designed to hold one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Richard W said:

I would not compare OEM tank designed from a get go to be effectively a double wall tank and manufactured in high tech facility as one cohesive device, with an afterthought use of a bladder stuffed into what used to be a solid wall tank never designed to hold one.

This I can definitely agree with.  I wasn't thinking that far ahead.  Ty RW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would call Chap on this too. There is a member of my Club that had the same problem. They give him a free tank, but he had to pay for the labor. He used 2 six gal outboard tanks as a temp fix just to move the boat around. His boat is a 32' footer but I can't remember the year & model. It must be about 7 or 8 years old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 2001 Chap 300 signature which uses the same tank as the 290. I am just wrapping up a tank swap on it. Not sure how similar it is to a 2008.

Here is what happened to mine, bilge water can run freely under the entire length of the tank. when you go on plane, in theory that water gets pumped out of the bilge.

In reality, that doesn't happen, the boat sits at the marina or mooring and the bottom of the tank is immersed in salt water. There are four rubber straps that run under the tank and support it from rubbing on the bottom. Water gets between the strap and tank and starts to corrode it, eventually making it porous and the tank leaks.

  I just had a new aluminum tank made but went 3/16th instead of 1/8th inch. I also sealed the bottom and side in Glovit Epoxy.

I also redesigned the bilge to seal off the fuel tank coffin from the bilge, thereby preventing any water from entering again.

I did this in my prior boat and it has worked flawlessly.

Despite what many yards said, the engines and radar arch can remain in, very little room is gained py pulling the engines. It is awkward, but you can get the tank out with the engines in.

  You disassemble the aft cabin interior, strip everything off the firewall, and then cut a hole in the firewall. You cut the aft cabin floor out, and then take the engine room decks out. It's easier to just rip it all out and get new wood as opposed to trying to save anything as it is all glassed and stapled in.

Loads of fun, would not recommend. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others  have recommended, call chaparral. Don't just call once, call a couple times and leave emails. I have a 2003 signature 300 that have the same problem two years ago. They covered the tank.  I cover the labor. The engines did not have to come out. They pulled the generator, cut the floor over the tank, and remove part of the bulkhead and talk to the tank out. My total was about $3500. And that was with the boat in the water.  I also had to coat the bottom half of the tank with epoxy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the moral is ?  Only buy a boat with a S S tank & fittings buried out of sight ? 

The joys of having a self regulated industry.

Have to love too much or too little deregulation.  Tough to get the MMA,  Marine Manufactures Association,   to set reasonable tank standards ?  Then all have the same costs.

Could not spend more money on a removable hatch ?

Or are they telling us a 30' boat is a throw away item because of a unsafe gas tank. Salt water & aluminum. Perfect together. Just like E Gas & none E Gas fuel system parts.

I would hope the ratio of epoxy is mixed to be such that the stuff remains NOT EVER FULLY hard. Why? If it hardens ? Temperature swings of Florida on stands during winter & summer  would allow for pulling apart after a couple of years. Coating a hot summer tank then cooling down in winter. Could shrink the aluminum in the epoxy coating.

Cost difference between a epoxy coated tank & S S is how much ?  Difference in raw materials ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×