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Chap 240

Fuel tank replacement Chaparral 240 Signature

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Due to the unsuitable choice of material in the original fuel tank I had to replace it with a durable and safe solution. The aluminium (aluminum) was, as usual for aluminium tanks, corroded with several big holes and fuel were flooding everywhere it should not be in the boat when I got it. Since then the boat has undergone a complete restoration and today all mechanic and electric parts are replaced with new. In my personal opinion, it was a better choice to make a complete rebuild than to purchase a brand new boat at roughly 3x the cost of the renovation, since I really like the hull and the super smart use of space. It is truly a roomy but sea worthy pocket cruiser! I totally understand why it is so popular.

I will post the photos step-by-step for reference if anyone is contemplating the same work. It is totally doable, and not too complicated, but the hardest part is to get the old tank out of the boat! The solution was to cut away much more of the bulkhead than I was hoping. But easy enough to rebuild.  

First the interior has to be cut to reveal the original tank. We used a simple stick from the engine room through a pilot hole to determine the total length of the tank.

 

aft cabin floor.jpg

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I found a suitable polyethylene tank from Italian manufacturer OSCULATI (part number 52.036.02) 187 litre volume that fit in the original compartment without any modifications. With the new engine Volvo Penta V6-280EVC I reduced fuel consumption by some 20% so the smaller tank volume would not affect the range too much anyway. I was mostly focused on a tank solution that would actually last the complete life span of the boat, and safety.

tank installed a.jpg

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With the tank in place I connected the Volvo Penta EVC fuel sender and prepared a fully sealed inspection hatch in the aft cabin floor.

tank brackets.jpg

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Last step before reinstalling the aft cabin floor (I reused the same piece that we cut out) connecting filler hose and ventilation hose. The fuel line pickup is located in the aft side of the tank, in the engine room.

fuel filler and vent.jpg

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New marine plywood covers the tank, all wood was laminated with glass fibre and epoxy (inside and outside). The fuel line comes from the small hole to the left of the filler hose. I also installed a separate Volvo Penta water-separating fuel filter (part number 877765). The entire engine room was finally painted with 3 coats International Danboline brilliant white.

engine room rebuild.jpg

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Great job. I am also of the opinion that the fuel bay should be sealed off from the rest of the bilge.

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Nice presentation and very professional work. Just wondering what year your boat is and my concern about those holes in the fuel tank & how many years those aluminum tanks last? 

Thanks for sharing!!! Good luck!

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7 hours ago, Randall Harbert said:

Nice presentation and very professional work. Just wondering what year your boat is and my concern about those holes in the fuel tank & how many years those aluminum tanks last? 

Thanks for sharing!!! Good luck!

They last a long time as long as salt water (and to a lesser degree fresh water) is kept out of the bilge.

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3 hours ago, drewm3i said:

They last a long time as long as salt water (and to a lesser degree fresh water) is kept out of the bilge.

Got it. Makes sense to seal that area (under the tank) off from the bilge then (or would that create a moisture trap for mold?)

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Sealing it off is good as long as you can ensure the tank isnt corroded or holding water underneath.

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20 hours ago, Randall Harbert said:

Nice presentation and very professional work. Just wondering what year your boat is and my concern about those holes in the fuel tank & how many years those aluminum tanks last? 

Thanks for sharing!!! Good luck!

My boat is from 1999 and the alu tank was doomed after about 15 years service. The tank compartment is sealed off and dry so the corrosion was from internal condensation building up water over the years on the bottom of the tank (we have coastal climate but snowy winters and hot summers). When we removed the tank it was a mess. I'm so glad I replaced it with polyethylene. There is good reason cars have PE tanks these days, and most new production boats have SS or PE tanks.

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9 hours ago, Randall Harbert said:

Got it. Makes sense to seal that area (under the tank) off from the bilge then (or would that create a moisture trap for mold?)

The bilge is separate underneath the tank compartment. On the photo I posted above at 5:56PM you can vaguely see the cover strip for the bilge at the very bottom of the photo. So there is no water that can get there.

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Thank you all for the positive comments! I hope to post some more projects as I have documented everything done on the boat (and everything is done now, finally).

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