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removing gasoline and vapors in Aluminum Work Boat

Question:
I have a 31 aluminum work boat with an under deck fuel tank which must be leaking. The aluminum deck is welded in place. The tank is a 100 gallon aluminum tank. The boat is only 1 year old. I removed the drain plug from the back of the boat and about 2 gallons of gas came out, this leads me to believe that the crack must be on the top of the tank because the tank is almost full and this is the only time I ever opened the drain plug. Before I do any work I want to make sure I don't have an explosion. If I fill the bilge area with dishsoap and water and then drain it will this remove all dangerous vapours? Any other ideas?


Answer:
-Unless you can ID the _reason_ for this leak (ie something you did to the boat, either handling or work, that was not what the boat was intended for), you should try to get the builder to take responsibility, or be made very aware of it.

The builder should be made aware of the trouble, and the actions you are going to take _in writing_. They should declare their intentions in the matter _in writing_. You touch that boat and you risk any warranty.

If you repair the problem, but there is a weakness somewhere, you (and maybe others) could have a rocket-powered ride sometime.

I also think this should be left to a boatbuilding yard for three reasons. - One is safety. - Next is is, you go in there _stating_ that you want this investigated for problems by a pro. The pros do the work, not you. No claims of your having caused the problem. - if there is a design or building flaw, this needs finding by somebody who knows what to look for.

If there is serious work involved here, and not just a loose pipe (whcih still should not happen) I think there are two ways. The legal way or the "noise" way. I think that a 31' boat is enough to justify the builder's becoming actively involved if it's only a year old. If legal actions don;t work. Start to threaten noise.

-It sounds like you�re gonna be doing some cutting to get to it and you don�t want to go pop. First thing to remember is that gasoline does NOT burn (or explode) it�s the vapor, so adequate ventilation is appropriate.

I would guess you might want to try the same procedure you use when welding a gas tank. Just fill the compartment with engine exhaust. I�ve done it for gas tanks and it does work. Of course you�ll need to get some fresh air for yourself so keep that in mind.

And yes, welding a gas tank does spook the hell out of you at first. Even, better you get to use a torch when you do it.

As far as removing the remaining gas in the compartment, you might want to let the exhaust flow through for a while and let it all evaporate, a nice hot day will help.

Lastly, your idea to flush it out with dish soap (Dawn) and let it fill up and soak for a while should help rid the remaining smell.


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