Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "PORT FUEL TAKE INTALL"
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12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Don Montgomery and Lana Nelson

Bud, Can the port side fuel tank be installed without removing the tall fixed loop in the exhaust system?


Bud Taplin

Depends on what engine you have, although I would probably say that the exhaust loop would interfer with getting the tank in place.

Aaron Norlund


It would have interfered with our port tank removal.

Fair leads,
Aaron N.

Don Montgomery and Lana Nelson

Note to self.......DO NOT post when drinking!

Jon and Debbie Simpson

My WS 32, Zoe (#329), was fitted with new aluminum fuel tanks supplied by Bud by the previous owner. The starboard tank is feeding the engine fine but the port tank does not feed. There is a valve at the top/forward part of the tank. I've tried adjusting the position of the valve to no avail. What could be the problem? Thanks in advance. Jon

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Ahoy Mates,
Jon, I completely understand, and I think I can shed some light on your problem. I just spent an entire afternoon draining the small amont of remaining fuel from both original steel tanks on my 1974 W32. I'm talking about 12 gallons in total. Port tank cutoff valve had failed, frozen in open position. I took the hose directly from that tank and started draining into a container. Barely a stream, I mean pathetic. I thought, well it's probably just the valve. NOPE! Anyway, I ended up after almost an hour starting to siphon off the top and that went much faster. Then I moved to the starboard tank on which the cutoff valve operated perfectly. Open the line, expect a really good flow. NOPE! Same amount of stream, only a tiny bit better flow. Had to siphon off the top again. Of course, after siphoning off the top, I did let the remainder in each tank gravity discharge the rest. My opinion, grime and crud has coated the bottom of both tanks, interfering with the feed of fuel. I hope to break open a tank after I get them off as I have never seen the inside of a 34 year old diesel fuel tank and am curious. By the way, the prior owner had them professionally flushed just a few months ago. Maybe steam cleaning would have been better. Good luck.

Jon and Debbie Simpson

Thanks Randy. My tanks are quite new and have probably only been filled five or six times at most. In my case I doubt it's crud but I'll try and check this.

If anyone else has any experience with this please let me know. Thanks!


Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Another thing I just learned while on the hard. Fuel lines often collapse from inside. They may appear to be fine from an exterior examination. So, a cheap approach that may be worth trying is install new fuel lines. I plan to.


In 1979 I had a problem with one of the tanks. Past a certain level no fuel would come out. I cut a tube that was small enough to pass through the existing tube to length, with a 45 degree angle on the end. Pushed it all the way in, sealed around the top of the new tube and screwed the elbow back on. I think the factory tube had a pinhole leak. So far no problems.

George and Rayna Shaunfield

Well, it seems that only Carl (a friend with a Cape Dory 30C) and I are the only ones having any fun this summer. You know, real fun! Like pumping out the diesel and thoroughly cleaning the inside of the fuel tank(s) in your boat. Carl was first and he enjoyed it so much that I could not resist following suite (and the fact that that was next on my To-Do-List now that the engine is installed).

In case one of you decide you want to make this a fun summer too, I will offer some suggestions from Carl, plus a couple of things that I discovered on my own. Mine is a 37 gallon tank made of 5052 aluminum which I thought might be empty since the boat was originally pulled out of the water 10 years ago. I cut two 6" inspections ports since there is a baffle splitting the tank into fore and aft sections. The tank is shaped like a right-angle triangle with the top being flat and the port side sloping along the side of the hull.
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Low and behold, I pumped 17.5 gallons of diesel out, which was quite clear - amazing after 10 years. Then I used a sponge/Scotchbrite pad to wash the insides twice with strong soapy warm water. There was some discoloration of the aluminum, but no real gunk. After the inside dried a couple of days I found I could scrap the bottom (sloping side) and get a fine powder off. The second half of the tank went easier and quicker than the first half. What worked best for me was to scrap the "bottom" of the tank with a good quality 2" putty knife. Vacuum the powder out. Then use medium bronze wool and a lot of "elbow grease" to clean all the sides and the bottom until the aluminum was shiny. The two attached photos show the inside of the tank while in process and then when finished. The inside looks almost like new, after a mere 17 sweaty hours devoted to this project so far. The only things remaining are to cut two rubber gaskets, drill and tap 16 holes (8 for each inspection port), and screw the cover plates down.

In Nigel Calder's book "Marine Diesel Engines" he writes, "According to Lucas/CAV, one of the world's largest manufacturers of fuel injection equipment, 90% of diesel engine problems result from contaminated fuel." I would like to avoid that 90% category if possible. That is why I was so agressive in cleaning the tank, and why I am putting together a fuel polishing system. I believe I can salvage the $80 of fuel I pumped out, and hopefully avoid problems in the future. If anyone is interested I can describe and let you know how the fuel polishing system works out. It will take months for an effective evaluation.

Have some fun this summer. Clean your diesel tank!

The cleaning in process.
cleaning in process

Tank cleaning finished.
cleaning finished

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Wow! Way to go. I'll be installing Bud's aluminum on Satori soon, I hope.

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