It’s May 2018, I want to travel off shore and head to Ct from MD
But wait. This is a 32 year old boat, the tanks have never been cleaned and There are almost 600 gal of fuel on board.
Dr Fuel Clean, Steve Richardson, to the rescue. We started communicating in the fall. There were a few caveats
1, boat needed to out of the water for insurance purposes
2, enough barrels needed to be available at the time of cleaning to temporarily store the fuel. This was not a problem.
3, a new gasket needed to be on hand prior to start. Failing that, the job would come to a halt while one was being fabricated
I’ve owned “mature” boats my entire life, I realize that sludge in a tank is generally never a problem until the weather turns and you can’t have your engine fail. So a preemptive strike was in order.
Everything seemed easy, I called around for a gasket, I spoke with knowledgeable people and found that there are no stock gaskets. There are companies who will fabricate them, but there is a time factor.
I learned I could order material and make one myself. I ordered the smallest piece available 2’x2′ 3/16″ thick and 60 Durometer made of Buns-N. Durometer I learned is a measure of compressibility. It’s this compressibility that allows the gasket to seat and be water tight.
I drove down to MD, arrived at 8 am, and met Steve Richardson, Dr Fuel Clean, unloaded a few spare barrels and discussed our plan of attack.
The port tank would be emptied first, the inspection plate removed and cleaning initiated. When the plate came off I would template it and make a new gasket.
Plans are meant to be changed! our first setback was attempting to loosen the inspection plate. The nuts were behind it and not accessible with the sliding door open. We kneeded to remove an area of wall.
That done we found we needed a right angle open ended wrench in order to hold the nuts, as there still wasn’t enough room to get a wrench behind the port.
Fortunately the yard had a torch and we were able to bend one of my wrenches.
If your not aware these are 350 gallons iron tanks, coated in resin with fiberglass holding bracing in place. Krogen was free with the resin and the nuts behind the flange were covered with it. Luckily I had my Fien multi tool in the truck and we were able to clear the nuts and remove them.
Time to fabricate the gaskets. With the cover plate in hand I decided to use it and a piece of plywood to sandwich the gasket material. I cut out the plywood slightly larger and clamped the material in. Using a gold paint pen, I colored in the bolt holes
I trimmed the gasket, removed it then used a punch to cut the holes.
The center was removed and a new gasket was made. When I handed it to Steve, his only comment was, “do you have a CNC machine out there”
One tank down another to go. Same problems but at least we had a heads up and a plan. 5:30 pm job was complete