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Cleaning Aluminum Tank Before Welding

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  • KKM
    started a topic Cleaning Aluminum Tank Before Welding

    Cleaning Aluminum Tank Before Welding

    I have a 200 gal diesel tank on my boat. I will be welding from the inside. This is the only way. Tank is dry and wiped clean at this point. Next I am thinking about a water based cleaner with a mop and sponges on all sides. A soft wire brush would be next. I will need to remove a baffle with a jig saw before welding. I will be ventilating at 1500cfpm and I will be using a hookah for breathing. Does this sound good so far. Come welding time I plan on using the hookah for air. Do you see a problem with using co2 to purge the tank before and during welding. Boat is in the water and the tanks are built in and are part of the hull and bulk head. Everything is .250 aluminum.
    Kevin

  • hotsparks
    replied
    Have you looked into having a fuel compatible bladder installed in the existing tank?

    Leave a comment:


  • FusionKing
    replied
    The hull IS the tank. IOW if you drilled thru the bottom of the boat you would have fuel running out. The bulkheads create the tank sides. Great idea until it fails.
    Whoever set the boat is liable if they can pay.... hopefully with their liability coverage.

    I say clean it, ventilate it and then tig it. Just my opinion.

    Leave a comment:


  • dsharp
    replied
    http://www.fredwahlmarine.com/index.htmlI would give this man a call. I'm not sure if he builds in aluminum but I would bet he can hook you up with somebody that can help you. The hardest part is going to be getting it clean enough to weld.

    Leave a comment:


  • shovelon
    replied
    Did any diesel fuel leak into the hull area? Diesel fuel contaminates the **** out of the weld. Although I think the possiblility of combustion is low, I still would be concerned.

    I am not a boat guy but what you describe is a tough one. Do you have any insurance coverage to help expenses? Pictures would certainly help to describe your damage. Can you see the crack? I think if I was to entertain this repair, I would suggest cleaning the gap between the hull and tank, bevel out the crack, seal the area between the hull and tank, purge the area between hull and tank with argon.

    Filling the tank with Argon would be better as Co2 and alum welding is bad. Suppied air respitory gear like a full suit is only way I would send someone in there. 5356 wire and argon cover would be my preference.

    What is the hull material? Any chance of doing the repair from the hull side?

    Leave a comment:


  • Portable Welder
    replied
    Sorry to far away for me too.

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  • aametalmaster
    replied
    Too far away for me...Bob

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  • KKM
    replied
    Great, Looks like I have some welders that know what needs to be done. First one week ago when the boat was hauled for bottom paint is seems that the yard guys did not block the bottom right. One block was offset on only one side of the 12" wide flat bottom, rather than spanning the 12" bottom. This was right at the rear bulk head, common with the fuel tank. The crack is very small, 1/2 gal in one week. The tanks are built into the hull on this boat. I still have 500 gal up front. This is an offshore sport Tuna boat and I need all 700 gal. The shipyard are the same guys that also run the aluminum welding at the ship yard. I do not know if they have ever welded on the inside of a tank. There is a 24" access hole for cleaning. The boat is in Coos Bay Oregon. I will supply everything needed. All I need is someone that knows the right way to do this. Any takers.
    Kevin

    Leave a comment:


  • aametalmaster
    replied
    I have welded 2,000 gal steel fuel tanks from the inside on tugboats but they were properly cleaned, sniffed and had the hole watches in place. If you should ever need breathing air then something wasn't done right and please don't fill the tank with CO2 and go in a weld. You might not have a next post here...Bob

    Leave a comment:


  • shovelon
    replied
    Co2? Wow, just wow.

    You are kidding right?

    Hookah? Wow, just wow.

    You never elaborated on the reason for welding. Please do so. Is there a fracture? Corrosion?

    Leave a comment:


  • tackit
    replied
    I would think anyone that can afford $225.000 fishing boat would/should be able to take the boat to a reputable business that specializes in that kind of work. You will need some kind of breathing equipment to clean the tank out.....I don't think a hookah is the proper choice.

    Leave a comment:


  • bayweld
    replied
    I am a professional weldor when it comes to Fuel tank welding on boats.....That is why I will recommend to you that you take your tank repair to someone who is a professional...It is obvious that you don't have the experience necessary to do this job....and also why I won't school you on how to do this job via the interweb......The very first thing should be, for who ever does this job....to get that boat out of the water...Safety is the biggest reason and of course convienience.....Have you considered what would happen if you had an emergency and the boat was in the water??? Have you considered how you would see to weld inside the tank???? With a breathing apparatus your vision will be limited to start with (By the way, I have never needed to use a breathing apparatus for tank welding) and without a turbine type fan and ducting to pull the smoke away from the weld area, you will be blind from smoke in a few seconds...you will need to cut a LARGE HOLE in the tank for access...You will need helpers ..... There is another way.... Is it possible to cut the deck and drop a replacement tank in from the top???

    You haven't said why the tank is leaking....Is is from a bad seam weld?....Is is from damage like a hole poked in the tank???? or is it from (UGH) corrosion??? If it is corroded, You should consider tank replacement... Good Luck on getting you boat fixed...I wish you well and please be safe.....
    Last edited by bayweld; 06-08-2013, 09:09 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • tackit
    replied
    If you were considering a product like Simple Green to clean the tank out here is some good information to read from the maker of it.

    http://www.simplegreen.com/solutions...query=aluminum

    Leave a comment:


  • aametalmaster
    replied
    I was an operator in an oil refinery and we did tanks daily. It was my job to make sure they were clean and properly sniffed with a meter and all of the paperwork (confined space, fresh air, hot work permit) before anyone did anything. The cleaning crew used soap and water and a steam purge to rid the tank of all oils and vapors. Then after checking everything incl the paperwork you could begin. Yes you will read on this forum that all doesn't need done but thats your choice. You will need for a confined space rescue equip like a rope tied on a persons leg if they are just crawling into a space or tripod lifter crane is needed if going down into a manway to get the person out if needed without someone else going in and getting him (thats how 2 people die) Then you will need an outside attendant to watch the guy inside in case he is overcome by fumes, heat both the welding and the weather. You should have a fresh air fan at least sucking out if possible. Then if everything checks out and the people and equip are in place weld away. I worked in a marina welding on gasoline river barges and they are set up for the exact type of work that you are asking about maybe you should just run it to one and have the work done saving lots of headaches, just sayin. Good luck...Bob

    Leave a comment:


  • JSFAB
    replied
    I have never done a job like this, I do on a regular basis inerting big gasoline tanks from the outside, I have never once in my life done a job wearing a breathing apparatus in a deadly environment. However, there are those who do so, hopefully they can pipe up. Only other thing I can offer, never once, EVER, did I do a fuel-tank job based on what somebody told me on the internet,,,,,,that's just stupid.

    Leave a comment:

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