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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Carson City, Nevada
    Posts
    32

    Default 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
    [XMT 350MPa , XR Feeder & Aluma Pro gun , Dynasty 200DX]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    North Central Indiana
    Posts
    782

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    not near you
    Posts
    146

    Default

    My first suggestion would be....Pull the boat out of the water...your job will be much easier and safer too....If you have problems and the boat is in the water.....Think about it....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    375

    Default

    Is there any way to work blasting caps and running chainsaws into the act?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    384

    Default

    You're a braver man than me. That said don't overlook the fact that no one without breathing equipment can come in and get you with the tank full of inert gas should the need arise. I would say don't work on this alone and use a reliable extraction harness when you are in the tank. Arrange a signal system with your tender so he/she can verify that you are still conscious and okay.Lotsa luck.---Meltedmetal

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Carson City, Nevada
    Posts
    32

    Default

    How do the PROFESSIONAL WELDERS do a job like this. In or out of the water should make no difference. I would like to do this the same way as a PROFESSIONAL does. I understand the problems I am facing. This is a 44' sport fisher with a value of $225K. without full fuel the boat is worthless to any offshore use. Does anyone here know the proper procedures for welding inside the tank.
    Kevin
    [XMT 350MPa , XR Feeder & Aluma Pro gun , Dynasty 200DX]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Lodi, CA
    Posts
    1,222

    Default

    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.
    Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Salem ,Ohio
    Posts
    3,894

    Cool

    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
    Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
    Metal Master Fab Salem, Oh 44460
    Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill
    1999 MM185 w/185 Spoolgun,1986 Thunderbolt AC/DC
    Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    North Central Indiana
    Posts
    782

    Default

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    not near you
    Posts
    146

    Default

    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 at 09:09 AM.

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