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TOPIC: It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak

It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 04:21 #1

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and 10 months since "Sandy", we took the boat out of service with the intent of replacing the fuel tank. A string of projects other than the boat, took priority, and left the boat high and dry collecting leaves and dirt. While sitting, the intended project has evolved, now it's a list, in order,

1) remove and replace the fuel tank and soft floor.
2) remove and replace water and waste tanks.
3) repair or replace stringers and transom as required
4) add center stringer to support gas tank, and strengthen flexible spot in hull under tank.
5) Add additional length to main stringers to support hull behind cabin bulkhead. ( Inconceavably, 2x8 main stringers butt up to
incomplete bulkhead/ cofferdam for gas tank, then jump down in size to 2x2 aft to the transom. This explains the large
amount of spider cracks where the cockpit joins to the cabin bulkhead.
6) complete rework/remodel of cabin
7) paint and refinish hull, with new rubrail, and backing plates for cleats, handrails,chocks, tow and bow eyes, and backing plates
for the rubrail as well.
8) remodel V-birth
9) repower

Items will be replaced in groups with the intent to return boat to service during the summers for sanity maintenance.

So without further delay and alternating one day on boat one day on house we commence :


First order of business remove interior for access to gas tank, and to facilitate interior remod. Everything was unscrewed or cut out, as some items where tabbed in, screwed in or both.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 04:33 #2

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It was covered on both sides with a layer of glass and resin, tabbed to the hull sides and the floating "bulkhead" between the dinette, and galley. Didn't find out about the bulkhead not being connected to anything until after cutting the dinette loose

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 04:37 #3

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Removed weight of interior items, woodwork, including coverings, carpet, and monkey fur..... 350 lbs.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 04:42 #4

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Weight of deck and flooring support removed at this moment, 150 lbs. Fiberglass is tough on blades, the sawsall is slow going!

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 10:46 #5

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With the list of repairs you have mentioned I would give thought to buying another boat in better condition. I am reminded of many who buy a project boat and the advise given.
You have listed all of the major and expensive repairs on a boat.
I know for a fact there are many Contessa's still around in good condition and the price is much less than your costs will be.
Just a thought before you get to involved.
Good luck with it however you proceed.
Doug

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 16:06 #6

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You are absolutely correct, however I'm a sucker for a project. And we intend on changing the cabin. While the Contessa makes very good use of space, neither of us liked the dinette, or the bench on the other side, and I'm lowering the floor to gain another 3 inches of head room. Also the new gas tank will be bigger and slightly different in shape. Plus all will be new when I'm done.

I've owned this boat for 8 years , and I have a veritable lumber yard in the garage, only costs will be for fabric, some glass tape, and epoxy, to redo the cabin. This has been kicked around for years, just never got to it, the leaking tank and Jersey shore being torn up precipitated the start.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 19:40 #7

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Boat repairs are like onions. You keep peeling layers and finding more stuff underneath.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 20:31 #8

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green650;804134 wrote: boat repairs are like onions. You keep peeling layers and finding more stuff underneath.


lol

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 19 Aug 2013 21:03 #9

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green650;804134 wrote: Boat repairs are like onions. You keep peeling layers and finding more stuff underneath.


and they can bring tears to your eyes

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 21 Aug 2013 06:35 #10

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aquaholic13;804145 wrote: and they can bring tears to your eyes


Tears of pain while you are working on it, but tears of happiness when you are done.

I just finsihed replacing the fuel tank on my 2850. I only took off the a section of the panel holding up the dinnet and slided the tank out with the dinnet mostly intact. I found rotten stringers supporting the engine and one of the stringer under the main cabin. I used pourable fiberglass transom to repair the stringers. I hope your stringers are in good condition. I put everything back together a couple of weeks ago and ran the boat last Friday. It was a good feeling when the job is complete. I will post some photos later. Good luck in your project.

Joe

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1986 2850 Commend Bridge
A260 and AQ280 with DP lower unit
San Francisco Bay Area
Purchase the boat in 2005

It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 21 Aug 2013 15:08 #11

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jmcajmca;804597 wrote: Tears of pain while you are working on it, but tears of happiness when you are done.

I just finsihed replacing the fuel tank on my 2850. I only took off the a section of the panel holding up the dinnet and slided the tank out with the dinnet mostly intact. I found rotten stringers supporting the engine and one of the stringer under the main cabin. I used pourable fiberglass transom to repair the stringers. I hope your stringers are in good condition. I put everything back together a couple of weeks ago and ran the boat last Friday. It was a good feeling when the job is complete. I will post some photos later. Good luck in your project.

Joe


I was wondering where you got to. I asked you a few questions in your OP, and asked how it went. Glad to hear it came out well. Last year when the tank first started to leak we were just going to do the tank, but after seeing your posts we decided to go further and just rip out the entire cabin interior. My engine stringers have issues, (I have known that for years), and the transom as well. The original design has a weak spot where the stringers jump down in size just behind the gas tank. I'm going to rectify that and a few other shortcomings. All is planned for and the fun has begun!

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 22 Aug 2013 03:22 #12

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It's Wednesday so it must be time for another episode of "Pimp My Boat"

Tonights episode "Remove the Poop Tank"

Opened up the floor some more, continuing to work my way to removing tank. After cutting out the starboard side of the floor to gain access to the tank, I found that the outer most stringer is another 2x8 and sticks way above all the other stringers, Making the plan to lower the floor a bit more complicated. They go from right to left, 2x8 on outer chine, sticks up 4 inches over center 2 stringers which are 2x8's then port most side is 2x4. And none of the stringers behind the gas tank that support the engine are more than 2x4 with 2 of the 4, 2x2,.... say what??

Discovered waste tank wasn't empty, hmmmm, and removed the additional crossbeams I added to keep the bilge access plate from acting like a trampoline. Another 60lbs removed. Also discovered that gelcoat is harder to cut through than fiberglas.

Photographic masterpieces from the event:

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 22 Aug 2013 06:49 #13

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I found that an Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool was very helpful in close-quarter cutting with my tank replacement project.
[img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/804908=40364-Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool.jpg You probably have one already, but if you don't have one, you can find it cheap at Harbor Freight and most hardware stores.Joe

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1986 2850 Commend Bridge
A260 and AQ280 with DP lower unit
San Francisco Bay Area
Purchase the boat in 2005

It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 22 Aug 2013 10:23 #14

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Way to go. IMHO if you are keeping the boat it only makes sense to take care of everything now. When completed you will know exactly what you have and it should be trouble free for the foreseable future. :arr

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 24 Aug 2013 03:02 #15

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Tonight I managed to cut out the port side floor entirely and was met with a very unexpected find. First of all, what looked like a solid 2x6 turned out to be a 1x5 made of 5ft sections of plywood, and the 2x8, is made of 5ft sections of timber, both, with 1/2 plywood bulkheads butted between the sections. So the stingers are short sections butted together with plywood bulkheads interupting the run. I'm guessing the 2x6 and 2x10 on the starboard side will be similar, when I get the rest of the floor up. The wide disparity in sizes is disconcerting at best. Now I see no rot, cracking or structural issues forward of the cabin bulhead, so I guess it worked well enough. The dozen or so nails holding the cabin deck down, not so good, they all rusted to nothing. Interestingly, test bores near those sited yielded no moisture or rot. Stringers and bulkheads do not ressemble any pictures of other Contessas in similar states of repair, other than jmcajmca's. I saw he noted a rotted stringer in the cabin area, and many others have as well, yet mine are fine, even with the cabin entrance leaking so badly for so many years.

Did find a cigarette filter laminated into the hull, lol. The hull is generall quite heavily laminated, with the stringer joints being a bit sloppy, but mostly well wetted out and smoothed. Not particulaly straight or parellel. I am unable at this time to determine any hull thicknes, but I will be removing the head intake seacock, so I'll measure that location. Portions of the hull toward the outer chines, and further back on the flats, sound to be solid FG, 3/4 or more thick. This makes the flexible spot under the gas tank a little hard to understand. Haven't gotten there yet, but I believe I'll find the laminate, thin there, for no apparent reason. I plan to fill this area with 6-8 lb structural poly foam, which will solve the "soft" area.

Sorry no pics or weight survey this evening, but will post pics of the stringer grid tomorrow.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 25 Aug 2013 04:02 #16

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 25 Aug 2013 04:18 #17

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Today pulled up the last of the flooring, and cut away old floor supports. I wll be redesigning the flooring system. Discovered a large dry void in the starboard side stringer system. It was a bubble that formed when they laminated the stingers and bulkhead together. No evidence of cracking in the area, so once again, not pretty, not the preffered method, but good enough. Also pulled batteries up from bilge, and rewired them so I can have lights and tunes while I'm laboring away.

Observations,
1) starboard outer stringer has a large relief cut into it for wiring, and hoses
2) cabin rear bulkhead is a motly assortment of oddly cut boards, and poor engineering, having a large unsupported span across
the fuel tank, which, then inturn, supports the flooring. This will be rectified on reassembly, with a solid bulkhead.

Weight removed yesteday and today, 58lbs.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 28 Aug 2013 03:37 #18

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Tonights derring do , not so much. Trimmed down the step into the galley 3 inches to bring it down to the new floor level. Stripped off the wiring, tubing and pump for fresh water, hoses and fuel filter, and some other odds and ends from the engine side of the rear bulkhead. This is to clear it for cutting to remove tank. Also started to remove temporary gas tank installed last year. No pics tonight, nothing worthy of one.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 31 Aug 2013 05:44 #19

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It's Friday Night soo... the gas tank must be......OUT! Spent the afternoon cutting away the aft cabin bulkhead to gain room for the tank to come out, also cut down the forward fuel tank bulkhead to allow a lower lift out height. The tank was a bit heavier than expected. Hole in tank exactly where everyone else's was, bottom rear, right against the cofferdam. The cofferdam itself is glassed over with one layer inside toward the tank, but this did little as the layup, on the lower corner of the stringer was poor and only a partail covering of the bilge deck was acheived, leading to another surprise, a rottted out bilge deck. The corner of the port stringer where it cuts down to 1/3 under the cabin bulkhead is wet, not rotted but wet. The cofferdam is wet and partialy rotted, expected as the cabin bulkhead leaks all over this area, and I suspect many other Contessas do as well. What was interesting was the amount of sand in this area.

Now that the tank is out and the last of the removal has been done, I can finalize my plans for reconstruction.

The soft spot under the gas tank was confirmed as being a thin laminate. It looks like the hull is basicly 4 layes or so of resin and heavy roven woven cloth. Every where else , these are all one thickness. Under the tank 2, maybe 3 layers form the hull and the others go over the plywood that forms the bilge deck. Leaving a 4x6 area of thin and flexible hull. I will be adding 2 layers of epoxy and 1808 biax to this area,installing a 2x4 keelson, replacing the bilge deck, then filling the void under the tank with 8 or 16 lb structural foam. The keelson will extend from the head, ( where the partial existing one from the forward keel stops), to partialy under the engine. This will form the support for the bilge deck, and the battery tray for the house bank.

The engine supports were known to be wet and partial rotted, these will be replaced, and extended 7 inches back under the cabin bulkhead, to help eliminate the flexing that occurs here due to so little support in the original design. All of the stringers cut down to 1/3 of their original size of 2x8, and 1x6, after the cabin bulkhead, and butt to the cabin bulkhead. As well, the lower cabin bulkhead is a motley assortment of bits and pieces glued and stapled together in a less than stable structure. This will now be a solid bulkhead with only holes required for fuel lines and wiring. An access plate will be installed for maintenance The rest of the stringers will upsized to 2x6 and 1x6 respectively, and boxed out to the gunnels.

The fuel tank is going to be shortened 7 inches and 2 inches additional height added . This will allow the tank to stay in the original location, and still be below the stringers and the waterline. Cleats will be added to the stringers to support the new floor, and to retain the new fuel tank.

No plans for fitting out the cabin have been worked out yet.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 04 Sep 2013 03:30 #20

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Continued cutting out the cofferdam tonight. It started out as 1/2 plywood at the top, and it was 1 and 1/4 at the bottom where they got carried away with fiberglass and resin. The plywood was not quite as bad as it had seemed, but the engine supports are worse. Completely soaked and almost mushy. Almost finished cutting out the bilge deck. The difference in hull laminate thickness is now quite evident, as where the cofferdam has been removed, the hull is markedly thicker, and stands above the hull under the bilge deck. Epoxy and glass have been order to start on the hull. Nothing of interest for pics tonight.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 08 Sep 2013 02:59 #21

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Just plugging along at the moment. Waiting for 1808 cloth to arrive to start the hull laminating. Removed the water tank, and assorted lines to go with it. Working on plans for the decking, and bulkheads. Nothing of any interest has changed, so no pics yet.

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 16 Sep 2013 03:24 #22

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Well fiberglass arrived this week, so after fabricating a keelson, in sections, I epoxied the foraward piece to the keel, and laid the first layer of glass to the starboard side, in front of the gastank forward bulkhead. I had to grind the shiite out of the old laminate, literally. The PO never replaced the bad shower drain pump, and instead allowed the goo to drain into the bilge. The build up was a good 1/16 of inch, and was embedded in all of the crevaises. It had the curious effect of waterproofing the exposed plywood, though. An angle grinder with a 60grit flapper wheel ground right through, but mad a holy mess with dust. Took 2 hours just to vacuum that up, so I could continue.

Tomorrow, I will lay the first layer of FG and epoxy laminate to the port side, and take a pic, I know many are waiting anxiously.:D

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 17 Sep 2013 03:02 #23

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Forward portion of keelson epoxied in and first layer of epoxy/fiberglass laminate in place

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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 14 Oct 2013 03:57 #24

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Ok third try to post this. Either it disappears, or simply hangs during "connecting"


New Name, same adventure. During the BOC intermission I have been busy. I laid in the keel deck, glassed and epoxied it in. Then I rolled on 2 coats of white epoxy over the glass. Then I cut a sheet of 1/2in BCX Plytanium, (Georgia Pacific brandname plywood, poor quality crap even for BC grade, 6 inch voids, cracks and ply seperations, wouldn't buy it again to burn it) for the bilge deck, which will support the holding tank and flush tank, for the head as well as the house batteries. I am converting the head to fresh water flush, from seawater.

I have been trying to hollow out the engine stringers to replace the wood cores. They are made from several different species and types of wood, some of which are very hard to bore through, particularly when wet. This has been slow and ineffective. I will instead block up the engine, then cut the original out with the sawzall, prefab the new supports, then glass and epoxy them in.

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1986 Bayliner Contessa 2850
On the hard undergoing, a full on refit and repower, with Chevrolet 454
Making real progress now
baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/forum/g...to-leak?limitstart=0
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It's been a year since the gas tank started to leak 14 Oct 2013 03:58 #25

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Keel deck

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1986 Bayliner Contessa 2850
On the hard undergoing, a full on refit and repower, with Chevrolet 454
Making real progress now
baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/forum/g...to-leak?limitstart=0
Last Edit: by SKUA 28 Contessa.
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