No announcement yet.

4588 Fuel Tank Replacement

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    4588 Fuel Tank Replacement

    Has anyone here had experience with a fuel tank replacement on a 4588? One tank is leaking and needs replacement. Logic says that if one tank is leaking the other one will soon. Any ideas on cost?
    Last edited by Jim_Gandee; 05-20-2018, 10:00 AM.
    1991 4588
    SE Michigan

    My experience is limited to two 100 gallon aluminum fuel tanks on a 1996 Bayliner 3388, so I cannot comment directly on a 4588. But I'll assume you've aluminum fuel tanks maybe 20-30 years old? Aluminum fuel tanks were widely used back then and now, and have common "problems". I've done some posts about my leaking 20 year old aluminum fuel tank months ago, and a quick look there might help you. Or might not, you decide.

    Here's the major issues, I think, to look at and consider among others.

    First, who made your tank, and what is its size and number of internal baffles. Should be a decal on your tank showing the manufacturer. Mine was made by Coastline of Bellingham, and Coastline very courteously sent me details of the tank -- baffles, size, and exact dimensions. Had I ended up buying a new aluminum tank (I chose a different route, YMMV), I'd have purchased it from Coastline.

    Second, to get your old fuel tank(s) out, do you have to remove your engines? Naturally, removing and later reinstalling the engines, and removing old fuel tanks, and buying and reinstalling new tanks, tends to run up the cost if you have others do that work. Delays may also set in, as Coastline told me it would be several weeks (I forget the exact number, it is in my earlier posts here), and in my case the delay was a factor.

    Third, are the "bunks" on which your fuel tanks sit already rotted out? If so, that means you've got to fix that as well.

    Fourth, are the existing bunks okay and do they have the "strips" that elevate the fuel tank (so no tank rot due to constant water) off the bunk? And are the strips glued, or do they have screws that might have caused (over decades) the aluminum tanks to "rot" from the outside in? Whatever, if you install a new aluminum tank, consider installing new glued strips of the proper waterproof material so the tank supports, and the new aluminum tank, don't get wet and stay wet and rot.

    Fifth, there are lots of posts on BOC about the well known fuel tank leaks of the Bayliner 3288, made from about 1980 to 1996. Take a look at those posts to see what is applicable to you, if anything. An important question is to figure out if your tank has developed the leak from the inside out, or the outside in. Lots of posts and info about this.

    Sixth, consider the epoxy fix as a possible solution. While the epoxy fix is the solution I ended up using here in Seattle where my boat is moored, for the reasons mentioned months earlier on BOC, YMMV. Take a look at the info on the websites for two Seattle epoxy fix companies -- Precision Fuel Services and Felix Marine. Much information there to consider. You'll have to figure out what works best for you. I've no connection with either company, believe both to be qualified, and am pleased with the fine services of Les Newell of Precision Fuel Services, a very experienced person in my opinion.

    Seventh, consider the possibility of a bladder fix. My tanks had two internal baffles (per Coastline, that is, three internal "tanks"), so I chose not to go the bladder route for that reason and others. And also consider the possibility of removing (by first "cutting up" into smaller pieces) your existing tank and replacing it with several smaller tanks -- this could mean you can get the smaller tanks in and don't incur the substantial costs of removing and reinstalling engines, and lose only a few gallons of fuel capacity. Many posts about this.

    Finally, what about the 2nd (and currently non-leaking) aluminum tank? Take a look at the posts about this, including one that I posted on Trawler Forum a few months back under the user name Hodaka, and the excellent responses in my opinion. (One comment suggested looking at all the fuel connections to and from my tank to see if the leak could be traced there -- be sure to do that.) My second (and non-leaking) tank was a concern to me. You can now bet I'm on the lookout (and in the years to come) for water getting inside my aluminum diesel fuel tanks, and settling at the bottom and causing trouble over time! And how to get it out before it causes trouble.

    Remember the problem of leaks developing in decades old aluminum fuel tanks is a boating industry wide situation, aluminum fuel tanks were commonly used many decades ago and now by many manufacturers. So there's lots of experience to draw upon to figure about what will work best for you in the facts of your particular case. You get to decide which to pick! Hopefully it will not be too costly, and get you a good result. Good luck to you.
    1996 Bayliner 3388, Cummins 150 hp engines


      not really an answer to your question, but thought I would add something. 2 years ago, I had a company in Bellingham cut side access panels into my tanks on my 45 and vacuum all the scum out...he also cut windows in the baffles, and when he was done my tanks were beautifully clean. All tanks get dirty, and it is in this scum that corrosion occurs. My tanks had some minor pitting, but if it is bad they can be coated internally. not cheap, but it was a great investment and I would recommend it to all with tanks that are over 15 years old.



        A few years ago I saw a 45 with a huge rectangular hole cut in the side. At the time I didn't have a 45 so I didn't think much about it. I asked at the yard what they were doing thinking they might be salvaging things. I was told it was a fuel tank remove and replace. Basically they go in thru the side R&R the tank and reglass the side of the boat. I have no idea the cost but it has to be substantial. Lots of labor. I didn't look in the boat but to reinstall the 4' X 5' side of the boat you have to take some serious stuff apart.


          Resurrecting this older thread to see if folks here have any more information on 4588 fuel tank issues. I am looking at 1989 4588 next weekend and will scope the tanks as best as possible with a flexible 1/4" USB camera. At best I can see the tank tops and some of the outboard sides. Not much of the bottoms. Reading the above gave me the heebee jeebees.

          Has anyone had pressure tests performed as part of the survey?
          1989 Bayliner 4588 - EH700TI
          Portsmouth, NH


            USCG no longer allows aluminum fuel tanks on new boats.
            if you replace yours, SS is the answer, or poly.
            If you replace with aluminum then have plastic/poly bottom runners with 4200 100% coverage on the runner.
            You can also have the tank etched and then coated.
            Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

            Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
            Twin 350 GM power
            Located in Seward, AK
            Retired marine surveyor


              If? Or When? The "when" is what I want to avoid, like the plague!
              1989 Bayliner 4588 - EH700TI
              Portsmouth, NH