Water Wars ! Part Deux

Hello intrepid readers, and good morning from sunny Florida. I’m enjoying an early morning session in the backyard watching our three cats frolic in the sun and drinking the first cup of coffee of the day. Why, you might be asking yourselves, am I not on the boat continuing to repair the leaking water tank?

Because, dear friends, if I had stayed on the boat today, as I did Friday and Saturday, there is a very high probability that I would have found the local black market dynamite supplier, and would have blown Magic Carpet into a huge cloud of fiberglas dust.

Wow. OK. That’s better…I feel a little better now…just a little stress relief…I needed that.

I guess I probably wouldn’t have actually done that, but it sure was right up there in the forefront of the teeny little cognitive part of my brain. I guess I just find it a bit irksome that in order to repair what is in reality a relatively minor defect, one must disassemble such a large amount of boat stuff to get to the offending bits.

For anyone joining us this morning for the first time, the issue I am referring to was described previously in my post Water Wars. I was having a bit of difficulty removing the mattress platform that covers the leaking water tank. On Friday, I attacked it with a vengeance (and an assortment of power tools).

First, I drilled some holes in the corners to see where things are underneath, so that when I start cutting, I don’t make things worse.

The mattress lays on top of this platform.
The water tank is underneath.

I got the largest piece off, exposing the tanks to daylight for the first time in twenty years.

This is the water tank…at least, part of it.
Those round things are inspection ports with a lid that is supposed to screw out.
They were glued tight with adhesive caulk.

As I’d suspected, there are actually two tanks joined together. The work I’d done to this point exposed the larger of the two, and naturally, that’s not the one that’s cracked.

So, back to work we go. After several more hours of cutting and prying, I had the smaller tank exposed to the point that it can come up out of the box.

You might notice that as I exposed them, I was replacing the old glued-together inspection ports with new ones.

And now, I could get a real close look at the crack that was the cause of this mess.

The crack is about 8 inches long, and one side has actually settled relative to the other. I think inadequate support of the bottom is the cause for the settling.

As to why it cracked in the first place, I think it was due to a pretty basic error…this fitting was installed much too close to the edge of the tank. Stresses that were created as the tank flexed had nowhere to go, so to relieve the stress, the tank split. The fitting on the new tank will have a LOT more area around it on all sides.

The pickup tube is attached to this fitting, and it’s just way too close to the edge of the tank. It should have been located several inches from the edge.

Now at this point, I decided it would be prudent to take some careful measurements of the leaking tank to make sure that once emptied and removed from the box, it would fit up the stairs. Wouldn’t that be a hoot if it didn’t fit?!

Stairs from the stateroom to the salon.
90 degree turn, narrow and steep.

Guess what.

So, after a couple of hours on what one of my favorite bloggers refers to as “Al Gore’s internets”, I found a tank that was only five gallons smaller in capacity, but was arranged geometrically such that it seemed to have a good chance of going down the stairs into the stateroom.

You ask, “But how does that fix the problem of the one that won’t come UP the stairs?”

Very astute observation…the answer of course, is that it DOESN’T fix that problem. My trusty Sawzall is what’s going to fix that problem. That #@*^ leaky tank is coming up the stairs in many, many small pieces.

I took some foam-core board and mocked-up the tank I found on Al Gore’s internets, to make sure it would indeed fit up and down the stairs and through the door. Looks good from here.

Taking the leaking tank out also involves the larger tank, because the two tanks are joined together in two places with these threaded pipes.

There are two of these 1-1/2″ pipes to allow water to flow from one tank to the other.
I’m afraid I’m going to find the threads are covered with the same adhesive caulk they used on the inspection plates.
That will not be good.

I need to get these apart in order to separate the tanks, and they can only be reached through the four inch diameter inspection holes in the tops of the tanks, so it’s not going to be a simple matter of attacking them with a pair of pipe wrenches. Haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to do that part yet.

Once I manage to get the old tank out, I’ll clean up the deck under the tank and remove any wood that rotted from the constant leaking. Replacing any rotted wood with new, and laying down a few layers of epoxied fiberglas should give me a base for the new tank that will last as long as the boat.

Even though my foam-board mockup fits, it’s a little bendy, so I’m going to fabricate a mockup of the new tank using some scrap wood, and I’ll use that to make sure the tank I have in mind will, in fact, go down the stairs and into the stateroom. Once I’m sure of the fit, I’ll order the tank and get ready to take the old one out.

At the end of the day, I cleaned up my mess and left it looking like this until I get time to hit it again.

Next step: little tank comes out (in pieces) new tank goes in.

Next weekend though, I probably won’t get to do too much of that, because we have to move Magic Carpet ten miles south to the work yard where she’ll be hauled for new bottom paint (Haul Out Time – Hold Onto Your Wallet) and some service and repairs of several bits and pieces.

Once that’s done and she’s back home, I’ll finish the water tank replacement, and then can get back to work on the electronics for the upper helm. My new Garmin radio is on order, and I’m itching to get it put in along with the new chartplotter.

THEN…I’m going to sit on my butt on the back deck and enjoy a series of ice-cold Coronas.


About TwoCaptains

The TwoCaptains are Jim and Janet, both US Coast Guard licensed boat captains home-ported in Daytona Beach. We recently sold our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56' CPMY "Magic Carpet", and now we're in the hunt for a replacement.
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