Removing the Old Water Tank

One of our most dreaded tasks was to remove the old, leaky, stainless water tank. We tried to think of any other conceivable way to fix it or work around because we knew taking it out would be a HUGE undertaking. We even considered just cutting the top part of the tank off, cleaning it out, and dropping a flexitank inside it. That wouldn't of worked at all. The tank was too sharp, too dirty, and too rotten on the bottom.

On a day that we had planned to paint our newly installed cabinet, we changed gears completely and decided to cut up the entire floor and make a huge mess. This was my idea and I thought it would only take a few hours - Matt was not into it at all, but agreed it probably needed to be done before we went any further.

Our idea was to cut the floor, pick it up, remove the tank, and reattach the floor. 11 hours later, with the tank finally removed and the two of us covered in disgusting bilge "fluid", we realized this wasn't the simple afternoon job we were thinking.

Matt used a circular saw to cut along the holly lines (that way we could later hide the cuts with tinted epoxy) and a multi-tool to cut the corners out cleanly.

This was the nasty beast that laid beneath...glad we decided to take it out!

All that was left now was to simply "pull the tank out"...not so much. It was glued in with 46 year old adhesive expanding foam (that, by the way, smelled like a burning dumpster when broken) and fiberglass tabbing all around. We had to cut the tabbing and then use a crowbar to pry the tank away from the hull while trying not to destroy the rest of the floor or throw up from the smell.

FINALLY, after getting the tank out of the floor we were renewed with excitement to throw the damn thing off the stern only to have our spirits crushed moments later when we discovered that it didn't fit through the companionway...10 minutes and a 3lb. hammer later, we celebrated by dumping it off the stern to the ground below.

And then we had this mess to deal with.

Loads of degreaser and dishsoap later...

Matt rebraced the floor using epoxy soaked 2x4's and then glued and screwed the flooring back down (leaving a few extra removable service panels). He tinted the epoxy black along the holly lines and you can't even see it now. We matched the adhesive filler for the other cuts and the screw holes to perfectly match the freshly stripped floor. It looked great until we varnished the floor and it darkened the wood and not the filler! Whoops! Should of thought of that...

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