Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Suspected Fuel Tank Leak and Vinyl Patch

 Ok, we started with this (picture on left).

Yesterday, I noticed puckering on the vinyl around one of the rear baffle rivets on my fuel tank. RV builders will know what this probably means.

I too know this implies a small fuel tank leak, but having long ago adopted denial as my first line of defense, I decided to assume there is grease or 'something' underneath preventing the vinyl from sticking.


 Using my utility knife (still waiting on the good knives) and my razor sharp (not) eyeball, I cut a square, ok crude, section of vinyl from around the rivet.

Picture at left shows proseal or grease, but not the blue staining of a tank leak. Could it be that I lucked out?

Only way to find out is to clean up the area with whatever I have available (lacquer thinner today), patch, and watch.
 Some explanation. The swirl marks around the rivet head are from my attempts to use a rivet shaver. I quickly put that tool in the wasted money storage section of my tool box.

Ok this picture shows the cleanup. I will deal with the swirl marks, etc. before I lay the real wrap.
 Ok, I just cut a piece of vinyl and laid it over the affected area. You see an indentation caused by there being two layers around the perimeter.

I had to move around to get the light just right to show this. In fact this blends in pretty good.

But what if I try to inlay the patch using the technique used to repair vinyl flooring?
 This time I broke down and used a straight edge to cut through both layers of vinyl roughly 1/8 inch from the edge of the recessed area.

I removed the excess, gently lifted the edge of the inner section and removed the vinyl from underneath.  I laid down the remaining section and rubbed and heated as best I can.
 The result is not too bad. Realize I went out of my way to get the best light and angle to emphasize the patch. One casually looking at the wing would probably not notice it. Other home builders? They will see it, though not at first glance.

It's one of those things, if you are looking for it, you will see it.

I will leave this on for a few days to see if my luck holds or if I need to stop for tank removal and repair.

 One good thing to come out of this is that I have discovered a simple way to find fuel tank leaks, even the most subtle ones. Cut small strips of vinyl and lay them along the rivet lines of the tanks.

 With the airplane actually wrapped, you can chose to re-wrap the tank rather than patch.

The following are just more pictures of the patch from different angles. The last three are taken outdoors on a cloudy day.

 Next I talk about the ever so important 'paint scheme'. I talk about the scheme I chose, how I resolved my limitations with my wants. et

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this because it literally helped me out. I would have had to gone without my car for too long and couldn't even take it to a shop until Friday. Thanks to this I can at least feel comfortable using my car. If I run out of gas because it leaks I can just call an emergency refueling service to top me off so i can get home.

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company