7.7.47 – 54 Closing the right tank and leak testing left fuel tank

Started early this morning with two jobs on the agenda. Close the right tank like we did the left and then pressure test the left fuel tank. Again my Dad stopped by to help. Work wise was pretty much identical to the left tank. Clean the tank and baffle, check everything was ok and then lay tank sealant using the gun.

Then cleco and rivet the skin to baffle.

Then blind rivet top and bottom baffle to rib holes…

Then cleco and blind/solid rivet the z brackets.

And that’s the right tank done and left to stand for a couple of days while it cures.

By now it was almost lunch time so my Dad and I decided to leak test the left fuel tank before lunch. The plan was to fill a plastic tube with water to create a manometer, inflate the tank with air to no more than 1 PSI and leave for an hour or so and check it after food.

As we inflated I noticed that the water level rose and then sank slightly with each pump of air. We inflated to 1 PSI and disconnected the pump in case it was leaking at the pump. Sadly it still dropped. We reinflated and sprayed soapy water all over the tank looking for leaks. I was sure it would come from the inspection cover as that was still only corked on. Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple. We eventually found the leak…

Disappointingly it was right in the middle of the rear baffle. Probably the least accessible place possible. Well that put a kaibosh on the afternoon!

During lunch we researched our options of which there are a few. Van’s recommend loctite 290 or cutting a hole in the baffle to apply sealant from the inside then make a plate to close the hole. Some forums also recommend creating a vacuum and ‘wicking’ sealant into the hole from the outside. Lastly someone suggested removing a handful of rivets in the location, prise the skin and baffle apart slightly and pouring some thinned sealant in there before finally riveting back together. Each have their own pros and cons so I’m going to sleep on it for a day or two before I finally decide but I’ve ordered a vacuum hand pump and some loctite 290 from Amazon just in case! 😋

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