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Thread: Tank Leak

  1. #1

    Tank Leak

    >The musketeer that I am considering buying has a seaping wing tank. It
    >only leaks when tank is full, does not leak fast enough to drip on the
    >ground nor does it effect the plane's range. Is this common?

    No, rather rare for a Musketeer.

    >Will it get worse as I learn to land the plane?

    Hopefully your landings are not THAT BAD! It may be age and sealant
    deterioration, not structural damage. The important thing is to locate the
    source of the leak so that some accurate cost projections about fixing it
    can be made.

    >Should I just run away?

    The price at purchase is adjusted for this kind of thing. The owner may
    not like that, and there are LOTS of planes on the market, so don't get
    sold on this one if the price is not right.

    >Any ideas on repair costs?

    Repair costs are in the THOUSANDS. Were it a Mooney or Grumman with
    integral tanks, the price to clean the old sealant out and re-seal starts
    in the $5000 range PER TANK.

    The 3 most likely leak points are the fuel gauge sender or its gasket, the
    fuel line and fitting at the pickup point, or the sump drain valve. The
    fuel line and the sender/gasket can appear to be a tank leak at the inboard
    rubber seal against the fuselage, and are not unrealistically expensive to
    repair. The sump drain is on the bottom and clearly visible, so it won't
    be confused with a seam leak.

    So the first step is to locate the exact source of the leak. The "only
    leaks when full" symptom can be the result of hydrostatic pressure from the
    weight of the fuel above the leak point. It does not necessarily indicate
    that the leak is high up on the tank.

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL

  2. #2

    Tank Leak

    In addition to Bob's comments, take a look at the top of the tank with a
    mirror and a flashlight. I have seen holes poked in the top of the tank
    to try and solve a venting problem. That would explain why it only
    leaks when it is full as the fuel level is above this particular hole.


    Braden Messenger
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
    C-GMBW (1975 Beechcraft B24R)

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