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Lancer holding tank repair

May 24, 2019
4
Lancer Powersailer 27 Newport, OR
Hi guys!
I have a 1983 Lancer 27 Powersailer (but with a 2003 Suzuki DFF70 motor) that I've had for years and now the aluminum holding tank lid has developed corrosion holes. The owner's manual doesn't have any details about the tank construction. I've managed to get a few screws out of the top plate and they seem to just be embedded in resin and fiberglass as near as I can tell without getting the top off. Does anyone know what the tank itself is made of?? I'm trying to find info or suggestions for repair. A few boat forums just suggest using epoxy and covering the tank top or using a mix of fiberglass and epoxy. I'm thinking to get another aluminum plate made and replacing it with that. A few people have suggested using plexiglass. Any opinions or ideas on the best way to make this repair?
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,182
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Welcome to the forum Kurt. always like to see an Oregonian joining this Band of Sailors.
Not a lot of us have seen a Lancer, so your description while good makes it more of a challenge to give you specific ideas on your boat issues.
We can do a better job if you can post some pictures to give us an idea of what you are looking at. Best to take a wide shot that helps us with context as to where the tank is located and how it might have been installed, then a couple of closer shots that show the issue as you see it.
You will be surprised at the clever ideas these sailors have come up with to solve boat challenges.
 
May 24, 2019
4
Lancer Powersailer 27 Newport, OR
OK, thanks for the advice John. I thought it was just going out to the Lancer page. I'll try to get some pics later today but basically , the top of the holding tank sits about 3 inches under a floorboard in the main cabin and the tank itself is roughly 20 gallons and sits on top of the keel so it is basically invisible except for the top, which is thin aluminum plate (with corroded holes in it now), and is about 3 feet log and tapers from about a foot wide aft to about 8" forward. The plate appears to be screwed straight down into the fiberglass at the edge of the keelbox. The fittings for the vent hose and head hose are mounted in this plate on top.
 

Brian D

Moderator
Feb 17, 2006
4,527
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
I haven't had a chance to look at the tank in my Lancer 27. But your description is about right. I was told by my surveyor that the tank was basically 6 gallons. The Lancer manual (available on my boat webpage if you do not have one) does not give much detail about the holding tank.

It sounds like you have a lid on it (no pun intended, but was funny). If this were my boat, I would go with a fiberglass top plate. Just make sure it has a REALLY good seal.

Welcome aboard.
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,393
- - LIttle Rock
Welcome aboard sbo.com Kurt!
Go with any material BUT aluminum or any other metal. Urine is so corrosive that it eats through any metal. If your tank were metal, urine would have turned it into a colander long ago...the lid has lasted this long because it's only exposed to urine when the boat is heeled or gets splashed in heavy seas.
Plexiglass or polypropylene are good inexpensive choices for a new lid.

--Peggie
 
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May 24, 2019
4
Lancer Powersailer 27 Newport, OR
Thanks Peggy!
I was working on it yesterday and talked it over with a local boat guru and we also decided that plexiglass or plastic or even a sheet of fiberglass would be better (and cheaper) than trying to make a new one out of aluminum. The manual wasn't much help here. It states that the holding tank is a"about 20 gallons" but I agree with John that it is only 6-10 gallons. The manual also states that there is a deck pump out fitting but there isn't. I'vee been meaning to add one for a couple years but without an operational holding tank, I haven't gotten around to it. Never use the head except way offshore anyway but I will get it done someday. John mentioned you have a boat plumbing book but didn't tell me the name of it?
 
May 24, 2019
4
Lancer Powersailer 27 Newport, OR
Hi again Peggy. Just spotted the title of your book so you can ignore that last question!! :)
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,393
- - LIttle Rock
My book's title (my publisher's idea) is a bit misleading...'cuz although it does deal with every source of odor on a boat and how to cure, or better yet PREVENT 'em, it's actually a comprehensive "marine toilets and sanitation systems 101" manual that explains the laws, describes all the types of systems and how they work, and will help you learn how to operate and maintain your system to prevent 99% of problems instead of having to cure 'em. 'Cuz you get to do any preventive maintenance on your terms when it's convenient...the need to cure a problem never happens when it is! And I'm always glad to answer any questions it doesn't.
--Peggie
 
Jul 14, 2019
2
Lancer 27 Affinity Everett, WA
Let me know how this goes I am doing the same currently replacing the corroded aluminum top with something else
 
Jul 14, 2019
2
Lancer 27 Affinity Everett, WA
I used 5/16” plexiglass to replace the corroded cover of my waste tank.
 
Jul 26, 2019
5
Lancer PS Fog Ducker Thunder Bay
I am considering removing all parts of the marine head and installing a dry flush toilet (17 flushes per cartridge) and eliminating all the smell , maintenance and pump out issues associated with it. I wonder if the tank can be removed without much trouble and the area used for something else...
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,393
- - LIttle Rock
I am considering removing all parts of the marine head and installing a dry flush toilet (17 flushes per cartridge)
Can you post a link to that toilet? It's not one I'm familiar with. Thanks!

To answer your question...yes, the tank can be removed and that area re-purposed. How difficult a job it will be to remove it depends on the access to it and whether you want to remove intact or cut it up.

--Peggie
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,393
- - LIttle Rock
What he doesn't tell you is, what does a user do with urine deposits? In a tiny house, a foil "cassette" full of liquid or solid waste can go into a garbage can outside...but those packets would have to be stored aboard a boat. So I'm skeptical that packages of urine or solids would remain odor free in hot weather. Being able to "reload the toilet with only 17 "cassettes" at a time would require keeping a bunch of 'em on hand if you use the boat for longer than day sails 'cuz the average adult uses the toilet 5x/24 hrs...so 2 adults continuously aboard would go through 10 "cassettes"/day. Add one more person and you'd go through 15/day...all of which would have to be stored aboard--full of waste--for the duration of the cruise. Plus it costs $600!

If your primary goal is to get rid of smelly hoses, toilet maintenance and tank maintenance, I have what I consider a better idea that would only cost about $200: a self-contained system--an "MSD" portapotty.

The "MSD" designation in the model name/number means it has fittings for a pumpout line and vent line, and is designed to be permanently installed (actually just sturdier brackets than portables, so you could still take it off the boat if you absolutely have to), which means that although it's still called a PORTApotty, you don't have to carry anything off the boat to empty it.

A 5-6 gallon model holds 50-60 flushes...you'd need at least a 30 gal tank to hold that many from a manual marine toilet. No plumbing needed except a vent line and pumpout hose--so no new holes in the boat...and -0- maintenance needed except for rinsing out the tank--which you can do with a bucket while it's being pumped out. Total cost including the pumpout hose and vent line is about $200--a fraction of what you'd spend for a toilet, tank and all the related plumbing needed. And the best part is, you have all the advantages of a toilet and holding tank without giving up a single square foot of storage space. In fact, you'd still be able to pull out your existing tank and repurpose that space. You wouldn't be able to eliminate pumpouts, but the pumpout hose would be a lot shorter, pumpouts would become a LOT easier, and top quality sanitation hose (I'd go with Raritan SaniFlex) would remain odor free for up to 10 years..and no odor out the tank vent if you use No-Flex Digestor in the tank. And no can or bagful of foil wrapped body waste to sit and fester onboard.

Check out the Thetford 550P MSD and the Dometic/SeaLand 975MSD Sanipottie . Thetford has discontinued the 550PMSD, but it’s still available from most retailers…the Dometic 975MSD is still in production. They’re comparable, and not much can go wrong with either one, so if you like the Thetford find out if sbo.com still carries it before shopping for it elsewhere. Sbo.com does have the Dometic 975MSD.

Worth considering anyway....
--Peggie
 
Jul 26, 2019
5
Lancer PS Fog Ducker Thunder Bay
Up here... this boat is a weekender. 17 poops is more than enough. haha mileage will vary. lol

I've got 5 kids... never had a bad experience with a diaper genie. lol