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Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle.

 
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ptag.dev(at)talktalk.net
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:13 am    Post subject: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

Hi! Roland,
Just picked up your leaking tank Messages from my Junk List and tried to transfer them to my Inbox to send you my commiserations, but they have vanished into cyber space!
Sad to hear your message about your Europa tank.
If your trailer was outside in the current heat and not white reflective the temps inside would be baking ? Also was the vent clear to allow expansion inside the closed off fuel system ? sometimes with my aluminium long range system I have been known to leave its own vent closed and it contains a very high pressure due to weather expansion, so it is a factor , but alas too late for your incident any way. Whilst it is a major job to replace the existing tank it has been done in the past so I wouldn’t jump into the aluminium route before major considerations of availability etc. One thing is certain and that is provided it is all done in a very controlled way the resin issue will cure quickly but you must do it to the book since the cross member is a major structural item .
Sad to hear your message though .......”best made plans of mice and men” comes to mind.
Regards
Bob Harrison G-PTAG
PS look on the bright side .........my “tank” (bladder) has cancer back after 5 years and I go for what I hope is a scrape out on 23rd August !
Best wishes.


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DuaneFamly(at)aol.com
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:00 am    Post subject: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

Good day Bob, my tank is not leaking.....yet. Just a very pronounced bulge on the front wall interfering with the Aileron Cross Rod. While the vent is clear, Living in Las Vegas in the summer is like flying in a convection oven. Has been averaging about 110’ (42’) temperature wise these past few weeks and will stay like that for a few more. I am going to try heating up the empty tank and then some reverse pressure in the form of an expanding (over a few days) brace. As for your tank, best wishes in that the “scraping” is successful.
Mike Duane
N377EA
Europe XS Conventional Gear

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 5, 2018, at 4:13 AM, Bob Harrison <ptag.dev(at)talktalk.net (ptag.dev(at)talktalk.net)> wrote:
Quote:
<![endif]--> <![endif]-->
Hi! Roland,
Just picked up your leaking tank Messages from my Junk List and tried to transfer them to my Inbox to send you my commiserations, but they have vanished into cyber space!
Sad to hear your message about your Europa tank.
If your trailer was outside in the current heat and not white reflective the temps inside would be baking ? Also was the vent clear to allow expansion inside the closed off fuel system ? sometimes with my aluminium long range system I have been known to leave its own vent closed and it contains a very high pressure due to weather expansion, so it is a factor , but alas too late for your incident any way. Whilst it is a major job to replace the existing tank it has been done in the past so I wouldn’t jump into the aluminium route before major considerations of availability etc. One thing is certain and that is provided it is all done in a very controlled way the resin issue will cure quickly but you must do it to the book since the cross member is a major structural item .
Sad to hear your message though .......”best made plans of mice and men” comes to mind.
Regards
Bob Harrison G-PTAG
PS look on the bright side .........my “tank” (bladder) has cancer back after 5 years and I go for what I hope is a scrape out on 23rd August !
Best wishes.



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Roland



Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 291
Location: EDLE

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

Hello Bob,

I'm sorry to hear, that you are facing health problems again. Indeed a cracked tank is a problem others would happily like to exchange for their problems. This in mind I will think of you on the 23 August and cross my fingers that all goes well!

Although my trailer is white with OAT exceeding 38°C the temperatures inside will be even 5-10°C higher I guess. I always refuel to the top when leaving the plane for a longer time to prevent condensation and to minimize the risk of cracking.

Anyway I'm almost committed to the metal tank. The only disadvantage I could think of is that it's (maybe?) more prone to condensation when partly filled. I also wouldn't be keen to be the guinea pig, but I'm less concerned, since at least some owners have done it successfully already.

But even if I get a new fuel tank from Europa I take it from Bud's comments, that they are at least much better than the early ones in the meantime.

I'll let you all know about my decisions in due course.

Regards
Roland
XS TG 914


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AirEupora



Joined: 01 Nov 2009
Posts: 176
Location: Dixon, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:30 am    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

I would not to quick in going to a metal tank. There would be a weight penalty. I've replace two tanks on two different aircraft this last year. It's not a hard job if you follow Bub's instructions to the letter. Here is the States the hard part was paying the shipping from England. I checked around for a metal tank and they wants twice what the Europa manufactured tank was going to cost plus shipping. The new tank is about 0.5 gallons larger. If you follow Bud's replacement instruction then the tank is floating in the frame and is wedged in place instead of fiber-glassed.
One thing I did was to enlarge the two inspection holes on the bottom of the fuselage. With my big hands it was a great help. I used three layers of bid across both holes. Then cut out a five half inch circle.
Have fun! I hope you don't have a lot of upholstery around the seat back!


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Roland



Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 291
Location: EDLE

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

But what is the actual disadvantage of the aluminium tank other than its higher price? The tank of Bill Sisley is narrower than the original tank but taller, hence should fit into place more easily than the original tank even without the necessity to cut the door sill. If I avoid to go through the same debacle after another 17 years again I'll happily accept a higher price for the aluminium tank.And I'd have 17 litres more fuel at my disposal which comes handy for trip planning, especially to avoid leaded Avgas.

My only concern so far is, that a metal tank might be more prone to condensation which I mostly can avoid when filling the tank full after flying.

According to Bill Sisley the weight penalty for the 85 l tank is about 1 kg compared to the original Europa tank.

So on the negative side I only see condensation maybe more likely (?), a higher price (how much is the original Europa tank - Bill talked about 800 EUR for the aluminium tank in 2014) and a higher weight of about 1 kg.

The biggest advantage of the aluminium tank is in my opinion, that it is an ultimate fix of a weak point.

Anyway - thank you for your thoughts!

Regards
Roland
XS TG 914


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Dave Disney



Joined: 16 Aug 2010
Posts: 33
Location: Weston-Super-Mare

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

My tank developed a split but I didn’t want to go through the hassle of fitting a new tank, so I looked at alternative ways of overcoming the problem. In the end I repaired the tank in situ, the repair has held up for the last two years so I’m glad I didn’t rip out the original tank.
Watch this video to understand the process to repair the tank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lqu3NVqFNCU

For access I cut a hole between the headrests in the cockpit module, then cut a smaller hole in the top of the fuel tank below (having drained it first), this allowed me to see inside the tank & I could see the crack for the first time. I figured I had nothing to lose doing this because it would be an easy repair if I ended up cutting off the top of the headrests to remove the tank before fitting a new one as per Bud’s instructions.

There are some pictures (hopefully).

I followed the process in the video above. It was a bit awkward working through the cut-out in the tank top but it was doable. I had to buy a small heat gun for the welding process so bought one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFxN65eJWOo The panel I cut out of the top of the tank was used as ‘welding filler’ for the repair.

I developed a repair scheme that was approved by our LAA in the UK. I made up a removable cover for the cut out in the cockpit module between the headrests which was bonded on and made a nut-ring and cover out of aluminium with a gasket to seal the top of the fuel tank.

I now drain and clean the inside of tank every annual inspection to see how the repair is doing and all seems good so far.


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Photo 1 compressed.jpg
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Access holes
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Photo 5.JPG
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The repair after hot-air welding.
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The spit ground out with a dremel.
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Photo 3.JPG
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Tank split in the rear face of the tank just above the saddle.
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Photo 3.JPG


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Roland



Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 291
Location: EDLE

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

That's very interesting and a possible alternative to a new plastic tank. Thanks for sharing that! However I think one just wins some time, if the tank really becomes brittle over the years, what some owners report. What I understood is, that the new Europa tanks became better since about 2006 and it is critical not to bond it too much to the cockpit module. On my Europa I can see a destinctive dent outside on the fuselage on the left side where the tank is obviosly bonded to the structure causing severe stresses.

Maybe I can install a huge battery instead of a new tank Smile


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Dave Disney



Joined: 16 Aug 2010
Posts: 33
Location: Weston-Super-Mare

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

I'm not (yet) convinced that the old tanks do become brittle with age, mine is a pre 2006 XS tank. The material I removed for the cut-out seems to be exactly the same as a cut-out I removed from a new tank I purchased but didn't fit as far as flexibility goes. What I did do was support the old tank as much as possible underneath and at the sides using non-expanding foam used in the building industry.

As far as possible, I use non-ethanol forecourt fuel, maybe some other fuels could cause embrittlement who knows.

One thing is for sure, even if I have to fit a new tank sometime in the future, I would still cut a hole in the tank top, it's great to be able to drain, clean and inspect the tank properly.

You may be wondering why I cut a hole in the top of a new tank, the reason is that I was going to fit a bladder inside the original tank. This didn't work out because I couldn't make a fuel-tight bladder and getting one manufactured was prohibitively expensive. It remains an option though.


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Inflated tank front.jpg
 Description:
Here is one of the bladders I made. The material is strong, flexible and impervious to fuel. I just couldn't make one without pin holes in the seams. This bladder is fitted inside the tank through the cut-out hole you see in the tank top.
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clivesutton



Joined: 23 Jan 2013
Posts: 131
Location: KENILWORTH

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

A very illuminating post Dave - thanks

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Roland



Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 291
Location: EDLE

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:07 am    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

Dave, I've sent you a p.m.

I'm considering a repair as an interim fix.

Regards
Roland
XS TG 914


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Roland



Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 291
Location: EDLE

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:42 am    Post subject: Re: Roland Schmit Europa. Fuel Tank Debacle. Reply with quote

So - unfortunately my tank developed multiple (!) cracks, so that a repair is definitely no option. On the photo you only see one spot on the starboard side.

As already suspected the rigid bonding to the cockpit module at least contributed to that.

Anyhow - thanks again for all opinions, help and sympathy.

Regards
Roland
PH-ZTI
XS TG 914


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