If anyone is familiar with the Bonito range of boats, these are made using Thermolite composite panel for the floor and transom. All other hull reinforcement parts are are made using a solid GRP network of stringers and sub-bulkheads. The owner of this Bonito 560 knew that the fuel tank was leaking and had already contacted the builder in Queensland for any advice and details he could offer. The builder advised that the new boats use plastic tanks now and these were much cheaper. This boat had an aluminium tank built in below the floor, and the builder sent some photos of how and where it was mounted. Armed with this information we proceeded to cut out the floor behind the center console which revealed that we needed to cut almost all the way back and also cut out the console floor and lip on the front. It didn’t end there, we also needed to cut a section out in front of the console to access the front tank mount. With full access to the tank and hose connections, we were able to unbolt the back and front tank mounts and remove the old tank. It was hoped that perhaps the leak was confined to one of the hoses however we could clearly see a split in the tank below the aft mount. It appeared that the floor behind the console where the driver stood had flexed over the years and had been putting pressure on the top of the tank, which was fatiguing and cracking the aft tank bracket. The new tank was made using heavy wall stainless and included an extra breather on the front as the owner had difficulty filling the old tank fully due to an air lock in the original design. The new breather line was run below the floor and up through the anchor locker and then down to the back on the Starboard side. We improved the new floor section by going to a thicker section of Thermolite and also glassing both sides to avoid any flex. With the floor repaired and very solid, we faired, primed and re-painted the entire floor in a 2 pack nonskid finish, then re-flowcoated the areas below and surrounding the console, across the back and in the anchor locker along with matching fleck. On the same day the owner picked up the boat he filled up the tank, launched and sea trialed it with everything working perfectly!
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