Originally Posted by rswalden
Very disappointed with fuel leaks in a pre-assembled fuel tank a friend of mine purchased from Van's for his RV-12. I flew the first 10 hours on his airplane with half-full fuel loads (approx 10 gallons). Never had a leak until we filled the tank on a final test flight. With the increased fuel load we began experiencing leaks at the outboard aft corner of the fuel tank, and at two of the rivets near the bottom drain.
We removed and opened the tank to inspect the inside and were shocked at how little proseal tank sealant was used by the Van's assemblers. The suspect corner of the tank pulled away from the aluminum with no resistance, and it was evident that little scuffing had been done to the corner.
Poor quality control by Van's, in my opinion. Considering the RV-12 fuel tank is in the fuselage with the pilot, I would think extra care would be used in the factory assembled tanks.
I had a similar experience, and have had 3 separate fuel leaks from a factory built tank (dated 13/09, per the engraving on the sender plate.) One leak was very difficult to find and only showed up when I suspended the tank from the bolt holes and filled it with gas. Full, on the bench, no leak. Suspended (as if mounted) a leak showed up in one of the lower corners. Upon opening it, I found the same lack of evidence of scuffing.
This year, it's developed its fourth leak and I'm done with it. I just purchased a new one and am installing it during my condition inspection in January.
I didn't make a report to Van's because it had been at least a year (maybe 18 mo) after I purchased it. If the new one leaks, it will be promptly reported through their QC system and I'll send it back for them to do a post-mortem to search for a root cause.
I'm willing to acknowledge that statistical variations happen. If you & I are the only ones, it may just be bad luck on our parts. On the other hand, does anyone else have a similar story?