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Thread: Help, suggestions, ideas on a leaky fermenter from NDL Keg??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Rutland Vermont
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    5

    Help, suggestions, ideas on a leaky fermenter from NDL Keg??

    We purchased two 20bbl fermenters from NDL keg at the Nashville CBC in 2018. They were the 2 tanks they had on the floor, manufactured by Lehui for NDL. For 8 months we thought the tanks seemed perfect. Then, 8 months in we noticed beer leaking out the feet of one of the tanks. Yes, the feet. We cannot find any pin-holes, or any leaks of any kind. The best we can come up with is the beer is leaking into the jacket very slowly, and over 8 months filled up the cone and is now overflowing into the legs, and working its way out the feet. This seems totally crazy, but we are living proof. We haven’t used the tank since January, but we continue to notice beer leaking out the feet. NDL Keg acts like they care, but will do nothing even though we have a 5 year replacement warranty. They continue to pass the buck to Lehui, who initially responded a few times, but now won’t even acknowledge that we exist. We haven’t received a response in 3 months.

    The question I have is whether anyone has seen this before?? Does anyone know anyone who might be able to find and fix the pinhole leak? We otherwise love the tank, and wish that it didn’t leak. Somewhere/someone in New England would be ideal. Hopefully someone out there has an idea… Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    west coast
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    303
    Lift the tank and set it on some cribbing. Stabilize it- tie downs, chains, etc. Remove the foot, and with a few rags wrapped around your air nozzle plug the thread hole and blast it with compressed air. Somebody else should have their head in the manway looking for bubbles or spray or anything to identify the pinhole.

    Then find a stainless welder.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    west coast
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    And send NDL the bill.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Newcastle NSW Australia
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    It would be more common to hear about a glycol jacket leak. Are there weep holes at the bottom of the cone? Usually this is the first place you spot leakage. This is also a handy spot to blow compressed air in hopes of locating the pin hole. Other usual areas would be around racking arms and ports. Whoever you paid for the tanks is the company that should respond and have it repaired or very least reimburse you for the repairs you have done. Is this happening on both tanks?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Rutland Vermont
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    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    Lift the tank and set it on some cribbing. Stabilize it- tie downs, chains, etc. Remove the foot, and with a few rags wrapped around your air nozzle plug the thread hole and blast it with compressed air. Somebody else should have their head in the manway looking for bubbles or spray or anything to identify the pinhole.

    Then find a stainless welder.


    That's actually a really good idea. I will try this. Thank you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Rutland Vermont
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiminOz View Post
    It would be more common to hear about a glycol jacket leak. Are there weep holes at the bottom of the cone? Usually this is the first place you spot leakage. This is also a handy spot to blow compressed air in hopes of locating the pin hole. Other usual areas would be around racking arms and ports. Whoever you paid for the tanks is the company that should respond and have it repaired or very least reimburse you for the repairs you have done. Is this happening on both tanks?

    When they initially responded and pretended to care they thought it would be glycol as well. The liquid coming out is brown and smells like beer. No weep holes, or I assume that is where we'd see the leak. I've gotten inside multiple times and inspected the everything as closely as I can. I like the compressed air idea. I will explore that.

    I understand that NDL should pay for it, but that doesn't mean they will. No, just one tank. The other one seems fine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Rutland Vermont
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    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    Lift the tank and set it on some cribbing. Stabilize it- tie downs, chains, etc. Remove the foot, and with a few rags wrapped around your air nozzle plug the thread hole and blast it with compressed air. Somebody else should have their head in the manway looking for bubbles or spray or anything to identify the pinhole.

    Then find a stainless welder.

    So we jacked the tank up, stabilized it, plugged 3 of the legs and tied an air nozzle into the 3rd. We put 4lbs of CO2 into the jacked and didn't see anything. We didn't go higher than 4 because we don't know what the jacket might be rated at. Then we filled the fermenter with water and tried again, hoping to maybe see bubbles. Nothing. The thing that strikes me as odd is that pressure is bleeding out somewhere during this experiment because it doesn't hold pressure, but it could be anywhere on the outside. We can't hear it. It also doesn't seem to take as much CO2 as I would expect to get to 4 lbs, and I'm not sure what the inside of the jacket looks like (insulation and such) so maybe it is never getting to the inner wall, although you'd think it would.

    Now I'm really at a loss. 3 of the 4 feet were caked with stale beer on the inside when I pulled them off. It is definitely leaking somewhere.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Newcastle NSW Australia
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    Do not use CO2 when checking for leaks!! It is very dangerous and only compressed air should be used. If this is a standard insulated tank then the outer shell is not pressure rated. The glycol jackets are most likely 1.5 bar and the inner vessel is probably 1 bar. Mix some soapy water and spray it inside the tank. I would make sure to concentrate on any place where there is an external weld (ports, racking arms and drains). Then plug the other legs and push the compressed air into the leg and hopefully into the shell. I would also check to see if air is coming out of the other three legs. You could also direct air to the glycol ports to see if you find any leaks there, but you will need to take care to not exceed 1 bar. Cany you get the drawings for the tanks?

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