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Old 05-24-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
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IG32 Fuel Tank Gauges

Has anyone researched the best option for installing fuel level gauges? Are there any external sensors that can be used on a metal tank? I have seen a couple for plastic tanks.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:06 PM   #2
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Have thought about doing this. I don't think that you can use the external sensors on a steel/iron tank.

There are bolted ports/plates on top of my tanks but they appear too large in diameter to adapt for some of the available products (although I suppose one could take them off and drill the requisite hole for something like a Tank Tender.). Otherwise, I have no idea how I would be able to drill the required holes in the tops of the tanks. Even with a right angle drill attachment, there is not enough vertical space.

Do you have sight tubes on the tanks? And, if you do, are there valves on the sight tubes? My boat has the tubes but no valves, which worries me.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:44 AM   #3
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There are two 200 gal tanks on the AT and each has an external sight tube with shutoff valves top and bottom. I added the vertical tape and fuel markings to make it easy to see how much fuel is in the tank. I also replaced the sight tube to a type which does not turn black inside thus obscuring the reading. This gives me a backup to the fuel gauges in the pilot house.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:52 AM   #4
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I have a Tank Tender System

I have a tank tender system on my boat and it has proven extremely reliable. The only down side is you need to keep a table of measurement for each tank. The measurements also don't necessarily mean that if 40" of water is a full tank, that 20" is half a tank. This does hold true if your tank is a rectangle resting perfectly level. But it dosen't hold true for irregular shaped tanks. If you take the time and actually make a table for these irregular tanks the Tank Tender is bullet prove and accurate.
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:31 AM   #5
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To answer "Emily Anne's" questions. "Yes" I have the sight tubes, and "no" I do not have shutoff valves.

I would really like a level readout at the helm instead of needing to go below deck to check fuel level. There are some ultrasonic level sensors on the internet that tie into an NEMA 2000 network, but the cost is somewhat prohibitive just to install a fuel gauge.
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:37 AM   #6
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I dip my tanks w a wood dowel about 4' long. I have aluminum tanks w an aluminum pipe plug on top of the tank right below a 4"x5" "hatch" in the salon.
I pull up the little hatch, unscrew the plug and insert the rod (dowel). What could be simpler?

I use the same hole to insert a 1/8" copper tube down into the lowest corner of the tank, hooked up to a little pump. I turn on the pump and pump out about a quart of fuel (long enough to allow any water at the bottom of the tank to reach the plastic container). I usually use the 1 gallon water jugs and when I hold it up I can see exactly how much water WAS in the tank unless it is all water. That happened once. I usually get 2 or 3 drops of water.

Laker,
Did AT install that system in your boat? Too bad they didn't install the fuel delivery outlet in the lowest corner of the tank. Your system guarantees that there will be some water always in one corner of the tank. With the outlet in the lowest corner of the tank you would pump out the water as it accumulated and normally that would be in very small amounts that would be trapped by the filter. That way generally speaking there would never be any water in the tank. And of course I assume you normally leave the sight tube valves closed.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:46 AM   #7
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I put reed switches in the port and starboard tanks tied to separate gauges at the helm.
Having the tanks out made the job easy and practical.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:30 PM   #8
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Manyboats:

Yes, that installation was done by AT at the factory. Your are correct but I'm not sure there is anything I could do about it. The tanks are both symmetrical 90deg rectangular boxes mounted level on an enclosed portion of flooring out side the stringers. As for as I can determine, there is no "lowest corner". However, the two tanks (mounted starboard and port) are connected with a tee over the keel leading up to the engine. So to some extent, side to side motion of the boat could cause water in the bottom of the tank to spill over into that crossover and be trapped by the dual Raycor filters.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:50 PM   #9
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Larry,
Yes of course but some to most of the water may (most likely) will not ever pass over the center located fuel outlet. So unless you do something like I did the tanks will always have some water in them.
Or perhaps I didn't understand what you wrote.

I really don't see why manufacturers can't mount fuel tanks w one corner low and put the fuel outlet there. Almost no more trouble and expense than just doing it any old way.

Chip,
What the heck are reed switches.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:25 AM   #10
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Moeller Marine Online - Fuel Senders and Gauges

When the link opens scroll down the page past the floaty ones to the reed switch units.
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