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Old 04-15-2017, 12:08 AM   #1
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Freak accident and Fuel tank removal advice 38' Marshall californian

Our Californian has twin full size beds in the rear bedroom as most do. Under these beds lie twin 125 gallon fuel tanks per side. I need to remove the tanks on the starboard side. I'm considering cutting the bulkhead to push tank rearward to allow room to lift front of tanks out. Does anybody have any experience with this? Do I need to remove bed framing and night stand between beds?

Question #2...The reason for removal....freak accident:
I was filling up one of the starboard tanks last fall. This tank has always had a burping issue that I never seriously chased down. It doesn't vent well. Historically, I simply full it slowly. On this day, I begin filling at a higher pressure station than what I'm used to. I put the nozzle into the fuel hole. The nozzle has a small lip on it which sat loosely on the inside of the fuel filler. 10 minutes later, I lift up on the nozzle and the nozzle shoots up in the air under very high pressure with copious amounts of diesel spewing all over me, the boat and the docks. The gyser went 20 feet in the air. I have absolutely no idea as to how the nozzle sealed into the filler cap. It was loose when I inserted it there is no I ring, no air pressure was escaping?
I'm at a loss as to The physics of why this occurred. Any similar experiences?

Luckily, the end result is only a leaking and very bulging fuel tank. Yes, somehow this could have ended up worse.
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Old 04-15-2017, 12:38 AM   #2
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Wow! That would have been a bad day. It could have been a disaster.

I'm sure you'll find Your vent line plugged solid. Check the other one as well.
I'd put a bigger inlet pipe/hose on both tanks too.
I don't know how difficult the tanks are to remove but if they are pulled and replaced or modified, it would be worth putting some extra thought into the design.
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Old 04-15-2017, 12:43 AM   #3
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In Australia, all fuel filling pump nozzles, petrol & diesel, have to have their click on 'hands free' removed, so you have to stand there and hold them on the whole time. A bit tedious, but...
All the same, I am surprised it seated itself so firmly it could build up enough pressure to rupture a tank. I suspect the tank was on the way out anyway.

However, the more serious question it raises re the pump concerned is why did the rising pressure not close the fuel flow off automatically, as anywhere I have encountered the hands free type of hose delivery system, there is an auto shut-off mechanism specifically to prevent overflow of the tanks.

Clearly the pump you used did not have this, so was an accident of potentially nasty proportions just waiting to happen. Imagine if there had been a source of ignition nearby. Did you take it up with the fuel station manager/owner..? You might be up for compensation for the damage your boat tank sustained..? The tank vent being blocked, if it was, should have just triggered the shut-off sooner, not allowed all that pressure to build up.
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Old 04-15-2017, 01:12 AM   #4
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We refueled recently and were offered fast or standard fill. Service stations("servos" here) have diesel pumps you can reset to "fast fill". Just as well you didn`t opt for "fast" Sam.
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Old 04-15-2017, 02:47 AM   #5
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We refueled recently and were offered fast or standard fill. Service stations("servos" here) have diesel pumps you can reset to "fast fill". Just as well you didn`t opt for "fast" Sam.
Yes, but I bet you still had to stand and hold the thing with the trigger squeezed Bruce. It wouldn't have had a hands free clip, I'm sure. Thats the thing that puzzles me. Why did his hands free not release the shut-off when the pressure rose..?
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Old 04-15-2017, 02:56 AM   #6
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Yes, but I bet you still had to stand and hold the thing with the trigger squeezed Bruce. It wouldn't have had a hands free clip, I'm sure. Thats the thing that puzzles me. Why did his hands free not release the shut-off when the pressure rose..?
Right on Peter. I`m in the ER, focused on the sight glass, calling out "nearly there, nearly..., STOP!", to the Admiral up top with the filler hose.
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Old 04-15-2017, 03:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sam View Post
Our Californian has twin full size beds in the rear bedroom as most do. Under these beds lie twin 125 gallon fuel tanks per side. I need to remove the tanks on the starboard side. I'm considering cutting the bulkhead to push tank rearward to allow room to lift front of tanks out. Does anybody have any experience with this? Do I need to remove bed framing and night stand between beds?

Question #2...The reason for removal....freak accident:
I was filling up one of the starboard tanks last fall. This tank has always had a burping issue that I never seriously chased down. It doesn't vent well. Historically, I simply full it slowly. On this day, I begin filling at a higher pressure station than what I'm used to. I put the nozzle into the fuel hole. The nozzle has a small lip on it which sat loosely on the inside of the fuel filler. 10 minutes later, I lift up on the nozzle and the nozzle shoots up in the air under very high pressure with copious amounts of diesel spewing all over me, the boat and the docks. The gyser went 20 feet in the air. I have absolutely no idea as to how the nozzle sealed into the filler cap. It was loose when I inserted it there is no I ring, no air pressure was escaping?
I'm at a loss as to The physics of why this occurred. Any similar experiences?

Luckily, the end result is only a leaking and very bulging fuel tank. Yes, somehow this could have ended up worse.
That happened to me when I was fueling at the New Hampshire Fish Dock.

My fuel only went up 10 feet, but gave me quite the shower.
Luckily, there was no boat waiting so I could go take a shower.

Good luck with your replacement.

Richard
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Old 04-15-2017, 05:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
We refueled recently and were offered fast or standard fill. Service stations("servos" here) have diesel pumps you can reset to "fast fill". Just as well you didn`t opt for "fast" Sam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter B View Post
Yes, but I bet you still had to stand and hold the thing with the trigger squeezed Bruce. It wouldn't have had a hands free clip, I'm sure. Thats the thing that puzzles me. Why did his hands free not release the shut-off when the pressure rose..?
I'm still waiting to hear from someone in the US as to why this could even happen in view of the comment above. I can't believe that in such a safety conscious country as the US, they would allow hands-free fuel pumping without a safety tank-full shut-off system.
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Old 04-15-2017, 05:49 AM   #9
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Many marinas have the hands free removed, many do not.

Just air pressure may not trigger the shutoff....only liquid....at least in my experiences with the nozzels.
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:25 AM   #10
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I have observed in older boats that the screens in the hull vents can and will grow corrosion across the small holes, which restricts their venting. I have also observed older vent lines collapsing in some areas where there is some loop in the line. Those two areas would be my first places to check before pulling the tank.
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:30 AM   #11
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Many marinas have the hands free removed, many do not.

Just air pressure may not trigger the shutoff....only liquid....at least in my experiences with the nozzels.
Thanks for answering that. Bit of a worry that pressure can build up to a point that geysers can result, yet still not trigger the shut-off.
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:29 AM   #12
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True, but the fault of the hose and nozzle or the fault of the fuel tank vent?
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:59 AM   #13
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Those are indeed the two things that I need to check.
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Old 04-15-2017, 03:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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In Australia, all fuel filling pump nozzles, petrol & diesel, have to have their click on 'hands free' removed, so you have to stand there and hold them on the whole time. A bit tedious, but...
Now I'm not suggesting this mind you, but in US-style nozzles if you carry a tennis ball with you and simply insert it.. Don't know if them same would work on the bottom of the world.
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Old 04-15-2017, 03:39 PM   #15
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When one of my fuel vents was plugged, fuel shot out of the fill hole when attempting to fill regardless of the tank's fuel level. In my case, the fuel vent was plugged with dead bees.

I don't trust automatic cut-offs. I listen to the sound of the fuel entering the tank.
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Old 04-15-2017, 04:43 PM   #16
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Automatic nozzle shut offs only shut off when liquid covers the venturi inlet that goes to the auto shut off valve in the handle. Look in the nozzle before you fill your car next time, and you can see what I am describing. I doubt that many marina fills have auto shut off as you really wouldn't want fuel in an extended filler line anyways and the pump systems are fairly primitive.

If the volume of the liqiud going in exceeds venting capacity, then an overpressure condition can easily exist. 1psi lifts a column of water approximately 28". Wouldn't​ take a lot of pressure to create a geyser with the filler inlet acting as a converging nozzle. If you want to research more, use the search​ terms "tank outbreathing" to find all sorts of calculations.
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Old 04-15-2017, 04:51 PM   #17
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When servicing your vent line there is supposed to be a fine mesh screen there. It's for fire and explosion protection. It often plugs up so people remove it. I bet it was missing before bees were nesting in there.
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:36 PM   #18
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When servicing your vent line there is supposed to be a fine mesh screen there. It's for fire and explosion protection. It often plugs up so people remove it. I bet it was missing before bees were nesting in there.
As an original owner, will swear any mesh screen was not removed, if there was such a screen.
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:54 PM   #19
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As an original owner, will swear any mesh screen was not removed, if there was such a screen.
Not sure the screens are necessary on diesel boats.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:38 AM   #20
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Our Californian has twin full size beds in the rear bedroom as most do. Under these beds lie twin 125 gallon fuel tanks per side. I need to remove the tanks on the starboard side. I'm considering cutting the bulkhead to push tank rearward to allow room to lift front of tanks out. Does anybody have any experience with this? Do I need to remove bed framing and night stand between beds?
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That is pretty weird alright. Never had it happen.
I'm assuming your tank cradles are just like mine, sounds like it anyway. Remove the matress and the plywood plate beneath it. (Some are bolted down, some are loose laid. Mine are the latter.) Remove the filler and vent lines. Turn off the fuel valving and disconnect the fuel and return lines from the front of the tank. If the tank is empty, you should be able to lift it straight out. Not necessary to remove any of the cabinets. I've had all of mine out several times.
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