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Old 11-04-2015, 02:09 PM   #1
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Good Dipstck Material

So the new boat has fuel gauges. I don't trust them... or the actual truth is... we haven't had the boat LONG enough to vouch for their accuracy. Soooo... I am double checking using the dipstick method.

I have a small dowel right now (boy if I had a nickel for every time I heard THAT line), but it doesn't do very well. It's hard to see where the wet part stops (another nickel), so I was wondering if there are any good tips for a dipstick like me to make a good dipstick. I don't think that wood really works well. (there's yet another nickel). I was thinking a tube of some kind. Like the way bartenders taste drinks, but a long tube seems messy and may not be easy to store (add ten cents there).

Any ideas?

Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:33 PM   #2
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I use a mahogany stick. It is pretty easy to see the level on it. Have to hold it right in the light to see where the shiny stops.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:42 PM   #3
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That's the same problem with the pine dowel. I suppose a darker wood might work better, but it sounds like it's almost the same.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:45 PM   #4
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I use a pine dowel and it works pretty good.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:59 PM   #5
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We only had dipsticks on our sailboat. A good light helped.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:05 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. T. We used to use a yardstick with a piece of line tied on (stick wasn't quite long enough). Looked for the wet (shiny) dry (dull) interface, using Mr. S's technique, and wiped between dips.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:19 PM   #7
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We use a meter long timber stick with a 5mm mild steel flat bar screwed to it this bar gets surface rust on it and when you dip it into the tank the fluid mark is very easy to see as the rust is wet then dry.



This stick doesn't prevent you putting diesel into the water tank
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:57 PM   #8
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I use a folding carpenters wood ruler. Sand off the shiny white paint on one side and paint it flat black so you can see the fuel. Read level on other side.

Folds up small and quick and fits in tool box.

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Old 11-04-2015, 07:30 PM   #9
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All we use on the commercial boats is rough wood painted flat black.

Cut lines into the lighter colored wood as marks.

The rough wood and flat black paint shows liquids well and the black helps it dry quicker in the sun.

On my assistance boat, I used the last several feet of an old LORAN whip antenna. The fiberglass was rough but not bad with some flat black on it. Etched circles at the 1/4 full marks. Works very well as I whip it to dry it quickly for the next dip.

If none of that suits your fancy, buy a cheap fish tape on a reel and use it. It is pretty similar to an oil dipstick and a small file will make all the marks you want and you can reel it up when done.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:50 PM   #10
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I got lucky when I sent the build drawings out to get my tanks made. Turns out it is 10gal per inch each. I did not plan it, but sure makes it convenient.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I got lucky when I sent the build drawings out to get my tanks made. Turns out it is 10gal per inch each. I did not plan it, but sure makes it convenient.
HA! Yea... You got lucky. Mine is 7.06 per tank per inch.

Thanks everyone. I will do the flat black thing and see if it improves.
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Old 11-05-2015, 04:18 PM   #12
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We use a wood dowel that I marked with black marker at the 1/4 tank marks (measured the height of the tank to determine the marks). I painted it with clear epoxy so the fuel wouldn't soak into the wood and the marks would not bleed. At first it was hard to read because it was glossy, so I hit it with some medium grit sandpaper. Works great now and easy to wipe off with a paper towel. Before I sanded it, I would sometimes just put a paper towel against it and the red fuel would show well on the towel.
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:31 PM   #13
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Seems to me that in commercial operations fuel trucks and gas stations I have usually see a long square stick used, about 3/4 or 1" maybe the flat sides show the fuel mark better? Maybe I'm mistaken.
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Seems to me that in commercial operations fuel trucks and gas stations I have usually see a long square stick used, about 3/4 or 1" maybe the flat sides show the fuel mark better? Maybe I'm mistaken.
nope pretty common in my experience....diesel does well on any rough surface, gas just needs a difference between its wet look and something...like sanded wood or flat black paint is good.

If absorbent it should show but takes forever to dry enough for a good second reading so one per tank.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Seems to me that in commercial operations fuel trucks and gas stations I have usually see a long square stick used, about 3/4 or 1" maybe the flat sides show the fuel mark better? Maybe I'm mistaken.
They check for water in the bottom of the tanks that way. A sticky paste is put on the bottom of the tank, and it will change color to bright red if water is present.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:51 PM   #16
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Fine sandpaper glued to the side of a 1 inch yard stick. Sandpaper holds on to the diesel and allows you to see the level easier.

No it wont clog your filters, no it won't drip all over the deck, use epoxy and no the diesel won't break down the glue, no it won't cause cold fusion.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:16 AM   #17
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Flat black paint makes all the difference. Tanks that are not straight sided certainly complicate the calibration issue, but a little junior high math will get you an answer after a little work.

My new-to-me Defever 41 has no gauges and no way to stick the tanks -- the fill hose path is too convoluted. How a boat could get to be 34 years old and never had a means of gauging the fuel lever is beyond me. I'm scheming some sight gauges that will hopefully do the trick.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:29 AM   #18
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For bends, a weight and string , cable or tape works.

On USCG cutters I have seen them stab tanks with steel tape that had some pretty good bend on the way down.

Of course severe bends like on my tanks wouldn't work from the deck but a small plug hole on the top of the tank would or tee the vent and use the top for tape and side for air.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:44 AM   #19
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Use a wooden yard stick, and drill 1/16 holes in it every 1/4 inch.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:58 AM   #20
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Most of the dipstick material has found its way inside the beltway of Washington, DC.
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