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Old 06-28-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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Sight glass

I'm getting old and can't see as well as I used to, especially in the bilge. I have sight glasses back in the corner(s) of my 38 OA trawler. Can't see where the fuel is in the glasses. Is there anything one can float on the top of the fuel in the sight glass to make it easier to see the fuel level. I was thinking about a fluorescent fishing float or something that diesel fuel won't destroy.

Dick
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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Most local fishing places have these small floats called "Corkies". They're about the right size to fit in the tubes. I'm gonna see if they'll work on mine. They can't get into the tank, but would be a good way to see tank levels. They're a bit larger than a pea.

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Old 06-28-2013, 03:08 PM   #3
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Ya, that's sorta where I was going. My glass tubes are 1/2 to 3/4 inch so the corkie would fit. Wonder what the red diesel will do the plastic float? I'm thinking they make cork corkies also. Seems redundant.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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I'll have to conduct some 'research'

Diesel is pretty mild and I think they're just Styrofoam inside.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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My son works at Home Depot for the summer. They had a demo this week on a product called "Never Wet" and it made by Rustoluem. It's the wildest repellant I've ever seen. Repels everything. I've been looking for a reason to buy the stuff, think I will spray it on a corkie and drop it in the sight glass. There are video's on U tube about this stuff, would have to be a great boat product if it holds up.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:13 PM   #6
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The instructions FAQ section on Never Wet states

"Can Rust-Oleum NeverWet be used on surfaces that are continuously submerged?

Rust-Oleum NeverWet relies on a layer of air to form the superhydrophobic coating on the surface of the object. For this reason the product is not recommended for surfaces continuously submerged in water or liquid."

While a float would not technically be 'submerged', its bottom surface would be and therefore its superhydrophobic properties would be lost.

Cool product. Interesting information on durability, color and transparency on the instruction page. At first I thought it'd be great for my burgundy canvas and windshield, but that's clearly not the case (pun intended). At $20 for 15 sq ft of coverage, it's not too expensive for specialized uses.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:29 PM   #7
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The instructions FAQ section on Never Wet states

"Can Rust-Oleum NeverWet be used on surfaces that are continuously submerged?

Rust-Oleum NeverWet relies on a layer of air to form the superhydrophobic coating on the surface of the object. For this reason the product is not recommended for surfaces continuously submerged in water or liquid."

While a float would not technically be 'submerged', its bottom surface would be and therefore its superhydrophobic properties would be lost.

Cool product
I agree, it is a cool product Al. But I'm willing to bet a tank of fuel somebody will post here in the next two years how its better than prop speed.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:38 PM   #8
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Not sure why red fuel is hard to see in a clear tube. Cleaning/replacing the tube and if necessary installing a small LED light or light strip on it should be the easiest in my book.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:44 PM   #9
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An old cop trick from the street is to hold a flash light at about 45 degrees down to the side or rear of the tube and you should be able to see the level pretty easy.

I have 4 sight tubes and they are all visible from a good distance - but the tubes are all very clear against the red dye diesel.

Good luck
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:38 AM   #10
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Not sure why red fuel is hard to see.
Red is a colour that goes first when your eyes start to go whilst green is the last colour that goes hence why (in Australia) all safety showers and emergency exits are green. For that exact reason. Whilst on colours, a blue LED will Travel further in water than any other colour.

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Old 06-29-2013, 06:40 AM   #11
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Red is a colour that goes first when your eyes start to go whilst green is the last colour that goes hence why (in Australia) all safety showers and emergency exits are green. For that exact reason. Whilst on colours, a blue LED will Travel further in water than any other colour.

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all true but it's the contrast that is important here...as much as the color....red fuel has enough contrast if the sight tube is clear to be seen quite a distance as long as the lighting is sufficient.

I'm sure hope the OP knows that...maybe it's the angle or something else making it difficult...but then even colored floats probably wouldn't help.

I really have a hard time believing that it would be an issue with new/clean glass and some decent light.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:03 AM   #12
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all true but it's the contrast that is important here...as much as the color....red fuel has enough contrast if the sight tube is clear to be seen quite a distance as long as the lighting is sufficient.

I'm sure hope the OP knows that...maybe it's the angle or something else making it difficult...but then even colored floats probably wouldn't help.

I really have a hard time believing that it would be an issue with new/clean glass and some decent light.
Totally agree mate. New glass would/should suffice.

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Old 06-29-2013, 08:36 AM   #13
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I have sight glasses back in the corner(s) of my 38 OA trawler. Can't see where the fuel is in the glasses.
You don't say if the fuel is dyed or not but either way, a backplate with diagonal black stripes will help a lot.

The fuel in the tube acts as a lens and the angled stripe changes its orientation very visibly.

If you have old stained tubes, replace them with new clear ones, it is time anyway. And please note that it is not a good idea to have a sightglass valves open except when reading the glass.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:07 AM   #14
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And please note that it is not a good idea to have a sightglass valves open except when reading the glass.
Good reminder. I always forget to close mine.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:56 AM   #15
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Paint the background white or hold a piece of paper behind it. I use this trick all the time to make things easier to see. You could probably paint the back of the tube white!
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:42 PM   #16
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Paint the background white or hold a piece of paper behind it. I use this trick all the time to make things easier to see. You could probably paint the back of the tube white!

Good idea...I wonder if reflective paint or tape would help even more?
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:50 PM   #17
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Are the tubes Plastic tubing/hose, or Glass?
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:51 PM   #18
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And please note that it is not a good idea to have a sightglass valves open except when reading the glass.
Please explain. It's it just to eliminate one more potential fuel, air leak?
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:19 AM   #19
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Please explain. It's it just to eliminate one more potential fuel, air leak?
If there was a fire in the engine room that melted the sight tubes, having them closed would limit the fuel that could potentially burn to that in the sight tubes rather than the entire fuel tank.
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:31 AM   #20
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This is my setup: yellow Tygon tubing (from McMaster Carr) against a white background. Very easy to read under engineroom lighting or flashlight.

I DO have a problem seeing through the bowls of my Racor primary filters. They are new bowls and relatively clean, but I have great difficulty seeing if there is muck in there. I have tried shining a flashlight on the back board and sliding a piece of white cardboard behind them - still a struggle. Any ideas?
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