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Old 10-16-2016, 04:48 PM   #1
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What type of valve is needed?

Good morning,

I need to ad a valve to the bottom of each of our boats fuel tanks to drain off the crud (water) - luckily there is a fitting in each, right at the bottom where the valve can screw in. They have a screw plug in them at the moment - getting that out and screwing the new valve in will be messy but doable.

My question is two fold - I have limited clearance so a gate valve would be ideal however with diesel, is a gate valve ok, or should it be a ball valve (if a ball valve - is there a specific one for diesel?)

And secondly - stainless or bronze - it will be screwing into a steel tank.

Cheers
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:52 PM   #2
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If clearance is an issue you might try a stainless 90 degree Street Elbow then a nipple of adequate length to bring the drain line out to where it is easily accessible. I would use a ball valve but a gate should work just as well. Be sure to plug end downstream of valve just in case.
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Old 10-16-2016, 05:34 PM   #3
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Ball valve, stainless or brass.
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Old 10-16-2016, 05:53 PM   #4
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Gate valves are dandy for many uses. They're not so good when they're in the middle of a length of pipe since you cannot tell by looking at 'em whether they're open, closed or somewhere between (unless you have the indicator type). Because of that, they're not USCG-approved for some uses on a boat; don't know about fuel.

Buy ball valves rated for diesel fuel. Stainless or bronze and you may not have much of a choice; some are stainless with bronze balls. I think CB11 erred to say brass. You won't have much water in the tank but who needs to fret about corrosion and dezincification?
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:01 PM   #5
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Fumoto Oil Drain Valve - Something good for a change
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHeckrotte View Post

Buy ball valves rated for diesel fuel. Stainless or bronze and you may not have much of a choice; some are stainless with bronze balls. I think CB11 erred to say brass. You won't have much water in the tank but who needs to fret about corrosion and dezincification?
I did not err.

IMO, brass would be just fine. And in fact I'd be willing to bet it's the type you find used in most fuel line systems as they come straight from the boat builder.

But if someone feels the need to source and use bronze, go for it.
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:18 PM   #7
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George
I plan to do the same as you outline.
One trick I have heard about but not used yet is to tape over / plug all tank vents and have a helper pull a vacuum at the fill fitting w/ a wet dry vac.
With a shallow pan under the fitting and some absorbent pads mess should be minimal if you act quickly.
I plan to use a ball valve
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:38 PM   #8
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Here's one, there are others.

http://www.starmarinedepot.com/moell...e/pzz5382.html
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
have a helper pull a vacuum at the fill fitting w/ a wet dry vac
What could possibly go wrong?

1: DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT THIS IF YOU HAVE GASOLINE IN YOUR TANK....

2: Even diesel it could be "interesting"....... the ONLY way I would consider doing this is by having a piece of clear hose attached to the fill fitting so I could see any fuel coming out and then switch of the igniter. (Vacuum cleaner.....)
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:20 PM   #10
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This is a pet thing of mine as I believe in curing the symptom, not the disease.
Your doing a grand job and if you check it regularly you'll never get 'diesel bug' and save yourself a fortune on unnecessary expensive fancy filtration systems..
As long as you have reasonable access, have everything ready, fittings, rags, tools.
From my own experience a ball valve is perfect because you can check it with a glance , mild steel/brass or s/steel are all fine, there's no need to go for bronze.
Make sure the threads on your new ball valve have plenty of PTFE tape on before you start.
Stay calm, loosen the bung slowly until it's just on the last few threads and weeping slightly, then do a warp speed change over to fit your new valve, you'll find it's very easy and you'll lose very little fuel.
Clean up any spills with rags and wash down the area with lemon scented washing up liquid to both clean, and kill any smell.
Put a good squirt of the washing up liquid into the bilges, as it sloshes around it will break down any oil or fuel residues and sweeten your bilges.
Once the valve is a snug fit and everywhere is clean, work out the best place to be able to place a glass jar/receptacle when you wish to check for water/crud and then plumb it for your own convenience.
Use the original bung to close off the end until you need to do your periodic check for water/crud.
p.s If you get a little strip of metal round bar welded/brazed across the end of the bung to make a 'T' piece, you won't need any tools when you go to check your fuel.
I check mine as part of my maintenance routine every month even over winter and have never had 'diesel bug' in over 40 years cruising.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
George
I plan to do the same as you outline.
One trick I have heard about but not used yet is to tape over / plug all tank vents and have a helper pull a vacuum at the fill fitting w/ a wet dry vac.
With a shallow pan under the fitting and some absorbent pads mess should be minimal if you act quickly.
I plan to use a ball valve
I used this method to replace a valve in a 275 gallon (100ish gal. at the time) home heating oil tank. Did not spill a drop.

Rob
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar View Post
What could possibly go wrong?

1: DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT THIS IF YOU HAVE GASOLINE IN YOUR TANK....

2: Even diesel it could be "interesting"....... the ONLY way I would consider doing this is by having a piece of clear hose attached to the fill fitting so I could see any fuel coming out and then switch of the igniter. (Vacuum cleaner.....)
Got the vac trick from a plumber. Would not worry with diesel.

Rob
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar View Post

What could possibly go wrong?

1: DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT THIS IF YOU HAVE GASOLINE IN YOUR TANK)
AGREE...Forgot
to add the diesel only caveat
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:55 PM   #14
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George, can you have someone video the lightning speed changeover, and post it.
My mechanic drained the bottom of my tanks by unscrewing the plug, and he made no mess doing it.
Will you need to remove the plug to check thread and size first, or is there a way around that?
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Old 10-17-2016, 02:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
George, can you have someone video the lightning speed changeover, and post it.
My mechanic drained the bottom of my tanks by unscrewing the plug, and he made no mess doing it.
Will you need to remove the plug to check thread and size first, or is there a way around that?
Bruce,

I`ll try with the video but it will in all likelihood be so fast that it will be unlikely to be caught on video

Re the thread size, I estimate half inch (5/8 too big, 1/4 too small - bit like the three bears) - I`ll take a chance on the thread (unless someone knows what it is?) if it doesn`t match the plug when I get it out - I have a large wooden plug to jam in there to allow me to exchange it
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulysses View Post
If clearance is an issue you might try a stainless 90 degree Street Elbow then a nipple of adequate length to bring the drain line out to where it is easily accessible. I would use a ball valve but a gate should work just as well. Be sure to plug end downstream of valve just in case.
The solid plug in the end of the drain is a really big deal! I purchased a ball valve drain for the filter bowl on my Racor, and the CG requirements call for a fire resistive bowl (or shield) and an end plug for the drain.
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Old 10-17-2016, 04:12 AM   #17
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The solid plug in the end of the drain is a really big deal! I purchased a ball valve drain for the filter bowl on my Racor, and the CG requirements call for a fire resistive bowl (or shield) and an end plug for the drain.
Thanks AK - -for me to get into CG controlled territory would take me a bit longer than a long weekend cruise but you never know - sure blow the cobwebs out of the Lehmans
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:12 AM   #18
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When the ball valve is all installed, make sure you have a way to lock the valve shut. For example a tie wrap thru the handle and secured somewhere to keep the handle from opening.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:30 AM   #19
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Will you need to remove the plug to check thread and size first . . . ?
Probably not. If you have calipers and a set of thread gauges (Sears?). There is often enough thread visible on the existing plug/nipple to allow measurement. Very reassuring.

The street elbow idea is a good one if vertical clearance is limited. Put a screwed cap on the downstream end of the elbow and install that first, then do the valve. Baby steps make aligning threads easier.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:40 AM   #20
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Nobody mentioned sealant. In the rush to get this new valve in place, do not neglect putting diesel-appropriate sealant on the fittings. Without it, you will surely get some slight weeping at any of the new connections including at the tank and the valve, and need to do it all over again!!
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