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Old 09-16-2016, 07:37 PM   #1
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Clear plastic fuel viewing tubes? Help!

I have no idea what to call the diesel viewing tubes. I need new ones because I have no idea how much fuel I have. That could be a problem.

Where can I get them and what are they called?
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:42 PM   #2
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I have no idea what to call the diesel viewing tubes. I need new ones because I have no idea how much fuel I have. That could be a problem.

Where can I get them and what are they called?
Sight glass is what they are called even though almost nobody uses glass. Several different types of tube are used. Post a pic of what you have and maybe we can identify it.

Also, you may be able to remove and clean the inside of the tube.

Ted
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:09 PM   #3
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Also shine a flashlight closely at the tube from the side and you might be able to see the fuel level.
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:16 PM   #4
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Ahh, sight glass! Yes I do remember the surveyor saying that. Jeez, thank you!

Not sure I want to do the cleaning on that. I have been a mess for a week in the engine room trying to find a fresh water leak. Fixed!

Hmm, I think I'll phone a friend to help with this! I work in television and need to have some pampering time or they are going to fire me! LOL!
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:17 PM   #5
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Also shine a flashlight closely at the tube from the side and you might be able to see the fuel level.
Coast guard require clear sight.
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:19 PM   #6
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O.C., What should I use to try and clean it?
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:31 PM   #7
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Send a picture of your sight tubes installation showing the on off valves. If it is the usual, it is an easy task to take off the old tubes and replace with new.
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:37 PM   #8
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Here is my port side installation, very easy to replace tubes, yours may be similar.
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:49 PM   #9
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Still waiting for you to post a pic.

There should be a valve at the bottom. Make sure it's closed.

Hopefully you can disconnect the tube at the top. If the tube is still flexible, bend it over to let some / most of the fuel drain....into an appropriate container. Next gauge the size of the tube. If above 1/4" ID you may be able to run a gun cleaning rod with a patch down the tube. A 22 caliber gun cleaning rod has a plastic tip on the end with a slot through it like a needle for sewing. The cloth patches slide through the slot and should work well. Measure the inside of the tube by inserting progressively larger drill bits to find the ID. If the ID is larger than 3/8", you may want a larger tip (larger gun caliber) and bigger patches. A Bass Pro Shop or maybe Walmart may have this gun cleaning rod and patches fairly cheap. You want the rod that comes in sections and screws together. The black stuff on the inside of the tube is likely Asphaltene. It should wipe off of the inside of the tube with the gun cleaning patches. DO NOT USE ANY SOLVENT when cleaning the tube, as some will turn the tube from clear to opaque (don't ask me how I know). If you need to wet the patched, use diesel fuel. Some tubes clean easily; some become discolored with age; YMMV.

Ted
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:58 PM   #10
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Sight tubes for fuel? Really? USCG approved? ABYC approved?

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/46/182.440

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/cfr/....H-33.1989.pdf

USCG says the tube has to be fire resistant and that the valve to the tank has to close automatically(!). Also, our small, under 65' - fewer than 12 passenger boats are exempt from some of the restrictions.

ABYC says that the sight tube valves have to be shut top and bottom except when reading the level(!).

Jamestown Distributers' information describes no USCG- or ABYC-approved clear hose for fuel systems. http://www.jamestowndistributors.com....do?docId=1133
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Still waiting for you to post a pic.

There should be a valve at the bottom. Make sure it's closed.

Hopefully you can disconnect the tube at the top. If the tube is still flexible, bend it over to let some / most of the fuel drain....into an appropriate container. Next gauge the size of the tube. If above 1/4" ID you may be able to run a gun cleaning rod with a patch down the tube. A 22 caliber gun cleaning rod has a plastic tip on the end with a slot through it like a needle for sewing. The cloth patches slide through the slot and should work well. Measure the inside of the tube by inserting progressively larger drill bits to find the ID. If the ID is larger than 3/8", you may want a larger tip (larger gun caliber) and bigger patches. A Bass Pro Shop or maybe Walmart may have this gun cleaning rod and patches fairly cheap. You want the rod that comes in sections and screws together. The black stuff on the inside of the tube is likely Asphaltene. It should wipe off of the inside of the tube with the gun cleaning patches. DO NOT USE ANY SOLVENT when cleaning the tube, as some will turn the tube from clear to opaque (don't ask me how I know). If you need to wet the patched, use diesel fuel. Some tubes clean easily; some become discolored with age; YMMV.

Ted
Have to take a pic tomorrow!
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:34 PM   #12
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Add a little fuel dye that helps to see the fuel in the sight tube
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:39 PM   #13
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Add a little fuel dye that helps to see the fuel in the sight tube
Boat fuel in the USA is dyed red.

Ted
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:40 PM   #14
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You can get new sight tubes from McMaster-Carr if yours need replacement.
McMaster-Carr
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:49 PM   #15
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Boat fuel in the USA is dyed red.

Ted


petrol in Australia is dyed red
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Old 09-16-2016, 10:06 PM   #16
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Donna, does your fuel sight glass (plastic tubes) have a valve at the top and at the bottom?

If so, these should be closed at all times so that if there is a fire in your ER they will not allow more fuel to be added to the fire when the sight glasses melt.

When reading the fuel level you open both the top and bottom valve and it levels out at the fuel content. Then close them again.

You will need to measure the length of the sight glasses (plastic tubes) to order new ones.

Replacing them is relatively easy as they are flexible and can easily be bent to fit over the top and bottom valves.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I have no idea what to call the diesel viewing tubes. I need new ones because I have no idea how much fuel I have. That could be a problem.

Where can I get them and what are they called?
Clear vinyl hose works just fine.

Use either the reenforced kind like in the picture, sometimes called "red tracer" hose or the non-reenforced type that is totally clear.
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:12 AM   #18
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When you replace the sight tubing, close the valves, remove the tubing from the top and blow into the tube slightly, keeping pressure. Unless your tank was full, you won't get diesel in your mouth. Open the bottom valve and blow the fuel into the tank, close the valve. The small amount of remaining diesel can be caught with a rag when the bottom is released.
Cleaning, as others have said, can be done with a gun cleaning rod. You lefties can buy a small rod at the hardware. A small, brightly colored, floating object can be placed in the tube to more easily see the level.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:26 AM   #19
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Can't see a risk in using inexpensive 1/2" transparent tubing. I use the same tubing as for the fresh water systems. The valves are only open when viewing. Have replaced mine twice in 18 years. The fuel does not appear to weaken them.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:43 AM   #20
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This is a VERY useful thread! Thanks Donna.
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