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Old 08-25-2011, 12:54 PM   #1
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Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Hello.* Newbie to the forum.* I am wondering if anybody on the forum has had experience with regard to the best way to fit a fuel sender & gauge on very difficult to access fuel tanks.* I currently use a tape measure on a piece of wood which physically measures the fuel levels, but bearing in mind the plan I have to travel through the Mediterranean to Greece & Turkey from my present location in Southern Spain.* Any help or observations would be very much appreciated
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Sticking the tanks is a 100% accurate simple way to measure fuel level. Why not simply mark the stick and be done?
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:34 PM   #3
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

My thoughts exctly. I don't think those things are all that reliable. Lots of people*I know that have*a guage say they don't work.

You could consider a floscan.

*I wouldn't want to find out the thing was not accurate and run out of fuel in some third world country.

SD
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Sticking the tanks with a dipstick marked in quantity (gallons or litres) is probably the most accurate way of determining the fuel level, assuming the dipstick is marked accurately and it can be inserted all the way to the bottom of the tank. This is how we determined the water levels in our fresh water tanks.

An almost equally good method is to install sight tubes on the tanks. This is what our fuel tanks are fitted with but the tanks were made this way. Fitting a sight tube to an existing tank may be more trouble than it's worth. The tank must be drained, holes cut, etc., etc., etc.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:02 PM   #5
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Drill a small hole in the top of each tank and install a Tank Tender system.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:05 PM   #6
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Thank you for your imput. Yes, as I have said, sticking the tank is the method I currently utilize. However I was wondering if any members of the forum have had a 'Cunning Plan' of installing a tank sender & gauge. In my research I have come across a system from a company called Tek Tanks that has three sensors fitted on the outside of the tank. This seems to be an answer, but as I have mentioned before, the access to the tanks is very difficult. Whilst mentioning the tanks, I also have a concern that if one, or both ever leaks, how the devil can I get to them to carry out a repair?
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
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Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Quote:
Ian Streten wrote:
Hello.* Newbie to the forum.* I am wondering if anybody on the forum has had experience with regard to the best way to fit a fuel sender & gauge on very difficult to access fuel tanks.* I currently use a tape measure on a piece of wood which physically measures the fuel levels, but bearing in mind the plan I have to travel through the Mediterranean to Greece & Turkey from my present location in Southern Spain.* Any help or observations would be very much appreciated
*I was just over there,*Seville, Malaga, Valencia*and Southern Portugal (Lagos, Faro, Sagres, Portamao). *But had no boat!! *What a great trip, I'm Jealous!

I have electric gauges on all four tanks (about 500 US gallons total) and they are reasonably accurate, given they are like an automotive gas gauge and range from Full to Empty in quarter tank tick marks. *I've never let the tanks get lower than around 100 Gal. total or just below the 1/4 tank mark. *When I refilled them the gallonage was pretty close to what I estimated. *

Do the tops of your tanks already have an opening for fuel gauge sending units? If so, it's just a matter of finding the appropriate gauge and sending unit for your tank size and installing. *If not then your easiest option is the dip stick. *Even installing sight gauges would be a major undertaking and would require some engineering (since you say they are difficult to get at.) what level of accuracy do you need? **Are you living there or just visiting, as anything major would take some time to accomplish.*

Larry B

p.s. Sometimes replacing tanks can be ugly when they are built in prior to the boats completion. My dock neighbor has a 40' Tollycraft and both saddle tanks are gone. *They have two options. *Remove the engines and cut the tanks out or cut the hull open, from the outside, on both sides at the midship point to remove and replace the tanks.


-- Edited by Edelweiss on Thursday 25th of August 2011 04:56:52 PM
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:51 PM   #8
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

I simply LOVE fuel tanks that can be straight stick checked for fuel level... stick marked correctly, reaching tank bottom, and boat sitting square in water always 100% accurate!* No ifs, ands or buttts!*
*
Thats the only way I was brought up with boats checking fuel levels in mid to latter 20<sup>th</sup> Century!* I even still check my runabouts 6 gal o/b tanks with a marked straight stick, just dont trust fuel gauges; I know one o/b tanks gauge is incorrect!*
*
Unfortunately, although I have two (relatively new sending unit) gauges on my Tolly (that do read full, upon each fill up) I can tell by fill up gallons that the gauges do NOT always read correctly at various levels.* ONLY time I ever ran out of gas, was in a twin screw, single gas tank Uniflite due to a new fuel gauge that was still reading full.* Boy did I feel dumb to have trusted that!* That boat allowed no way to straight stick the fuel tank!* Lucky I was in a side canal less than mile to my dock.* Although I had to drop anchor for a few minutes in mid canal, I was soon saved by the first local boater passing by, lashed my boat to his side and took me right to my slip.* Thanks Again! Captain!!
*
So... My Tolly has too sharp an angle in filler line from side-deck fuel opening into both of its 100 gal tanks... cant get a skinny 3/8 dowel to traverse the bends on either one.* If I could even straight stick just one Id be more than half way satisfied that I could figure the other tanks level too.* *Ive for years simply being careful to follow my log and fill up when I calculate gas level is down to 25% +/-.* Upon next boat excursion (this Labor Day for 5 days) I plan attaching heat sensors to each tanks face.* Ill see when completed, and after a couple of fill ups, if I feel confident with their fuel level accuracy.* I always try to keep things simple.* The heat sensors should show me temp changes from gas level to empty tank area, especially after running the engines or gen set as the aluminum at empty tank area should heat much quicker than the filled fuel area.* The way Ill see the sensors is by opening an engine hatch... but heck, Im usually up and about doing things before sunrise while on the hook, as wife sleeps in... bet cha Ill be doodlen/cleanen/adjusten items in the engine compartment no less than twice that long weekend.* Caus dats simply da kinda boater I am!* Keeps me happy down in dat dere bilge area playen with dem mechanical thangs!***
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Quote:
RickB wrote:
Drill a small hole in the top of each tank and install a Tank Tender system.
* * * ** I did this on my 54' sport fisher and it was a bullet proof system.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:42 PM   #10
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

I also like to stick a tank, but if you want an electric gauge, these guys make very nice senders: http://www.wemausa.com/
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:36 AM   #11
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RE: Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

Thank you Edelweis for your input.* Having read & formulated opinions on the forum I am thinking that bearing in mind the work & degree of difficulty involved I will continue to dip/stick my tanks with the tape measure system I am currently using.* Although I will have a look at the* Tank Tender System before making a final decision.

As far as our cruising plans, yes both my wife & I*are very excited about the adventures we have in front of us.* Have a look at our website/blog www.tripsailor.com/Carlina & it will explain more.* The heading 'Our Goings On' tells all.
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Old 08-26-2011, 04:20 AM   #12
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Fuel gauge for hard to get at fuel tanks on a 1980's Trader 39 Trawler Yacht

A Flow scan is accurate enough to know when you are being screwed on a fill up.

It is co$tly but has other great oprerational advantages.

*

Tank tender is a system , so with one gauge you can check fuel tanks , water tanks waste tanks and olive oil tank.


-- Edited by FF on Friday 26th of August 2011 04:23:27 AM
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