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Old 07-23-2018, 03:27 PM   #1
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Californian 55 fuel flow control

My Californian 55 has two tanks. Mid and Aft. The control center is under a step and allows you to control flow from and to each engine. This is a new boat for me and I had a problem on my first cruise offshore.

When I purchased the boat one of my conditions was to have two full tanks. When I turn on my ignitions both fuel gauges pegged full. After running for about four hours I thought to pull from the other tank. So, while underway, I quickly switched just the port engine to see if there would be a negative response. It seemed to be ok so I went back up to the bridge and then the rpms started dropping. I ran back down, switched it back but not in time. So now I don't think there is fuel in the other tank Turning the ignition keys on and off I got both Pegged full, One with 3/4 tank and the other pegged empty, and back to both full. So obviously I have a sender/gauge issue. When I questioned the captain about filling the tanks he said that both tanks were filled till the vents dripped.

The tanks do not have dip sticks or sight gauges that I have seen. Besides going to a fuel dock to see how much fuel they take, are there any suggestions.

Also, I will add photos here if I can remember how of my control valves and would love to have someone knowlegeble tell me which photo shows the mid tank in use and which shows the aft tank in use. To me it is a bit confusing.
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Aquarius 1991 Californian 55 CPMY Long Beach CA
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:58 PM   #2
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You have to first understand how the valves work. These are what are called three way valves. The yellow handle points away from the selected tank. You can select the forward or aft tank by the way you turn the valve.

So for example to select the aft tank to supply the port engine, you turn the far left valve so the handle is pointing to the left. You also have to match the return to the aft tank so turn the second valve from the left the same way. You can make the 3rd and 4th valves the same or different if you want to supply from the other tank.

This type of fuel manifold gives you total control of where the fuel is coming from and where it is returning.

There are lots of fuel management strategies. One is to set the valves so that the starboard engine pulls from one tank and the port from the other (and the returns go to the respective tanks). This is sort of a set and forget method, because both fuel tanks are used approximately the same and when they get low you just refill them.

Another strategy is to supply both engines from the same tank until it gets pretty dry and then switch both to the other tank.

Another strategy for port and starboard tanks is to use the return to balance the tanks- ie supply from one and return to another, but that is not your issue in this case.

There is no right or wrong method, just owner preferences.

David
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:01 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply however these are two position valves. I have no off position, just a tank selection. Like I said, seems confusing when the handle covers the name in one position and point to it in another.
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:49 PM   #4
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Yes, I understand that the valves don't turn off. Reread my post again. The handle points away from the selected source. For example when the valve handle is to the left it is selecting the source to the right. That source is then connected to the engine.


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Old 07-23-2018, 06:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Yes, I understand that the valves don't turn off. Reread my post again. The handle points away from the selected source. For example when the valve handle is to the left it is selecting the source to the right. That source is then connected to the engine.


David


I had a similar problem with my 45 Californian. The previous owner had not used the aft tank and I am almost positive I picked up some trash that clogged the fuel supply. I changed fuel filters and primed the system and it fired back up. Later I went into the engine room and disconnected the fuel supply and return to the aft tank and ran the fuel through a filter.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyD View Post
Thank you for your reply however these are two position valves. I have no off position, just a tank selection. Like I said, seems confusing when the handle covers the name in one position and point to it in another.
Ok, iím Just some guy on the Internet who has never seen your boat, however I do know a few things. First I know your valves are not on off valves. They are deflector style valves. This means they deflect the flow 90 degrees. I doubt they have only two positions because that would be very unlikely but I wonít say impossible. The first hing I would do is make sure I had tested full rotation in both directions. My first guess is that you rotated in the wrong direction you have shut both tanks from flowing.

Letís assume you are right and I am wrong. My next move would be to go to the tank and check for a on off valve at the tank. Possible that a surveyor cycled a fuel valve and failed to return it to the open position. After that I would follow the fuel line to see if there were any other valves or filter systems that needed checking. Most likely any filter systems will be after the fuel manifold but not a given. If you find a filter before the fuel manifold then replace the filter and try again.
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