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Old 11-02-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
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An Electric Fuel pump story

An Electric Fuel pump story

Last week, I ended up with a blocked fuel line, which took me days to sort out, thinking it was just an air block, and then my lift pump, only for it to be neither.

One of the suggested solutions was to have a 12 volt electric fuel pump to check if the engine would run (still thinking it was a lift pump problem).

Larry on HOBO suggested that as long as I was going thru the trouble of getting an electric fuel pump, I should install it permanently to use as a priming tool, when I changed filters. He confidently told me it would only take half an hour. I translated his half an hour into my one day and it only took two, days that is.

(I will post the picture in the next posting, as I can do it from my cell phone far easier than from the laptop).

Now, finally to the point of the story.

This morning, leaving Rock Haven in the Chesapeake Bay, I had just checked fuel levels in both tanks, and after starting the engine, we were underway 16 minutes after engine start. 100 feet into the narrow channel, the engine sputters and dies. We quickly drop the anchor to stop my forward progress towards the half dozen boats moored 50 feet ahead. With the boat stopped I jump into the engine room and immediately see that both fuel tanks were off. I turned on the one that was supposed to be on (and that I had just checked to make sure it was on only 20 minutes ago).

Told me cruising mate, John, to start the engine and it started and died immediately.

So, THANKS to LARRY, (for his great ideas and constant support) and RICHARD (a great marina mate in Providence, RI, who helped me with the installation) I was able to turn on the electric fuel pump, and bled the primary in about 3 seconds and the secondary filters in about 5 seconds and started the engine. Ran like a champ. And itís still running.

I think I will also start a new thread for this trip south, Stay tuned.
Richard on Dauntless heading south
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:43 AM   #2
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If this image appears upside down, the actual installation is not.

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Old 11-02-2013, 12:00 PM   #3
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I turned on the one that was supposed to be on (and that I had just checked to make sure it was on only 20 minutes ago).

Many of the handles on fuel valves are flat steel and simple to remove.

Take it off , drill a 1/16 hole and use a soft hunk of wire each time you select a different position.

This is especially important for folks that need to move a return to tank valve at the same time.
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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A good pre-start list is essential too. Lucky it wasn't your RW valve. One day in haste I neglected to open my genset through hull. Lucky for me the safety switches worked and all I suffered was a fried impeller.

No doubt an inline fuel pump can be helpful, a squeeze ball is maybe just as good if not better for filling filters.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Wxx3, Nice looking little pump. What mfg?
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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Wxx3, Nice looking little pump. What mfg?
I agree. Good looking pump. I see a Mr Gasket decal on the side.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:21 AM   #7
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No doubt an inline fuel pump can be helpful, a squeeze ball is maybe just as good if not better for filling filters.



BUT nothing beets a gravity day tank
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:42 AM   #8
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BUT nothing beets a gravity day tank
But how does one get fuel to the gravity day tank? I'd assume with an electric pump with another mounted for standby when the first one fails. Lots of plumbing, electrics and space required for the simple task of filling an on engine fuel filter.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:36 PM   #9
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But how does one get fuel to the gravity day tank? I'd assume with an electric pump with another mounted for standby when the first one fails. Lots of plumbing, electrics and space required for the simple task of filling an on engine fuel filter.
Yes but I think FF's opinion and the old adage that a gravity day tank generally eliminates the possibility of engine failure at the wrong time from too much sediment in a main tank and/or the lift pump.

Day tanks if done correctly should be full of good fuel and the gravity to the fuel injection pump eliminates the need for a "lift" pump.

Yes you still have to fill a day tank but you have many options and lots of time to get around to replenishing it if multiple other failures occur.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:51 AM   #10
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Lots of plumbing, electrics and space required for the simple task of filling an on engine fuel filter.


Very little extra work to use a wobble or hand crank mechanical pump once a day.
This is to operate the main engine and noisemaker not just to fill the fuel filter and make air leaks a non stopper.

Once the diesel is running electric should never be required till dry tanks.

At noon check the chronometer and fill the day tank.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:28 AM   #11
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Day tank would be nice. Tough to figure out where to put one in my engine room.

Are those Mr. Gasket pumps diaphragm pumps, and are they pressure demand?
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:30 AM   #12
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Day tanks if done correctly should be full of good fuel and the gravity to the fuel injection pump eliminates the need for a "lift" pump.
.
The best day tank setup I've seen is on Nordhavns. But they are not there to eliminate lift pumps, only to insure cleanest possible fuel given the large fuel loads they carry and some of the out post fuel stops the Nordhavns may be required to make.

In high school I drove a Model A. It had a gravity tank. Then lift pumps were installed and the rest was history starting with the 32 Ford. I'm puzzled as to why some are advocating getting rid of very reliable on engine lift pumps for our older generic diesels.

BTW, is a Racor filter designed to operate and filter properly under pressure, vacuum or both?
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:34 PM   #13
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BTW, is a Racor filter designed to operate and filter properly under pressure, vacuum or both?
I have two pairs (Racor 75-500) that each operate on pressure when the lifts are on and vacuum if off just fine. They are rated to 15psi per the manual.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:09 PM   #14
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Sunchaser,

Unfortunately, for some of us poor souls with old Volvo Diesels that otherwise still run fine except for a weak lift pump, we have little option other than an electric boost. I have not found a source for a pump "re-build" kit; I am told there never was such a thing. A replacement pump is rather radical, not to mention complicated and quite expensive, considering the alternative.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
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Sunchaser,

Unfortunately, for some of us poor souls with old Volvo Diesels that otherwise still run fine except for a weak lift pump, we have little option other than an electric boost.
A perfect need for sure. I have several Groco PDs on board for fuel transfer and oil changes. They don't like a closed discharage side valve, so I'd assume the lift pump substitute would best not be a PD design?

Fass is one worth looking at, you can even buy them with a Donaldson spin on fuel filter attached. They go well with GMs truck diesels so lots of field experience. About $350 without filter housing and $550 with.
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