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Old 07-03-2013, 11:03 AM   #1
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Newbie's first fuel-up advice

Will be visiting the fuel dock (self-serve) for the first time later today, and could use some shared wisdom.

We have 3 cube shaped diesel fuel tanks; 2 holding 50 gallons, and one holding 40 gallons. The sight tubes are impossible to read (flexible fuel hose was used) unless backlit with a flashlight. The levels are below the 1/2 mark, but above 1/4.

I've got the basics so far;

- wear lifejacket
- securely tie boat
- engine off
- all electrical off
- everyone off boat
- keep nozzle in contact with pipe to avoid sparks
- have rags / absorbent pads ready
- leave room for fuel to expand when it heats up

That last one is where I feel stumped.

What do you do to avoid overfilling? Are there any glaring omissions to the list above? Please share!
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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You might be suffering from a tad bit of overkill.

This will be easier next time.

Diesel cant light from a spark.
Getting everybody off the boat is in my opinion not necessary
Same with turning everything off.

Biggest issue with fueling is to go slow. If you put the nozzle in and go for it at high speed you will blow fuel back at yourself when you let off of the nozzle lever. Thats because the vent on the tank is pretty small and pressure builds up.

Have absorbant ready and at the first sputtering from your fuel vent stop fueling. Having one of those puke bottles for the vent is a good idea.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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I agree with Kevin. The only thing I can add is that I like to have an idea of how many gallons will go into each tank before I start. If you can't read the pump from where you are have someone watch the pump and tell you when you're getting close to the expected gallons. You can slow the fill rate and kind of sneak up on a full tank to avoid the blow back.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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I don't fill the tanks max, about 3/4 full as you also have to consider list, side to side motion. If you have big tanks its probable the dollars that will be the limiting factor not the gallons.

With the new fuel I would not full the tank more than you can use in one, maybe two years. Does your fuel have ethanol or bio in it? I try to use/turn once per year
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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Murray - Where's the 3rd tank? My Sundowner has 2 fuel with the 3rd "center" tank being the fresh water tank. It's stainless (original) and my fuel are aluminum but they are not original.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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1. If you have teak decks, spray the area around the deck-fill with water before fueling - stops/reduces spilled diesel soaking into the teak.

2. Buy a couple of oil-absorbent napkins (soak up oil, repel water). Poke the fill-nozzle through the center of a napkin and into the deck-fill. It is surprising how much burped-up diesel one of these will absorb. A napkin with minimal diesel on it can can be stored in a zip-lok bag for use next time.
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips - it's a done deal

Everything went well with no drips, vent line spitting, or fuel tank puke back. It even was pretty painless money wise compared to how much I thought it would come to.
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Anode View Post
Murray - Where's the 3rd tank? My Sundowner has 2 fuel with the 3rd "center" tank being the fresh water tank. It's stainless (original) and my fuel are aluminum but they are not original.
That's our set up as well, except for the third tank that's tucked aft of the port side tank, which holds approximately 40 gallons.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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Willy's tank fill has a kink in the connecting hose and needs to be filled slowly. I put my ear fairly close to the filler hole and (with experience) can hear the fuel level getting close. I'm careful not to fill completely and burp up fuel.

My biggest problem fueling is the hoses, nozzles and pumps that are suited to fueling much larger boats. Even w the slowest flow system they have it's still too fast and requires a lot of strain on my hand to just open the nozzle just a very small amount.

But w a 1gph burn rate I don't need to do it often.

On your "basics" list I do the last two only.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:13 PM   #10
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Murray,
I tend to agree with Kevin, but add one item - I add BioBor or DPRIG to my tanks before I start fueling to mix it up. I know how much fuel I am going to take on, and have my wife read off the pump as I get close. My last fill was 700 gallons so it takes a long time holding the handle.
Depending on where your fills are, I would also consider - putting tape over the water fill, to prevent an accident (I know two boaters who made that opps) and putting a plug or rag in any near scuppers, just incase the fill burps back some fuel. So far I have not made a mess, but when I do, I don't want any reaching the waterline.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:46 AM   #11
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Carry a pack of disposable diapers. Cheap and absorbent.
If filling the tanks have someone listen at the air bleed outlet, as the tank fills the sound changes markedly.
With the caps out check O ring cap seals.
Smearing grease in the outer edges of the filler helps water exclusion.

The place I fill makes you watch 4 short safety videos online, answer questions correctly on the videos, agree to indemnify them for any stuff up you cause, then you get an access card. They say it`s a 3 person job, one filling, one checking the tank, one poised to hit the emergency stop, we do it with 2. The fuel is cheap.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Fill View Post
I don't fill the tanks max, about 3/4 full as you also have to consider list, side to side motion. If you have big tanks its probable the dollars that will be the limiting factor not the gallons.

With the new fuel I would not full the tank more than you can use in one, maybe two years. Does your fuel have ethanol or bio in it? I try to use/turn once per year
The question had to do with diesel fuel - I don't think we're to the point of having ethanol in diesel yet! :-)
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:24 AM   #13
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The question had to do with diesel fuel - I don't think we're to the point of having ethanol in diesel yet! :-)

However the farm lobby has demanded food be destroyed and dumped into the diesel .
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:31 AM   #14
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BruceK wrote,

"With the caps out check O ring cap seals.
Smearing grease in the outer edges of the filler helps water exclusion."

I done did that but for awhile now I've just been very fussy about cleaning the seat of the inlet port and putting a new "O" ring on every time.

I did the grease thing but decided it picks up too much sand and basic dirt. Hard to get it out. Makes me think of what most mechanics say about putting gasket sealer on gasket surfaces. "Just put it on dry .. that's what the gasket's for".

But for storage last winter I did do the grease thing.

One thing I'm not 100% sure of is when I buy "O" rings at NAPA are they 100% compatible with the fuel. They seem to work fine but they are not specifically for this application. Never "worried" enough to dig into it though.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:54 AM   #15
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My fills drop directly into the tanks. When fuelling, even in Vancouver and Nanaimo, where the fuel docks are right at the downwind end of the float plane runways, listening to th esound of the fuel dropping into the tanks is the best guage of the amount of room left in the tanks. sometimes I get the top of the tank oil-canning just before they are full. I always hear the tone change as the amount of air left is rapidly shrinking, which tells me to stop in time to avoid any blow back or overflow.
My consumption is always predictable, with keeping track of the hours of use, so I know fairly closely how much fuel I will be putting back into the tanks. I watch the meter if I can, or have someone yell when I am getting close to the prediction.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Will be visiting the fuel dock (self-serve) for the first time later today, and could use some shared wisdom.

We have 3 cube shaped diesel fuel tanks; 2 holding 50 gallons, and one holding 40 gallons. The sight tubes are impossible to read (flexible fuel hose was used) unless backlit with a flashlight. The levels are below the 1/2 mark, but above 1/4.

What do you do to avoid overfilling? Are there any glaring omissions to the list above? Please share!
Murray,
Your tankage is not that large, so if your dock conditions and local fuel suppliers are conducive, you may want to consider what I have done in the past with sailboats and motorcoach fueling...
I've had the wonderful experience of getting old/bad/water laden fuel from marina pumps (and some fuel stops on the highways), and have had to deal with tank cleanup and multiple $40 fuel filter change-outs.
I live in an agricultural/fishing area that has several bulk fuel distributers, and for years I have bought fresh diesel directly from them, hauled in 55gal drums in my truck, then gravity fed through a 3/4" hose to my boat while tied up at a common dock area. It flows into my boat a lot more controllable than the 1&1/2" nozzle at the shrimp boat dock for sure, and it is as fresh and clean as you will ever be able to get. Probably more important on my sailboat as that 60gal would last a long time. Presently with the motorcoach, I try to leave on trips with a full 150gal tank and only buy as much on the road as needed to get home. I built a filter skid that I use to polish the motorcoach fuel when I get back home....I know..kind of anal.... ....must be all those years in the nuclear industry with redundant systems/procedures!

I'd also change out those sight glasses on your tanks so someone can monitor the levels while you fill...your 1&1/2" filler hose runs a long way to the tank, and will hold a lot of fuel at positive pressure on you tank/vent if topped-up! {read:spillover!)
Just a thought.....
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:36 PM   #17
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Folks with flow scans can simply lower each tank to a "std" level.

We run 80G from one tank and switch to the other.

At the fuel dock we pump till the reading matches what ever the #2 tank used and switch to tank 1 and pump in 80G.

We also fill as often as can be done on a bigger boat dock, white boats or commercial either is OK as long as there is volume sales.

A bit slower fill for us as we use a Rybovitch version of a Baja filter (monel) , but it has saved the day more than once on the AICW..

Our deck fill was replaced with a nipple with cap under a bronze deck plate.

The deck plate cover (8 inch) is removed before the fuel dock , even if its raining no water can enter the tank till the cap is removed.

With a fuel tank low point drain that is used annually , no gropsch has been found since installing the fuel fill under a deck plate.
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