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Old 11-21-2019, 08:50 AM   #1
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Reworking Fuel Transfer/Filtering System

OK, this may be a bit in the weeds, but I guess Iím just talking myself through a project and would appreciate the wisdom of the group.

Iím redesigning the home-made fuel transfer system on Stella. The current system has worked OK, but components are basically salvaged stuff that should be replaced before they fail. The system I want to build will also be much neater and more compact, with panel-mounted valves that will save a lot of space.

The existing system is designed to pull diesel from any of our three tanks, filter it and direct it into the main return manifold, from which it can be returned to any tank. I basically use this system to send filtered fuel to our aft day tank for each dayís run. Doing this each morning while I have coffee is drop-dead easy and, since I started it, Iíve never seen any vacuum pulling on the Racors.

I have a new Reverso pump and Fleetguard 20 micron ďmudĒ filter. I need to build a ďsupply manifoldĒ that will have a valve for each tank. The manifold will be a collection point that will allow me to choose the tank Iím drawing from and direct fuel from any tank through the filter.

The most attractive manifold appears to be an aluminum or brass version of the pneumatic manifold pictured below. The valves Iím considering are instrumentation mini ball valves like the one pictured. I can fit three on the manifold if I use a pipe nipple on the middle one. Everything will be 3/8Ē ID, which is actually larger than the tubing that will return fuel back to the tanks. Finally, Iíll replace most of the dented and degrading copper tubing that leads from the tanks to the supply manifold with USCG A1-15 hose.

The valves are brass and the manifold is aluminum. Any problems there?

So what am I missing?
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:58 AM   #2
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Think I just found a much simpler solution.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:30 AM   #3
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I’m a fan of manifolds, very user-friendly. Those combination valves are confusing and a single point of failure.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:51 AM   #4
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I’m a fan of manifolds, very user-friendly. Those combination valves are confusing and a single point of failure.
Ha! I find manifolds confusing due to multi-valves. It's usually so long since I last moved them that I have to re-design the system in my head before I can touch, even then I close my eyes and hope for the best.

I just redesigned my fuel system - but just two tanks (below). It has a polishing circuit, but cannot be used underway, which is only a minor limitation.

Here are a few valves that may help.

1. Groco 6-port valve. Designed for two tanks, directs supply and return to same tank with one valve.
2. Groco 4-Port Valve. This is what you just found, though with the mounting plates for ease. It's the one I used in my system, one for supply, one for return. Allows me to draw from one tank and return to the other (for polishing). My first guess on your system would be to put the day tank inline with engine, so engine ALWAYS draws from Day Tank. But with 2-engines, well, my mind swirls a bit.
3. 4-port valve for 3-tanks. But only 1/4" NPT. Allows to draw from any of three tanks and send to a single source.

Please post the final design - definitely interested to see what you come up with.

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Old 11-21-2019, 11:56 AM   #5
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Think I just found a much simpler solution.
This valve allows #1, #2, OFF, BOTH. I am having trouble visualizing how the day tank fits into your system - is it a third tank? Meaning, you can draw from any of the three tanks? Or will your engine (s) always draw from the day tank, so you effectively only have a 2-tank system? If the latter, this valve will work fine. If the former, or if you have complexities due to polishing, you may need a different valve or the manifold you originally showed.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:58 AM   #6
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Ha! I find manifolds confusing due to multi-valves. It's usually so long since I last moved them that I have to re-design the system in my head before I can touch, even then I close my eyes and hope for the best.

I just redesigned my fuel system - but just two tanks (below). It has a polishing circuit, but cannot be used underway, which is only a minor limitation.

Here are a few valves that may help.

1. Groco 6-port valve. Designed for two tanks, directs supply and return to same tank with one valve.
2. Groco 4-Port Valve. This is what you just found, though with the mounting plates for ease. It's the one I used in my system, one for supply, one for return. Allows me to draw from one tank and return to the other (for polishing). My first guess on your system would be to put the day tank inline with engine, so engine ALWAYS draws from Day Tank. But with 2-engines, well, my mind swirls a bit.
3. 4-port valve for 3-tanks. But only 1/4" NPT. Allows to draw from any of three tanks and send to a single source.

Please post the final design - definitely interested to see what you come up with.

Attachment 96698
Will do. I just talked to Groco and they have a 5-port valve that looks perfect if I block one of the outlets and use it as the off function. Part # FV 550L.

And thanks for the list!
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
This valve allows #1, #2, OFF, BOTH. I am having trouble visualizing how the day tank fits into your system - is it a third tank? Meaning, you can draw from any of the three tanks? Or will your engine (s) always draw from the day tank, so you effectively only have a 2-tank system? If the latter, this valve will work fine. If the former, or if you have complexities due to polishing, you may need a different valve or the manifold you originally showed.
Yes, underway I can draw from any of the three tanks and return to any using the boatís original fuel manifolds. For ďpolishingĒ/transferring, I can also draw from any of the tanks via separate lines and return to any tank via the return manifold. Iíll post a drawing one of these days.
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:13 PM   #8
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Will do. I just talked to Groco and they have a 5-port valve that looks perfect if I block one of the outlets and use it as the off function. Part # FV 550L
Nice valve. Looks like it might be mountable in the Stainless bracket they sell with their 4-port valves if that makes life easier for you.

As an aside, I really like Groco products. Old school heavy bronze, and working with the folks in their tech support is pretty easy.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:51 AM   #9
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Some of the selection valves will also feed the excess fuel back to the selected tank.


Makes operation very simple.
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:50 AM   #10
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Some of the selection valves will also feed the excess fuel back to the selected tank. Makes operation very simple.
Are you thinking of the Groco 6-Way Valve? Seems that it's great for simultaneously controlling supply and return with a single valve, but, best I can tell, there is no way to transfer between tanks, so additional valves would be needed if fuel transfer was desired.

Attached pic is a very nicely installed fuel system on a Willard 36 (a sistership to mine) with a 3-way valve in the center right.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:09 AM   #11
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Iím redesigning the home-made fuel transfer system on Stella. The current system has worked OK, but components are basically salvaged stuff that should be replaced before they fail. The system I want to build will also be much neater and more compact, with panel-mounted valves that will save a lot of space.
Very good webpage on a well-laid out fuel manifold for multiple tanks on a Nordhavn 52.

https://mvdirona.com/2013/12/dirona-fuel-manifold/
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Old 11-24-2019, 11:04 AM   #12
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Here’s the much-simplified design I’m working on.
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