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Old 02-12-2019, 12:06 PM   #21
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WRT sight gauges, I used Teflon tubing with self closing ball valves. The surveyor failed the original petcocks with some other ”plastic” material. Self closing valves are desirable. If your sight tubes fail in a fire, you don’t want your fuel tanks draining into the ER. The old petcocks weeped if they were accidentally left open. Transport Canada regulations call for self closing valves. Teflon has a broad operating temperature, all the way to 500 F. None of the other “plastics” come close to that temperature. Unlike glass, it’s also fracture resistant.

Teflon is a bit more opaque than the other options but is acceptable.

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Old 02-12-2019, 12:16 PM   #22
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This morning I'm back to taking them off. 95% of the time an electric gauge will work, and 5% of the time it could be managed by simple math and moving fuel from one tank to another in the worst case. I know electronics fail more than sight gauges, but I'd rather have one well maintained method, than two (four in this case) items that have to share my attention for maintenance. Additionally I don't want any fire dumping anything in my bilge. And lastly it gives me more space/clearance. Again, stubborn.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:33 PM   #23
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JDCAVE what was your source of the valves and fittings, tubing etc.? I don't have sight gauges and would like to add them with the proper self-closing valves.

Thx
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:09 PM   #24
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Some random thoughts....


- I'd keep the sight gauges, but renew all the fittings and tubes, and install self-closing valves at the bottom.


- I think the single biggest improvement you could make would be the addition of a day tank. The goal is to isolate purchased fuel from fuel that you run on, and only replenish the day tank via a transfer filter. But I understand that might not be practical.


- I'd keep the on-engine pump


- Run dedicated feeds to each engine - nothing shared.


- For the returns, I personally like valves, but I remove the handles so a tool is required to operate them. The biggest issue I have encountered with no return valves is back siphoning when changing fuel filters, and uncontrolled fuel escape. This might not be a big issue depending on the exact plumbing, but even the residual fuel in the return line and be a lot of fuel dumping out when you unscrew a filter.


- I'd leave the inspection plates as they are.


- I think on-boat polishing systems are highly over-rated. I just don't think they create enough agitation, or draw from low enough in most tanks to address the settled crud at the bottom, and that's what you really need to polish out. Any suspended crud will get filtered out very effectively by the main filters.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:14 PM   #25
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Fuel System Redesign

I bought them online from SK Automation. They can be expensive. I bought the more affordable version. I believe they were ~$33 each. Get more of the smaller Allen bolts that retain the spring, as you pretty much have to remove the handle to swing the valve to screw it on to any fitting and the bolts have loctite on them and they seem to fail on removal. The big spring is pretty stiff. Here’s the link:

http://www.sk-automation.com/ballval...manhandle.html

You can contact them here:
http://www.sk-automation.com/contactinfo.html

I used regular brass compression fittings, available at a proper commercial fitting and hose store. I got my fittings at Greenline Hose in Vancouver, but I’m sure any good local supplier would work. They also sold the Teflon tubing. In my view the Teflon tubing is the way to go.

Other than the valve and compression fittings, I needed a short piece between the elbow and the valve. If you show the photo to the person behind the desk, they will know the name of it. The nipple on the tanks were already in place, so I can’t help you with that.

Edit: oh, and you need to calibrate and mark the sight tubes the first time you fill the tanks, of course. Find a understanding fuel attendant when you fill.

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Old 02-13-2019, 10:27 PM   #26
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Some random thoughts....

Snip

- I think on-boat polishing systems are highly over-rated. I just don't think they create enough agitation...

Agreed. That’s why you need run the system when the tank is <1/4 full and when you are in rough seas. Running a fuel polishing system while at the dock is a WOT.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:04 AM   #27
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Primbing pump

One more thing. Back up & priming electric pump - great idea.


Couple notes to think about.

In an aircraft mechanical pump using avgas the back up pump is in the same line & feeds through all same tubing & is always in the circuit. The internal one-way valves in the electric & mechanical pump allow flow through them by one or both pumps working as back up or prime to the mechanical pump. But Algae does not grow in Avgas.

So, That is great for Av-Gas.

Not as much a good thing with Diesel. Here is why. - Algae or Asphalteen Contaminated fuel over time can plug the electric back up or prime pump check valves if left in system 100% of the time.

I recommend you put in a three way valve for fuel selection fed from your fuel tank source, giving system a choice of being in normal run position or prime / back up boost position.
So you can isolate the electric priming or boost pump from the circuit when not needed, so the three way valve will be in a normal run position with electric pump not in circuit - but sitting off to the side in standby mode & then you twist the valve over to the prime / boost position & turn on the back up or priming electric pump in the second circuit when needed for changing a filter or mechanical pump failure, which stays clean & does not as readily become fouled with algae or asphalteen -- which could get jammed up in the little check valves in the electric pump.

Just my opinion - & Just the way I did it now on my KK based on a previous bad experience problem with this exact issue & originally doing it the aircraft way & had this issue - so made this mod which solved issue for me..

SIGHT TUBES -- IMHO, Put the self closing valves on bottom of the sight level tubes in case of an issue, if it worries you on the fuel level sight tubes, but don't eliminate them, as that is the only true way to read the correct quantity of fuel remaining in the tanks in actual usable gallons. A half a tank on your electric fuel gauge, is not half of 350 gallons.

IMHO from my experience, Your electric fuel level gauges are not accurate enough to be more then a back up & are prone to more failure that any sight tube ever will be. The OE Tanks are NOT linear in capacity, so electric fuel gages are maybe nice for a quick glance on fire up, but useless for a serious ocean crossing trip & more accurate predictive fuel consumption rate you would want to use for long ocean crossing type trip like going across the Atlantic or going to Hawaii, etc. . You can also have leakage in the mounting of the level gauges as well.
WE can send you the graph of the KK-42 sight tube inches to gallons chart to monitor the fuel level. -- remember, as in aircraft, electric Gauges in a non linear tank are only accurate when the tank is empty which applies to aircraft & boats & by then, it's to late. Yes, you can monitor GPH fuel burn, but this a calculation that is based on average & trouble free operation & your boat is not a airplane with annual inspections & you don't burn through a tank of fuel in 4 to 6 hours on your boat. It could be days & days or weeks or more. A bad injector could be missed with your calculation & you end up being 200 miles short of your destination & out of fuel. - In the middle of an ocean crossing, there is no alternate airport to refuel like with a plane on land flying across the country.

So - Few things for you to think about, -- I fully understand, it is your boat & you're doing it your way, I know - but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.


Good Luck.


Alfa Mike.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:29 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by alfamike View Post
One more thing. Back up & priming electric pump - great idea.


Couple notes to think about.

In an aircraft mechanical pump using avgas the back up pump is in the same line & feeds through all same tubing & is always in the circuit. The internal one-way valves in the electric & mechanical pump allow flow through them by one or both pumps working as back up or prime to the mechanical pump. But Algae does not grow in Avgas.

So, That is great for Av-Gas.

Not as much a good thing with Diesel. Here is why. - Algae or Asphalteen Contaminated fuel over time can plug the electric back up or prime pump check valves if left in system 100% of the time.
I hope you don't mind some healthy discussion/questioning, the boat is hours away, so I have nothing to do, and time to overthink. Idle hands....

By this same reasoning, can't contaminated fuel plug any valve/check valve? I haven't investigated the Walbro pumps pass through design (and I will), but I wouldn't think it would be any more susceptible to plugging than any other part of the fuel system. The real question at hand is does it's addition add more value than the risk it adds? Currently my answer is yes. Also isn't it able to clear any issues itself simply by turning it on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfamike View Post
I recommend you put in a three way valve for fuel selection fed from your fuel tank source, giving system a choice of being in normal run position or prime / back up boost position.
So you can isolate the electric priming or boost pump from the circuit when not needed, so the three way valve will be in a normal run position with electric pump not in circuit - but sitting off to the side in standby mode & then you twist the valve over to the prime / boost position & turn on the back up or priming electric pump in the second circuit when needed for changing a filter or mechanical pump failure, which stays clean & does not as readily become fouled with algae or asphalteen -- which could get jammed up in the little check valves in the electric pump.

Just my opinion - & Just the way I did it now on my KK based on a previous bad experience problem with this exact issue & originally doing it the aircraft way & had this issue - so made this mod which solved issue for me..
Could you describe the exact issue you had before? I'd love to evaluate and learn from it. What was plugged up, what happened?

My problem with isolating everything by design is that every addition is a point of failure. For instance I send the first mate down below to address an issue and she picks the wrong valve. Or I forgetfully start her up with this valve or that valve in the wrong position. I often find in design (I have worked in software and hardware, jet engines and robotics) that less is more, lots more. Every addition should be justified.


Quote:
Originally Posted by alfamike View Post
SIGHT TUBES -- IMHO, Put the self closing valves on bottom of the sight level tubes in case of an issue, if it worries you on the fuel level sight tubes, but don't eliminate them, as that is the only true way to read the correct quantity of fuel remaining in the tanks in actual usable gallons. A half a tank on your electric fuel gauge, is not half of 350 gallons.

IMHO from my experience, Your electric fuel level gauges are not accurate enough to be more then a back up & are prone to more failure that any sight tube ever will be. The OE Tanks are NOT linear in capacity, so electric fuel gages are maybe nice for a quick glance on fire up, but useless for a serious ocean crossing trip & more accurate predictive fuel consumption rate you would want to use for long ocean crossing type trip like going across the Atlantic or going to Hawaii, etc. . You can also have leakage in the mounting of the level gauges as well.
WE can send you the graph of the KK-42 sight tube inches to gallons chart to monitor the fuel level. -- remember, as in aircraft, electric Gauges in a non linear tank are only accurate when the tank is empty which applies to aircraft & boats & by then, it's to late. Yes, you can monitor GPH fuel burn, but this a calculation that is based on average & trouble free operation & your boat is not a airplane with annual inspections & you don't burn through a tank of fuel in 4 to 6 hours on your boat. It could be days & days or weeks or more. A bad injector could be missed with your calculation & you end up being 200 miles short of your destination & out of fuel. - In the middle of an ocean crossing, there is no alternate airport to refuel like with a plane on land flying across the country.

So - Few things for you to think about, -- I fully understand, it is your boat & you're doing it your way, I know - but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.


Good Luck.


Alfa Mike.
Keep the advice and discussion going, I have time and I'm willing to change my position based on facts/data. I feel that ultrasonic tank sensors that can be calibrated to tank shape should be very accurate. Maybe I'm a bit too optimistic? I agree that sight gauges are more trustworthy. Interestingly with a spare length of tube and ten minutes, in an emergency, I could sight gauge a tank on the fly. It's not that I don't value sight gauges as a method, it's that I don't want to have two good methods at once. I prefer one good method, and a backup method that might be inconvenient, but is viable. Additionally, I have the luxury of a slow boat with massive tanks and I'm an avid planner who will always have reserve. Also, I will be monitoring fuel flow for engine health reasons (and my interest in measurement), which is a third backup.

Yes I'm overthinking this, and no I'm not asking for permission, but I do enjoy the discussion, and my mind is changeable. I'm also open to discovering the hard way that I was wrong... that kind of learning is very effective.

PS: I think I've seen the calibration chart/numbers in a post somewhere.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:47 AM   #29
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Agreed. That’s why you need run the system when the tank is <1/4 full and when you are in rough seas. Running a fuel polishing system while at the dock is a WOT.
I agree, I always felt that a rolling boat was a viable way to stir up a tank, and that the next level wasn't a polishing system, but a pressure washer.

Stated another way, I don't think any return line even a dedicated one from a polishing system can match a rolling boat for stirring it up. IMO.

Lastly, I think polishing is more of a piece of mind thing. It can make a real difference at times, sure, but I bet 90% of the time it just makes us feel better. But that has value, I like feeling better, don't you?

Oh, and PS: The reasons I want to include the pump in my system are 60% for backup to the engine pump (and leaks), 30% priming convenience, 5% polishing, and 5% fuel transfer for maintenance reasons.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:49 AM   #30
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Scott: Have you heard of any failures with the fiberglass tanks? I know from personnel experience that the steel tanks have had their issues.
Georgia Girl developed leaks in one or both of the tanks. The fix was to coat the inside with one of the aeronautical tank sealants.

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Old 02-14-2019, 08:22 AM   #31
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- I think on-boat polishing systems are highly over-rated. I just don't think they create enough agitation, or draw from low enough in most tanks to address the settled crud at the bottom, and that's what you really need to polish out. Any suspended crud will get filtered out very effectively by the main filters.
While I would agree with you in normal cruising conditions, when I'm rolling in 3 to 4' beams seas, everything that can get stirred up, will. The other factor is flow rate. At normal cruise, my lift pump flow rate (not fuel consumption) is about 20 GPH. The fuel polisher is about 180 GPH. I typically only polish the starboard side tank that feeds the engine and generator, when sea conditions would be stirring up any tank sediment. All fuel is loaded in the port side tank and polished as it's transferred.

The other nice feature on my setup is that fuel is returned at the opposite end (10' away) from where it's drawn, which should help to move all the fuel toward the polisher pickup.

Ted
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:49 AM   #32
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Re fuel contamination, I would suggest a two step process to best protect against it.


Step 1: Thoroughly clean your tanks. All problems seem to emanate from crud that has accumulated over years and years, and that gets suddenly stirred up in rough conditions. Once clean, unless you take on bad fuel, they will stay clean for a very long time. I have seen 10+ year old tanks opened for inspection or repair that are immaculate, and the boats have been uses extensively. I think it's much, much better to proactively clean your tanks rather than put all sorts of polishers in place, wait for rough weather, and hope it all works.


Step 2: Once you have clean tanks as a starting point, quarantine purchased fuel and never let it mix with the fuel you plan to consume. This is the basis for the whole day tank concept. This requires a minimum of two tanks, one known-good to run off of, and one quarantined for purchased fuel. Then only put fuel in the consumption tank after filtering and separating out water. That way the consumption/day tank will stay clean indefinitely, and any crud that comes aboard from the doc will stay in the storage tank.


The day tank will be continually self-polishing by virtue of the engine filters and constantly circulating fuel.


If you want a way to pro-actively clean water and crud in the storage tank that you might have taken on when fueling, a "polishing" system that draws from the very bottom of the tank, filters and separates water, and returns to the same tank would be an effective way to purge crap. Then, in 10 years, inspect and clean the tank again, if necessary.


Now I realize it may not be practical to accomplish this on many boats given space, existing tanks, tank sizes, etc. But it should be food for thought.



And if nothing else, inspect and clean your tanks so you are at a known starting point. If you have a filthy tank and hit rough weather such that filters are starting to plug, I think there is a good chance that you will be flat out screwed trying to filter that out while still running, before you run out of filters.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:59 AM   #33
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Re fuel contamination, I would suggest a two step process to best protect against it.
I feel like my design handles everything you just said except the initial cleaning. Good stuff.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:35 AM   #34
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I agree, I always felt that a rolling boat was a viable way to stir up a tank, and that the next level wasn't a polishing system, but a pressure washer.



Stated another way, I don't think any return line even a dedicated one from a polishing system can match a rolling boat for stirring it up. IMO.



Lastly, I think polishing is more of a piece of mind thing. It can make a real difference at times, sure, but I bet 90% of the time it just makes us feel better. But that has value, I like feeling better, don't you?



Oh, and PS: The reasons I want to include the pump in my system are 60% for backup to the engine pump (and leaks), 30% priming convenience, 5% polishing, and 5% fuel transfer for maintenance reasons.

I replaced the filter element in my ESI polishing system (installed by the PO) after 4 years and it was completely clean. The system had been used regularly to move fuel from tank to tank, However, the regular use primary filter elements on the engine supply were needing replacement after about 500 hours. So I eventually put the ESI on the Inverter side of the panel so it could be operated whilst traveling and without using the generator.

All the above notwithstanding, I agree with TT: I would not bother installing one based on what I know now. I opened an inspection port last year and there was very little accumulation of asphaltenes on the bottom of the tank.

Jim
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:14 PM   #35
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A few thoughts:

1. Do keep the sight tubes. As soon as your electronic ones give a goofy reading, you will want sight tubes or the ability to dipstick tanks.

2. Gen and main engine should not share a supply and return. With one running and the other off, fuel (and air) can be drawn backward through the off machine and stall the one running.

3. Nothing wrong with gennie being fed from only one tank. They burn little and often are run infrequently. That is how I set mine up and many do the same.

4. If you have tank clean out ports, open up your tanks and clean them. Then a polishing system is not needed.

5. Keep it simple.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:41 PM   #36
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A few thoughts:

1. Do keep the sight tubes. As soon as your electronic ones give a goofy reading, you will want sight tubes or the ability to dipstick tanks.

2. Gen and main engine should not share a supply and return. With one running and the other off, fuel (and air) can be drawn backward through the off machine and stall the one running.

3. Nothing wrong with gennie being fed from only one tank. They burn little and often are run infrequently. That is how I set mine up and many do the same.

4. If you have tank clean out ports, open up your tanks and clean them. Then a polishing system is not needed.

5. Keep it simple.


1. Good point. Though I could still manually check them with a quick manual sight gauge setup. How often do electronic gauges show funny data, and how critical is it when they do? My contention is that it's not that critical.

2. Wouldn't a check valve or two be more simple than full on duplicate lines? At some point they are going to have to tie together, I'm not drilling new holes in my tanks unless I have to.

3. Unless genny operation is considered important, and then being able to run on either tank would be valuable.

4. Reasonable, except I'm getting the polishing almost for free in terms of one tee and one valve (since pump is a given).

5. Yes.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:49 PM   #37
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Bridaus

Whether the "polishing system" is free or not, do as suggested in Ski's 1 - 5. Get everything working right and trouble free. Once up and running, you can assess the best way to install the polishing system - or if at all.

TT's comments are invaluable. Once you've cleaned your tanks out there is little chance to gunk them up unless you intentionally go looking for bad fuel. My tanks are pushing 15 years old, clean as a whistle and probably 15,000 gallons through them by now.

Lastly, if not done so, suggest you read sbarmarine's website on fuel systems and filtering. You may find a few hints on how better to set up your system as explained by a very smart marine engineer - Tony Athens.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:00 PM   #38
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Bridaus

Whether the "polishing system" is free or not, do as suggested in Ski's 1 - 5. Get everything working right and trouble free. Once up and running, you can assess the best way to install the polishing system - or if at all.

TT's comments are invaluable. Once you've cleaned your tanks out there is little chance to gunk them up unless you intentionally go looking for bad fuel. My tanks are pushing 15 years old, clean as a whistle and probably 15,000 gallons through them by now.

Lastly, if not done so, suggest you read sbarmarine's website on fuel systems and filtering. You may find a few hints on how better to set up your system as explained by a very smart marine engineer - Tony Athens.
Ironically it works well now, I just don't know it well yet. Working on that. Wait until I send the pics of what it looks like though, scary. eek.

Will check out the site you mention too, thanks!
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:03 AM   #39
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I promised pictures...

Starboard side represented. Port side there are just the supply and return with no equipment/valving except right at the tank just like starboard.

It's all getting replaced this summer.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:15 AM   #40
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Well I haven't seen sweat copper fittings in boat fuel plumbing before. Hope somebody fired the house plummer.

Ted
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