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Old 09-06-2021, 08:56 PM   #1
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Difficult to fill water - shooting back out at me

Friends,

BOAT: '79 Californian 34 LRC

I went to top off my water through the deck filler this weekend and even after just a bit of water went in I could hear a huge gasping sound come from the filler and then the system started spouting water back out at me like a geyser. After a few moments things settled down so I started adding more water and boom, the geyser started back up again - sometimes as high as 2 or 3 ft.

I had just gotten back from a couple hours of cruising. Some of that was spent in some decent rollers offshore. So my guess so far is that I introduced an air pocket into the system or something. I was never able to fully fill it due to having to take a break again and again and waiting for the system to calm down. I got tired of getting sprayed in the face, so I moved on to my next distraction.

Should I run the water completely out of the system with the idea that this may also flush any air too?

Thankful for insight or ideas from the community.

-- Raaf
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:11 PM   #2
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Sounds like you may have a plugged vent line. Bugs love to build nests in them.
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:44 PM   #3
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Twedd,

Thank you! Based on your reply I did some more research and now this seems quite likely to be the cause.

I have an approximate idea of where that line may be, so I will track it down and work to resolve.

Would love any additional advice folks may have on clearing vent lines.

Thanks,

Raaf
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Old 09-06-2021, 11:52 PM   #4
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+1 on the plugged vent.
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Old 09-07-2021, 04:07 AM   #5
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Usually the vent outlet is on the hull outboard of the deck fill fitting. Air should come out when you fill the tank. The vent fitting has screens to keep bugs out. You could also have a kinked vent hose that will do the same.
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Old 09-07-2021, 06:04 AM   #6
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Another vote for plugged vent as most likely.
I have used a shop vac (sucking) to clear vents.
If you can access the vent line at the tank you may be able to use compressed air or back flushing if necessary.
Those bugs can be very good at building mud nests.
If any doubt and you have an inspection port in top of tank loosen that and try filling again... ill bet all will flow smoothly.
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Old 09-07-2021, 11:07 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone - this is all useful information and consistent with probable cause.

I will get down to the boat this week, attempt resolution and report back.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:00 PM   #8
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Easy access on the 34 LRC. Remove the vent line from the top of the tank and blow it out with air or water. We have mud dauber wasps that can pack vents with mud in no time!
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:21 PM   #9
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On my Albin I can't just stick a hose into the water filler spout. It gurgles and spits occasionally. It might be a plugged vent but I have solved the problem by adding a flexible piece of 3/4 hose to the end of the garden hose and pushing it well into the water tank, a good six inches past the filler tube. Problem solved.

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Old 09-07-2021, 08:46 PM   #10
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At least it isnít the holding tank you are dealing withÖ
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Old 09-08-2021, 12:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWedd View Post
Sounds like you may have a plugged vent line. Bugs love to build nests in them.
Had that happen (bugs) to a fuel tank vent line. Yup, fuel burped back out of the filler. The blocked vent also expained the rush of air I had been getting when I released the vacuum opening the filler cap. I was lucky that the engines did not evenually stop for lack of fuel. All it took was a pick to clean out the fuzz from the vent cap on the side of the hull.
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Old 09-08-2021, 12:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Raaf View Post
Twedd,

Thank you! Based on your reply I did some more research and now this seems quite likely to be the cause.

I have an approximate idea of where that line may be, so I will track it down and work to resolve.

Would love any additional advice folks may have on clearing vent lines.

Thanks,

Raaf
You may not have to replace your vent lines. In fact that may not solve your problem if your vent fitting on your hull is plugged by bug stuff. Start there with a pick.
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Old 09-13-2021, 03:33 PM   #13
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I thought I'd followup on this.

So you know what? I'm not sure the vent was plugged. I really think the issue was me, filling the water tank waaayyy too fast. I mean...I was filling it firehose style. Backing off just a little made for an easy fill up.

That said, I learned quite a bit about my system thanks to each of you. Things I should have known already, but are now valuable moving forward. I've got the system mapped out and was able to find some things that need attention long term.

Keep on trawlin.

-- Raaf
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Old 09-13-2021, 04:31 PM   #14
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When you are filling your water tank, just put your hand at or over the vent. I suspect you feel a rush of air.
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Old 09-13-2021, 05:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raaf View Post
I thought I'd followup on this.

So you know what? I'm not sure the vent was plugged. I really think the issue was me, filling the water tank waaayyy too fast. I mean...I was filling it firehose style. Backing off just a little made for an easy fill up.

That said, I learned quite a bit about my system thanks to each of you. Things I should have known already, but are now valuable moving forward. I've got the system mapped out and was able to find some things that need attention long term.

Keep on trawlin.

-- Raaf
What are you filling it with? I fill mine with a garden hose running full blast and they donít backup until it is full.
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Old 09-22-2021, 08:49 PM   #16
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What are you filling it with? I fill mine with a garden hose running full blast and they donít backup until it is full.
Filling it with a garden hose from the dock - but the flow is definitely higher than the water pressure I have at home. I suspect the vent line is probably just a smaller diameter than needed to support this. It's not big issue to reduce flow by 20% and wait.

That said, I'll keep inspecting it for obstruction.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:20 PM   #17
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Just be careful and don't do what I did. New boat to us. Was filling tank with water meter attached to get a read on how big the tanks were. Water pressure on dock is really high, hose kept leaping out of the filler nozzle . . . . so I stuck about three feet into the filler so it wouldn't back out . . . . then a guy on the dock started talking to me about the boat . . . . and I stopped paying attention until I heard some "popping sounds" from the bow of the boat, like oil canning, I quickly turned off the hose . . . then the high water alarm in the forward went off, as the 120 gallons of the 250 gallons escaped the tank in the failed seam on the tank that I had caused to fail when I over pressurized the tank . . . The tank is fiberglass, and the crack is accessible, so it shouldn't be difficult to repair from the inside, but still frustrating. Oh, and the aft tank also leaks. I suspect the same thing happened there before I bought the boat, but it's fiberglass as well. I haven't opened up that one yet, but it's on the to do list!

From now on, the water will only be put in the tanks by directing the flow in the direction of the fill nozzle, or at most 1" to 2" inside the filler neck. Live and learn I guess, and if that's the most bonehead thing I do with this boat, I'll be lucky!
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:19 PM   #18
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Put a nice ball valve on the garden hose to throttle the water flow.
Get a 5 gallon bucket, time how long it takes to fill, divide the time by 5 and presto, you have the gpm. Tuck this in your mind for future reference.
My dock water flow is about 6 gpm. Easy pleasey
Set the timer..... When the timer goes off, go shut the water off.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:30 PM   #19
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Just be careful and don't do what I did. New boat to us. Was filling tank with water meter attached to get a read on how big the tanks were. Water pressure on dock is really high, hose kept leaping out of the filler nozzle . . . . so I stuck about three feet into the filler so it wouldn't back out . . . . then a guy on the dock started talking to me about the boat . . . . and I stopped paying attention until I heard some "popping sounds" from the bow of the boat, like oil canning, I quickly turned off the hose . . . then the high water alarm in the forward went off, as the 120 gallons of the 250 gallons escaped the tank in the failed seam on the tank that I had caused to fail when I over pressurized the tank . . . The tank is fiberglass, and the crack is accessible, so it shouldn't be difficult to repair from the inside, but still frustrating. Oh, and the aft tank also leaks. I suspect the same thing happened there before I bought the boat, but it's fiberglass as well...
Our previous IG had 2 extra tanks(total 1000L). Aft one, like the standard 2,overflowed at the filler onto the deck but,the bow tank overflowed into the bilge. You knew it was full when the bilge pump fired up, if you missed the signs at the filler.
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Old Yesterday, 12:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Filling it with a garden hose from the dock - but the flow is definitely higher than the water pressure I have at home. I suspect the vent line is probably just a smaller diameter than needed to support this. It's not big issue to reduce flow by 20% and wait.

That said, I'll keep inspecting it for obstruction.
I have a 2" file tube, a garden hose is ~1". There is plenty of room for air if the hose is inserted below the top of the water tank. If that is not possible, yes water will back up if the vent is plugged completely or even partially.
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