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Old 12-18-2019, 08:21 PM   #21
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Fuel flow installation choice - hose or fittings

How about putting the engine in flow sensor at the Racor, and the return flow sensor at the return fitting on the tank (or diverter valve if applicable).

I would then not hesitate to solid pipe on one side, and probably OK to have pipe on both sides as there would be no vibration. You should also be working with standard tube and fittings.

Flow into the pipe = flow out, unless of course something breaks!

Bill
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Island Cessna View Post
How about putting the engine in flow sensor at the Racor, and the return flow sensor at the return fitting on the tank (or diverter valve if applicable).

I would then not hesitate to solid pipe on one side, and probably OK to have pipe on both sides as there would be no vibration.

Flow into the pipe = flow out, unless of course something breaks!

Bill
Interesting idea......

Returns are copper from the engine hose all the way to the back of the tank. They appear to have the same JIC connector that is used at the hose. And it's copper, and pretty tight, so I don't think I could stick a 3" wide sensor in between the pipe and the tank without bending something. I can disconnect them and push them back a bit, but not much more.

Same with the Racor - pipe comes out and does a 90 degree turn and is attached to stringers up to the engine. I might be able to detach and move it over a little, but not 3" wide. Pic below, sorry it's dark in there.

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I'd still have to come up with some adapters anyhow, and looking at the threads and sizes of things coming/going from the Racor, I'm betting it's the same standards as the adapters I'm working on at the engine. So I'd still need to find a male/female JIC/metric/whatever adapter set to ORB between some of the pieces.

I could chop the copper shorter and put new ends on, but that would require getting a flaring tool and such, and hoping I could re-use the fittings on the copper (should be able to) and find the right flare angle too.
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:58 PM   #23
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I think this project is dead in the water.

After chatting with a local mechanic friend, visiting NEBAR and one other place, as well as talking with the manufacturer, the only idea we've come up with is to use the JIC portion of the existing adapter, and stick the sensor in between that and the hose going to the engine. This would be for both the supply and return.

My supply line is 3/4" or something close. I can't find my thread pitch gauge but I know where one is that I can use tomorrow.* Regardless, it is pretty large.*My return line is 5/8" or something close.*

The sensor adapter is 1/4" NPT. Most of what I can find online is NPTF which is better for fuel anyhow, but not 100% compatible with NTP without sealant.*Irritating that the sensor vendor doesn't use that. They also recommend just using teflon to seal it, which is a big no-no.

For the 3/4" supply line on the supply side I would need:

3/4" JIC female to 3/4" female NPTF
3/4" male NPTF to 1/2" female NPTF
1/2" male NPTF to 1/4" female NPTF
1/4" male NPT to ORB #4 (sensor)

On the far side of the sensor (engine side), reverse the process, but the JIC is male.

That's a total of 8 new fittings in addition to the existing fitting, or 9 new places that leaks could occur. And a ton of new weight to put between a hose and an existing line that really shouldn't have a lot of weight on it.*

The return line is 5/8" and I *might* be able to find a way to use one less adapter, but probably not.

Just seems like a lot of risk for what I'm getting out of it!
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:00 PM   #24
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I see, you need a huge size difference between the two ends of the fittings. #4 ORB to #12JIC, or #10JIC.

So the issue really is that the sensor ports are tiny compared to the hose sizes. I remember dealing with this when installing a Maretron fuel flow device on a generator, and in that case I was only dealing with 1/2” or
#8 hose ends. I also abandoned that project, but for slightly different reasons.
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:37 PM   #25
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I see, you need a huge size difference between the two ends of the fittings. #4 ORB to #12JIC, or #10JIC.

So the issue really is that the sensor ports are tiny compared to the hose sizes. I remember dealing with this when installing a Maretron fuel flow device on a generator, and in that case I was only dealing with 1/2” or
#8 hose ends. I also abandoned that project, but for slightly different reasons.


Yeah that many bits and pieces make me nervous. Maretron’s sensor for my engine size has 1/4” NPT so at least I would be one connector less but still a decent amount.

Back to the drawing board!
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Old 12-19-2019, 12:20 AM   #26
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I have flown lots of airplanes too and I think the fuel flow thing is a waste of time and money, it will not give you any useful information that you can’t get by just measuring your fuel.
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Old 12-19-2019, 12:25 AM   #27
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I have flown lots of airplanes too and I think the fuel flow thing is a waste of time and money, it will not give you any useful information that you can’t get by just measuring your fuel.


I’ve had them on boats where they don’t matter - traditional trawler that is very predictable etc. After a year of usage on my current boat, I have very little concrete and repeatable info which is why I wanted it.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:26 AM   #28
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I’ve had them on boats where they don’t matter - traditional trawler that is very predictable etc. After a year of usage on my current boat, I have very little concrete and repeatable info which is why I wanted it.



Perhaps all you need to do is hook up the meter long enough to plot your fuel burn vs engine RPM. Short of re-propping, that won't change in the future.


Back when I was dabbling with this same issue, I was trying to get solid fuel burn vs load for a generator. The manufacturer only publishes two data points; 1/2 load and full load, and I was looking for a higher resolution plot of gph vs kw output. This was all in the context of trying to better understand fuel consumption to generate power via generator vs on-engine alternator(s). Bottom line is that I expected to install the metering system for a while to collect the salient data, then remove it.
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:31 AM   #29
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This is a view of the in and out sensors of my self-installed Floscan before I ran and connected the wiring. This was the EASY part. Running the wiring to the console was a pure bitch. I am not a fan of hard piping for fuel systems in boats (removed as much as possible of those leaking fittings form my Grand Banks), and you see none here. I feel they are far more likely to leak than any hose and barb fittings, even if you never put the first hose clamp on the hose of these low pressure systems. In this case I just cut into the Racor to engine hose and stuck the ends into the barbs on the input sensor - five minute job. Because the hose on the return side ran high across the top of the engine bay and I wanted the return sensor down where you see it, I had to replace the entire run of hose with longer pieces to both sides of the sensor. Easy peasy.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Perhaps all you need to do is hook up the meter long enough to plot your fuel burn vs engine RPM. Short of re-propping, that won't change in the future.


Back when I was dabbling with this same issue, I was trying to get solid fuel burn vs load for a generator. The manufacturer only publishes two data points; 1/2 load and full load, and I was looking for a higher resolution plot of gph vs kw output. This was all in the context of trying to better understand fuel consumption to generate power via generator vs on-engine alternator(s). Bottom line is that I expected to install the metering system for a while to collect the salient data, then remove it.
Yes, this is part of my challenge. The previous owner gave me some very general numbers for GPH for the mains, but it has proven to be wildly above and below that by a small amount on the low side, and more than double on the high side. For a boat with a 300 gallon capacity, that means really frustrating planning for longer trips, and lots of stress. Most of the trips I am on involve 4-6 hour days of motoring, which can be a significant amount of fuel at 15GPH when you're expecting 7. That's almost 1/3rd of my capacity in one day, when I'm expecting much, much less.

I would like to find out why it varies so much, and the best way to do that is to have a meter and observe things, even if only on one engine, for a period of time. I have no problem adding one for a while and removing it if I'm worried, but even a short period of time with 8-10 adapters seems like a risk for the hoses and connections!


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This is a view of the in and out sensors of my self-installed Floscan before I ran and connected the wiring. This was the EASY part. Running the wiring to the console was a pure bitch. I am not a fan of hard piping for fuel systems in boats (removed as much as possible of those leaking fittings form my Grand Banks), and you see none here. I feel they are far more likely to leak than any hose and barb fittings, even if you never put the first hose clamp on the hose of these low pressure systems. In this case I just cut into the Racor to engine hose and stuck the ends into the barbs on the input sensor - five minute job. Because the hose on the return side ran high across the top of the engine bay and I wanted the return sensor down where you see it, I had to replace the entire run of hose with longer pieces to both sides of the sensor. Easy peasy.
Nice setup. I wish I had hoses instead of copper piping, at least from the filters to the engines..

I did find joints in the return lines in the engine room late last night crawling around, and of course I have Racor filters that I could come off of for the supply lines.

So the safest approach would be to replace about 40' of copper for both engines with hoses from those points. The challenge would still be getting the right banjo adapters for the on-engine connection points, and dealing with the connection to the Racor and the supply joints - they are 100% going to be the same odd flare connections and sizes, so I would still need custom adapters or hoses.

Is getting the fuel burn information worth an investment of $400 in hoses and probably 3 hard days of labor? Potentially, or I could just continue using the old sight glass / pressure sensor tank monitoring method along with a spreadsheet.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:38 PM   #31
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I ended up with an installed Floscan because at the time I was only looking for a digital tach to replace the inaccurate Faria analog unit with its digital hour meter. For a planing boat, I felt accurate RPM was essential as an onging diagnostic tool, and now I feel that way about the fuel meter too. I found that by the time I got done buying the digital tach, I could just as easily buy the Floscan I purchased at a discount from another member who had bought but never installed it achieving accurate tach/hours/fuel usage. I had to use a door bell ringer transformer to run the digital tach up the engine hours I had on the Faria - yes I am that anal. I am very happy with the unit as a whole. I personally would not buy such a high dollar unit as a Floscan for simply a one time fuel usage measurement because you could temporarily plumb a measured container if you only wish to have very specific RPM ranges measure. For a twin-engine boat with a single fuel flow measuring system, why not plumb in a simple manifold for the unit allowing one engine at a time to be accurately measured?
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Old 12-19-2019, 06:27 PM   #32
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5/8" is awfully big for a fuel line. Mine on a 200 hp Perkins is 3/8"
If the engines really need a fuel line that big I wouldn't want to neck it down to 1/4" at the sensors. Might restrict the flow too much.

Copper pipe is fairly easy to cut and flare. Figure where you want the sensors and cut a short piece out, flare it and go.
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Old 12-21-2019, 02:27 PM   #33
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Rich, that looks like an easy install but was part of it to secure that fuel line? That long unsupported line anchored by only one hose clamp looks like an “incident” waiting for the worst moment to let go.
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:21 PM   #34
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It's well secured now, thanks.
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Old 12-23-2019, 02:26 PM   #35
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You can easily find new banjo fittings to attach to the lift pump and injection pump. The injection pump is made by Bosch and any good fuel injection shop can supply them. Available with female thread, flare, etc. Also available thru VP. This should expand the options at the engine end without trying to cut the Volvo hoses.

Also, V.P. recommended fuel supply diameter for the TAMD 61 is 3/8".

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Old 12-23-2019, 02:35 PM   #36
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What system did you purchase as I'm considering a system for my 1985 Detroit 4-71s; I already have a NEMA 2000 backbone in place with Raymarine MFD
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Old 12-23-2019, 02:47 PM   #37
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I had a rusted high pressure fuel line on an old volvo. In the bay area I found several hydraulic high pressure hose shops. I went to the closest one with my old ends. They didn't have a direct adapter for one end so they used two. Long story short is that they could make pretty much anything I wanted.

They were making hoses for lift trucks, all sort of PTO's and engines etc etc. They had all kinds of fittings and they were just the closest shop, not the biggest or best.
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Old 12-23-2019, 03:38 PM   #38
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After crawling around a bit, I found breaks in the return lines where it looks like they upsized the pipes leading back to the tank. Probably depending on which engine type/manufacturer got installed in the boat, these could be essentially universal in terms of the final run to the tank size.

So I definitely could replace the copper piping from/to the engine back to the Racor/return with fuel hose. Each run would be about 6-8' and then I could just cut the hose and use the hose barbs provided with the sensor, mount them on the wall near the filters, etc.

I've never run my own fuel hoses, so I'd want to learn how to put ends on and such so I can do it myself.

Still interested in opinions on the current setup as well.
If you plan to use armored Type A hose (Parker FR221 for instance), it requires proprietary ends, and an installation mandrel kit to install. However, this is a bulletproof system of fuel plumbing, very rugged and reliable. Alternatively you can use ordinary Type A hose and quality clamps. Be sure to not install hose directly over smooth copper tubing, you must use a barbed pipe to hose adapter. This article includes some of these details https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/w...elplumbing.pdf

Interestingly, while copper is strong and fire resistant, it is somewhat detrimental to diesel fuel, and not considered the ideal means of fuel transport. Copper contains oxygen, which oxidizes diesel fuel. I don't condemn copper fuel lines by any means, I simply would not choose it as a means of supplying fuel in a new build or refit.
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Old 12-23-2019, 03:42 PM   #39
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You can easily find new banjo fittings to attach to the lift pump and injection pump. The injection pump is made by Bosch and any good fuel injection shop can supply them. Available with female thread, flare, etc. Also available thru VP. This should expand the options at the engine end without trying to cut the Volvo hoses.

Also, V.P. recommended fuel supply diameter for the TAMD 61 is 3/8".

DougR
Thanks for the details on a fuel injection shop - hadn't thought of that, but they definitely could provide a hose for that end. I highly doubt VP would be any help - both of my local VP dealers barely remember what a TAMD engine is, and have been mostly worthless when it comes to spare parts or any help. I have found most of my parts online myself, so perhaps I could find a different size/end one there for sure.

The hose is 3/8" ID and the copper lines supplying it are even bigger. Part of my concern with using this other fuel meter was that its inlet port was quite tiny.

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What system did you purchase as I'm considering a system for my 1985 Detroit 4-71s; I already have a NEMA 2000 backbone in place with Raymarine MFD
I will be putting a Maretron system in. I've used them on two other boats, and worked on a number of others. They have standard size inlet ports (depending on the sensor/engine/horespower of course) from 1/4" to 1/2" NPT that would be much easier to adapt to, a much smaller sensor that wouldn't be creating as big of a weight issue on the hose, and also deal with temperature differentials in the fuel, which the other solution did not appear to have.
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Old 12-23-2019, 03:53 PM   #40
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I've been down in the weeds like that with hose fittings. Fun until you hit dead ends.
I added an Optio fuel flow meter a while back and updated my hoses at the same time. With hose, at least if you had to take the sensor out you can splice the hose back with a double ended barb and hose clamps and would only need to know the hose inside diameter. Easier parts to source if you're in a remote area and don't have luxury of being able to take your hoses in to a shop...
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