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Old 12-16-2019, 03:14 PM   #1
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Fuel flow installation choice - hose or fittings

I am about to install a fuel flow monitoring system and have a choice between two options that I'd like opinions on.

I have dual Volvo Penta TAMD 61A diesel engines with, of course, a fuel supply and return line for each. The system I will be installing will have a sensor in-line with both the supply and the return, otherwise it would be a pretty pointless system

The majority of my fuel system piping is hard copper up until it bridges to the engine, in which case it is using 3/8" ID rubber hose for vibration damping, etc.

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I have two choices to install the sensors:

Rubber hose - the system came with very long hose barb connectors and clamps. I could cut the hoses you see above and insert the sensors there. Positives in this approach are that it is a relatively easy install, has a minimal amount of new failure points, and doesn't require anything other than what came with the product. Cons include cutting the hose and using clamps instead of fittings which is a failure point, plus the weight of the sensors on the hose.

Fittings - I also had NPT fittings included with the product. Where the hoses hit the copper in the bottom of the picture, I could get 2x adapters for each sensor which would attach to the provided fittings and the copper piping/rubber hose. Pros with this setup is that I wouldn't have to cut the hose, would easily be able to remove the system, and they would be relatively stable. Cons include having to find four (per engine - 8 total) new fittings to convert between the hose->sensor fitting and the sensor-> copper fitting, and all of the potential leak points introduced by the new fittings.

I like the fitting idea the most but I really don't relish having to have that many connectors. I am not going to chop off the end of the copper tube and change the fittings there, or change out the hoses so they match the various ends. That is far more intrusive than cutting the hoses, which I would prefer to do instead and if I want to longer term after I've proven the install, rework the hoses and fittings down to something simpler. That's not the plan for now.

Interested in any pros/cons I've not factored in for the two approaches above.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:09 PM   #2
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First, are the flow sensors orientation critical? The ones that came with my boat had to be horizontal.
Second, I wouldn't want them that close to the engine. Can you mount them further away where they would be out of the way?

Ted
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
First, are the flow sensors orientation critical? The ones that came with my boat had to be horizontal.
Second, I wouldn't want them that close to the engine. Can you mount them further away where they would be out of the way?

Ted
I've checked with the manufacturer, and the orientation is fine where they would be.

The only other break in the line is right after the fuel filter (Racor) and would require major surgery to get something into it, not to mention they're not easy to get to.

They would be tucked back away from anyone moving by them on both engines, the port one more-so. I definitely would like them somewhere else, but I don't really have any other places where there are breaks unless I want to create new ones.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
First, are the flow sensors orientation critical? The ones that came with my boat had to be horizontal.
Second, I wouldn't want them that close to the engine. Can you mount them further away where they would be out of the way?

Ted
Hmm thinking a bit more about this, I could potentially just run new rubber only fuel lines from the Racor to the engine, and somewhere in the middle stick the fuel sensor. That would let me get it out of the way as well.

I'd have to look at the return to see how I could do that since I think it goes all the way back to the tank without any breaks.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:50 PM   #5
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Hmm thinking a bit more about this, I could potentially just run new rubber only fuel lines from the Racor to the engine, and somewhere in the middle stick the fuel sensor. That would let me get it out of the way as well.

I'd have to look at the return to see how I could do that since I think it goes all the way back to the tank without any breaks.
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.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:11 PM   #6
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Based upon my own experience, FlowScan was/is a pretty good product.
It went out of business a more than a few years back and recently bought out and restarted.

https://floscaninc.com/flowscan-products/

I had it installed on my N46, took less 4 hours.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:20 PM   #7
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Based upon my own experience, FlowScan was/is a pretty good product.
It went out of business a more than a few years back and recently bought out and restarted.

https://floscaninc.com/flowscan-products/

I had it installed on my N46, took less 4 hours.


Thanks. Ive already selected a vendor. All of them have similar installs as they need a sensor inline.

Im looking for opinions on whether to cut the hose (Floscan does this in many installs Ive seen) or try to do something with flanges and tubing.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:31 PM   #8
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Once the sensor is installed, the electrical output can be routed anywhere.
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Old 12-17-2019, 05:21 AM   #9
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Of your first two choices, I would put fitting on the sensor that match the male/female flare fittings at your copper to hose transition. When making additions like this, I really like installs that are easily reversible. Products need to be removed because they break, or don't work as expected, or simply require diagnostics. It's also an easy and clean install with minimal disruption to the rest of the boat. Those look like standard SAE flare fittings, so should be readily available. NEBAR in Ballard is a good source. And I don't see this adding any more new failure points than using the hose barbs. In my experience all your problems will be with the NPT joints, and if I'm following correctly you have them whether you use the hose barb fitting or some other fittings. RecotrSeal 5 is your friend for those joints, and I would definitely not use teflon tape.


As for replacing the whole run with hose, I'd probably only do that if I otherwise wanted to change the run to hose. And I don't like the idea of having a straight splice in the middle of a hose run if the sensor ever needs to be removed.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Of your first two choices, I would put fitting on the sensor that match the male/female flare fittings at your copper to hose transition. When making additions like this, I really like installs that are easily reversible. Products need to be removed because they break, or don't work as expected, or simply require diagnostics. It's also an easy and clean install with minimal disruption to the rest of the boat. Those look like standard SAE flare fittings, so should be readily available. NEBAR in Ballard is a good source. And I don't see this adding any more new failure points than using the hose barbs. In my experience all your problems will be with the NPT joints, and if I'm following correctly you have them whether you use the hose barb fitting or some other fittings. RecotrSeal 5 is your friend for those joints, and I would definitely not use teflon tape.


As for replacing the whole run with hose, I'd probably only do that if I otherwise wanted to change the run to hose. And I don't like the idea of having a straight splice in the middle of a hose run if the sensor ever needs to be removed.
Thanks! I had been leaning towards the the fittings solution for the reason you brought up - easy to remove if there is an issue.

I've seen NEBAR before many times driving by, but never had a reason to stop. I also do have RectorSeal on board for some reason that I've forgotten, so I have that covered!
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:53 PM   #11
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My only after market fuel flow experience was an airplane, not a boat, but for what its worth, here goes.....
I had my A&P install a fuel flow meter in my older Cessna due to the inaccuracies of the old level gauge.
He installed the sensor directly to the carb with a close nipple, then connected the original flexible hose to the sensor. It was a tidy looking professional job when done. The gauge was never as accurate as claimed, and ceased sensing after a couple of years.
I ordered the new sensor myself, and read the enclosed instructions! They said clearly that the sensor was to be attached to the airframe, and both the inlet and outlet should be flexible hoses. The new sensor was deadly accurate, and remains so for 10 years and counting.
Based on this experience if I put one in a boat I would:
Read the instructions if any.
Be sure the sensor is attached to a stable, vibration free part of the hull.
Use flexible hose in and out of the sensor if possible. I would have hoses made up with professional fittings to ensure longevity, and easy removal of sensor if needed. If layout demanded I attach one side of sensor to existing piping I would be sure that pipe is solidly attached to hull and not subject to vibration.
Just my thoughts based on an unrelated experience. I have a Willard with 500 gallon tanks and a single 1 1/4 gph Perkins, so have not given a moments thought to instantaneous fuel flow until now
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Old 12-17-2019, 04:32 PM   #12
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I've seen NEBAR before many times driving by, but never had a reason to stop. I also do have RectorSeal on board for some reason that I've forgotten, so I have that covered!

It's an excellent place for all kinds of hoses, fittings, etc.
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Old 12-18-2019, 06:39 PM   #13
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It's an excellent place for all kinds of hoses, fittings, etc.


Well unfortunately Nebar didnt work out. Fantastic place. I spent about 30 minutes chatting with them about hoses and ends and exploring various options.

Unfortunately one end of my connector is JIS or Japanese standard, pseudo BPT. The other end is metric but has a weird reverse flare in it that they have rarely seen. Neither one is something they carry and would be a long special order if they can get it.

So my options now are back to:

Cutting the existing hose and using the provided hose barbs and clamps for both supply and return.

Running a whole new hose from the Racor filter to the engine for the supply and figuring out if I can replace the end for the engine connection (dubious). For the return I would have to either re terminate or splice into the copper or run a whole new rubber hose which would take days as it goes a very long ways. Same issue with engine side fitting - banjo like and probably would have to be reused and welded on to something new.

Final option is to return the whole product and not do the install which is also a possibility.

Sigh. Boats.
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Old 12-18-2019, 06:55 PM   #14
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That sucks.


You might also check DiscountHydraulicHose.com They have a very good thread identification guide that has always been spot on, at least when I have actually take the time to measure and verify fittings in advance..... I have bought dozens and dozens of fitting from them of all sorts, including stuff I never knew existed.


The reverse flare might be BSP, but I expect NEBAR would have identified that. Kubota uses them on all their tractors and excavators and I bought a lot of wrong fittings before I finally figured out what it was. If I had only paid close attention to the identification guide in the first place......
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:14 PM   #15
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That sucks.


You might also check DiscountHydraulicHose.com They have a very good thread identification guide that has always been spot on, at least when I have actually take the time to measure and verify fittings in advance..... I have bought dozens and dozens of fitting from them of all sorts, including stuff I never knew existed.


The reverse flare might be BSP, but I expect NEBAR would have identified that. Kubota uses them on all their tractors and excavators and I bought a lot of wrong fittings before I finally figured out what it was. If I had only paid close attention to the identification guide in the first place......
Ah DiscountHydraulicHose.com looks interesting. I think I've found at least the JIC size, but not the perfect adapter I would want.

The one side is purportedly JIC, while the other side is metric. The JIC side is flared the way I've seen many other lines and connectors, but the metric side is the reverse, which I have not seen. Pictures below.

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Here is the metric end of both (one is for supply, one for return - different sizes of course). Note the bevel inwards.

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Top down view

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What we believe is the JIC side, which points towards the engine and goes into the black Volvo branded hose that in my original post.

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Close up view of the metric end with the odd flare.

The sensor end is an ORB #4 which does not come up much. I'm seeing if there is a better number for the #4 part.

I am finding JIC to ORB adapters, mostly for hydraulic and racing stuff, so I might be able to do that side.

It's the BPT or Metric side that I have no idea where to start looking. It doesn't look like a reverse flare, but maybe that's it?

The manufacturer of the sensors believes the hose may have a metal mesh in it, meaning I really shouldn't cut it and try hose barbs. So unless I can figure out some way of gender bending these adapters, I may just return the product and cross the project off the list.
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:37 PM   #16
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If one joint is JIC, why not insert the sensor there? Put a JIC male on one end of the sensor, and JIC female swivel on the other end. Then just separate the original JIC joint, and insert the sensor.
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:45 PM   #17
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BTW, you may already know this, but JIC and SAE flare can be very hard to distinguish, and unless a fitting is specifically made to work with both, they are NOT compatible. For maybe 60% of the fitting sizes, the threads are different so you can't even attempt to connect then. But for a handful of sizes the threads are the same and will lull you into thinking you have a match. I've been bitten by this a few times.


The difference is that the bevel on JIC is 37 deg, and on flare it's 45deg. So when you try to use them together the contact surface is a very small ring that doesn't seal well and doesn't hold pressure well. With matching bevel angles the contact area is the whole bevel surface.


I finally bought a cheap plastic gauge that has the two angles on it that you can hold up to a fitting. Even then it can be hard to tell which you have.
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:48 PM   #18
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If one joint is JIC, why not insert the sensor there? Put a JIC male on one end of the sensor, and JIC female swivel on the other end. Then just separate the original JIC joint, and insert the sensor.
Yeah I need to find JIC in two different sizes going to an ORB #4 for both female and male. That would be a good option, but so far I have not found that quite yet.

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I finally bought a cheap plastic gauge that has the two angles on it that you can hold up to a fitting. Even then it can be hard to tell which you have.
Oh that is a good tool. I have seen both and been bitten by both once. I am going to search for one and order it as I don't want to order a bevy of adapters
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:51 PM   #19
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Have pity on the next owner. Don't jury-rig.

In many respects I really hate to say this. If you must get a custom made hose, get 2. One for now and one 'just in case'. Identify it with a tag and tuck it away someplace you wont forget tell the next owner.
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:14 PM   #20
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Have pity on the next owner. Don't jury-rig.

In many respects I really hate to say this. If you must get a custom made hose, get 2. One for now and one 'just in case'. Identify it with a tag and tuck it away someplace you wont forget tell the next owner.
I'm not jury-rigging anything. I think you can see that from the questions I'm asking to try to put something together that is both supportable, removable, and reliable.

I don't think I am going to get a custom made hose, and if I do, I would definitely get at least one spare if not two. I already have 4x hoses in place (most likely original) that I can't get new versions of as it sits, which I don't like.

At the most, I would get two JIC to ORB adapters and leave everything else in place, only adding the sensor with the adapters.

Putting in all new hosing or changing things with a new hose would be more than I would want to do at this point, and would just return the product and move on.
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