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Old 01-06-2019, 08:51 PM   #1
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Fuel Level Sight Glass Replacement?

My fuel level sight gauges are old and completely opaque, can't see a thing even with back lighting. What is the proper tubing to use to replace them?
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:09 PM   #2
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You will get lots of suggestions here. When I replaced mine on two tanks I used tubing from West Marine; the same stuff used for water. Although others will criticize my choice, I’m happy to report that after 7 years they are still in service and perfectly clear. Cost was minimal. I do have shut off valves at top and bottom of the tubes which remain closed unless I’m reading the fuel level. BTW, the “proper” tubing is Tigon.

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Old 01-06-2019, 09:27 PM   #3
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Tygon perhaps?
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:36 PM   #4
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Tygon perhaps?

Perhaps.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
You will get lots of suggestions here. When I replaced mine on two tanks I used tubing from West Marine; the same stuff used for water. Although others will criticize my choice, I’m happy to report that after 7 years they are still in service and perfectly clear. Cost was minimal. I do have shut off valves at top and bottom of the tubes which remain closed unless I’m reading the fuel level. BTW, the “proper” tubing is Tigon.

Howard
I use the same re enforced water pipe for a small tank that feeds the boiler. While mine aren't clear, they can still be read easily enough. Whatever type one uses, it's important to have shut off valves in place top and bottom when not being used to measure tank levels.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:35 AM   #6
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Clear PVC is probably fine. Because it is so easy and cheap to replace, its likely not worth doing anything more. Even the "better" alternatives will still melt and spill fuel in a fire situation. But, if you're so inclined...

Below is what I have just installed. (I'm still fabricating the guards and indication markings, so they haven't even seen fuel yet.) Meet up with me in 15-20 years and I'll let you know if it was worth the effort

Tygon (and Versilon) are brand names that refer to a multitude of different tubing, all with different properties and not all rated for hydrocarbons.

What you want is one of them formulated for what you intend to put in it. I bought mine from McMaster-Carr, about $20 for two 2 FT pieces that made up both my sight gauges. They were one outfit where I could buy a reasonable length (less than a 50 ft roll.) The tubing is specifically rated for use with diesel fuel. Its basically the same clear PVC tubing you can get at a local store, but has a thin inner liner of another clear polymer that has the chemical resistance...In this case FET, which resists a lot of dang stuff.

Here's a pic of the material installed as my stbd side sight gauge (still waiting completion and installation of the guards and markings for level indication.)

Click image for larger version

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Below are the details from the the McMaster-Carr website.
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Ultra-Chemical-Resistant Versilon PVC Tubing

Formulation: SE-200
Very Flexible
Compatible Tube Fittings: Barbed
Soft (Durometer 65A)
Temperature Range: -30° to 160° F
Formerly known as Tygon, this tubing is lined with FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene) for better chemical resistance than PVC alone. Tubing is clear, so you can easily monitor flow.

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Here's the part number and cost to ship to me in the PNW.
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David Bowman placed this order.
Line Product Ordered Shipped Balance Price Total
1 6519T14
Ultra-Chemical-Resistant Versilon PVC Tubing 3/8" ID, 9/16" OD, 2 ft. Length 2
Each 2 0 9.64
Each 19.28

Merchandise 19.28
Sales Tax 2.44
Shipping 8.78
Total $30.50
Payment Received 10/12/18 (30.50)
Balance Due $0.00
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:10 AM   #7
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Thanks for the detailed info. This question was driven by my paranoia about what I don't know will kill me. What I have for gauges now is some sort of tubing with cross hatched reinforcement. I guess fuel line of some sort. Wasn't sure why reinforcement was necessary on this.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Tygon perhaps?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
Perhaps.
Tygon F-4040-A eBay and Amazon sell various sizes. When we replaced our fuel tanks we used Tygon.

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/it...x?itemid=23487
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Tygon perhaps?

Tygon for sure. It is constructed with a liner that is impervious to fuel. This is true, I replaced mine 10 yrs. ago, still perfectly clear. The PVC tubing I removed was yellowed and nearly opaque. SE-200 is available from McMaster. It's apparently now marketed as Versilon.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:09 AM   #10
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Tygon F-4040-A eBay and Amazon sell various sizes. When we replaced our fuel tanks we used Tygon.

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/it...x?itemid=23487
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maerin View Post
Tygon for sure. It is constructed with a liner that is impervious to fuel. This is true, I replaced mine 10 yrs. ago, still perfectly clear. The PVC tubing I removed was yellowed and nearly opaque. SE-200 is available from McMaster. It's apparently now marketed as Versilon.
We just replaced our TygonnF-4040-A site tubes after 4 years. It got to the point I couldn’t see through them without a light behind them.

I went with the Versilon SE-200 that Steve recommended. The change over went good with the exception of figuring out how to slip the hose on the hose barb without detaching the lining from the tubing. I ended up using a small tapered plug to slightly enlarge the hose first.

Here’s a before and after. The first 5’ section I ordered was kinked and the lining had separated. McMaster-car overnighted a replacement at no cost. Five feet was $42.57 including tax and shipping.
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9541DEF3-8968-4033-B11F-0C57FED0DF26.jpg   9B6AB047-55B7-4C01-835C-AB456BF37218.jpg   2A2509E5-74A2-4336-90F1-C54BEB5C9E5D.jpg   B7565CFC-AB3A-45C1-92F6-CBAE6DE26857.jpg   41968B2A-67B3-4750-9572-2EFFD3EC2DC3.jpg  

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Old 11-21-2020, 11:01 AM   #11
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That looks great. Congrats
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:08 AM   #12
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Is there a standard size tubing for fuel tanks or a size that is most often seen? I haven't done anything with mine yet and keep forgetting to measure. Would measure before buying but just curious.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:12 AM   #13
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That looks great. Congrats
I owe it all to Steve on Maerin.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:15 AM   #14
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Is there a standard size tubing for fuel tanks or a size that is most often seen? I haven't done anything with mine yet and keep forgetting to measure. Would measure before buying but just curious.
I don’t think there is a standard. Ours happen to have 1/2” hose barbs. Easy to check though. I just pulled the hose off the upper hose barb and measured. To change out, I opened the lower ball valve and blew the diesel back into the tank and shut the valve. I didn’t spill a drop.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:50 AM   #15
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Most tubing will yellow and/or become brittle over time.

I use clear polyurethane tubing for sight gauges.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:55 AM   #16
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Most tubing will yellow and/or become brittle over time.

I use clear polyurethane tubing for sight gauges.
I used clear fish tank tubing 2 years ago. I keep an eye on it but is good so far.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:57 AM   #17
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I don’t think there is a standard. Ours happen to have 1/2” hose barbs. Easy to check though. I just pulled the hose off the upper hose barb and measured. To change out, I opened the lower ball valve and blew the diesel back into the tank and shut the valve. I didn’t spill a drop.
How did you blow it back into the tank?
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:01 PM   #18
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How did you blow it back into the tank?
With my mouth. I took off the top hose and as i was blowing back, I shut the lower valve off. Our tanks were less than half full. It was like blowing bubbles and very easy
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:07 PM   #19
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With my mouth. I took off the top hose and as i was blowing back, I shut the lower valve off. Our tanks were less than half full. It was like blowing bubbles and very easy
Thanks. I was thinking that given a low level of fuel, gravity, etc. it would be pretty safe to do that.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:15 AM   #20
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In the 14 years that I owned my boat I never looked at the sight tubes other than to make sure they weren't leaking.
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