The Fuel System Upgrade Project: Episode II

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Moderator Emeritus
Jul 30, 2009
Vessel Name
Skinny Dippin'
Vessel Make
Navigator 4200 Classic
Fuel Wars: Episode II A New Hope

Well, well, well... Thanks to the engineering styling's of a regular member here (I'll let him come out of the closet if he wants to), I have been re-inspired to take the project in a new direction. So, with that, I guess a new thread would be in order to give new eyes to the goings-on.

Picture 1 below was sent to me via email.

I studied it long and hard. I almost dismissed it, but gave it a second look today and decided to COMBINE the two ideas. My biggest problem was ego. I was proud of what I had done (with all your help) and didn't want to throw out all the work I had done. All the hours spent at the Grainger website would have seemed wasted. I also feel like Spring is coming and I don't want to still have the system in bits when it happens. BUT... when I dragged it all into the bilge today, I realized it could be better. So, I took it out, took it COMPLETELY apart, and set to work.

A few things became clear to me:
a) There is just too much rubber in this rig.
b) There is just too much brass in this rig.
c) There were too many ways to get the setup wrong during use. (ie: pressured fuel to the injector pump)
d) It's not a bad idea to still be able to supply fuel to the genset while polishing.
e) I could flip the 3rd filter in its mount for a tighter install.
f) I decided to scrap the bypass of the polish filter. I figured I would use fuel xfer so little, filtering it as I did it would never be a bad idea.

Basically, in Rick's picture below, he is using three-way ball valves with a "T" port for tank selection on the input and output. Good idea for sure, but two things stopped me from using them. First, those vavles are about $50 each
Second, it doesn't allow for a future expansion should I decide to add a "day tank". So I did the same thing with the mini ball valves and the parts I already had in place.

Anyway, the bottom left is the tank intake manifold with a new exit for the genset fuel supply. I will be adding a small dedicated Racor filter for it. Follow it up to an "L"-port valve that selects the multi-stage system to the engine OR to the polishing filter. Out of that Racor to a CORRECTLY oriented pump and on to the output manifold. The output manifold now begins with an "L"-port ball valve to select fuel from the polishing circuit or from the engine injector pump return ONLY. There is now no chance of pressurized fuel getting to the injector pump! The manifold, as with the input manifold, allows for future "day tank" expansion.

The NUMBER ONE problem that needs addressing will be leveling off of all the ports of the Racor filters (as pictured in the 5th picture below). I suppose I can plane down some shims out of teak or starboard. We'll cross that bridge later.

The last picture is of all the leftovers after the slim-down!

So... What do you think of the new mock-up?


-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Sunday 13th of February 2011 07:39:14 AM


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VERY professional looking!
Thanks, Steve. That means a lot to me.

I still may separate the polishing filter and polishing pump with a short piece of hose to isolate the vibrations, but we'll see if I have room.

Try this:


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What are the specs and part number for those mini ball valves? What are they made of? Could you label in your pics the inlets and outlets? It looks like a setup I just might copy. Any info on the bits and pieces would be great. Good work! I must say Rick's clean up looks like the way to go.
Thanks Rick, but I think keeping the output manifold at the top is better in my bilge. It gets the outputs up next to the ceiling of the engine room where the tank inlet and engine return hoses are. And before you move the input manifold, the tank valves and engine and genset supply lines are near the floor of the bilge/engine room.

Still,perhaps the configuration isn't done yet. If I adopt this plan, I might want to change over to JIC fittings so individual components can be removed.

DaddyO, I'll get a list together for you soon and post it here soon.

Place the 3-way for the fuel return so that when you are polishing and it is closed, the handle is horizontal to show that no fuel is going "backwards."

-- Edited by RickB on Sunday 13th of February 2011 02:13:44 PM


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Motor siiiidwaaaayss! Hmmm... My linear brain never thought about that as an option. That may solve more than one problem.

TBH... Spent all weekend bent over in the engine room, so I might not get to it today, but I'll send pics when I try it.

I was also going to mention use of JIC fittings. Not only will they make changes far easier but assembling it all in the first place will be easier. You won't be winding one piece after another into one big , unweildy whole.
If you ever need to dismount a piece for repair you will just undo a couple of fittings and loosen some bolts, not unwind the whole works.

Looking good
Like this?


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Ooh ooh ooh, be still my heart!

That's getting really nice. Now, install it on a white powder coated panel and connect all the pieces with SS tubing and Swagelock fittings, use a splashproof motor, and make a nice system mimic with valve lineups for various configurations*so that*you will want to mount it in the saloon.

The only change I would make at this point is to use a couple of 45* fittings to eliminate that odd hose*bend from the pump to the upper valve*manifold. It will allow you to move the manifold outboard withjout worrying about collapsing the hose in such a short run, and arrange the 3-way handle so it clears the filter gauge. You can use that pad on the 3-way to attach an indicator plate that hides the valve itself and shows the direction of flow for a given handle position.

Nice work, feels good eh?
Or this?


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That is a better location for the upper manifold. Now you can do away with another*4 fittings and go directly from the 3-way down to the pump.

Put a 45 on the 3-way pointing to*about 7o'clock*and one on the pump pointing to about 1 o'clock and use a straight piece of hose or tubing.

The idea is to reduce the number of fittings and changes in direction of flow, particularly 90*degree turns.
Actually, I am going to go back to having the slight s-bend in the tubing. It's not a dramatic bend and keeps the number of fittings down.
Quick question as I close in on final assembly... What are your idea for securing the T-fittings and ball-valve manifolds assemblies to the starboard?

They are all going to be sitting on pedestals made of a block of starboard to raise them up just a little from the surface of the main board to allow for some room to manipulate the hoses. So I was thinking just drill a few holes thru and use standard issue zip-ties for easy maintenance/removal/reattachment.

"I was thinking just drill a few holes thru and use standard issue zip-ties for easy maintenance/removal/reattachment."

Ah man, that makes me queasy just thinking about it.* Make it look like it was built and installed by a pro and it will be just that.
Wow... You read way too much into that. I see your point.
Have you guys noticed how the Google ads actually target the topic of a particular thread?? Scary!
As long as they don't show up in the mailbox!
Forkliftt wrote:

Have you guys noticed how the Google ads actually target the topic of a particular thread?? Scary!
Yes, way too scary. I'm sure that their system can record the number of hits they each get, and probably determines what they have to pay Google.

Like that site you posted they sure have some good fittings.
Saved them for future reference.
Good-bye o-ye' plywood... I bid greeting to thy King's Starboard!

Final mock-up pics. Not totally happy with the hold-downs for the manifolds yet, but these will do for now and they can easily be swapped out when I do find what I like. Besides... I need to get crackin' on getting Skinny Dippin' running so we can a) get boating b) know that what I have spent so much time,effort, and money on... works! c) move on to other projects d) get boating

I am headed over to my dad's house today to round-over the edges and cut a couple of monkey-grip handles into it.


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Gonzo,* Looks good, the only thing I don't like is the blue plastic box for the timer.

Is the timer going to be flush with the Starboard? (so the box is behind it).

If not I think one of those outdoor painted gray (white metal)* boxes would work better as a surface mount.

The timer plate would not hang over the edge of the box.

This is all just cosmetic but it would look better.

Not a bad idea, John. I'll consider it. It was just $.99 at ACE, will hold up under the conditions, and matched the other two outlet boxes in the bilge, so I grabbed it. But to answer your question: No, it won't be flush. I want everything to be accessed from the front.
To replace the manifold holder downers you can get similar clamps in steel.
This is a 120 V pump correct? You should make sure it is on a GFCI circuit.
Yep... 120v motor and GFCI outlet stands ready
SS hose clamps.
Hey... Another question for the veteran plumbing guys. Any tips on final assembly with the thread lock/sealer? Is it one drop on the threads or apply it all the way around the circumference before tightening?

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