Q & A — July 2003
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Avoiding Fuel Drool
fuel spills, addressing flaking bottom paint, and
keeping fenders clean.
I have a 42-footer with diesel power. Each time I fill up, the fuel backs up fairly quickly with no sign or sound of the tank being nearly full. Is there anything I can do to avoid the fuel spillage? G.R., via e-mail
Your problem seems to be centered on the rate of fuel delivery, so you should avoid using the high-speed pump, at least until you find the source of your problem. Some fuel systems simply cannot accommodate the fast delivery rates inherent in such systems, and yours might be one, especially if it is an older boat.
If your boat used to be able to accommodate fast delivery rates and no longer can, it’s time to look for blockage in the fuel system. I’d start by checking the fuel vent line and the vent itself. Even a small obstruction can prevent air from exiting the tank and cause a fuel backup. If this line is fine, take a look at the fuel fill line itself. Look for kinks in and softness of the hose, which indicate deterioration.
Assuming all lines check clear, you may want to consider installing a fuel-air separator in the vent line. Racor sells a gizmo called the Lifeguard 100 (LG100) that captures fuel normally discharged due to agitation and thermal expansion. It fits 5/8-inch vent lines, and included adapters allow it to accommodate other hose sizes. Installation is simple and can be done with nothing more than a sharp knife, straight-slot screwdriver, some shop towels, and clean fuel.
There are some things to consider. Do not attach the unit to the engine or any other source of excessive heat. It must be installed in the UP position and be within 60 degrees of vertical. Only one unit can be installed per engine; don’t tee two lines together onto one unit.
Complete instructions and further information are available by calling Racor at (800) 344-3286 or by visiting its Web site, www.parker.com/racor.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.