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Old 19-11-2010, 02:54   #1
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Caught Out when I Had a Leak

When I bought Rimfire, the motor did not start and so I checked fuel flow to the motor. I noticed an old plastic in-line filter, like an automotive one. It was old and suspicious looking. This type of filter gave me a serious problem with a car I had when it got clogged so I peered at it distrustfully. Also, I pondered on there being three filters: the automotive filter, a CAV filter and the motor's own filter.

I decided to take the automotive filter out. Turning off the tap at the fuel tank (strange, it had been left on), it was loose for a bit then hard to turn and it didn't seem to be seating properly. I gently used a spanner on it to ensure it was off.

After crawling back into the tunnel from the cabin to access to the fuel pipe and filter, I managed to take the pipe off the bottom of the filter. I let the fuel line drain into a two litre container.

When my container reached half full, I puzzled over how much more fuel there could be in the pipe. Using my torch and still holding the outflow pipe from the filter over my container, I checked along the pipe to see if there was some reservoir there. Nothing. The pipe from the tank should not hold one litre, now one and a half litres of fuel was in my container.

Realising the tap must not have turned off, I put hose and filter outlet back together. They now did not fit. It was impossible to get them connected. So, I stuck my finger over the outlet. That stopped the fuel flow.

After several minutes, I had done some thinking. No one else was on the boat so no one to help. If I took my finger off the hole and rushed up to the cockpit where the fuel tank was I would be making a mess in the engine bay and maybe there was nothing I could do with the tank anyway.

I wondered if I could grab a bucket or two and let the 20 litre tank drain into them. Very messy.

Sitting in the tunnel with my finger stopping diesel flood my boat, I pondered another alternative. Within reach was my trusty vicegrips. I grabbed them, squeezed down on the plastic outlet tubing of the filter and locked it and, wow, no leaks. Solved that problem.

In the cockpit, I was able to tilt the fuel container so the tap was out of the fuel. Then I went shopping for a connecter for the pipe, took the old filter out and connected up the pipes.





The tap was inspected by a mechanic who said the packing was the problem, he fiddled with it, told me it could close properly now with a bit of force and would loosen up with use. It now shuts off properly. Later the broker said the old owner told him that he never used the tap.
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Old 19-11-2010, 11:16   #2
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A couple of minute whittling on a piece of wood will keep that from happening. I've been caught that way too. Now its woodworking 101 before wrenching anything with liquid in it.

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Old 19-11-2010, 11:20   #3
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Hey there, might not be a good idea to use a "torch" when working with gasoline!!! Just joking............Good on ya. Dingoman
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Old 19-11-2010, 11:28   #4
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What a strange set up.

Tanks draw from the top for a reason... I might re-think this set up if it were on my boat....
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Old 19-11-2010, 19:33   #5
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Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
What a strange set up.

Tanks draw from the top for a reason... I might re-think this set up if it were on my boat....
Yes, the setup is odd. What do you suggest? I have never had an inboard motor before so practically no experience with this sort of set up. I carefully scrutinised it for leaks and thought about the consequences if it did indeed end up leaking.

The tank was once a petrol outboard fuel tank. The normal connection at the top of the tank is now the diesel return line. The tank is stored in the cockpit in a locker, it is a tight fit and the tap is easily accessible when the locker door is open. In the event of a leak in the tank itself, fuel would build up 1.5" in the locker than overflow into the cockpit, not into the inside of the boat.

The tank just squeezes through the locker door with a wriggle so a tap could not be installed on top. My preference would be for a slightly smaller tank which was easier to get in and out of the locker, held in place so there was no chance in rough weather of it sliding around with the tap hitting against anything (Currently, the tap can potentially rub against the front inside ledge of the locker and I am not happy about it as I think it increases risk of leakage though I think the system has been there for about 20 years or so with no obvious problem apart from the tap not turning off.)


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Old 19-11-2010, 19:42   #6
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Hey there, might not be a good idea to use a "torch" when working with gasoline!!! Just joking............Good on ya. Dingoman
Torch? Too much flame. To check for petrol and gas leaks, I make sure I use a very small lighted match instead of a big one as it is the big ones that cause the big explosions while the little ones just make a small flash when ya find the leak. JOKING!

I think it is a bit of a problem that the fuel tank is labled "Gasoline" when it is actually a diesel tank!

When I first saw the tank and the tap rigged up to it, I wondered if the tank once was used on another boat with petrol in it and whether the person cutting the tank to put the tap in took safety precautions!
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Old 19-11-2010, 19:46   #7
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A couple of minute whittling on a piece of wood will keep that from happening. I've been caught that way too. Now its woodworking 101 before wrenching anything with liquid in it.

Sabre
That's interesting. In fact, after an overnight tropical deluge, a heap of different sized sticks floating past my mooring caught my eye and I grabbed some for whittling and making stoppers. Some of the sticks were too soft and rotten but others were good. Have to make use of any resources available!
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