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Old 15-05-2011, 21:54   #1
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Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

Had an interesting, ah, . . . experience when unloading my boat. I had a full 20 litre fuel jerrycan I wanted to take back to shore. Carefully lifted it out from the cabin up into the cockpit. Hefted it onto the cockpit seat. I climbed over the safety lines, swung the jerrycan up, over and down to rest on the edge, ready for me to jump into the dingy tied up beside me and lower down the jerrycan.

However, as I swung the jerrycan up, I noticed a wet mark on the seat where it had rested. That made me frown. Quickly jumping into the dinghy and lifting the jerrycan down, I saw wetness where it had again rested for those few seconds on the edge. I turned the jerrycan over hugging it to my chest and felt along its bottom. Indeed it was fuel coming from somewhere but I could not see where.

I was faced with a serious problem. Holding the fuel container upside down seemed to solve the problem of diesel leaking out but I could not remain standing in my dinghy until when ever. I also could not put the container in the back of my car with it leaking or back on the boat. Then I suddenly realised what I could do with it.

I put the jerrycan on its side in the dinghy, hoping that this would take some pressure off where the leak was coming from, reducing the flow. I could see no hole so it was a mystery. Leaping up into the boat from the dinghy, I grabbed some old cleaning rags plus found the jerrycan nozzle. Back in the dinghy, I checked for fuel. Only a little had leaked, less than when it was sitting upright. So far so good.

It only took a few minutes to row like a madman over to the public wharf, tie up the dinghy, heft out the jerrycan, hold it upside down and tear over to my car. Happily, my car runs on diesel and the tank was down just over 20 litres - I had been doing the distance/fuel-useage calculations in my head hoping the tank would take the whole jerrycan. It seemed to gurgle out forever down the nozzle into the tank and my arms started quivering with fatigue holding it upside down up in the air. It also burped diesel out over me which added to my 'adventure'.

Finally, the jerrycan was empty, I put it in a large plastic bag, sealed it and put it in the back of my car. Later, back at the place I was staying, I checked the jerrycan and was shocked to find the seam broken. I have had the jerrycan for about 15 years and never a complaint. It is rated to carry diesel and petrol but I am so glad I had diesel. I am also glad it did not leak all its contents either in the boat or in the car. Bit scary thinking about it really.



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Old 15-05-2011, 22:17   #2
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

Looks like it could have easily been a catastrophic mess...

A good heads up to the rest of us troppo...Thanks
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Old 16-05-2011, 02:25   #3
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

Note to self. Replace Jerry Cans more often. I use petrol on my current boat.. Arrg. that would be a problem..
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Old 16-05-2011, 03:08   #4
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

I think I would be more settled about my jerrycan splitting if I could recall dropping it onto something bumpy which put all the pressure on the seam. But I can't remember doing that. Oh well, I got plenty of years out of it.
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Old 16-05-2011, 04:52   #5
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

Lucky you had the car nearby. I had a leak in a similar type of container only it was a blue colored Rubbermaid jug I used for water. Developed a pinhole leak some how. Part of me would like to patch it. On the other hand water is very precious so I think a new one after ten plus years is in order. These situations I think make the case for having a spare container or carrying smaller containers on board so that one can transfer the remaining water or fuel if a container springs a leak or at the very least limit the amount of the resources lost.
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Old 16-05-2011, 04:57   #6
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

Quote:
I think I would be more settled about my jerrycan splitting if I could recall dropping it onto something bumpy which put all the pressure on the seam.
It really depends how you stow them and if they bounce around a little bit it won't take long to stress them. Dropping one could weaken the seam greatly and over time it could fail as you saw. 15 years seems a bit too long for cans that you haul around. If they sit in the garage and don't travel you could get 20 years from one. The larger ones have a lot of stress and they will fatigue at the seam if not the best made can. There is always a trade off between the big ones that hold more or the smaller ones that are easier to handle. I have some 7 gallon water jugs that are a bit of a hassle to toss around on the boat. I lash them to a bulkhead inside a forward lazarette and just hoist them in and out to fill the tank or to fill the jugs so they don't move much. I don't think I would use ones that large for spare fuel if they had to be hauled in or out of the boat full. What you can easily handle in and out of a dinghy is where you need to find a happy size that works.
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Old 16-05-2011, 10:53   #7
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

I'm really concerned about fuel containers leaking, and fuel ending up in a tretcherous spot like the engine room or bilge.
So we've have teriffic experiences with the Honda gasoline containers:



Most Honda M/C -outboard dealers sell them or you can find them on Ebay. 2.5 or 5 gal versions.
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Old 16-05-2011, 12:10   #8
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

That leak is on a natural blow mold "knit line". It is a failure point for poorly molded blow molded parts. It won't take a heavy impact to open up a bad seam. The manufacturer, not nececcarily Honda, typically test a container or 2 every shift with a stress test (container holding a strong soap solution which will attack the seam very quickly) as part of a QC effort to evaluate that shift's production. As you can see, sometime bad products get out.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:41   #9
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Re: Shock: Jerry Can Fuel Leak !

Be careful about excess UV exposure ... we've had some diesel (yellow) on deck for 15 months in the sun, and they have some small cracks on the external shell ... internal shell looks fine tho ...

Also, of course, make sure you get the kind rated for fuel ... tried to use some water jerry cans for fuel and that didn't work ...
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