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Old 23-06-2014, 15:07   #16
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Fuel flow meter wont work on a Diesel unless you have two, you have return fuel on a Diesel that has to be subtracted from fuel flow going to the engine.
Really, no need for a fuel gauge in your boat or your car. If you rely on a fuel gauge, I can guarantee one day you will be left stranded. Once you know your fuel consumption rate, simply re-fuel when your about half full.
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Old 23-06-2014, 15:44   #17
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No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Our gauge is not that accurate and it is down below, so I am going to get a stout dowel to use as a fuel stick. Fortunately, the tank is rectangular and the full is directly above the tank. I can tell by ear when the tank is full, but I put an oilzorb pad under the vent just in case.
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Old 23-06-2014, 16:52   #18
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

In my boat, and every other boat I've ever owned, fuel gauges are almost useless. Knowing your fuel burn rate is a good first step, and may be all you need. You can stick the tanks even if the fill pipe/hose isn't straight. Just use something flexible. I use an electrician's fish tape (sort of like a narrow, flat metal tape measure.) If this isn't enough, then flowscans are the answer, albeit at a much higher cost. And with all but the smallest diesel, you'll need two sensors, supply and return.
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:06   #19
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Fuel flow meter wont work on a Diesel unless you have two...
Nonsense. They use appropriate senders and have models for virtually all diesel engines.
http://www.floscan.com/html/blue/index.php
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:12   #20
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No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Nonsense. They use appropriate senders and have models for virtually all diesel engines.
http://www.floscan.com/html/blue/index.php

Betcha lunch they have two flowmeters in the Diesel models
On edit, what you are calling senders is the flowmeter itself. It's a turbine
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:20   #21
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

If it requires two independent systems, I'll owe you lunch (at my choice of fast food joints).
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:21   #22
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

I'm surprised at some of the anti-fuel gauge sentiment. It's a no brainer to have a fuel gauge on your car and, imo, it's much easier to calculate usage based on, say, distance traveled for a car than on, say, runtime hours for a boat.

If I had ease of access, I'd prefer the portable outboard tank style mechanical gauge but failing that the electric gauges work quite well. In my case I have a marine specific gauge that uses a rock steady tube style sender rather than the generally considered inaccurate (in a constantly moving environment) swing arm / pendulum style and the fuel gauge has the letter "R" for reserve at the 1/3rd mark (less in reality for a tank formed to hull shape) with a corresponding thick red line that subliminally nags me that the tank is due for refill soon. Now I got it, I wouldn't be without it!
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:34   #23
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Just mark 4 lines on the transom starting at the waterline - E-1/4-3/4-F. Put 5 lines, and add 1/2 mark for the deluxe gauge.

Put one on each side for the premium gauge that measures on either tack while you are sailing cuz you really need to be accurate on fuel remaining while sailing -

Oh - For real? I monitor consumption. I keep a 10 liter jug in the locker in case I screw up and get low.

If your tanks are not accessible and you have big tanks it would be a comfort to add a gauge if there is nothing left to spend your boat money on - like that ever happens.
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:45   #24
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Sailboats need not have fuel tanks.

Now if the boat has an engine and has auxiliary sails, that is another matter.

If we needed to get to/from the sailboat race starting/finishing line and winds were light or non-existent, we'd use the Atomic Four. Used a dip-stick to measure the fuel level. The tank was immediately below the cockpit (Columbia Defender).
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Old 23-06-2014, 18:54   #25
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

I installed a Tank Tender also. 4 position, three water, one fuel.

Steel tank. I drilled it to fit the pressure hose. I got lots of advice that it was ok to do if you went slow and used lots of oil. Also had a fairly full tank.

I did do it 100 miles off shore, just being careful.

Not recommending, just saying what I did. But you can search this site for advice on drilling diesel tanks.

Tank Tenders are fairly expensive.


If you intend to use the jerry can approach, which I endorse, I would make a way so that the engine can pull direct from the jerry can. Just make sure you also make a provision for the return back to the jerry can or it will empty real fast.

It can be pretty simple, just a way to break your normal fuel feed to and from the tank, with some spare hose to the jerry can.

Just food for thought.
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Old 23-06-2014, 19:59   #26
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

On any operation where your fuel supply is essential for safey, eg motor boat, aircraft, fuel guages are not relied on. Visual sighting the tanks are full or dipstick is used.
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Old 23-06-2014, 20:14   #27
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
If it requires two independent systems, I'll owe you lunch (at my choice of fast food joints).

Independent was never mentioned.
I brought up that two flow meters are required to try to save some headache and wasted money
1. Get one with one fuel flow meter and you'll get a reading of course, just will be way high and useless as return fuel varies with throttle setting and most electric stuff can't be returned.
2. A Diesel fuel flow meter is considerably more expensive because of the requirement to measure both supply and return fuel.
Me for example, I carry 57 gls of Diesel. I've determined that at 2000 RPM I'm cruising at 6.5 kts and burning .5 GPH. I change oil at 100 hrs and carry 114 hours worth of fuel at that burn rate, so I guess every time I change oil I need to fill up?
So if I refill when I get to 50%, that is still motoring for 57 hours, how inconvenient can it be to buy fuel every 50 or say 75 hours?

I'm just gonna assume if the OP's boat didn't come with a fuel gauge, maybe it's because one wasn't needed?
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Old 23-06-2014, 20:41   #28
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

The Tank tender is an almost fool-proof device. I think they charge too much for it. You can make its equivalent. It works by having a dip line to the bottom of a tank. Air is forced (tiny pump) into the dip line. The very sensitive dial manometer reads the pressure required to force the fuel from the dip line. Higher pressure = higher level. You can buy pre-calibrated gauges with dials based on the specific gravity of oil. You can add an electric air pump or blow gently into the dip line to reference pressure.

I use a dip stick made by adding 6 gallons & carving a notch. Truly moron-proof.
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Old 23-06-2014, 20:59   #29
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

My fuel gauge is not accurate and I log hours for the generator and the engine. Hunter installed Snake River gauges and the water and waste is accurate, but the diesel has never been accurate. My typical burn rate is .25 gallons per hour for the generator and .4 for my Yanmar running at 75% for a total burn rate per hour of .65. It will vary some if cruising, particularly if loaded heavy and in strong waves and or river current. I use the Hobbs meters to determine fuel burn and if nothing is out of whack, I am within .5 gallons when I refuel. On a recent cruise my MaxProp was worn and I didn't realize I was running at just under I have a 38 gallon tank and when cruising, I carry 25 gallons in jerry cans for a total of 53 gallons. I use a simple siphon with a marble in a copper fitting that goes in the jerry can to transfer fuel. The longest passage we have made motor sailing was a little over 50 hours from Clearwater then in at Pensacola Pass and in the Intercoastal to Orange Beach, AL.

This method has worked well for me, but there are times I would really like to know exactly how much fuel I am using and how much I have remaining. I have looked at Floscan and if I were buying a system, that is what I would get. I have two diesels, and two supply lines and two return lines. On diesels the Floscan system subtracts the return fuel to give the total from each engine. A mechanic I discussed this with at Turner Marine in a mobile said it was a good system, but took several tanks to get calibrated and to real good accuracy. System is a little over $700 plus installation.


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Old 23-06-2014, 21:36   #30
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Adding a day tank with a sight gauge has the added advantage of increasing fuel capacity. And you don't need access to the main tank.
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