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Old 23-06-2014, 11:43   #1
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No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

So, we bought a new-to-us boat on Friday. This is the baby we are going to be living aboard and cruising on. After removing trash and cleaning all weekend, we are ready to take her out for a cruise. We want to motor around the bay a while and see how she maneuvers, i.e., backing up, prop wash, etc. (you know, get a feel for her so we don't crash into anyone coming back in to the marina and slip)

Anyhoo, checking things out above and below decks -- Where the heck is the fuel gauge? Get in touch with the PO through his broker. No gauge. PO THINKS that the tank is about 3/4 full. PO said he used to carry a 5 gallon jerrycan onboard "just in case."

PO reported that the PPO (PREVIOUS previous owner) used to use a dip stick.

The boat is 31 years old. (Endeavour CC 40) The tank was replaced about 10 years ago, but is buried in the keel so access is difficult. We need a gauge on the tank. What are our options?
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Old 23-06-2014, 11:54   #2
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Re: No fuel gauge -- what approach would you take?

If your lucky, there will be an inspection plate on top of the tank. Remove the plate and install this on it.
Moeller Mechanical Fuel Sender with Gauge
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Old 23-06-2014, 11:56   #3
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Re: No fuel gauge -- what approach would you take?

So I'm guessing operating without a fuel gauge is not an option? No way to obtain a sounding? Just a thought. I don't have a fuel gauge on my tanks. I can sound them with a dip stick. I would fill the tank full and go for the run, log the hours of actual running time and refuel, make a note of the consumption for the hours ran. At least you can get a general idea of how much you are using on any given day. And if you wanted to get radical, take a couple of 5 gallon cans and run until you run out of fuel, and then pour in the jugs, then at least you will know your tank's capacity. After that do your runs until you have a good idea of how much per hour you are consuming. A lot of manufacturers publish the consumption rates for their engines, which I would use as a starting point, until I had run the engine enough to have a frame of reference for what is being consumed. Just a thought.
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Old 23-06-2014, 11:59   #4
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Re: No fuel gauge -- what approach would you take?

We inherited a varnished garden cane when we bought the boat, works perfectly, but then we only use a tankful (90L) a season.

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Old 23-06-2014, 12:23   #5
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

I have a special interest in this topic. In three days I'll be leaving with my son-in-law to pick up his new trawler for a 500 mile delivery. During the survey we found that there was no fuel gauge. The fill hose is not a straight drop and the fuel volume can not be measured with a stick. I am confident that I can be conservative with calculating the fuel usage, but I am concerned with the fill. When we asked the former owner how he determined that the tank was full without risking an overflow spill, he said that he listens for a change in pitch. I've always stopped filling fuel tanks by reading a gauge. Do others stop their filling by ear?
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:45   #6
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

I have, you have to pay close attention, (no talking while filling). Usually the fuel smell will be stronger too, when that happens you need to stop right away.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:49   #7
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

are you sure there is not a dip stick on the tank? Most sailboats don't have a gauge. Most all mine had a dipstick on the top of the tank.
If it doesn't have one you can remove the inspection plate and have a fitting put on and screw in dipstick made.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:49   #8
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Dipstick works fine if you have access.

If not, consider installing an ultrasonic sender and gauge.

You can also do very well by logging how many hours you spend at what RPM. Fuel consumption is highly correlated to this.

A jerry can of diesel is a good idea in any case
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:51   #9
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

The Tank Tender - by Hart Systems, Inc.

These are great. No electrical requirements. One has been on my boat for a long measures 4 tanks.
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Old 23-06-2014, 12:55   #10
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

I second the tank tender. It works perfectly and is super easy to install. Very minimal moving parts and no electronics to go bad. People have installed and 20 years later they still work like new. Name one other piece of your boat that will still be used in 20 years and not requiring any maintenance during that time.
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Old 23-06-2014, 13:22   #11
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
are you sure there is not a dip stick on the tank? Most sailboats don't have a gauge. Most all mine had a dipstick on the top of the tank.
If it doesn't have one you can remove the inspection plate and have a fitting put on and screw in dipstick made.
Option B: (don't spend money and time on something you don't need)
Fill your tank. keep a log of engine hours and fills. (Date, gal's to fill, engine hours) Soon you will know your burn rate.
Sailboats use fuel so slowly the problem is more how to use it to get fresh fuel in than running out!
You will burn probably somewhere between, .6 to 1 gal per hour.
So if you have a 100 gal tank and burn .75 gal per hour at 7.5 knots.
That's roughly a 1000 miles or 135 hours of motoring full speed.
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Old 23-06-2014, 14:10   #12
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

You can get a flow sensor to measure the fuel consumed,
so if you know the tank capacity at fill-up, you would know the amount left.

A google comes up with this one for $12..
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Old 23-06-2014, 14:12   #13
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Install a fuel gauge, dipstick or Floscan meter.

Alternatively, install a day tank. And keep track of your fuel, on paper.
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Old 23-06-2014, 14:22   #14
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
I have a special interest in this topic. In three days I'll be leaving with my son-in-law to pick up his new trawler for a 500 mile delivery. During the survey we found that there was no fuel gauge. The fill hose is not a straight drop and the fuel volume can not be measured with a stick. I am confident that I can be conservative with calculating the fuel usage, but I am concerned with the fill. When we asked the former owner how he determined that the tank was full without risking an overflow spill, he said that he listens for a change in pitch. I've always stopped filling fuel tanks by reading a gauge. Do others stop their filling by ear?
yep. pete
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Old 23-06-2014, 14:47   #15
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Re: No Fuel Gauge -- What Approach Would you Take?

My boat came with a no gauge and a dip stick which no doubt worked well for the last 30 years. However, I considered it a pain to get to so I bit the bullet and installed an electric VDO fuel sender (the type where the float runs up and down in a tube) and gauge courtesy of Ebay. I mounted the sender to a new inspection hatch which is just a flat piece of fibreglass. Wasn't too expensive or difficult to do and now that it's done, I'm glad I did it.
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