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Old 26-12-2016, 20:40   #1
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Angry Atomic 4 complication

Hello everyone, I hope some one can help with my dilemma. My 1964 Columbia 40 has a Atomic 4 engine and I having problems unclogging the fuel tank. I have flush out the fuel tank after getting sludge in the carburetor. I was able to clean out the carburetor and the tank my using a fuel pump to suck out all of the fuel and sludge via the fuel filter but clog up the fuel line and no longer can retrieve any fuel via the fuel filter or the fuel line.

Does any one know any information of the fuel system on these boats? I try to use a compressor to blow air back through the fuel line and all I got was blowback air once I remove the pressure handle. So does any one know if their is a check valve some where through the fuel line system. I know but have not seen that their is a fuel stem from inside the top of the tank to almost the bottom for fuel to suction out the fuel through the top to the fuel tank where the fuel line that goes to the fuel filters then to the fuel pump that pumps into the carburetor. I need to unclog the fuel line before the fuel filters to the top of the tank and/or the stem inside of the tank. HHHHeeeellllpppp!
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Old 26-12-2016, 20:50   #2
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

There should not be a check valve in the system. Have you tried disconnecting the fuel line at the tank and then blowing back through the line to help isolate where the blockage is? It most likely is at the input of the fuel line in the tank but I've seen them everywhere. Anyway, with the line off and the blockage isolated try using a wire to loosen up the blockage, if it is in a straight section and really solid you can use a drill bit and twist with your fingers.

Good luck!
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Old 26-12-2016, 21:53   #3
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

The only check valves are in the fuel pump.
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Old 26-12-2016, 22:20   #4
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

Good day MBWhite,
No I have not disconnect the fuel line from the fuel tank because the fuel tank is enclose and not accessible. The fuel line does come out at the bottom of the tank where their is a circular hole cut into the enclosure, I was thinking of cutting/sawing up starting at the circle hole then cut up towards the top of the tank then cut across to have a channel aligned with the fuel line too try and unattached fuel line and do as you suggested take a piece of bailing wire and force through the fuel line hose to clear out the fuel line or just replace the fuel line. Then try to also blow out the stem inside of the fuel tank or force the bailing wire down through the stem to free the sludge from the stem. It is going to be a battle to get the fuel line to where I can see how and where it travels.

Thank you Westwind for you information. I now feel a little bit better about my next step to clearing this fuel system.
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Old 27-12-2016, 00:53   #5
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

I'd replace the line if air (at really low pressures) won't clear it. As while using a coathanger sprang into my mind too. What happens to the hose in sections where the wire induces small tears (at best) to it's inner surface? Which would have me simply replacing the line instead, rather than risking the consequences of a potentially leaky gasoline delivery system.

As to the tank. It sounds as if there's still a fair bit of sludge in it. And I think that typically the worst of that kind of stuff is the last, & toughest to get out. Possibly nigh on impossible to do without a clean out port. Plus, without such a port, you can't inspect things to see if the tank's truly clean when you think you're finished.

I'm not a chemist, but might a solvent designed for this kind of thing be of assistance? Something like carburator cleaner. In bulk. Maybe?
Perhaps someone with more hands on experience than me could comment on this.

Also, I'm not the clearest on how your tank, & it's fittings are configured. But might you be able to unscrew the fitting which the fuel hose connects to, & try & use that larger hole to assist with cleaning out the tank?

And take care if you plan to cut or drill the tank. Given the nasty results when mixing sparks, gasoline fumes, & air. Perhaps fill the tank with Nitrogen, CO2 or similar first? Which, even after doing that I'd be nervous about doing such work. Such is beyond my depth of practical experience.
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Old 27-12-2016, 18:02   #6
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

Sometimes the fitting screwed in at the top of the tank pickup is a check valve. Either way you are going to need to pull the pickup tube and look for the source of the clog.
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Old 28-12-2016, 19:06   #7
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

Thank you all for you response!
Uncivilized: Thank you but I do not intend to cut into the fuel tank and should state that fuel line is displayed through a circular hole that is cut through the wood/fiberglass that incases the fuel tank. I hope to cut a slot/channel into the wood/fiberglass upward to the top of the fuel tank hopefully exposing the top of the tank showing the elbow and nipple that the fuel line is connected to. I will then cut away the fuel line hose and check the hose by blowing air through the line to confirm that it is clog, which will be replace with new fuel line. Then I will do the same to the fitting that is connected to the fuel tank and if it is clog also, I will hopefully be able to shoved bailing wire/coat hanger with a sharp point to alleviate the clog in the line/system.

I will then add B-12 Chemtool to use as a solvent. I have use it once and it did loosen some of the sludge which I have pump out. I will repeat the process again and what doesn't come out I will hope that the fuel filters will help to clear the rest! So I have another way to pumping out the tank and that is through the fuel intake but need to clear the fuel line system so that I can make the fuel tank operational because at this time it is not functional.

Since the tank is enclose, I don't have the clearance because of the refrigerator above the tank, I will not be able to clean out the tank using that procedure, I sure wish I could this job would be some much easier. So all I can do is add the solvent and let sit then pump it out.

Again I will be very careful not to cut into the fuel tank because if that happens then the fuel tank will become nonfunctional and would be just dead weight. I would have to do a bypass tank! Of course all this is being done with me upside down in the bilge area!
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Old 28-12-2016, 19:39   #8
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

I would think there is a Columbia 40 Yahoo group that might have very specific information for your boat. Maybe someone has come up with an innovative method of cleaning the tank. This is just a guess on my part. Good Luck. ____Grant.
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Old 28-12-2016, 20:06   #9
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Re: Atomic 4 complication

Thank you GJordan for your advice.

Yes I have tried the Yahoo site but no help or responses. But I am still hopeful for some one to come forth with some kind of information.
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