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Old 31-07-2013, 09:50   #1
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Based on the loss of a vessel I would like to offer up the following...


You are 140nm from landfall. You are single handing. You guess 18-20 hours till landfall. Batteries at 9.5 volts, solar panels gone and water in fuel tank keeps fouling Racor.

How do you get engine started?

Stores are, no baha filter,three spare primary and secondary filters, 5 feet of fuel hose, 4 clamps one 5 gallon bucket. 1/4 bottle of Jack. Spray silicon

Any takers?
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:57   #2
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

just sail
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:00   #3
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Your single-handed and need the power to run the autopilot.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:00   #4
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

If the batteries are flat, what do I need the diesel for? It is a sailboat after all. No wind....wait.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:02   #5
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
---

You are 140nm from landfall. You are single handing. You guess 18-20 hours till landfall. ---

How do you get engine started?
---
Why start the engine? You're already making great average speed, just keep going.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:04   #6
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Your single-handed and need the power to run the autopilot.
Autopilots are very nice but not mandatory.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:14   #7
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All are delightful points....

But how would you get the engine running? At some point you will need it to dock. Calling sea tow is not my preferred way to make an entrance!
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:25   #8
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Sail into an anchorage, drop the hook, sleep, hip tie the dinghy and make your way to somewhere workable.
Not all problems require an immediate solution, most can be deferred until a convenient and proper repair can be made.

Even in a case of a lee shore, there is usually adequate time to figure out the next nest course of action, if there isn't, than attempting to start a diesel with watered down fuel and flat batteries won't help much.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:34   #9
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

First, all the previous answers would be my first choice if I was in this situation.

But you seem to demand an answer to cranking the engine instead of finding the correct solution to the overall problem so I'll address that.

First, with batteries at 9.5 V you are NOT going to start most diesels. IF you have an older model with compression releases then you would start it that way. Of course if you have the hand crank option on the engine use that but since that isn't mentioned then assume that isn't an option.

So last ditch, emergency, gotta crank the engine no matter what, here's a trick. IF you have two batteries or battery banks that are set up for 12V each but very low state of charge so can't crank the engine. You can disconnect the batteries and hook them up in series to get a nominal 24V or more like 18-20 V with almost dead batteries.

Do this only in an emergency because you can fry the starter, the alternator and every 12V device on the boat if you aren't careful.

And yes I have done this and know it works and I didn't fry anything but I don't recommend trying this just to test it out.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:40   #10
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

I would use my start battery and place my spare 5-gal can of good fuel that I keep around for emegencies into service

If my start battery was dead also and since I have 6V batteries I could connect 3 in servies to get about 14V out of the house batteries that should have about 4.75V each.

If I already used my spare 5-gal of fuel I would use my hose to suck out some fuel that I could settle out by using the manual feature on my engines low pressure fuel pump (going to take a while)
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:08   #11
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

Here's my idea from the other thread.

Quote:
If faced with catastrophic water in fuel problem....

Could one remove the Racor filter element,
Use the manual fuel feed pump to fill a gerry can,
Let settle (at sea!) and decant the fuel at the top thus filling a few gerry cans,
Place gerry of clean(er) fuel in the line before racor (still with filter removed if its stuffed) and run the engine on the separated fuel direct without the filter?

Would that work? Or is it so unlikely to work its not worth a try? Sounds like it would take a day to make a few hours of fuel.
This is assuming I hadnt drained the engine battery to 9v just the house batts.

The question is about starting the engine... so not including "majic butterflies"... or avoiding the question.

Of course if the Racor is full of water affter a bit of stuffing around the final stage filter would be full ove water too. Can that be bypassed? or can the final filter be shaken or cleaned out?
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:14   #12
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

at the second fouling I'd have likely run a fuel line to my extra jerrycan full of fuel.
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:27   #13
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

Here's what I posted in the other thread...
Quote:
I had one of the West Marine "baja" type funnels on board when we were cruising, but after using it a couple of times, I was really put off by the amount of time it took to pass 60-70 gallons through it. The delay wasn't very popular with the fuel dock attendants or folks waiting behind me, either. I quit using it for that reason.

I came up with a pretty simple idea to tell me if I had a potential water-in-fuel problem. I attached an outboard gas tank hose with squeeze bulb to a length of copper tubing long enough to reach the bottom of my diesel tank. After each fill-up, and after the fuel had a chance to settle, I squeeze-pumped a sample from the bottom into a plastic jar so I could see if there was any water.

I was pretty lucky, because in the whole time we were cruising, I never saw any water, but if there had been any, the squeeze pump would have easily removed it.
The squeeze bulb thingy would get all the water out, as long as the boat wasn't bouncing around in heavy seas. I kept mine coiled up on the top of the fuel tank, but luckily never had to use it "in extremis".
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Old 31-07-2013, 11:42   #14
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

I would not be in that situation, because my engine start battery is not used for any other purpose, and there are a total of 10 other 12 volt batts on board in case of some freak accident with it. I could jump it with the generator start battery or with one batt out of the service bank, or start the generator and charge the engine start battery, or various other measures.

But to accept the situation as a given -- I would agree with other posters that I would not bother trying to start the engine with a dead battery (9.5v is dead as a doornail and permanently damaged to boot). I would hand steer towards my destination and heave to if I got tired. Sail onto my anchor, or sail onto a dock. Get some sleep, then go buy a new battery.
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Old 31-07-2013, 12:00   #15
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Re: Bad Fuel Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don L View Post
I would use my start battery and place my spare 5-gal can of good fuel that I keep around for emegencies into service

If my start battery was dead also and since I have 6V batteries I could connect 3 in servies to get about 14V out of the house batteries that should have about 4.75V each.

If I already used my spare 5-gal of fuel I would use my hose to suck out some fuel that I could settle out by using the manual feature on my engines low pressure fuel pump (going to take a while)
Yep.
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