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Old 21-01-2015, 00:19   #1
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Drilling into diesel tank while full?

This may sound silly, I have an eiberspacher diesel heater system to fit, but my tank is full some 250 litres, how safe would be drilling into the PLASTIC tank while full of diesel? I know diesel i quite difficult to ignite, IE throw a match on it and it goes out. I am concernes of any vapours/fumes etc

Or can anyone suggest any other way of connecting the fuel pick up line?
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Old 21-01-2015, 00:26   #2
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

Why wouldn't you just attach a T or a Y fitting to the fuel line OUTSIDE the tank?
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Old 21-01-2015, 00:37   #3
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Why wouldn't you just attach a T or a Y fitting to the fuel line OUTSIDE the tank?

I did think of that but would it not cause airlocks in the fuel pipe between the y and engine intake?
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Old 21-01-2015, 00:44   #4
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

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Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
I did think of that but would it not cause airlocks in the fuel pipe between the y and engine intake?
You can put a hand bulb in, just as in O/B. That may be a hassle but IMO still better than drilling more holes in the tank itself.

Too bad my boat is put away for the winter as I have a line for the heater plumbed to the main diesel tank with its own little 12v fuel pump. I never actually peeked to see how as I don't use the heater in the summer.
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Old 21-01-2015, 01:05   #5
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

Don't know about drilling through fuel tanks but I have T'd into my engine fuel line for our cabin heater. No problem works a treat. Lot easier than drilling through the tank.
Just make sure the T is as low as possible relative to the tank. Mine is actually below the bottom level of the fuel tank.
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Old 21-01-2015, 08:22   #6
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

How do you plan on attaching a fitting to a plastic tank? With a nut on the inside? Can you get to it through a cleanout port?


What are you going to do about the diesel fuel pouring out once you start drilling until you finish and get the fitting installed?


If you've figured out these issues and still want to know how safe it is to drill into a plastic tank full of diesel fuel, consider using a manual (non electric) drill or an air powered drill.


Me, I think I would tap into an existing fuel line as long as the capacity is there to feed the heater and the engine at the same time.


Another option might be a dedicated fuel tank for the heater.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:25   #7
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

I don't know what the best way of fitting the new diesel-line is, but in response to your original question: don't worry about igniting the diesel.

As you mention yourself, it's very hard to ignite diesel (or its fumes) on its own. I figured that out first hand working on an Australian cattle-farm. We used controlled burning of certain areas to keep the land "fit". We had special canisters for this purpose, but even in the scorching sun it was a pain to light the diesel or its fumes on its own. It had to be mixed with regular petrol just to catch fire.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:32   #8
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Why wouldn't you just attach a T or a Y fitting to the fuel line OUTSIDE the tank?
Ive fitted 2 eberspachers, by drilling into an existing tank in each case fairly full. the debris will be picked up eventually by the filters,

its completely safe

You can also tap into the fuel pipe, if you do this follow the instruction to the letter. The T piece must be pointing DOWN or you can have problems.

Personally I would use a standpipe as its a better solution and one less thing to leak on the engines fuel line.


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Old 21-01-2015, 09:33   #9
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

You never want two items that use Diesel drawing from one Diesel line....especially if one of those items is a Diesel engine. There is too much of a risk of introducing air into the Diesels fuel system.

I don't think you are going to be able to secure the fitting well enough if you have no access to the inside of the tank in order to use the proper sealant and to be able to install a backing nut. DO NOT rely on threads alone in a plastic tank to give you enough strength to hold the fitting. It might work, but might is not good enough when we are talking a potentially serious fire hazard.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:34   #10
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

Other than getting crud in the tank you wont have any problem.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:35   #11
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

As others have said you can avoid drilling the tank by T-ing into the fuel line that goes to the engine. That's what I did. You want separate fuel cocks on each feed.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:37   #12
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

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You never want two things that use diesel drawing from one diesel line....especially if one of those items is a Diesel engine. There is too much of a risk of introducing air into the Diesels fuel system.

I don't think you are going to be able to secure the fitting well enough if you have no access to the inside of the tank in order to use the proper sealant and to be able to install a backing nut. DO NOT rely on threads alone in a plastic tank to give you enough strength to hold the fitting. It might work, but might is not good enough when we are talking a potentially serious fire hazard.
The standard ebespacher standpipe fitting has no backing nut underneath. its a shape that fits through a hole and then is tightened from the top

please note that the tap into the fuel line is fine and works well. just follow the instructions The air issue is in the heater not the engine.

But it is not the preferred method

"The diagram illustrates a typical installation using a fuel standpipe, which is the preferred method for the fuel take off. This minimises any problems caused by over pressuring, fuel starvation and air leaks that can occur if connected to an engine fuel line."

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Old 21-01-2015, 09:41   #13
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post

Another option might be a dedicated fuel tank for the heater.
Yea, I always though that this was the safest way to go. Stevensuf, would it be possible to drill from the top, then run a line down to the same level as your fuel pickup? As long as your heater has a strong enough pump or you install an ancillary one, you should not have any problem getting diesel to the heater, without spillage problems.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:52   #14
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

Yeah, a small tank for the heater is a great way to go... then you can use Kerosene or diesel. With kerosene you will never have a soot of coking issue. The small units burn so little fuel anyway....
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:57   #15
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Re: Drilling into diesel tank while full?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
The standard ebespacher standpipe fitting has no backing nut underneath. its a shape that fits through a hole and then is tightened from the top

please note that the tap into the fuel line is fine and works well. just follow the instructions The air issue is in the heater not the engine.

But it is not the preferred method

"The diagram illustrates a typical installation using a fuel standpipe, which is the preferred method for the fuel take off. This minimises any problems caused by over pressuring, fuel starvation and air leaks that can occur if connected to an engine fuel line."

dave
Yes, the air issue is the heater....air backflowing from the heater can get in the fuel line to the Diesel. There is going to be a suction between the fitting at the tank and the diesels primary fuel pump. I would not trust any check valve that might be in the heater, if they include any at all.
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