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Old 11-06-2021, 05:21   #31
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

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Originally Posted by Sailorman40 View Post
If you have a non-contact thermometer you can run the laser up and down the tank to determine the level of fuel Temperature changes at fuel level Have used this successfully in past
This is probably most accurate simple way!
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Old 11-06-2021, 06:03   #32
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

Keep the tank full.
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Old 11-06-2021, 06:10   #33
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

I have a similar situation, with bends in my fill hoses. I've been able to stick the tanks using a spool of electrician's fish tape:


I did have to etch my own level indicators (I did every inch) on it. You also have to either do so math, or listen to figure out when you've hit bottom. It may not work for every configuration, but it's worth a shot.
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Old 11-06-2021, 07:19   #34
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
What's preventing you from fixing the fuel gauge?
If you can get to the top of the tank to replace the gauge it is a simple enough task.
The old automotive hinge type fuel gauges that came with most boats are highly inaccurate and rarely last very long.
I replaced the gauges in both of my tanks a few years ago with WEMA gauges (https://www.fisheriessupply.com/engi...nsors/wema-usa) and unless your tanks are a very odd shape these gauges are very accurate.

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Old 11-06-2021, 08:08   #35
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

I use Damn1 approach on my boat. I don't have a gauge and like you, the dip stick method won't work. I go head first down the lazerette where my fuel tank sits at the bottom. Fortunately it is translucent heavy plastic material that I can see the fuel level when a flashlight is held on the side. Crude but it works.
If you have a metal tank this isn't going to work for you.
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Old 18-06-2021, 06:52   #36
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

I made a fluid level sensor using one of these Combined with a little 9v battery, its easy to run it up and down the wall of the tank if you have access.
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Old 18-06-2021, 06:59   #37
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

On a 30ft. sailboat you should be able to motor dawn to dusk on way less than a tank full. My old Bristol 30 had a 16hp. Beta diesel that used a third of a gallon per hour with a twenty gallon tank. My 27ft. Albin trawler had a 60hp diesel that cruised at a gallon per hour with a twenty gallon day tank. Neither had a fuel guage that worked and I happily sailed thousands of miles. Don't worry too much.
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Old 18-06-2021, 07:13   #38
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

Changing a broken sender is an easy job that most anyone can do. However, we went years calculating fuel volumes just using burn rate and engine run time. I still do this calculation as fuel gauges are not super accurate.
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Old 18-06-2021, 07:30   #39
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

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Thanks for the suggestions. The boat has been at a yard where they were supposed to make a bunch of repairs over the Spring (including replacing the fuel gauge). Long story short, the mechanic told me a few days ago that he hasnít gotten to my boat, and that he doesnít know when he will get to my boat, and that I should come back in the fall since my repairs arenít critical. My launch is scheduled for tomorrow and I am trying to gauge how much fuel is in the tank before I leave the yard. Guess it wonít be possible to know before I head out. Thanks again!
If you can see the tank and estimate the depth, try the smallest plumbers snake you can find and see if you can make the turns into the main tank- all the other suggestions will work. Before you proceed to fill look frequently for any fuel leaks from the tank. All the other suggestions are good- would fill and then monitor engine run time as suggested. Check to see if there is a fuel drain cock. Or disconnect fuel feed line from engine and drain into a container with lid. Assume this is diesel.
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Old 18-06-2021, 10:17   #40
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

I had the same issues with my fuel and water tanks, and being a carpenter decided to try a stud finder which is an electronic sensor device carpenters use in the construction industry to find stude (two by four framing ) behind completed dry walls...

it works perfectly on my water and fuel tanks It hopefully will work on yours. My tanks are of fiberglass, so I'm not sure it will work on stainless steel. These can be bought at most hardware stores, or Home Depot..
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Old 18-06-2021, 13:45   #41
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

We thought we had a malfunctioning fuel gauge when we bought the boat.

In fact, when we took the top off the tank to clean it out (the boat had had rain water up over the floor and had filled the tank) we found the lever-arm of the gauge was jammed against the side of the tank.

When we put everything back together (with nice new gaskets) we rotated the fuel gauge about 30 degrees so the arm was lined up with the centre of the tank and it has worked well ever since 2009.

Imo, every boat should have the inside of the fuel tank inspected when you buy it and from time-to-time.

Also, with an old boat, often at least one of the previous owners was a dolt...
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Old 18-06-2021, 14:23   #42
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

5 gallon jerry can.
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Old 18-06-2021, 16:22   #43
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

If you have access to the top of your tank you might be able to reach the elbow pipe that the return fuel hose is attached to. If so, replace the elbow with a T. Normally when you look at a T it has a left, right and bottom. Reorient the T so that the left is attached to the tank and the bottom of the T is attached to the return line. Now the right side of the T is vertical. Put a plug on it. When you want to check your fuel level just unscrew the plug and insert a slim dowel thru the T into the tank. Voila!
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Old 18-06-2021, 17:16   #44
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

I just tried out the no contact thermometer trick on my day tank. Surprisingly it did not work. 1/4” aluminum, 3/4 full.

It is just sunset so it might work better in the am with a rising temp.

I have integral fuel and water tanks. I have seen weather conditions where, while hauled out, I can very clearly see the locations of the tanks and how full they are, from the condensation. So was pretty sure it would work here. Nope!
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Old 19-06-2021, 08:40   #45
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Re: Broken fuel gauge and can't use a dip stick. What now?

Sounds like you are looking for piece of mind until you get where you can fuel her. Why not just take a jerry jug and put a few gallons in? You just need to add enough to know you can reach a fuel dock. Once you have filled, you can calculate and keep up with your burn rate as others have suggested. Also, if you can reach the side of the tank, you can simply tap it to determine approximate fuel level.
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