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-   -   Is a fuel primer bulb legit? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f54/is-a-fuel-primer-bulb-legit-233630.html)

fred4936 30-04-2020 12:52

Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
As I work through everything to get the boat ready, I spotted an outboard-motor style primer bulb in the fuel line between the tank and the Racor filter. Since the boat has a Yanmar diesel, I was surprised. On the surface it looks like a good idea, but it looks more like a leak hazard, although it is dry.I just changed both fuel filters (Racor and Yanmar), and cleaned the tank. Before I put fresh fuel in it, should I get rid of the bulb? Thank you in advance!

FPNC 30-04-2020 12:55

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Keep the bulb, they work great for filling the Racor and pushing fuel up to the engine. They can even help diagnose a bad fuel pump. The bulbs meet USCG recreational requirements. Of which there are none. ABYC would probably whine about it.

CassidyNZ 30-04-2020 13:05

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Have one in my fuel line, been there for years, always works, has never leaked, I wouldn’t be without it. Mostly when these bulbs give trouble it’s because of being exposed to the elements in a dingy. Down below they last forever

Pete7 30-04-2020 13:09

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Standard fit on lots of Peugeot diesel cars in the 1990-2000s and made it easy to bleed the fuel system after changing the fuel filter.

Pete

fred4936 30-04-2020 16:14

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Thank you for the responses! I will leave it in and go with it!

a64pilot 30-04-2020 16:26

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Do NOT keep the bulb, they get soft, burst and none are rated for below deck use. Only use fuel line approved for below deck use, don’t use fuel bulbs or automotive fuel hose.

chrisr 30-04-2020 16:29

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 3129330)
Do NOT keep the bulb, they get soft, burst and none are rated for below deck use. Only use fuel line approved for below deck use, don’t use fuel bulbs or automotive fuel hose.

i asked my yanmar mechanic about this a while ago, and he said same thing : DON'T DO IT !

cheers,

Jim Cate 30-04-2020 16:43

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 3129330)
Do NOT keep the bulb, they get soft, burst and none are rated for below deck use. Only use fuel line approved for below deck use, don’t use fuel bulbs or automotive fuel hose.

As one who has used a bulb below decks for many years without softening, bursting or other problems, I can't agree with your worries relative to function. Approval is a different matter, one which is of greater importance to some folks than others.

Jim

tkeithlu 30-04-2020 17:34

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
It's a diesel system. Diesel systems have nowhere near the concern for fuel leaks because you have to get the stuff above 150 F. before it gives off flammable fumes. The same point for gasoline is -40 C or F, hence the problem. Can you come up with a scenario of that bulb failing massively without your knowing it, and then feeding fuel onto a source of heat, such as your exhaust manifold? Otherwise, if it improves your quality of life, enjoy having it.

I've spilt close to 100 gallons of diesel in my engine room, with the engine running. It was embarrassing, but only a job of pumping it into buckets and filtering it to get the rocks out before it went back into the tank. On the other hand, I've been faced with a couple of commercial fishers who tried to pour gasoline into their tank with the engine running. We're talking about two different worlds.

a64pilot 30-04-2020 17:49

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Cate (Post 3129343)
As one who has used a bulb below decks for many years without softening, bursting or other problems, I can't agree with your worries relative to function. Approval is a different matter, one which is of greater importance to some folks than others.

Jim

On Maine Sails old site he had a “hall of fail” with pictures of things gone bad, one of them was a primer bulb that had split.
Either way it’s not approved for below deck use and any survey you get for Insurence the Surveyor ought to find it and write it up. But bottom line fuel line approved for below deck use has to pass several standards to include fire resistance, I won’t knowingly install a weak link that won’t pass the burn test, fire scares me more than sinking.
For years I just used the little lever on the engine fuel pump with no issues, last year I installed an electric pump as the factory one IP installed must have failed sometime in the past, it was installed, just didn’t work, but the electric is allowed and will keep you going should the engine driven one fail, they often fail of course by dumping fuel into the oil, so if it fails like that you will have to bypass it, and having an electric already installed, you just keep on going.
Tough to do with a primer bulb

rbk 30-04-2020 17:50

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 3129330)
Do NOT keep the bulb, they get soft, burst and none are rated for below deck use. Only use fuel line approved for below deck use, don’t use fuel bulbs or automotive fuel hose.

^^^x2 more so if your tank is higher than your line where it can siphon into your bilge. Little bit while underway is annoying but 30-100 gallons in your bilge will ruin your day, more so if it ends up in the water.

stormalong 30-04-2020 17:53

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
I have one in my fuel system also and have read many warnings not to have one.

A couple of points:

There are diesel rated primer bulbs. Get one and replace the gasoline version. Will it mater? Probably not.

Place the primer bulb higher than the fuel tank and make it the highest point in the fuel system. Why, you ask? Because the fuel tank is vented siphoning will not happen. If the primer bulb does fail only the fuel in the primer bulb will leak out. Although diesel fuel in the engine space and the bilge is undesirable it is not dangerous and a few ounces is manageable.

Argyle38 30-04-2020 19:08

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 3129379)
On Maine Sails old site he had a “hall of fail” with pictures of things gone bad, one of them was a primer bulb that had split.
Either way it’s not approved for below deck use and any survey you get for Insurence the Surveyor ought to find it and write it up.

Not approved by whom? ABYC? Just curious. Never heard of any regulations about it.

I have one in my system, although it is isolated from the primary fuel line path via ball-valves. I can flip the valves and use it to help bleed if needed, then close off the valves, isolating it from the main fuel line path. Makes bleeding easy.

Never heard a comment from (two different) serveyors. Maybe because it's isolated.

Got the idea from these guys who install them on what looks like fairly large and likely Coast Guard inspected vessels:

https://www.sbmar.com/articles/squee...powered-boats/

Like others have stated, I've never had an issue with mine. It's still as supple as when new, around 13 or so years ago. if the bulb is approved for gas, diesel should be no problem. I think sunlight is much more likely to be a problem with them, but not an issue in the engine room.

Definitely something to keep an eye on, however.

Gary Mc 30-04-2020 20:51

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Yep have been using one for about 12 years, no issues and would not be without it.
Tried the manual lever thingy on my Yanmar and could not get it to work. The bulb works great!

Sojourner 30-04-2020 23:48

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
After nearly burning our boat down when the electric add-on priming pump decided to catch fire offshore (good times), I swapped it for a bulb. It's great. Not quite as simple as turning a key to prime, but almost, and pretty fool proof.

GordMay 01-05-2020 02:15

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Argyle38 (Post 3129412)
Not approved by whom? ABYC? Just curious. Never heard of any regulations about it...

SAE & ISO

The U.S. Coast Guard addresses fuel line requirements in the code of federal regulations (CFR) that applies to recreational boats: CFR Title 33, Type A1-15.
Ratings & approvals are primarily determined on two factors, permeability and fire resistance. Particularly with volatile gasoline, permeability is a concern due to vapor build up. If it is in an enclosed space "below deck" (Type A) it must not give off explosive vapors. Manufacturers often refer to hose as "above deck"/"topside" (B) or "below deck" (A) hose, which is simply a way of phrasing the permeability rating.
SAE J1527 & ISO Type A1 are a couple fuel line of Standards
The North American rating system for marine hose is known as SAE J1527 and it provides for grades as follows:
A1-fuel feed hose; has a fire resistant cover; is designed to have fuel in the hose at all times. Least permeable with highest fire resistance.
A2-fuel vent hose; has a fire resistant cover; is not designed to have fuel in the hose at all times.
B1-fuel feed hose; without fire resistant cover; is designed to have fuel in the hose at all times; intended for non-enclosed spaces. Diesel engines or above deck outboard gasoline applications.
B2-fuel vent hose; without fire resistant cover; is not designed to have fuel in the hose at all times. Diesel vent lines.

Maine Sail 01-05-2020 03:38

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Cate (Post 3129343)
As one who has used a bulb below decks for many years without softening, bursting or other problems, I can't agree with your worries relative to function. Approval is a different matter, one which is of greater importance to some folks than others.

Jim


I hear you but try to explain that to guy who owned the fuel bulb below. He wound up selling his boat due to lingering diesel smells that no-one could get rid of, not even Service Master. It allowed nearly 75 gallons of fuel to drain into the bilge.

I don't know of any primer bulbs actually rated for below deck use, because they don't pass the fire test ratings for below deck use. If you must use one isolate it with valves and mount it well above the fuel tank so it can't siphon if it fails.. Use these below deck at your own risk..

https://pbase.com/mainecruising/image/145237549.jpg

GordMay 01-05-2020 04:16

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Maine Sail (Post 3129547)
I hear you but try to explain that to guy who owned the fuel bulb below. He wound up selling his boat due to lingering diesel smells that no-one could get rid of, not even Service Master. It allowed nearly 75 gallons of fuel to drain into the bilge.

I don't know of any primer bulbs actually rated for below deck use, because they don't pass the fire test ratings for below deck use. If you must use one isolate it with valves and mount it well above the fuel tank so it can't siphon if it fails.. Use these below deck at your own risk..

https://pbase.com/mainecruising/image/145237549.jpg

Indeed.
https://www.sbmar.com/wp-content/upl...eze-Bulb_1.gif

FAST FRED 01-05-2020 04:27

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
"I have one in my system, although it is isolated from the primary fuel line path via ball-valves. I can flip the valves and use it to help bleed if needed, then close off the valves, isolating it from the main fuel line path. Makes bleeding easy."


Sounds like the perfect solution for the belt and suspenders folks.

Midnight Son 01-05-2020 04:32

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Save the grief, plumb in a Facet fuel pump and problem solved, just pick one of the 'rated' ones. No need to get in a lather.:peace:
Cheers all, stay safe

weavis 01-05-2020 04:34

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete7 (Post 3129195)
Standard fit on lots of Peugeot diesel cars in the 1990-2000s and made it easy to bleed the fuel system after changing the fuel filter.

Pete

yeah. I found the car leaked when I used it as an outboard on my fishing boat. The bulb was fine though.. :smile:

a64pilot 01-05-2020 05:24

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sojourner (Post 3129500)
After nearly burning our boat down when the electric add-on priming pump decided to catch fire offshore (good times), I swapped it for a bulb. It's great. Not quite as simple as turning a key to prime, but almost, and pretty fool proof.

That would be an extremely rare occurrence, odds of that happening are vanishingly small, happening twice?
To illustrate it, all automobiles that I know of are fuel injected, at lest the ones made in the last 30 or more years anyway, and as such that all have electric fuel pumps, vast majority of these pumps are actually located in the fuel tank.
I have never heard of a failure, which almost certainly would be an explosion and almost instantaneous SERIOUS fire

phorvati 01-05-2020 05:25

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Maine Sail (Post 3129547)
I hear you but try to explain that to guy who owned the fuel bulb below. He wound up selling his boat due to lingering diesel smells that no-one could get rid of, not even Service Master. It allowed nearly 75 gallons of fuel to drain into the bilge.

I don't know of any primer bulbs actually rated for below deck use, because they don't pass the fire test ratings for below deck use. If you must use one isolate it with valves and mount it well above the fuel tank so it can't siphon if it fails.. Use these below deck at your own risk..

https://pbase.com/mainecruising/image/145237549.jpg

If you are going to go through the trouble of putting a picture like that, at least explain how that cut occurred. That looks like a knife cut. Di that burst under pressure? on an negative pressure line? Could you please elaborate on a scenario where a prudent owner would let a cut like that dump 75gal into the bilge. Over what time frame? Under what circumstances?

Pete7 01-05-2020 05:31

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Given the number of these things being used for outboard tanks to engines the world over, in all sorts of conditions, is there really a problem? carry a spare and swop it out after a few years if there is a real concern.

You might buy a decent quality one though, rather than el cheapo from some auction site.

DirtRdEarl 01-05-2020 05:32

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
There are those who believe and those who don’t. Personally I use an electric fuel pump for priming the system.

a64pilot 01-05-2020 05:36

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
I can tell you, it’s not a cut, it’s a spilt, it softened over time. Maybe from the fuel or maybe from fuel additives even.
But back to it doesn’t meet the flame resistance requirements and please don’t tell me Diesel fuel doesn’t burn, it’s the same reason you don’t go to Autozone and buy fuel hose, or use automotive fuel filters, because they don’t meet requirements if your a US boat, it’s the law.
I don’t use house wire in my boat either, but I have seen a whole lot of it, and you can argue it works and since it saves a lot of money why not, but I won’t.

I have never seen a fuel bulb rated for Diesel, I assume some may exist but never seen one.

Maine Sail 01-05-2020 05:44

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by phorvati (Post 3129624)
If you are going to go through the trouble of putting a picture like that, at least explain how that cut occurred. That looks like a knife cut. Di that burst under pressure? on an negative pressure line? Could you please elaborate on a scenario where a prudent owner would let a cut like that dump 75gal into the bilge. Over what time frame? Under what circumstances?


It just split. He had changed the fuel filters a few days before he noticed the diesel leak and smell. The split was facing away from him, split side towards a bulkhead, and this probably why he never saw it when it happened.. Bulb was pretty hard on the outside but a bit gummy on the inside so I suspect it split while squeezing it, but it took some time for the small split to drain the tank.

Argyle38 01-05-2020 07:08

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GordMay (Post 3129523)
SAE & ISO

The U.S. Coast Guard addresses fuel line requirements in the code of federal regulations (CFR) that applies to recreational boats: CFR Title 33, Type A1-15.
Ratings & approvals are primarily determined on two factors, permeability and fire resistance. Particularly with volatile gasoline, permeability is a concern due to vapor build up. If it is in an enclosed space "below deck" (Type A) it must not give off explosive vapors. Manufacturers often refer to hose as "above deck"/"topside" (B) or "below deck" (A) hose, which is simply a way of phrasing the permeability rating.
SAE J1527 & ISO Type A1 are a couple fuel line of Standards
The North American rating system for marine hose is known as SAE J1527 and it provides for grades as follows:
A1-fuel feed hose; has a fire resistant cover; is designed to have fuel in the hose at all times. Least permeable with highest fire resistance.
A2-fuel vent hose; has a fire resistant cover; is not designed to have fuel in the hose at all times.
B1-fuel feed hose; without fire resistant cover; is designed to have fuel in the hose at all times; intended for non-enclosed spaces. Diesel engines or above deck outboard gasoline applications.
B2-fuel vent hose; without fire resistant cover; is not designed to have fuel in the hose at all times. Diesel vent lines.

Thanks. Of course that makes perfect sense. If the fuel line hose has to be certified, then certainly the bulb primer has to be as well, and to the same specifications, if it is part of the circuit.

I thought about that after I posted. It turns out I isolated my primer bulb because I was getting air in the line and thought the bulb might be the culprit (it wasn't, the problem was a faulty lift pump). Seems like I more or less brought my boat back in to spec inadvertently.

I think having a primer bulb is very helpful when you need to bleed the system, but you should definitely isolate it so it's not a liability when not in use.

Zoidislander 01-05-2020 11:02

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
The split bulb in the photo looks exactly like the one I purchased from Harbor Freight. I was attempting to make a device to transfer small amounts of fuel. Worked great for a while, and then it didn't. The bulb body split, the internal check ball dissolved, and the inside surface was sticky. And yes it was advertised for fuel (gasoline, and diesel use) on the actual product packaging. I didn't return it for credit, as it would have meant a two hour drive each way. I however reported the incident by telephone to the store. It was replaced by a similar item from Sierra, which is still working.

doog 01-05-2020 11:37

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
The deterioration of these bulbs is most likely from sun which cracks/shrinks any plastic or rubber. And diesel is far less corrosive than gas so if its good for gasoline..diesel is not going to hurt it..

There will always be purists opposing anything not made and sold either by them or their personal friends. The Capt Ron school of do what works is the real final word..Tons of regulations against great stuff, and there is totally approved material which will melt and soften and fail in many conditions. You dont want the list!

Cynara 01-05-2020 11:45

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
I haven't read all the posts, but my engine came with a priming pump. Part of the engine.

MJH 01-05-2020 11:52

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fred4936 (Post 3129184)
As I work through everything to get the boat ready, I spotted an outboard-motor style primer bulb in the fuel line between the tank and the Racor filter. Since the boat has a Yanmar diesel, I was surprised. On the surface it looks like a good idea, but it looks more like a leak hazard, although it is dry.I just changed both fuel filters (Racor and Yanmar), and cleaned the tank. Before I put fresh fuel in it, should I get rid of the bulb? Thank you in advance!

I have had a fuel primer bulb on my boat for 11 years without a single problem. It is located immediately below the galley sole between the fuel manifold (two fuel tanks) and the Racor filter. It doesn't require power and is so much easier to use than the fuel pump lever on the engine fuel pump and makes engine bleeding faster and less messy. I have been very happy with the fuel primer bulb.

I had purchased an electric pump for priming purposes but never used it for concern of a runaway fuel issue should a line leak/break, fueling a fire, or electrical failure rendering it useless.

Regarding the possibility of a split bulb, I would think that any significant opening in the bulb would immediately inject air into the fuel line and very shortly give indication of an issue by the engine running poorly if at all. This would be particularly true if the bulb is placed above the tank as mine is which I recommend.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH

fred4936 01-05-2020 12:10

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Thank you all! Lots of good points pro and con. It will be useful to have right now since the entire system is empty. Maybe I will use it for now, then remove it, but hang onto it for future use, and replace when suspect. As always, input is much appreciated!

dennismenace111 01-05-2020 13:23

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
I removed the outboard type bulb from my fuel line when I bought my NEW TO ME 1987 boat... I replaced the Racor with one that had an internal manual pump. After changing the fuel filter, I can fill up the on engine filter with a few pumps and pressurize the system enough to bleed it out through the injectors.

I think the new Racor filter cost about $140. Well worth it.

I did have concerns though that it had a plastic see through bowl.... thought that might be a no no in an engine compartment.

It seems its not allow on INSPECTED VESSELS but ok for Recreational Vessels.

GordMay 01-05-2020 13:41

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by doog (Post 3129950)
...Tons of regulations against great stuff, and there is totally approved material which will melt and soften and fail in many conditions. You dont want the list!

Yes, I do (want the list).
IMO, Most regulations are formulated to prevent things that DON'T always work.

Dsanduril 01-05-2020 13:56

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GordMay (Post 3129523)
SAE & ISO

The U.S. Coast Guard addresses fuel line requirements in the code of federal regulations (CFR) that applies to recreational boats: CFR Title 33, Type A1-15....

Except that the requirements for recreational vessels in 33 CFR § 183.501 et. seq. (where the fuel hose requirements are found) apply only to gasoline powered vessels:

Quote:

33 CFR § 183.501 - Applicability.
§ 183.501 Applicability.
(a) This subpart applies to all boats that have gasoline engines, except outboard engines, for electrical generation, mechanical power, or propulsion.
ABYC certainly has a different stance. Fuel hose ratings with regard to flammability don't care much about which fuel, with regard to permeation the specifications are all written around gasoline and really don't speak much to diesel.

Cheechako 01-05-2020 13:56

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
The bulbs work great. But I found some get soft and spongy. So I'm not sure which ones are ok. I had one that seemed to stay fine. Another that didn't.

stormalong 01-05-2020 14:50

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zoidislander (Post 3129934)
The split bulb in the photo looks exactly like the one I purchased from Harbor Freight. I was attempting to make a device to transfer small amounts of fuel. Worked great for a while, and then it didn't. The bulb body split, the internal check ball dissolved, and the inside surface was sticky. And yes it was advertised for fuel (gasoline, and diesel use) on the actual product packaging. I didn't return it for credit, as it would have meant a two hour drive each way. I however reported the incident by telephone to the store. It was replaced by a similar item from Sierra, which is still working.

There is your answer. Harbor Freight sells the cheapest products which almost by definition means the lowest quality.

Why condemn all priming bulbs because of one cheap brand? Would you condemn Mercedes Benz because Lada is also a car?

chrisr 01-05-2020 14:56

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 3129622)
That would be an extremely rare occurrence, odds of that happening are vanishingly small, happening twice?
To illustrate it, all automobiles that I know of are fuel injected, at lest the ones made in the last 30 or more years anyway, and as such that all have electric fuel pumps, vast majority of these pumps are actually located in the fuel tank.
I have never heard of a failure, which almost certainly would be an explosion and almost instantaneous SERIOUS fire

i would think that the atmosphere inside the fuel tank would be too rich to support combustion so actually quite a safe location i think...o'wise completely agree with you re electric fuel pumps (which we hv on our yanmars)

cheers,

a64pilot 01-05-2020 14:57

Re: Is a fuel primer bulb legit?
 
It is not gasoline specific, Thai is Diesel, In particularly the hose section has a link to it
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/46/182.455


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