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post #611 of Old 04-28-2013
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Re: Low buck projects- Let's see 'em!

Fuel tank level system:

I am old school when it comes to tank level indication having lived with failed electrical/electronic indication that required draining tank after tank to repair frequent failures and then refilling and recalibrating the instruments. I know the new electronic instruments are much more reliable but my engine burns less than a quart an hour and there is no need to know fuel level on an instantaneous basis. The tank is under the engine and if I did have an electronic instrument it would likely be a PITA to access and repair or replace.

So when I replaced the fuel tank on Talofa Lee I planned for manual tank measurement. The tank is under the engine and the dipstick method of checking requires that the stick be flexible. I have always used a 1/4 inch dowel. However last time I used the dowel it cracked. By good fortune the bottom piece didn't fall into the tank.

This week my wife waved a broken chain-type dog leash at me and asked if I could use it (I am always stashing this and that item that is broken that I may "need" at some point in the future so she frequently checks with me before throwing things out.) She didn't know it but she was waving my low cost foolproof fuel tank level indicating system at me.

That chain is the perfect tool for measuring the tank level. It is flexible. It is heavy so it hangs directly down into the tank. All I needed was something to keep the upper end from falling into the tank and to calibrate it.

The tank was still empty so I filled it with five gallon jerry cans and calibrated the chain at five gallon increments (25 gallons total). I marked the chain at each five gallons and marked the point where the chain meets the top of the fill tube when the first link hits the bottom. I put a plastic cable clamp through the top link to prevent dropping the chain into the tank. I marked the chain increments with tightly wrapped red rescue tape that I had in my tool box.

Here it is:


I used about eight inches of rescue tape which is about a dollar a foot. The clamp was one of a pack of several different sizes I bought at a big box store a few years ago...perhaps another buck.

I am sure I will be happy with the TLI's accuracy and reliability.
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