Diesel leak at tank connection - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-02-2014 Thread Starter
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Diesel leak at tank connection

Have a leak at the fuel outlet connection to the diesel fuel tank. Basically the connection was not turned tight enough when installed as it is mated to a clear pipe that shows how much fuel is in the tank. This required the top connecter to be upright. I have disconnected the clear pipe and turned the connection about one third of a turn and it has stopped the leak.

Issue is how to fix. Discussed the problem with a shipwright and he suggested disassembling and wrapping the thread in thread seal tape (some sort of yellow muck has been used). Was thinking can I do this without draining the fuel tank? Remove the fitting and quickly replace temporarily with a plug. Then clean the thread, wrap in the tape and then replace. Sure this will spill a bit of diesel, however the tank is currently full and it is a 170 litre fuel tank.

Also, can you use normal plumbers thread tape, or is there a special thread tape you use for diesel?

Also any other suggestions / opinions are always welcome.

Note that everything is about two three years old. Engine, tank, fuel lines and connectors were all replaced with new fittings in 2011 (yes I know, bloody annoying )

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-03-2014
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Re: Diesel leak at tank connection

Few thoughts:

Spilled diesel can be very hard to clean and it really bothers most people to smell it.

The goop on the threads is probably teflon paste, which would be a proper application.

Regular teflon tape can not be used with gasoline, so I presume not with diesel either. There is a fuel grade teflon tape, usually yellow. Again, not sure of its diesel compatibility.

If you fixed it by tightening the nut, aren't you all set? Maybe just add a safety wire so it can't back off? Given your description, it seems like something I would want, even if you changed the sealant.


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post #3 of 7 Old 07-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel leak at tank connection

Hi Minnewaska,

Issue at the moment is the connector where the clear plastic pipe attaches is pointing down. The clear pipe shows how much fuel is in the tank. I may be able to use a longer clear plastic pipe, however that will mean a bend in the pipe, that may kink. Plus it may not give an accurate reading of how much fuel is left in the tank. Still "doing nothing" maybe an option.

I have found a product in Australia called "Unasco Pink Industrial Thread Sealing Tape" that is rated for diesel. The data sheet describes it as a teflon thread sealing tape. By using the thread tape I could possibly build up the thickness on the thread and get the whole assembly pointing upright, rather than down.

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post #4 of 7 Old 07-03-2014
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Re: Diesel leak at tank connection

Get some teflon tape roll it into a string instead of using it as tape. Loosen the fitting as much as you dare, wrap the teflon "string"around the the threads up close to the tank. tighten. see if that stops the leak.

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post #5 of 7 Old 07-04-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Diesel leak at tank connection

Hi Denise,

Great minds think alike! I was thinking last night that was an option. Starting to think either "do nothing" or trying that idea is the way to go.

Thanks for the suggestions, Ilenart
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-04-2014
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Re: Diesel leak at tank connection

There is a yellow coloured teflon tape that is for gas fittings, I've used that.

Edit: here's something about thread tape types, from the wiki:

"Thread seal tape used in plumbing applications is most commonly white, but it is also available in various colors. White PTFE is single density, yellow is double and pink is triple . It is often used to correspond to color coded pipelines (US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: yellow for natural gas, green for oxygen, etc.). These color-codes for thread sealing tape were introduced by Bill Bentley of Unasco Pty Ltd in the 1970s. In the UK, tape is used from coloured reels, e.g. yellow reels for gas, green for potable water.

White – used on NPT threads up to 3/8 inch
Yellow – used on NPT threads 1/2 inch to 2 inch, often labeled "gas tape"
Pink – used on NPT threads 1/2 inch to 2 inch
Green – oil-free PTFE used on oxygen lines and some specific medical gasses
Gray – contains nickel, anti-seizing, anti-gailling and anti-corrosion, used for stainless pipes
Copper – contains copper granules and is certified as a thread lubricant but not a sealer
In Europe the BSI standard BS-7786:2006 specifies various grades and quality standards of PTFE thread sealing tape. [6]"
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-07-2014
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Re: Diesel leak at tank connection

How long will the clear pipe stay clear and usable?. Do you have a designated shut off valve?
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