how far can a fuel tank be from the engine? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-24-2016 Thread Starter
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how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

Could i move my diesel fuel tank from where it currently is (under the quarter berth) to the port side under the settee?

my boat was designed with two 52 gallon water tanks, one under the starboard settee and on under the port side settee. it also has a 44 gallon fuel tank under the starboard side quarter berth.

i have very, very (basically none) limited access to anything behind the engine and being an older boat that needs a lot of upgrading in that area, the best way to gain access is to move or remove the diesel tank and cut an opening in the wall between the engine and quarter berth. if i did i would basically have unrestricted access to the entire engine, two massive scupper seacocks (that will need replacing soon), batteries, water heater, steering quadrant....etc....

i could remove the tank when i needed to get access but i was sitting there yesterday thinking maybe, if i could put the tank that far away, it would make more sense to permanently move the tank instead so i could keep the easy access to that area.

if my thinking is correct the boat could handle the re-distribution in weight. i dont use the port side water tank anyways and was thinking of removing it for the storage space.

i can get a replacement fuel tank from the original manufacturer that would fit under that port settee. the water tank there now is actually an aluminum fuel tank. the original manufacturer is still in business and would make an exact replacement tank.

the weight distribution would be about the same as if it were water but there is the question of distance. i would have to run fuel lines about ten feet to the engine. there is already a filler valve and vent that runs to the deck (originally for the water tank).

to replace the lost 300ish lbs of weight that the fuel tank added to the starboard side area of the quarter berth i was going to add a battery bank for solar panels. i could move the battery bank a bit further aft and keep access to engine compartment but replace the lost weight distribution in that area of the hull.

so long post short...is there any significant reason why this would not work or would be a bad idea?
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-24-2016
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

Our fuel tank is under the port settee and we have no issues with fuel supply.

You don't mention what boat you have (it's helpful to put that in a signature line)

Most people wouldn't want to give up that kind of water inventory. When you're considering the weight balance (again, nice to know what boat) don't forget that diesel can weigh as little as 80% of what water does, but the difference may not be huge. If you've been running with the unused tank empty and haven't had trim issues you may still not. (did I mention it would be nice to know what boat? )
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-24-2016
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

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i can get a replacement fuel tank from the original manufacturer that would fit under that port settee. the water tank there now is actually an aluminum fuel tank.
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If the existing tank is actually an aluminum fuel tank why replace it? Just replumb it and use it.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-24-2016
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
If the existing tank is actually an aluminum fuel tank why replace it? Just replumb it and use it.
Yeah.. missed that part!

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-24-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

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Our fuel tank is under the port settee and we have no issues with fuel supply.

You don't mention what boat you have (it's helpful to put that in a signature line)

Most people wouldn't want to give up that kind of water inventory. When you're considering the weight balance (again, nice to know what boat) don't forget that diesel can weigh as little as 80% of what water does, but the difference may not be huge. If you've been running with the unused tank empty and haven't had trim issues you may still not. (did I mention it would be nice to know what boat? )
lol...sorry new to forums. will update that soon. Its a Mariner36 (peter canning design) MARINER 36 (CANNING) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com the boat has about a three degree list to port anyways and actually sails a bit better / flatter with just the starboard tank filled. in the distant future once the area behind the engine has been completely upgraded i could add a light weight plastic tank in there for water if i planned any longer than usual voyages. would be much easier to pop out if i had to versus a big/heavy aluminum fuel tank.

thats good to know i was hoping it wouldn't be a big deal. i drool at the thought of opening up that compartment. as it is right now...access is laying on your side on the quarter berth and sticking your hands through tow small trap doors. it works for changing a filter or muscling in a battery but anything beyond that and there is just no way.

Last edited by whatever; 04-24-2016 at 03:37 PM.
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

The engine doesn't care where the fuel tank is, as long as the fuel pump can get fuel from it, and the return line can push unused fuel back into it. Just be generous with anti-chafe anyplace that line passes through something. Make sure it is one piece and can't be damaged if some oaf decides to stow an anchor next to it.(G)
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

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If the existing tank is actually an aluminum fuel tank why replace it? Just replumb it and use it.
it leaks. i wish that were the case. that would be nice as removing it will require dissasembling the entire settee but i have no idea where the leak is. dont trust it as it is. i will pull the water tank and inspect it before ordering a new one but i dont feel to optomistic about the leak. not sure if its possible to repair or not?
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Re: how far can a fuel tank be from the engine?

Aluminum can be repaired, but if it is extensively pitted or the welds were done improperly, it may be cheaper and better to replace it. No way to tell without pulling it to inspect it.
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