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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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Old 04-28-2013
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Fuel smell my Watkins 27

We just purchased a 27 foot Watkins Sailboat with a Yanmar inboard Diesel engine. After taking the boat out, the fuel smell is really strong, especially at night when we are sleeping on the boat. It does not seem like a leak. I have seen so posts talking about better ventilating the cabin. Any suggestions on how best to do this? Also, I've also seen a couple of suggestions on soaking up the fuel in the bilge? Any other suggestions? I am worried about the health effects, thank!

Last edited by Changernyc; 04-28-2013 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

What makes you think its not a leak? I'd go over all fuel components from the tank to the engine while the engine is running and while its off to ensure there are no leaks. Could it be residual fuel in the bilge from a spill? Pumping the bilge dry and seeing if any fuel makes its way back in should tell you if its leaking from somewhere or not.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Get a Bilge Boom oil absorbent thingy and let it float around in your bilge (~$10). Toss it out once it gets to be really disgusting.
Get dawn dish detergent and scrub out the bilge, engine compartment and everywhere.

Get the white oil absorbent pads (about 1' x 2') and lay them out under your engine and fuel tank. If there is a leak you will find it.

The smell of diesel is worse than the smell of gasoline in my opinion. Not worse than head stink but the two combined are the pits.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Odds are you do have a small leak or unintended vent somewhere. Find it, could be dangerous. Where is the tank intentionally vented? That could be it.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Even if you see no fuel in the bilge it could still be fuel laying about under the engine. Swish a couple paper towels up under there with a thin stick as a check.
Hot diesel can really vapor up and stink.
It's not explosive, it's just a stick pit.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Fuel tank may have pin holes and if it's sitting on a wood platform the wood could be soaked and you would not see it.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

I need to edit my dangerous comment, I thought we were talking about gasoline for some reason. Diesel is not going to ignite, but doesn't evaporate well either. Even if there was a spill that was wiped up, the residue can continue to smell. Gasoline will eventually all evaporate.
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Old 04-30-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I need to edit my dangerous comment, I thought we were talking about gasoline for some reason. Diesel is not going to ignite, but doesn't evaporate well either. Even if there was a spill that was wiped up, the residue can continue to smell. Gasoline will eventually all evaporate.
This is another reason why I like my 45 year old Atomic 4 gasoline engine. If any fuel leaks out (usually very little or none) it evaporates pretty quickly. If I have a major fuel leak I will have a major problem but small leaks don't amount to a stinky smelling boat. The smell of diesel fuel can be pretty pervasive.

That said I wouldn't mind having a boat with a nice diesel engine in it.
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
....If any fuel leaks out (usually very little or none) it evaporates pretty quickly......
True, but evaporated gasoline can be the perfect air/fuel ratio for ignition.
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Old 04-30-2013
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Re: Fuel smell my Watkins 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
True, but evaporated gasoline can be the perfect air/fuel ratio for ignition.
It may blow up but it doesn't stink!
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