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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-09-2009
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An endorsement of squeeze bulbs

I spent Saturday PM and Sunday AM doing boat maintenance - fixed the head (ugh!), finished an electrical repair, and FINALLY eliminated all the sources of air leaking into my fuel line! An aged fuel line, coupled with a loose clamp at the Racor filter (aargh - why didn't I look that far back earlier???), and worn washers underneath the bleed screws turned out to be everything. I had ordered and received the washers from Niemiec Marine (as well as a new raw water pump to replace the current leaky one), but I had no fuel line on hand. Time for yet another trip to WM.

As long as I was replacing diesel fuel line, I figured I'd install one of those outboard engine squeeze bulbs that several savants here discussed favorably. WM didn't have the 1/4" fuel line I needed, but they did have the squeeze bulb with 1/4" barbs. Oh well - back home for the night. On the way home, I got the new fuel line at a different store. I threw an old hair dryer into the trunk and set out Sunday morning for the boat. I cut the line, put it on the Squeeze bulb's thick plastic barbs (with much heating and muttering), then clamped them with stainless hose clamps. Whew! What a struggle! I was not looking forward to a similar struggle in places I could barely reach. Luckily, pushing the fuel line onto the metal barbs of the Racor and the fuel pump was was much, much easier - I didn't even need to heat the hose. However, clamping the fuel line at pump when I could not even see the hose clamp was an interesting experience. I then changed the fuel filters and the water pump and bled the low pressure side of the fuel system.

Wow, what an improvement! Previously, bleeding my Yanmar 2GMF required that I jam my forearm between the engine and bulkhead almost to the elbow, then push the lever on the lift pump with a fingertip. My arm barely fits and I've burned myself doing that with a hot engine. My hand wears out after a couple of minutes, and it would usually take about 5 minutes of levering. Even though I didn't pre-fill the Racor when I changed the filter, it took less than a minute of bulb squeezing until fuel squirted out the LP bleed screw above the engine filter. This set up is safer, more convenient, and five times faster than using the lift pump. But would leak? Time for some testing.

I had everything together and the entire boat cleaned up by noon, and tested the engine by running up and down the South River for half the afternoon. The Yanmar ran perfectly for the entire time. No more stumbling or stalling, and I ran with WOT for 15 minutes to ensure flow wasn't restricted. It wasn't - I got a rock steady 3400 RPM.

I owe Gary M, who recommended the squeeze bulb back in May, a large thank you! You have made my day, and made my life a lot easier when I change my fuel filters. If you find yourself in the N. VA area, drop by for a beer!
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Old 09-09-2009
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While THE bulb makes it easy to prime THERE not rated for use in enclosed places only on deck


Are racor filter has a built in pump that makes the same job easy
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Old 09-09-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
While THE bulb makes it easy to prime THERE not rated for use in enclosed places only on deck


Our racor filter has a built in pump that makes the same job easy
Yeah,... we had the squeeze bulb but I suspected that it was a source of an air leak... switched to a Racor with a built in pump and we've been good since.

But as long as it's airtight, and compatable with the fuel, the bulb out performs the goofy priming pumps on the engine.
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Old 09-09-2009
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Originally Posted by dacap06 View Post
As long as I was replacing diesel fuel line, I figured I'd install one of those outboard engine squeeze bulbs that several savants here discussed favorably. WM didn't have the 1/4" fuel line I needed, but they did have the squeeze bulb with 1/4" barbs. Oh well - back home for the night. On the way home, I got the new fuel line at a different store. I threw an old hair dryer into the trunk and set out Sunday morning for the boat. I cut the line, put it on the Squeeze bulb's thick plastic barbs (with much heating and muttering), then clamped them with stainless hose clamps. Whew! What a struggle! I was not looking forward to a similar struggle in places I could barely reach. Luckily, pushing the fuel line onto the metal barbs of the Racor and the fuel pump was was much, much easier - I didn't even need to heat the hose. However, clamping the fuel line at pump when I could not even see the hose clamp was an interesting experience. I then changed the fuel filters and the water pump and bled the low pressure side of the fuel system.
You should understand and be aware that those squeeze bulbs are not rated for in engine room use. I checked with all the fuel bulb makers a few years ago and not one company met the in-engine-room requirements for ratings. If you have an engine fire or fuel leak your insurance company may not bee so kind as to cover you. Fuel hose in not all the same and in engine room diesel rated hose should be used.

Granted you'll probably never have an issue but if you do you may be in for a surprise.

As a subscriber to ABYC I simply called Eric Johnson, their technical guy. Here's what he told me.

H-33 (diesel Fuel Systems) is currently under revision and all hose for engine compartments, even on diesels, must now carry an A1 or A2 rating not the B1/B2 rating. This means the hose has a 2 1/2 minute fire rating.

There are currently NO BULBS or complete bulb/hose assemblies that meet the A1 or A2 fire rating. When I asked about the USCG discrepancy he stated that once the new H-33 is published that the USCG may change their wording as they have done this in the past.

So the answer is, to be ABYC compliant, this can not be done. Many insurance companies are now reverting to the ABYC standards in the case of a claim.

I am in now way suggesting that Dcap remove his bulb, it's his own personal choice, just trying to help him understand the other side of the story and potential pit falls.
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And what if the squeeze bulb is not in the "engine room?" (as an aside, what defines the "engine room," anyway?)
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Old 09-09-2009
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And what if the squeeze bulb is not in the "engine room?" (as an aside, what defines the "engine room," anyway?)
According to ABYC it's below deck vs. above deck, fuel bulbs are rated for above deck use. They also do not have the right hose fire rating for below deck use..

Again this may never become a problem but with the way insurance companies are today I would not personally take the risk. Some will have no problem with this risk and to those who don't I say go for it.

What if the bulb leaked while you were away and your bilge pump then pumped the fuel into the bay and you were hit with a HUGE clean up bill. Would your insurance company cover you..? I don't honestly know the answer but do know that insurance companies are in the business of denying as many claims as they can these days and for any teeny tiny loop hole they can find and I for one certainly can't afford a Clean Harbors bill on top of EPA fines.
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Old 09-09-2009
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Ouch. Invalidating insurance is a REALLY bad idea. Thanks for the heads up, guys. I'll have to look into a new Racor filter system with the built-in pump.

I got fuel line that is rated for diesel, but if I remove the bulb I'll need to replace it to eliminate the splice. Perhaps it is just as well - I don't remember whether it was A series or B series rated. This sounds like a good project for this Winter.

Now you have me thinking. I wonder if my boat even meets today's ABYC standards. From the companionway all the way back to the lazarette is one big compartment that contains the engine, the fuel tank, and the water-cooled exhaust. The distance from the back of the engine to the front of the tank looks to be about 3 feet. The fuel tank itself is metal. I guess it is a steel of some sort. It is too shiny to be aluminum. What say you who know the standards?
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Old 09-09-2009
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Now you have me thinking. I wonder if my boat even meets today's ABYC standards.
It does not necessarily need to meet today's standards unless a surveyor noted it on the insurance survey and your insurance company ask you to change or fix the noted item.

Any repairs you do that have to do with anything that could sink, cause a fire, cause a fuel spill etc. etc. should be done in manner that is in-line with accepted industry practices. ABYC is not a rule but rather accepted guidelines. New boat builders usually abide by ABYC and must abide by the CFR boat builders standards but you do not have to if you don't want to but it is always wise to try and do things right especially in cases where you are insured..
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Old 09-09-2009
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Thanks, Maine Sail and everyone else who chimed in. I confess that decades of military experience and a lifetime of sailing on other people's boats has not prepared me for all considerations with respect to boat repair and modification. I appreciate your advice and counsel.
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I think it is a very valid point however, my bulb is on the top of my diesel tank which is located under the port settee and well away from the engine compartment.

It appears from this dicussion that would it would not be rated for below deck service however I think it is no more likely to leak than any other connection on the fuel line so will stay with it since it is WAY easier to use than the manual pump.

If I change primary fuel filters I will look into the Racor with the pump.

Thanks
Gary
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