Inaccurate Fuel Gauge - How to avoid accidental discharges when refueling? - SailNet Community

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Old 11-17-2010
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Question Inaccurate Fuel Gauge - How to avoid accidental discharges when refueling?

A friend's Ericson 30+ has a diesel engine with a 20-gallon tank. It appears that the fuel gauge is not accurately registering ... may not be working at all really.

How can he prevent accidental discharges from the vent line when refueling without having to dig in and remove the tank and/or sender (bad float?)?

Thanks,
Jon
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I'd hate to say this, but you really can't rely on your fuel gauge, even if accurate, when refueling... or at least I can't.

I typically gauge my fuel consumption based on engine hours giving me a general idea of how much fuel I need to take on. That in turn simply means that I pay much closer attention as I get within a few gallons of that number to the sound of the fuel entering my tank... through experience, you'll learn to recognize the sound that says STOP!

I also don't attempt to "top off"... hope this helps.
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Raycor/Parker Filtration makes a "Lifeguard" separator that works well on the vent. However, it can still come out the top if you go too far!
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Ventline fuel whistle
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If there is an access port on the top of the tank, you can make up a sounding stick. You simply sound the tank before you refuel then put in however much fuel it says you need.

Whistles work well also.
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In addition to the above suggestions, here's another:

GO SLOWLY!!! Try to resist the temptation to emmulate a NASCAR pit crew, and just add a little fuel at a time. The dock's not going anywhere, and you don't get a discount or penalty for how quickly or slowly you finish.

We've got two 55 gal tanks on our cruiser, neither with a fuel meter. A sounding stick gives us a general idea of how much fuel we'll need, and we begin the "stop fueling, measure, add a couple more gallons" kibuki dance once we get about 2/3 of the way to where we think we're gonna stop. You can do the same thing without a sounding stick by estimating your fuel usage based on the number of hours the engine's run since the last refuel.
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Smile Spill Preventer

After a couple of minor but very unfortunate vent spills followed by chronic underfilling of the tanks we installed this with great success. I was so afraid of another spill that we left Mexico bound for Hawaii with only 3/4 of a tank. Now we know when the tank is full with little risk of leaks.

Official Site ::: The Fuel Spill Guard

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I thought all boat fuel gauges were inacurate,I do not think mine works at all.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Holding a disposable fuel/oil rag over the vent will catch anything that pushes out. A 5 pack on board will typically last me two seasons. However, if you fill it enough to flow out the vent, it could burp a bit more out when underway until the level declines a bit.
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