how do you know when your're done fueling your boat? - SailNet Community

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Old 10-06-2010
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Question how do you know when your're done fueling your boat?

I've never fueled my boat before. It had a full tank when I took posession, and I"ve only used a couple gallons so far. But as winter gets closer, and my Espar gets installed, I'm going to need to figure out how to refuel it. With the water, I can just fill it until it overflows the deck fitting, but that seems like a poor approach for diesel fuel. How do you know when to stop filling? I assume it doesn't automatically turn off like filling a car.

My apologies if this has been asked before. I almost feel like I saw a thread on it recently, but I can't find it now (google didn't help). Thanks!
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Installing a "fuel whistle" will help prevent overfilling.

A lot depends on where the fuel tank vent is, where the deck fill is located and where the tank is in relation to the other two... If the vent is higher than the deck fill, then you're task is relatively simple...fill the tank slowly, stop when it is showing fuel in the fuel filler hose. If the vent is lower than the deck fill, it is a bit more complicated, since you don't want to fill the tank to the point the fuel spills out the vent line.

It would help if you knew roughly how big the tank was and roughly how much fuel was in the tank at the moment. You may want to make up a calibrated "dip stick" for the tank, if the tank has an internal inspection hatch or the fuel filler runs straight down to the tank.
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Yes, it is pain for fill the tank. You almost need three person. One at the pump to tell how much you have pumped, one down below and listening the sound the of fuel into the tank. When it is full, the sound will be different. The person at the filler will hold some paper towels to mop up the spill.

There must be some better way, but so far this is how I do mine. Fortunately, it is not as frequent as my Wrangler.
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I only need one person to fuel my boat - the person controlling the pump handle. I fuel up until I hear fuel gurgling in the fill pipe. If I go much longer than that it starts coming out the vent.
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Having a Moeller plastic tank is nice and lets me see the fuel level. Have we all noticed how the attendant on the fuel "lets" the crew fill the fuel? And do you wonder if the EPA is on speed dial?
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I'm pretty sure the vent is lower than the deck fitting, since there is a vent low in the cockpit. That could be for the water tank, but I assume it is for the fuel tank, since the fuel tank is closer. The tank is supposedly 30 gallons. I have a Tank Tender that monitors the tank, but according to a graph the previous owner left me, the depth read by the Tank Tender is non-linear with the amount of fuel in the tank. Also, the graph turns into a dotted line going off into space at about 20 gallons, so I take that to mean the Tank Tender can't be trusted past that point. Part of the fun of filling it the first time will be attempting to complete that part of the graph Which of course means I need some other means of determining if it is full. The fuel whistle is interesting, perhaps I can add one of those relatively easily.
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or you can install an in-expensive fuel gauge/measuring device. Look at your lawn tractor (just a float on a screw/auger) cap. The gurgling and auto shut-off are also good indicators. You most likely can measure the size of your tank and therefore will know it's volume, a stick/dowel will do the rest for measuring.
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Just think of when you fill a glass of water or a water bottle from your tap. As the water get higher so does the pitch of the sound the water makes. Your fuel tank acts the same way. When the pitch abruptly changes you are probably full.

As mentioned earlier you should be able to calculate the volume of your fuel tank. Once you know that you can figure out how much fuel is currently in it and figure out how much you can add.
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Am I missing something here-surely you fill it just as you do your car at a filling station?You know what the full tank sounds like by the gurgling noise plus you can visually see that the fuel is getting to top of filler hose-at least thats how i have always done it whether a lawn mower;chain saw;generator;automobile etc
For cleanlyness carry some detergent with you-not the stuff you wash dishes-the real stuff. I have a gallon container full-a capfull in a gallon of water will wash any spillage away!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickmerc View Post
As mentioned earlier you should be able to calculate the volume of your fuel tank. Once you know that you can figure out how much fuel is currently in it and figure out how much you can add.
Would it be easier to note the engine hours and estimate the gal of fuel used. :P

If you really want to be accurate, you can measure the water line between fill ups and calculate the bay water displacement. Based on the displacement weight, and then you measure the salinity of the bay water and convert it back to fresh water Wt. From the specific gravity of the diesel, you can calculate exactly how many gal of diesel you need. .
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