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Help Needed - fuel/water separator

Old 05-19-2012, 06:42 PM
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Default Help Needed - fuel/water separator

Hi THT'ers - took the boat out for the first time this season (long week-end). On the way back, the engine didn't want to start (2000 Joh OceanPro 150HP), it would start and then die at idle..sounded like it wasn't getting any gas (every time I would rev up it would die).
Came back on the kicker engine, pulled the fuel-water separator (Sierra) and found this (see picture). Any thoughts? i'm assuming this was the problem, so i'm going to change it as soon as the stores open up. when I took the filter off and started it, it seemed to sound better, until it used up all the gas in the lines.

I store the gas tank full every fall (70 gallons) and it is ethanol gas.

the picture shows signficant water in the separator. I spilled most of the gas at the dock though.


Thanks for any opinions,

Yasir.
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:45 PM
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Better check what is in the tank, pump it out and take a good look. Luckily a marina near me just started selling non E10 again so I can switch back for 60 cents more a gallon.

I meant to say hook to tank and pump some out. You can get an electric fuel pump at an auto parts store, hook to tank and see what is there.

Last edited by Mr. Ross; 05-19-2012 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Added more
Old 05-19-2012, 07:15 PM
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Phase separated fuel!

Pump out and clean the tank.
Old 05-19-2012, 08:26 PM
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A company here in South Florida will pump out and clean you fuel for $175. Or you can manually pump out the fuel using clear tubing and a primer bulb. It takes a while. Or you can buy cheap fuel pump, attach it to your battery and pump it out mechanically.

Then you must figure out from where the water came: gas fill (O-ring or cap), the vent (if you have one), corrosion or pitting of your tank at or around the sending unit, the sending unit itself, a tank crack (smell gas?), etc.

Replace your fuel-water separator with a Racor-type unit (mine is a Sierra) that has the plastic cup that can be drained of separated water.

It's not a fun problem to have. I never solved mine (still get water no matter what I do) and have resorted to using a small portable tank until I can confirm the main tank is cracked or how water gets in.

If you have the boat on a trailer, tilt it up as far as you can to force all of the water and gas to the rear bottom of the tank, and get it all out. I made the mistake of draining gas-water mix until I saw no more water. Then I would add more gas and the first time I went out and the boat tilted up toward a plane, the remaining water would rush to the bottom rear of the tank, go up into the engine and poof. It was infuriating.
Old 05-19-2012, 08:52 PM
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BOb can you send the number of the cleaner? I got most of mine out but need a high speed cleaning.

As for the water unless it's the new RACOR with the extra oring that goes around the threaded pipe water goes right through the RACOR or other filter when it fills up. Check the engine mounted fuel filter as well if it has one.

I bought a few of the sierra elements too while I'm cleaning the tank since they are so much cheaper than the racor but posted tests show they rust more and faster than RACOR.
Old 05-19-2012, 08:58 PM
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The cleaner is:
Lighthouse Fuel Filtration
Pompano Beach
561-302-5060

The rep said they would come to me, in Royal Palm Beach, and clean my 50-gallon tank for $175.

My problem is, I am not sure if the tank is cracked. I have it "dry" now and am monitoring it to see if water is getting in through rain and washing. No gas gets out (when it has gas in it) and I have eliminated the fill, vent, etc. as sources of water.
Old 05-19-2012, 09:04 PM
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Fuel supply? I use a Mr Funnel when suspicious.
How about the sending unit gasket? That's a common place.
Old 05-19-2012, 09:26 PM
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thanks everyone for the advice.
im up in ottawa, canada. it will be a challenge to get a company to come clean it for me. im gonna have to do it myself manually. ive never seen it this bad in my tank, but after i clean it ill keep a closer eye on it. will check access points to the fuel tank and keep you posted. thanks.

i suspect though that its from the vent
Old 05-19-2012, 09:30 PM
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Just make sure to get the boat tilted way up to force all the water to the bottom rear of the tank. I used clear tubing attached to a primer bulb, attached to a small piece of brass tube, so I could angle the pickup to different parts of the tank. I accessed the tank by removing the sending unit. It's best that you remove it, anyway, to make sure its gasket has not failed.
Old 05-20-2012, 04:48 PM
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hi, update on this. changed the fuel water sep took the boat out. ran fine for 20 mins, came back docked it and started it after about 3 hours and same thing just kept dying like its starving for gas.
i pumped some gas out and thers no visible water in this sample past the separator... i have no idea whats goin on, any thoughts would be appreciated.. i called the mechanic but up here its about a month before they get to you so i can try things... it starts and then dies
Old 05-20-2012, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sultany View Post
Hi THT'ers - took the boat out for the first time this season (long week-end). On the way back, the engine didn't want to start (2000 Joh OceanPro 150HP), it would start and then die at idle..sounded like it wasn't getting any gas (every time I would rev up it would die).
Came back on the kicker engine, pulled the fuel-water separator (Sierra) and found this (see picture). Any thoughts? i'm assuming this was the problem, so i'm going to change it as soon as the stores open up. when I took the filter off and started it, it seemed to sound better, until it used up all the gas in the lines.

I store the gas tank full every fall (70 gallons) and it is ethanol gas.

the picture shows signficant water in the separator. I spilled most of the gas at the dock though.


Thanks for any opinions,

Yasir.
The last time I saw that identical thing was in 2002. I had filled up an empty fuel tank at a local fuel supply place. Two weeks later I had same problem you describe. I called it crap in the fuel tank.

I had to run motor off a portable fuel tank until boats tank was pumped and cleaned.

Somebody sold you a tankfull of contaminated fuel.

There's a thread here where the man polishes his own fuel by pumping it through a filter and back into the tank.
Old 05-20-2012, 07:20 PM
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If its a carbon motor open the drain screws if fuel injection open vst drain.
Old 05-20-2012, 07:28 PM
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i think ill have to empty the gas ... its like the engine 'sneezes' before shutting off... i dont see anything wrong in the fuel though.. like no phase separation in todays stuff, clear and no dirt...would the drain valve help?
Old 05-20-2012, 09:45 PM
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Suggest you pull the sender and pump some fuel out from the bottom of the tank for a true sample. Just checking fuel sample after the almost new filter separator and it looks OK just tells you the separator is working until it is possibly clogged with water and leaning out the mix to make the engine sneeze. Put a little silcone grease on the filter gasket to help avoid air in-leaks too.
Old 05-21-2012, 10:09 AM
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update, after running the engine for about an hour at idle, pulled off the new fuel water sep and looks like its 75 percent water and 25 percent gas... looks like ill either pump it out manually into jerry cans or find a professional but looks like there arent any in ottawa... atleast mobile ones.

any idea how to separate the water and the gas once its all out? i was gonna burn it in y
vehicles, would syphon the fuel layer
be the best bet...
Old 05-21-2012, 11:05 AM
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Don't leave it full of fuel - period

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