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Water in gas tank questions

Old 11-19-2003, 11:48 AM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

A friend of mine had a ton of water in his fuel tank recently. He thinks it was caused by condensation that formed in the tank when the boat was put away with less than a full tank of gas. My question is...well... can that really happen and if so, is there a way of keeping that from happening short of always having a full tank of gas in there? The tank on my boat vents all the time when there is too much gas in it and the spills stain my gelcoat. Any help or experience in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-19-2003, 12:17 PM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

I just came through a battle with water in my tanks, but I think I finally got it licked. At first I thought I had a condesation and biogrowth problem (diesel), so I kept the tanks completely topped off and added anti-bio stuff. Still had water, lots of it. One day after draining the Racor, I got the idea of tasting it (I didn't swallow any). Guess what, salt. I had new vent caps put on and it didn't help. I ended up moving the vents to the inside of the gunnels. I know I might draw some criticism for that idea, but the only time I have to worry about burping is when I fill, and I usually know when to stop to keep that from happening. I would be careful if you have gas because of the fuming factor, especially if anyone smokes. But I would take a good look at your vents. I think condensation can play a factor, but if you use your boat regularly, I think draining the water seperator before every use should keep up with it.

Good luck!

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Old 11-19-2003, 03:02 PM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

If you have Sea Dog brand fills I found they leak like crazy, rain water wicking in past the o-ring. Bought fatter o-rings and problem solved.

28' Maxcat w/twin Honda 225's
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Old 11-19-2003, 04:46 PM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

Interesting thread. I just had a 2002 motor ate up by supposedly bad gas (Reference my post Suzuki DT 225 Help). Anyway, finally took it into the shop and after pulling the heads, called with the "good" news, two pistons and all cylinders shot. He quoted around $3500 based on the current assessment, but could change depending on crank, bearings and such. The engine was installed last December and the fuel tank was drained, separator replaced and new fuel lines.
The boat is old, but I've never smelled any gasoline fumes whatsoever. I've kept the boat in dry storage (covered) since March and tried to fill the tank on my way in, but not always possible due to the fuel dock closing at 5 PM. I've only bought fuel at the one marina which probably sells the most fuel on the ICW in NC. The vent and vent line was replaced last summer before changing the engine.

Ohh, one other thing, there was salt on one of the pistons indicating saltwater.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but right now I'm drowning my sorrows and attempting to avoid water ingestion

Jim

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Old 11-19-2003, 05:03 PM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

Capt ... the problem is 90% of the folk's out there think water comes for condensation ... when truth be told it happen's from all of the above listed problem's and even more so from your supplier...John
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Old 11-20-2003, 07:46 AM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

So what I am hearing is that water can enter from the fill up if the O rings are bad, it can come in through the vent and usually it is just bad gas in the first place. Are we saying that condensation is a possibility but usually not the main cause?

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Old 11-20-2003, 09:04 AM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

I would think that the percentage of water in the tank is monitorable - providing one knows from a given point that there was no water in the tank.

Condesation develops over time, it does not produce high quantities like at 4:00 pm and then for the rest of the day produces none, it would be a gradual development.

What I would recommend to you is to drain all gas/water from the tank and change the seperator. This way you know from where you have started. Fill with gas and monitor. I would think you would have to know where you've started from before you go on a troubleshooting expedition. Although a quick visual once over of vents etc. is not a bad idea.

But personally, I feel condensation is less of a problem then one is lead to believe, especially in the winter months. With having cooler to cold air temperatures and cold gas, where can condensation start from? We worry about the winter, I think summertime is where the problem is; hence water/gas seperators.


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Old 11-20-2003, 09:30 AM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

I have had serious water problems for a long time now, and with the new engine I finally got tired of it and am fixing it.

My old engine was a Suzuki DT200, for all practicle purposes the same engine as Jim's, just carburated rather than injected. At least once each year for the last 3 years my engine has actually ingested enough water that it has quit running - and I mean while we were out there at cruise speeds and with a full, or nearly full tank. We had lots of water. At the times the engine quit litterly the entire Racor element would be full of water. Oh, don't let anyone at all tell you that Racors stop water from getting to your engine, they do not. At least not when the water gets deep. They seperate the water into a lower compartment but once its full the Racor will allow water to pass through it just as easily as it will gas.

Back to the point. I ingested lots of water and it never hurt my engine, so I'm very much suprised to hear about how much damage was done to Jim's.

Anyway along with the new engine this year I preplaced my fuel fills, the fuel lines, vents, and the filters of course. I have pumped two of the three tanks empty so far, and almost have the third one done. The gas goes into the car after sitting in a can for a couple of days to let the crap settle out. With the two thanks that I've got done already I pulled the sending units out of them, jacked the trailer all the way down in the front to force all the residual fuel to move to the front of the tanks, and then I took a new clean terry cloth towel and tied it to the end of a coat hanger and started dipping and squeezing. I have mopped out every drop of fluid in those two tanks. Next the big tank's time is up. it will get the same treatment. This is the only way I could come up with short of removing the tanks to deal with them. If anyone has any suggestions on anything further I can do to get the fuel system cleaned up I'm all ears.

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Old 11-20-2003, 11:59 AM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

Thom,

Short of removing the gas tanks your method is the only that I've ever heard of. Your method wil get every drop; the best pump won't even do that.

After you are done with each tank I would flush with a bit of gas - yup it means more work but I like the idea.


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Old 11-20-2003, 01:06 PM
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Default Water in gas tank questions

You can certainly get water in the gas tanks via condensation .... and I guess "a ton of water" is somewhat subjective, but I would never call the amount of water associated with condensation as "a ton". I would lean towards some of the other causes that may be allowing water to seep info the tank.

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