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Water trap for fuel tank vent

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Fishinfireman

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I have a 2002 DVSC that I have been running for 3 and 1/2 years. I have always had a problem with getting sea water in the gas tank when running in rough head seas. The water runs off the gunwale and over the fuel vent which sucks it into the gas tank. I discussed the problem with the Parker dealer and he suggested installing a clam shell over the fuel vent. I just couldn't make myself drill the holes to install the clam shell so I tried other remedies such as changing the vent to a flush mount and installing a Racor LG50 upside down in the vent loop. These attempts at solving the problem did nothing but cost me time and money. I also considered the Attwood water trap vent that someone posted on this site but it seems to have too small a reservoir and the hose barb points down. I continued to live with the problem while frequently dumping saltwater out of the separators and thinking about how to solve the problem without putting a big ugly clam shell on the side of my hull.

I came up with a solution the other day and I have tried it and it works. I ran out 40 miles in the Gulf last Saturday. We ran for 2 hours into a 2'-3' head sea. It was a wet ride in the back of the boat and a lot of water ran down the gunwales and over the side. I trailer my boat and I stopped on the way home and fueled up. While the fuel was pumping I reached under the gunwale and opened my home made water trap. Well over a pint of sea water came out. I put the cap back on and finished filling up the tank. The small amount of fuel that usually comes out of the vent when the tank gets full did not come out because it was also trapped in the new vent trap. I disposed of it later at the house in an environmentally safe manner :? .

This is how I made the trap. I found a plastic combination gas and chain oil can that was made for chainsaws. I separated the chain oil section from the gas section and used the smaller of the two for my trap. It holds about a liter. I had some starboard out in my shop so I fashioned a mounting plate with the starboard and a battery hold down strap. I drilled two holes in the reservoir with a spade bit making a tight fit for the vent hoses. The hose that comes from the hull vent extends all the way across the reservoir and butts up against the inside of it. I used tin snips to cut a slot in the bottom of that horizontal section of vent hose so that water coming in will be directed toward the bottom of the reservoir. The vent hose that comes up from the tank extends into the reservoir only about 1 or 2 inches.

I was so pleased with the way this thing worked that I thought I should share it with fellow Parker owners. I'm sure some of you have the same problem with water in the gas. I'm also sure that some of you will take the idea and refine it to suit yourself and some of you may reject it completely. Either way, here it is. I hope it will be helpful to some of you.

Here are a few pictures. I documented this after the fact so I didn't get any pictures of the work in progress.
 

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Porkchunker

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Interesting.

I've run in some rough seas down at the Ches. Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) complex in Dec, and never had water get in thorugh the vent.

What kind of vents do you have? The Attwood vents Parker installed until recently, or the SS flush mount Orca vents which are now standard equip. on all Parkers?
 

Fishinfireman

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My boat originally had the black plastic Attwood (I guess) that stuck out about 3/4" and had the screw off cap so you could clean it. I changed it to the stainless flush mount that Parker uses now. It took quite a while for enough water to build up in the tank to cause problems. Once there was enough water in the tank to reach the pick up tube it started showing up in the filters. If I don't run in rough water for a few trips My filters will start to be water free but as soon as I have a rough trip the water is back.

I have even noticed water drop out of the vent when I loosen the fuel cap to fill up. Just like when you hold water in a straw by holding your finger on the end. When you take your finger off the water falls out of the straw. Maybe the walkarounds shed water differently and don't have this problem?
 

ReelTimeCapt

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Fishnfireman: That's a very good idea. I have a 2310 W/A and experienced water coming in, in a different way: My factory Perko fuel cap had a dry roted O-ring and water was coming in BIG TIME. I didn't catch it for a while, nor did my mechanic, not did the dealer :(.

It was so bad, I ended up loosing an engine. Finally, I found the problem by going through EVERY piece of my fuel system component by component. I now keep several spare O-rings onboard and change one out every year.

Just thought I'd share some misery with you on that subject. ANyway, I now need to install a new oveflow vent and am seriously looking at your setup. Nice job! Best Regards - RTC
 

Fishinfireman

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Thanks RTC. A friend of mine here in FL lost an engine due to water in the fuel also. I came close more than once before I made the water trap. The separator in the bilge and the one on the engine were both full of water after a couple of rough trips. You will be amazed how much water comes in through the vent on a rough day.
 

Capt Keith

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HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF INSTALLING 2 RACOR FUEL FLITERS IN-LINE OF EACH OTHER FOR ADDITIONAL PROTECTION?
I HAD WATER IN MY FUEL JUST AFTER I INSTALLED MY NEW SUZUKI. IT WAS FOUND WHEN THE MECHANICS WERE DOING THE 25 HR CHECK ON THE ENGINE. THE ENGINE MOUNTED FUEL FILTER WAS FULL AND THE RACOR WAS HALF FULL. THE MECHANIC THEN WENT INSIDE MY FUEL TANK AND PUMPED FUEL OUT. IN ALL THERE WAS ABOUT A QT OF WATER BETWEEN THE ENG FUEL FILTE,RACOR AND FUEL TANK.
CAN SOMEONE POST A PICTURE OF THE NEW FUEL VENTS THAT PARKER INSTALSS? THANKS
 

Porkchunker

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Capt Keith":1y0nshaz said:
HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF INSTALLING 2 RACOR FUEL FLITERS IN-LINE OF EACH OTHER FOR ADDITIONAL PROTECTION?
I HAD WATER IN MY FUEL JUST AFTER I INSTALLED MY NEW SUZUKI. IT WAS FOUND WHEN THE MECHANICS WERE DOING THE 25 HR CHECK ON THE ENGINE. THE ENGINE MOUNTED FUEL FILTER WAS FULL AND THE RACOR WAS HALF FULL. THE MECHANIC THEN WENT INSIDE MY FUEL TANK AND PUMPED FUEL OUT. IN ALL THERE WAS ABOUT A QT OF WATER BETWEEN THE ENG FUEL FILTE,RACOR AND FUEL TANK.
CAN SOMEONE POST A PICTURE OF THE NEW FUEL VENTS THAT PARKER INSTALSS? THANKS
You want to be careful about creating too much of a restriction for the fuel pump on the motor to overcome. If the fuel flow can't keep up, you can cause a lean-burn condition, which runs hotter and can hole the pistons, or do even worse damage. The single 10 micron Racor should be sufficient. If you have that much water, look for a source. I've been running E-10 for the last fill-ups (over 250 gal now), and have not had a trace of water in the Racor filters (I have a Racor in the bilge for each engine).
 

Porkchunker

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When I did that job, I made sure the Orca connector was facing up toward the gunwhale, and the vent hoses came in from the top after making a large bend up to the gunwhale. Haven't had any water get into the fuel through the vent. Guess I had better check the O-ring on the filler cap. Hadn't thought about that going bad over time.
 

Fishinfireman

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My original black plastic vent and the Orca flush mount vent were both installed with the hose barb pointing up toward the gunwale and there was a large bend in the vent hose that was up against the underside of the gunwale. I still got water in through the vent even though I did not think that was a possibility at the time. I have checked the o-ring on the fill cap many times and have not had a problem with it.

I know for a fact that water comes in through my vent because I drain the water out of the water trap after every trip that is run in rough water. I have drained over a pint of water out of the trap on a rough day. The only way for water to get in the water trap is for it to come in through the vent. I do not get water in the vent when running in calm seas. The water has to be running off the gunwale and over the vent to be sucked into the tank.

Porkchunker, I believe you are very knowledgeable about your boat but answer this. How do you know beyond any doubt that sea water is not coming in your vent? Does water show up in your separator after one or two rough water trips? If it does, where is it coming from? If I am accumulating water in my water trap, it had to come in through the vent.
 

Porkchunker

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Fishinfireman":gsnpa3vp said:
...Porkchunker, I believe you are very knowledgeable about your boat but answer this. How do you know beyond any doubt that sea water is not coming in your vent? Does water show up in your separator after one or two rough water trips? If it does, where is it coming from? If I am accumulating water in my water trap, it had to come in through the vent.
I've swapped out the original Racor filters for the clear bowl Racor filters. I've checked the clear bowl often and not had any water in them. Have done several fill-ups with E-10 (which supposedly collects water), and still haven't had water in the bowls.

I do believe you are getting water through the vent, but not sure why.

Maybe I'm not running the boat in as heavy of seas as you are running yours, and thus not forcing water through the vent. I don't believe water running off the gunwhale and down the face of the vent would get water to go up hill through the vent hose. Even burning 10-12 gph should not cause sufficient vacuum at the face of the vent to pull water up hill. It might gurggle a bit, but I don't think I believe you have to be forcing water into the vent under pressure with the wave action on the side of the boat. When it gets rough enough to force water against the face of the vent, amidships on my 2510, I head for home or protected waters.
 

Fishinfireman

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I've never seen the inside of my fuel tank so I don't know how the baffles are arranged (if there are any) but I think the fuel sloshing from the stern toward the bow is pushing some air/vapor out the vent and when the fuel sloshes back toward the stern it causes air to be sucked back into the tank. If a lot of water is running over the vent while air is being sucked in with some force, I think it sucks water in with it. This is the only explanation I could come up with. I do not believe water is being forced in under pressure from a wave. I've been caught in bigger seas than I wanted to be in and the boat maintains a lot of freeboard.
 
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