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Thread: How much water in my fuel is normal?

  1. #1
    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    Default How much water in my fuel is normal?

    I've been battling water in my Seasports' tanks since I got her. The supply lines to the motor have been replaced. Also replaced the fill line on the port side because of leaking. Brother and I put in a Racor to help the problem. How much water would anyone expect to find in their half empty tanks while sitting in the harbor during winter? I used to blame the Whittier fuel dock mostly. I had heard many people badmouthing the fuel in Whittier and have tried to leave blame there. I don't really think I have any leaks allowing water directly. Running in pretty tough weather I filled my Racor full of water in about 40 mins of running. That seemed like a lot of water. The tank had been sitting half full for 3-4 weeks in cold damp weather but... Anybody want to sound off on the expected amount of water in fuel? Especially sitting around. With the tank empty and condensation etc?


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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    First off I would not leave the tanks half full. You will get condensation in the tanks and henceforth more water. My boat mechanic said to leave them empty. That; fuel these days is so bad, that leaving it over winter is not a good thing. If I were to leave them, it would be full and with Stabil or some other fuel treatment. That said: In Valdez we always have an issue with water in the fuel. I am putting in a water separator 2x's the size of the old one this winter. Another thing is the O-ring in the fuel cap. That needs to be changed every so often.

    Just my thoughts.

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    Where is your fuel tank vent located? If it's in constant spray in rough water that could be a problem. There is a baffle in your vent but enough water pressure will overcome the baffle. Glen

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    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Wooldridge View Post
    Where is your fuel tank vent located? If it's in constant spray in rough water that could be a problem. There is a baffle in your vent but enough water pressure will overcome the baffle. Glen
    The vents face outward at midship. They have a full curl of hose and spray would have a very hard time reaching the tanks without a real event forcing water all the way in.


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    anyway to drain the tank & start over? then you'd know if your still getting more water in or just residual......

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    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    Ugh. No nice way


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    I had a water problem in my bowpicker, blamed whittier, tender and cordova fuels. I took apart the vents and checked the vent lines and had big loops in them still had the problem. Finally cut some pvc pipe on a 45 and screwed it over the vent, poof problem solved.

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    My issue once was the o-ring on the filler cap. Quite a bit was coming in through it but prob not the kind of numbers you are reporting.....

  9. #9

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    As others have suggested it is probably a vent design issue. Your comment that you got lots of water when it was rough leads me to think water is hitting the vent.

    If possible try this style vent.

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    It sounds like you have a couple of problems one is water is getting into the fuel tank. How much or how long it been going on is unknown. What ever it is, it needs to be remove or you will never know for sure if you will have problems in ruff water. If you can put the boat at a angle so all the water is in one corner and keep removing water until it all gone. That way you don't need to remove all the fuel.

    The other problem is the pick-up is not getting fuel from the bottom of the tank. That is why in ruff sea you are seeing water in the fuel filter.

    You can shotgun the problem and never know if it fix or you can pressure test the tank to find the problem and know it fix. Unless you know what your doing you could get hurt/killed. If you could test the water to see if its salt or fresh that would help to find where it's coming from.

  11. #11

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    Really should be extremely minimal; relocate the vent to the transom. My Hewes is in the water year round; full 160 gal fuel, 30 gals, or anything in between on fuel level makes no difference whatsoever, year after year. I replace the racor 3x a year (one filter on a twin outboard setup) and the clear bowl shows less than an ounce of water or sediment every time. I get about 400 hrs per filter and probably could go more.
    Maybe a call to Sea Sport would shed some light on the subject or maybe there's an owners forum to check?
    Also taste the water in the bowl to verify salt or brackish or fresh
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    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    I'm gonna taste the water next time for sure. Hoping it's gonna be fresh condensate. Really appreciate everybody's input so far.


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    try pulling vent tube hose off thru hull, get a piece of hose to hook onto vent & put in a empty jug, run boat in heavy seas & see if getting water
    big jims idea move to back is good too

    seems you should be able to snake a small 1/2" hose down fuel fill with a small 12v pump & remove water from tank esp if you've already replaced fill line

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbaker View Post
    I'm gonna taste the water next time for sure. Hoping it's gonna be fresh condensate. Really appreciate everybody's input so far.


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    Or I could test it using ph test strip.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excav8tr View Post
    try pulling vent tube hose off thru hull, get a piece of hose to hook onto vent & put in a empty jug, run boat in heavy seas & see if getting water
    big jims idea move to back is good too

    seems you should be able to snake a small 1/2" hose down fuel fill with a small 12v pump & remove water from tank esp if you've already replaced fill line
    I have a Sea Sport too. I wasn't able to get a hose in mine to pump the tank out. Even 1/4" won't fit in. I would still check the O-ring on the fuel hatch. They dry rot and if it doesn't seal tight.... water.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Do you have access to the sending unit? If so, you could pull it and pull the water via that port.
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    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    Default How much water in my fuel is normal?

    I can get to the sending unit. Replaced that this last winter. I could pump it out that way probably. I used to think it was starboard. Now I think it's port side......


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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbaker View Post
    I'm gonna taste the water next time for sure. Hoping it's gonna be fresh condensate. Really appreciate everybody's input so far.


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    your not making all that water(racors full) from condensation.

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    I had a 2006 Seasport that had a bad o-ring on one tank where it ended up with a lot of condensation the winter I bought it--not sure how long the o-ring was shredded before I got it. The previous owner was awesome about upkeep, but that one little piece lead to a lot of water over the time it had failed. I ultimately had to have the local Volvo dealer drain the tank so I could start over and ensure it wasn't anything else wrong. It was a pain, but once done, never had another issue.

    I kept dumping water from the separator and it kept coming back. As things would slosh around water would keep finding its way into the separator--but once drained, the issue disappeared entirely.

    To drain they had to remove the hatch where the pickup is, remove the pickup from the tank and siphon from there. True pain, but a true fix. Not sure if it will solve your situation, but if you have a fair amount of water in there, it will stay there at the bottom until you drain it all out, well except for the amount your pickup continues to grab and fill up your separator. If the problem comes right back, you'll at least know it's new water and an ongoing problem versus the accumulation over an unknown period of time.
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    I used to keep a boat in the water in Whittier and had a similar problem with water in the fuel. I'm not sure if the Seasport design is similar but my problem was the fill cap and placement on the gunnel. Ice would create a dam that allowed water to pool over the cap, wonderful! I finally cured it by changing out the o-rings and sealing it up with waterproof grease. Problem solved. Condensation is not likely your problem btw. There's not enough temperature swing to have the tank breathe that much and cold air doesn't hold that much moisture to have a condensation problem - even in Whittier! As others have recommended, you have to pump out the water from the tank. Bad things can happen with bugs, corrosion, crud, etc. with water in the tank. And you don't have to pump out all the fuel. Since we don't have ethanol up here the gas won't hold any water, so you can pump into a glass container until you get clear gas. The rest will be good (light ends may be an issue if really old without a stabilizer).

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