water in gas tank

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by chuck mc, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. chuck mc
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    When I get the boat on plane it will sometimes stall out. I think water in the gas will collect around the gas tank intake and sucked into the carb. It is a 120 gal alum. tank with a water seperator (which at times will show water). Any suggestions on how to get the water out...assuming it is water. thanks
     
  2. tom kane
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Hamilton.New Zealand.

    tom kane Senior Member

    To clear small quantities of water from a gasoline tank the addition of wood alcohol (metholated spirits) to the mixture.The alcohol absorbes the water and the fuel burns.The tank would be best emptied of most of the fuel to reduce the quantity of alcohol needed to do the job.The best remedy is to clear all the fuel and refil with clean.
     
  3. cyclops
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: usa

    cyclops Senior Member

    Pump ALL the gas out of the tank, lines and filters. Then remove the tank from the boat if possible. Is the boat trailerable?
     
  4. chuck mc
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    water in gas


    Thank you Tom for your reply. I should have noted the boat is a 50ft houseboat with two 120 gal tanks and two inboard engines. I was not sure if wood alcohol would be good to add to gasoline, and of what quanity. I really can't tell how much water is in the tanks, Since I am able to run it up to about half throttle, I don't think it is a great amount. But when I run it faster either one of the engines may stall. I hate to pump out the gas both with safety and how to get rid of the gas, but I may have to. Thanks again for your reply. Never thought I would be writing to New Zealand!
     
  5. chuck mc
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    water in gas


    Thank you cyclops for your reply and information. The boat is a 50ft houseboat, and is not trailerable and the tanks are not easily removed. I was hoping to avoid pumping the gas out, but it sounds like I may have no choice. Thanks for your help.
     
  6. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    If your water separators are working properly, water shouldn't be able to get into the engines in sufficient quantity to stall them. The separators might be damaged. If they're fine, your problem could be as simple as a carb jet that needs adjustment or cleaning. Definitely worth checking the fuel first though.
     
  7. tom kane
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    Location: Hamilton.New Zealand.

    tom kane Senior Member

    Depending on where you are,Alcohol up to 10 percent may already be added to your gasoline.Alcohol in a concentrated amounts for a period of time can corrode some metals and damage paper fuel filters.Alcohol is good for cleaning water out of fuel tanks,if used sensibly.
     
  8. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    US gas already contains methanol. If you add more, it may damage your fuel lines, fuel pump diafragm and other fuel system parts. A bit of water in the separator is fine. It means it is doing its job. The stall seems more like a pump or carburetor problem. Another problem could be the fuel feed line. Run the engine as fast as it will go with a vacuum gauge at the suction side. It shouldn't read more than .5 PSI. Then measure pump feed pressure it should be 5-7 PSI. Some carburetors have screens in the inlet, check those. If it is all OK and there are no other problems like ignition system, the carburetor may need rebuilding.
     
  9. chuck mc
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    Thanks Marshmat for your suggestions. I have experienced some of what you have suggested. I have cleaned the screen in the carb, I do remove water from the seperator. I am thinking that maybe I should go ahead and rebuild the carb. I am told rebuilding carbs is not always done correctly. It is a rochester quadrajet for a 454 crusader engine. Thanks for your help.
     
  10. chuck mc
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    Thanks Gonzo , I think I am at the point of going ahead and rebuilding the carb. It is just that since the problem will come and go, it is hard to accept that it is a carb problem. I just visulize that water sloshing around in the tank will get sucked into the engine and stall at different times, thus the on again off again stalling. I may try one last thing, I can run both engines off the "better" of the two tanks and see what happens. I have pumped a little gas off the bottom of the tanks, and did not get any water. but still get water in the fuel seperators.
     
  11. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Before you forget. Try to find out how you got so damm much water!! Bad marina gas, bad gas cap gasket, forgot to tighten cap and rain has gotten in, heavy rain while refueling, no cap, crossed cap threads, tank vent tube is laying on the bilge floor and sucking in water each night as the gas tank vapors cool quickly. You have got to find the problem.---------- I know, the marina started putting fresh water in the wrong filler pipe accidently.
     
  12. chuck mc
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    Thanks cyclops for your reply. I have wondered where the water would have come from. My best guess is accumulation of condensation over the years. The boat is kept under cover. Rain could have blown in around the fill caps, on the deck surface, but they are always very tight. I may be chasing the wrong problem with the stalling. Its just that the motor runs great most of the time, its just after it has run at high speed for awhile will I get the stalling problem....and then the engine will start right back up and do fine!!!
     
  13. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    It is water and or any type of crud that can form in a OLD unused tank. The crud clumps break loose and get pinned against the pickup then drop off. Grand prix racing boat had same problem, took a long time to believe that. wound up pulling and steam cleaning the tank. Easy to get at. -----------------------Can you somehow get a marina to GENTLY lift only 1 front corner just enough to cause all the water in one tank at a time to roll into 1 rear corner of a fuel tank. then insert a STIFF plastic tube into the corner to suck the water out in to a clear glass gallon jug to find out when the heavy water stops and good gas begins. If the filler pipe angles are good give it a try. ONLY use a small explosion proof electric motor and pump. The pump is to be run on the dock ONLY!! The marine gas companies have the pumps. A suction hose is threaded by reducer fittings to the stiff plastic tube in the lowest corner of the tank. Going on plane is the cause of the water shifting to the rear mounted pickup in the tank. It might pump out clean, nose up a little. :)---------Added thought. If the fuel fillerpipe is in the front of the tank, raise the rear and pump.
     
  14. chuck mc
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: mississippi

    chuck mc Junior Member

    Thank you Cyclops for the suggestions. You made a damn good point. After checking the deck fills, I think the water could have leaked in during windy rainy days. I just assumed it was condensation. The deck fills are plastic plugs that screw into metal. It is hard to believe that they could have leaked, but there is no gasket and the plastic threads are worn pretty bad. I am going to put new all metal deck fills in. I am going to try and pull down the water using the fuel seperators (I have done this before to some degree), and if this doesn't work I am rebuilding the carb. The marine shops here get water out of tanks by putting the boat on a lift, tilting the boat to the rear and use a explosion proof pump with a plastic line to reach the back of the tank Cost about $375 for 50ft boat. THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL THEIR HELP AND ADVISE, I BELIEVE I AM ON THE WAY TO FIXING THIS PROBLEM!!!
     

  15. littoral
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Long Island, NY USA

    littoral New Member

    Before adding alcohol to remove water from gas, MAKE SURE that gas in your area is not oxygentated with ETHANOL (instead of MTBE). Ethanol has an extremely high affinity for water, and will pull it from the air and into the gas/ethanol mixture in your tank. Eventually, it can separate (phase separation) into two distinct layers in your tank...gas on top...ethanol and water underneath. Adding more alcohol will only compound the problem. This is currently a very serious problem on Long Island NY, where the government mandated the change from MTBE to ethanol a couple of years ago. In addition to the accumulation of water, other ethanol problems include corrosion of aluminum fuel system components and clogging of injectors and filters as a result of the solvent effect of ethanol (dissolves old build-up in gas station and marina storage tanks, and your boat's fuel system, and passes it along to your filters and/or engine), reduced octane and other starting problems related to changes in gas volatility, and possibility of permeability of plastic tanks, hoses, and seals. Also, mixing MTBE-oxygenated gas with ethanol-oxygenated gas can cause the formation of a nasty "gel" in your gas system. The results are terrible. Sea Tow business, however, has been booming in our area...
    Do some Google searching (keywords: "ethanol gas problem boats") and you will find that this problem has been around for awhile.
     
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