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diesel leak

Posted by on March 2, 2012

90 degree pipe leading to starboard diesel tank




Wil removing the hose & pipe










For about the past month, we have been dealing with a diesel leak. . . . Oh, I am using the word we! Wil would say, “Do you have a mouse in your pocket? What do you mean we?” Let me correct this, Wil has been dealing with a diesel leak.

the culprit

By process of elimination between two possible locations, he determined which connection had the leak. The culprit was a 90 degree, gray PVC-like pipe that was being used to make the final turn towards the tank. Wil tightened the hose clamp at this point many times to try to stop the dripping. However, it only worsened. After much frustration, and many diesel cleanups in the bilge, he finally decided it was time to remove the guilty hose and pipe.

As usual, nothing is as simple as it seems. At this point in time, our tanks are completely filled to the rim, and then some. There was actually diesel fuel sitting in the hose that needed to be removed. Probably one contribution to the leaky scenario!

The first step was to remove about 15-18 gallons of fuel from the tank. As with most boats, space is very limited, and we were unable to place anything next to the tank to catch that much fuel. After much brainstorming, we connected a hose to the tank’s exit valve, and ran the hose through the thru-hull to jerry jugs on the ground outside the boat. Next we crossed our fingers that the valve wouldn’t break off when it was opened to drain the fuel. (We have other valves that are in pretty rotten shape and will be replaced when we empty our tanks for cleaning . . . a post for the near future!)

We were in luck! The fuel drained without a hitch. Although, while I was outside guiding the hose from the thru-hull to the jerry jugs, the neighboring boat owner jokingly claimed that I looked like I was pilfering fuel! Once the fuel was out, Wil was able to remove the hose and pipe. The reason for the leak was revealed . . . the end of the 90 was “crunched” out of shape.

The old 90 will be replaced with a new 90 made of polypropylene. From what we understand, it can’t be crunched and it will tolerate diesel fuel.

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2 Responses to diesel leak

  1. Heather from Parallax

    Our diesel-tainted seawater intrusion got its diesel from the diesel jerry jug that was stored in the locker that had drainage problems. We are glad you found your leak and can repair it without totally draining the tank. We hope you will continue to find everything that isn’t working or is marginal and get it all straightened out in your 99 days, but in any case, GO! As Captain Ron would say, “Anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!” Amen, and we’ve found many things to repair, “out there.” We are noticing that everyone we meet has been working on their boat longer than we have: six, seven, eight years. That’s fine if it’s just the two of you, but kids don’t stay kids long enough for that… definitely do what needs to be done for safety, of course, but come on down!

    • Jenny

      We LOVE Capt Ron! Absolutely right about where it’s going to happen. Also, Wil always says, “It’s not a matter of IF a boat takes on water, it’s a matter of WHEN.”
      My heart ached for you guys when I saw the picture of your flood! I imagine that the cleanup wasn’t any fun on that one. And now I love your new steering system!
      It’s not the boat work that’s keeping us here! Wil is committed to his job until June 1st, then we’re free to go. When the economy tanked, he needed to keep working longer than we had originally planned for. We’ll still be short on money . . . but we’re going anyway! And we fully intend to be doing boat work the whole way!