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Old 11-29-2018, 11:17 PM
Mattlurzo Mattlurzo is offline
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Fuel leak (with pic)

Hi Everyone -
I have a gas smell in the engine compartment and a small amount of gas in the bilge. The engine had been running great -- no smell of gas since I've been running it for a couple of months. I thought it was coming from the fuel line and was about to replace the line, but when I started cleaning everything up, i noticed this part seems to be seeping fuel from the bolts or around the edges.

Sorry for the ignorance. Can anyone tell me what exactly I'm looking at here and why/how it could be leaking? I have some ideas after reading the manual, but I'm still unsure. I found it online too and maybe it needs a new O-ring? Would that make it leak? Or maybe replace the "element"? Just looking for someone who might have the same thing or know about one.

Notice the wetness around the bolts and the outer edge of the top of this. That's fuel and it reappears quickly right after I clean it off.

I don't want to mess with leaking fuel, so I will probably pay someone to come and check the whole thing out, but I'd really appreciate some advice.

Thanks so much,
Matt
('75 Sabre 28 -- I love to sail, but I stink with engines)
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Last edited by Mattlurzo; 11-29-2018 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:51 PM
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First thing I would suspect is the problem is the "O" ring under the lid. You need to carefully remove the cover and have a look. Be sure to turn off the fuel upstream from the filter usually located at fuel outlet on tank. The numbers on the lid are not overly clear but here is what I think you have.
https://www.groco.net/media/file/fil...and-gf-375.pdf
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:18 AM
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Hi.

Hopefully the forthcoming comments will impress upon you the hazard you face working with gasoline in a confined space.
Please have a GOOD fire extinguisher at the ready for this mess.
Also; review your whole fuel system to make sure your fuel pump is not pressurizing the line, but rather pulling fuel through most of it and only pushing it to the carburetor for the last 12-inches or so. It should be set up that way so when the fuel line and fittings develop a leak,(and they will) it will suck air and not spray fuel.

This is different than a smelly lawnmower with a gas leak—this is dangerous from the simple fact that the gas fumes build up in the boat and don't blow away. Some guys like me go pretty much ape when they smell gasoline on the boat.

Cheers,

Russ
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Old 11-30-2018, 08:58 AM
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That is a very old school fuel filter. If you can't get parts to fix it, there are many modern filters you can buy.
Also forget the fire extinguisher, that stuff is not going to catch on fire until AFTER it explodes
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easy Rider View Post
First thing I would suspect is the problem is the "O" ring under the lid. You need to carefully remove the cover and have a look. Be sure to turn off the fuel upstream from the filter usually located at fuel outlet on tank. The numbers on the lid are not overly clear but here is what I think you have.
https://www.groco.net/media/file/fil...and-gf-375.pdf
Good find, Chuck! It looks like there are lots of sources for a new filter element (which comes with a new o-ring).
GF-376 Element include 2-231 O-Ring

Note the drain plug at the bottom, shown in the exploded parts image.

Needless to say, this needs to be addressed forthwith.

Bill
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:01 AM
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ALL electrics off in the boat except for the bilge blower. NO ignition sources of any kind, don't even turn the lights on and no electric power tools including a vacuum or flashlight. Leave your cell phone in the car. As advised earlier, shut the fuel tank valve off and clean up all the spilled fuel, put the rags into an open 5 gallon plastic bucket outside the boat and that does not mean the cockpit.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:39 AM
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Great info

Thanks so much for the info. It all seems to be adding up now. And I will definitely be very careful with the fumes. It's nice to know that people care so much.
I found the part (element and O-ring) online and at West Marine (actually only $5 more there, which was kind of shocking). I used oil absorbent pads, towels, and a manual pump to clean up the spillage from before and then wrapped the part in an absorbent pad in case any more wanted to leak out until I had a chance to fix it. I'll replace the O-ring and element and have the marine mechanic here look at the fuel system. If it doesn't work, I'll get a newer filter.

The info everyone has given me has helped so much! Looking forward to getting this fixed!
Cheers
Matt
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:45 AM
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Thanks so much for the info. . . . . . It's nice to know that people care so much.
To be sure, we do care about your safety with an additional wrinkle. Blow yourself up and we'll hear about it from the diesel snobs for a decade.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:50 AM
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Blow yourself up and we'll hear about it from the diesel snobs for a decade.
LOL got it
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:54 AM
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Agree completely that:
1. ensure no ignition sources
2. replace that filtering system and recheck so that you ensure no leaks. Spend some time and replace the rubber lines if there are any as well with the stuff that is resistant to ethanol degradation.
3. When you open your boat companionway there should be absolutely no smell of gas.
Good Luck, but should be a straight forward job.
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Old 12-01-2018, 08:10 AM
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"online and at West Marine (actually only $5 more there, "

Remember West Marine has a price matching policy now.

Best wishes getting this leak under control.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcodiesel View Post
"online and at West Marine (actually only $5 more there, "
Remember West Marine has a price matching policy now.
.
Absolutely.
Print what you find online and take the printout to the West Marine store. Should work also if you buy online from West Marine also.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mo View Post
Agree completely that:
1. ensure no ignition sources
2. replace that filtering system and recheck so that you ensure no leaks. Spend some time and replace the rubber lines if there are any as well with the stuff that is resistant to ethanol degradation.
3. When you open your boat companionway there should be absolutely no smell of gas.
Good Luck, but should be a straight forward job.
Mo is so correct.
On this item in particular; "...there should be absolutely no smell of gas", It IS possible. Work to that end. I mean, who the heck wants to spend a day sailing or a night on board smelling gas?
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Old Yesterday, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lat 64 View Post
Mo is so correct.
On this item in particular; "...there should be absolutely no smell of gas", It IS possible. Work to that end. I mean, who the heck wants to spend a day sailing or a night on board smelling gas?
He mentioned in the companionway. I've replaced the gasket in the fuel filter and checked the hoses. No more leaks. I don't smell gas in the companionway or in the cabin. I don't even smell it in the engine compartment. I DO smell it a little when I stick my nose right down in the bilge, near the engine. Not super strong, but it's there. I used some "De-Oil it" and I'm letting it sit. Maybe that will take care of the residue that was there from the original leak. I'll see when I go back this weekend.

I bought a handheld fume detector and it gave the lowest end beep when I stuck it into the bilge, under the engine. It doesn't give a PPM reading, but it lit up one light on a bar that has about 10 or so lights of fume intensity.

Is it possible that there is always some mild gas smell very close to the engine in the bilge? I certainly don't even want to take a small chance, so I was wanted to know if this is something that might be normal or if anyone has experienced this.

Thanks for any info.
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Old Yesterday, 11:32 PM
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It is possible gasoline has soaked into something like wood or fiberglass and is still outgasing the smell. If that were so, the smell will probably fade over time. A consistant smell may be a constant source, either a leak or gas permeating a hose or sumthin'
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Old Today, 04:13 AM
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Be attuned to the smell of gas, your nose is as good as any fume detector, use it often. You should not be able to smell gas, if you do there is liquid gasoline somewhere outside the air intake to the carb. Find the leak before using anything electrical. Sometimes there is a little gas in the bottom of the air intake to the carb, under the flame arrestor, but as long as it is not leaking out through the choke lever area and dripping into the bilge, you are probably ok. I am a great believer in using the hand bail on the mechanical pump and a fuel pressure gauge to see if there are leaks. Lots of ventilation is your friend. Even if there is a puddle of gas in the bilge, it may not explode if enough air is moving over it. It is the concentration of fumes with an ignition source that is dangerous. Air temperature is a big factor as well. Your reaction to the smell of gas should be alarm.
I will never forget the day in the 1980's when I opened the companionway and was hit by an overpowering gas smell. I had been gone for a few days. I had let an acquaintance borrow my portable gas tank, and when he returned it, he put it on something that tipped it over when the wind came up, and 5 gallons drained out of the air vent into the bilge. There was maybe an inch of liquid gas when I lifted the cabin sole to inspect. I immediately shut off the shore power at the dock outlet. In hindsight I should have done that before opening the bilge, but I was lucky. The amazing thing to me was that sitting on the cabin sole, directly above the puddle of gas but separated by three inches of air and 1/4 inch of plywood, was an electric ceramic disc space heater with a fan, happily blowing warm gas fumes around inside the cabin, and through the heating elements. It had been going constantly the whole time of the gas spill, and had evidently kept the fumes from being too concentrated. It may even have reduced the concentration by combusting fumes in the heating elements without igniting them, if that is possible. If it had been set to turn off and on to keep the temperature at a certain level, it may have blown up the boat. But as it was winter, and I was living aboard, it had been set on high, and stayed on. Once the power was off I opened up the boat as much as possible and started to remove the gas from the bilge using cups, sponges and oil pads. It was a plywood boat with a dry bilge, and the smell lingered for many days, but eventually stopped.
Ever since then I have been highly sensitive to the smell of gas. I would not be able to sleep, let alone run anything electrical, until I had found the source of the leak and fixed it. I always leave the engine compartment open so that the whole interior of the boat is the engine compartment, and air is flowing through it. Blowers are essential to ventilate the engine compartment, if it is enclosed. The blower hose should be led right up to the carburetor. But I don't use a blower unless I smell gas. I prefer to leave the engine completely exposed to all the air flowing through the cabin, and open up hatches fore and aft to maximize that flow when the boat is moving. I think it is important to keep fumes from concentrating in the first place. Plus, if fumes are contained in a closed engine compartment you can't smell them.
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Old Today, 12:44 PM
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narrow it down

"Be attuned to the smell of gas, your nose is as good as any fume detector, use it often. You should not be able to smell gas, if you do there is liquid gasoline somewhere outside the air intake to the carb. Find the leak before using anything electrical. Sometimes there is a little gas in the bottom of the air intake to the carb, under the flame arrestor, but as long as it is not leaking out through the choke lever area and dripping into the bilge, you are probably ok."

This fall I installed a switch to shut off the electric fuel pump, letting the carb run dry for shutting down. That way if I smell gas below I know it is not the carb. Also keeps the carb cleaner.
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