Water in fuel debate data

mbowersmbowers Posts: 490 Deckhand
I'm an engineer and would much rather settle a debate with data than opinion. Please post your factual experiences with hull year, fuel vent type, any water in your fuel and what you were doing when water entered. Offshore experience good or bad is most helpful as I think the boat is dry enough inshore you can drive around without the fuel cap and not have problems but all information has value.

mbowers 2001 hull Perko vented fill: boat purchased in 2004 at 340 hrs. Engine died on second voyage after purchase with water in fuel. Boat had been sea trialed offshore two days before at previous owner insistence to demo excellent rough water ability. :) Switched to Perko riser ring immediately. No more water in fuel but engine died of rusty bearings at the young age of 1100 hrs.

mbowers 2012 hull Attwood vented fill: no water until first rough offshore trip at 134hrs. Engine died and required $1200 repairs so far. Will be installing riser ring.

I think we can also add Last-Cast, Egrets Landing, Saltwater Junkie with sealed fill and separate vent: no problems with water in fuel and lots of rough water experience. Monoman with GEM vented fill: water in fuel when boat is uncovered in driveway. Installed riser ring and no more water in fuel.

Hrs run per individual
vented fill no water
flats boy 100 est
renegade69 300
flatwaterwitch 100 est
91 tiger 100

vented fill water in fuel
mbowers 1200
monoman 300

separate vent no water
waldnerr 3000 est
egrets landing 3000 est
saltwater junkie 5000 est
last cast 3000 est

Replies

  • FlatsBoyFlatsBoy Posts: 1,305 Officer
    None here so far. :Popcorn
  • polepositionpoleposition Posts: 1,052 Officer
    An engineer knows that uncontrolled "data" reported on a public forum is no way to end a debate. It may, however, be a convenient place to grind an axe. Or not.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 490 Deckhand
    Well if you have another method to get to the bottom of the issue I'm happy to hear it. How else can I find out if other people are having the same problem I've noticed with (3/3) 100% of the boats I ride on frequently? Engineers don't believe in coincidences. Show me the data and I'll toss the axe! If you'd rather PM the data I will not share it with anyone save Frank. I just want the boats to be as safe as reasonably possible.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 490 Deckhand
    FlatsBoy wrote: »
    None here so far. :Popcorn

    Can you put down the popcorn and give us hull yr and hrs on engine. :) I think you've got two boats without water in the fuel to add to the data too.
  • polepositionpoleposition Posts: 1,052 Officer
    mbowers wrote: »
    Well if you have another method to get to the bottom of the issue I'm happy to hear it. How else can I find out if other people are having the same problem I've noticed with (3/3) 100% of the boats I ride on frequently? Engineers don't believe in coincidences. Show me the data and I'll toss the axe! If you'd rather PM the data I will not share it with anyone save Frank. I just want the boats to be as safe as reasonably possible.

    I feel safe. Best of luck with your quest.
  • FlatsBoyFlatsBoy Posts: 1,305 Officer
    mbowers wrote: »
    Can you put down the popcorn and give us hull yr and hrs on engine. :) I think you've got two boats without water in the fuel to add to the data too.

    No need to partake any further. I'm happy to report no issues and you can file that under the good data side of the spreed sheet my boat is below!:chill

    Try some of this and keep a eye on your filter!
    http://www.mercurymarine.com/parts-and-accessories/product-overview/fuel-care-system/
  • waldnerrwaldnerr Posts: 1,010 Officer
    1997 16'7" Egret; fuel fill/vent upgraded to those of an 18'9" Egret. 1997 115 hp Johnson carbureted outboard. Boat is stored in garage, but run both offshore and inshore. No fuel problems associated with water.
  • Saltwater JunkieSaltwater Junkie Posts: 1,010 Officer
    mbowers wrote: »
    Can you put down the popcorn and give us hull yr and hrs on engine. :) I think you've got two boats without water in the fuel to add to the data too.

    Get yourself a bottle of StarBrite StarTron.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 490 Deckhand
    FlatsBoy wrote: »
    No need to partake any further. I'm happy to report no issues and you can file that under the good data side of the spreed sheet my boat is below!:chill

    Try some of this and keep a eye on your filter!
    http://www.mercurymarine.com/parts-and-accessories/product-overview/fuel-care-system/

    Good advice I'm already on the quickleen program. Will be keeping a very keen eye on the separator.

    Waldnerr: can you please clarify details of the upgrade to 189 setup? Is that a separate vent or a fill/vent combo?
  • 91tiger91tiger Posts: 536 Officer
    Mine is a 189 built in late 2012. Around 100 hours on the motor. I have the fuel fill/vent combo. Haven't seen a drop of water in the separator. I do keep the boat in a climate controlled area so it keeps humidity to a minimum. I haven't done too much offshore but I do round Cape Sable a ton and it can get flat out nasty if the wind and tide are going opposite ways, which always seems to happen as I'm heading back in. I also wash the hell out of the boat and never worry about spraying massive amounts of water directly on the area around the fuel cap. So far so good. I've had more problems with water overwhelming the gutter system and flooding my tackle trays in the front compartment.

    What is the "riser ring", if that will give me additional piece of mind I would be interested.
  • Renagade69Renagade69 Posts: 1,228 Officer
    I have owned three Egrets to date so far. All three have had the fill-vent combo standard install with no Riser. I kept them all covered when not in use. The two I sold had under 100 hours and my new one has 70. The first two were water free. I drained a couple of ounces from my 2011 and its been water free for the most part. I did stuff a wave in the dark coming back from Baha Honda to Parmers. The cockpit was completely full and deck covered. You do you your boat more than me in allot more adverse conditions.

    FlatsBoy- Put down the pop corn and grab an Atkins bar. :)
    Hells Bay Estero Bay Boat and Hells Bay Marquesas
  • Ghost147Ghost147 Posts: 32 Greenhorn
    Mbowers,

    I'll be getting an Egret 189 in the next few years once I have finances. I'm intrigued with the water in the fuel issue. Would you mind explaining the vented fill vs riser ring and sealed fill and vent please. How does it work to keep water out of the fuel tank?

    Here in Australia the waters are different to USA, and even in inshore waters, fast cross currents, shallower rising depths, etc can make things quite rough. So, what is the best method to keep all water out of the fuel tank. I certainly won't be able to afford fuel in the tank at all.

    Michael
    East Coast Sportfishing Ventures
    International Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor
    International Federation of Fly Fishers Fly Tying Group Member

    Brisbane, Australia

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
    Martin Luther King Jr., 1963
    "Just because a fish swims away, it does not mean it will survive! Think about your fish handling methods!"
  • Flatwater witchFlatwater witch Posts: 596 Officer
    2012 18'9" here. Garage kept and covered.
    Have been in tropical storm conditions and green water over the bow. No water in Racor.
    Check filter every 6 months replace every year.
    So far so good.
    Renagade69 wrote: »
    Either you are mechanically inclined ore your not. The fact you had to ask told me that you can not do it. Its ok, not every one has this ability. Some people just have to pay.
  • MonomanMonoman Posts: 977 Officer
    I'm pretty sure those that are kept in garages or under cover religiously won't have much to report. The ones that leave them exposed or take the boats out in rough stuff is where it matters.

    I *think* Chris C. keeps his 189 uncovered outdoors but he doesn't frequent the forum much anymore.
    This signature intentionally left blank.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 490 Deckhand
    Ghost147 wrote: »
    Mbowers,

    I'll be getting an Egret 189 in the next few years once I have finances. I'm intrigued with the water in the fuel issue. Would you mind explaining the vented fill vs riser ring and sealed fill and vent please. How does it work to keep water out of the fuel tank?

    Here in Australia the waters are different to USA, and even in inshore waters, fast cross currents, shallower rising depths, etc can make things quite rough. So, what is the best method to keep all water out of the fuel tank. I certainly won't be able to afford fuel in the tank at all.

    Michael

    I added more data to the first post. Thank you to everyone for helping. I am currently estimating some numbers and believe I have identified every estimated number as I have no desire to fudge the numbers. I have only estimated to spur people to please provide an exact number! :) If any numbers are wrong please let know so I can correct them.

    The vented fill puts the vent in the same location as the fill which is flush on the top deck. Any water on the deck around the vent can easily enter the vent. The riser ring raises the vented fill above the deck by some amount: 3/8" is Perko standard. With the riser ring only water more than 3/8" deep on the deck can enter the vent. It's rare to have 1/16" of water on the deck but it's extremely rare to have 3/8" of water which is why the riser ring helps: it doesn't prevent the issue but makes it happen less frequently and less severely. A sealed fill needs a separate vent somewhere to balance the vacuum pressure caused by removing the fuel. That separate vent is typically on the the side of the boat on a vertical surface and has some feature to angle the vent's intake rearward so it hopefully ingests less water if there is a wave that high on the hull. The separate vent is standard on offshore boats and most other flats boats that I've seen. I think there are EPA changes coming to market so the issue may be moot for new hulls but will remain for hulls already on the water. I do not know if a hull destined for a foreign market would be affected by those regulations (I would guess not).

    To be fair, in my experience, I think the vented fill is fine in rough conditions so long as the boat is on plane and not stuffing waves. The captain and passengers might be taking spray but the deck is not seeing a sheet of water. The problem for me arises at slower speeds say trolling around 6mph, navigating a rough inlet where I can't stay on plane or cruising the beach looking for tarpon. At slower speeds the boat is settled in the water and the bow is not so high so it's much easier to clip a wave.

    If the motor is burning say 3 ga / hr at those slow speeds for 3 hrs it will burn 9 ga or 144 cups of fuel. The vent will have to suck in 144 cups of air to maintain 0 vacuum pressure in the fuel tank. Since it takes just a cup or two of water to overwhelm the Racor bowl and get into the engine, over those 3 hrs if the boat has any water on the deck and over the vent just 1% of the time (a total of 1.8 minutes over 3 hrs) that's enough to put 1.44 cups of water into the tank. If there's anything wrong with that math please correct me!

    91tiger: I don't think spraying water around the vented fill while washing will drive much water into the fuel unless you have the motor running and burning a decent amount of fuel at the same time so it's sucking in a decent amount of air. Is that the case? :) That does mean one should stop the engine if trying to wash down the deck while on the water or on a hose muff if there's any chance of getting water near the vent.

    I think monoman got water from leaving the boat out in the rain because it was for a long time and as the temperature drops during a summer rain storm, the tank has to suck in some air / water to balance the volume change from the temperature change. That's a lot less than the volume required when the fuel is being pulled out of the tank by the engine, but if it happens every day for a couple of months it would add up. Hardly anyone leaves the boat uncovered so this issue is probably moot for most.

    The effects of humidity or climate control should be not different for different types of vent. I think the only solution to water caused by humidity cycles over the day is to use the boat more often!
  • Saltwater JunkieSaltwater Junkie Posts: 1,010 Officer
    mbowers wrote: »
    I added more data to the first post. Thank you to everyone for helping. I am currently estimating some numbers and believe I have identified every estimated number as I have no desire to fudge the numbers. I have only estimated to spur people to please provide an exact number! :) If any numbers are wrong please let know so I can correct them.

    The vented fill puts the vent in the same location as the fill which is flush on the top deck. Any water on the deck around the vent can easily enter the vent. The riser ring raises the vented fill above the deck by some amount: 3/8" is Perko standard. With the riser ring only water more than 3/8" deep on the deck can enter the vent. It's rare to have 1/16" of water on the deck but it's extremely rare to have 3/8" of water which is why the riser ring helps: it doesn't prevent the issue but makes it happen less frequently and less severely. A sealed fill needs a separate vent somewhere to balance the vacuum pressure caused by removing the fuel. That separate vent is typically on the the side of the boat on a vertical surface and has some feature to angle the vent's intake rearward so it hopefully ingests less water if there is a wave that high on the hull. The separate vent is standard on offshore boats and most other flats boats that I've seen. I think there are EPA changes coming to market so the issue may be moot for new hulls but will remain for hulls already on the water. I do not know if a hull destined for a foreign market would be affected by those regulations (I would guess not).

    To be fair, in my experience, I think the vented fill is fine in rough conditions so long as the boat is on plane and not stuffing waves. The captain and passengers might be taking spray but the deck is not seeing a sheet of water. The problem for me arises at slower speeds say trolling around 6mph, navigating a rough inlet where I can't stay on plane or cruising the beach looking for tarpon. At slower speeds the boat is settled in the water and the bow is not so high so it's much easier to clip a wave.

    If the motor is burning say 3 ga / hr at those slow speeds for 3 hrs it will burn 9 ga or 144 cups of fuel. The vent will have to suck in 144 cups of air to maintain 0 vacuum pressure in the fuel tank. Since it takes just a cup or two of water to overwhelm the Racor bowl and get into the engine, over those 3 hrs if the boat has any water on the deck and over the vent just 1% of the time (a total of 1.8 minutes over 3 hrs) that's enough to put 1.44 cups of water into the tank. If there's anything wrong with that math please correct me!

    91tiger: I don't think spraying water around the vented fill while washing will drive much water into the fuel unless you have the motor running and burning a decent amount of fuel at the same time so it's sucking in a decent amount of air. Is that the case? :) That does mean one should stop the engine if trying to wash down the deck while on the water or on a hose muff if there's any chance of getting water near the vent.

    I think monoman got water from leaving the boat out in the rain because it was for a long time and as the temperature drops during a summer rain storm, the tank has to suck in some air / water to balance the volume change from the temperature change. That's a lot less than the volume required when the fuel is being pulled out of the tank by the engine, but if it happens every day for a couple of months it would add up. Hardly anyone leaves the boat uncovered so this issue is probably moot for most.

    The effects of humidity or climate control should be not different for different types of vent. I think the only solution to water caused by humidity cycles over the day is to use the boat more often!

    I like the science of all you said. Make sure you have a loop in the vent hose. Remember to add the Star-Tron.

    I have an 18 year old boat, It lives out side. For the first 5 years of it's life there was no boat cover no roof no nothing...The only problem was the gauges kept getting foggy. So I replaced the with Livorsi gauges. For the last 15 the boat is still outside but lives partially covered by a aluminium roof. This boat has been washed, pressure washed, rained on for days, ignored and stuffed. I never have had any water in the fuel.


    After all the calculations. I think maybe somebody is adding water to your tank.
  • Egrets LandingEgrets Landing Posts: 935 Officer
    I like the science of all you said. Make sure you have a loop in the vent hose. Remember to add the Star-Tron.

    I have an 18 year old boat, It lives out side. For the first 5 years of it's life there was no boat cover no roof no nothing...The only problem was the gauges kept getting foggy. So I replaced the with Livorsi gauges. For the last 15 the boat is still outside but lives partially covered by a aluminium roof. This boat has been washed, pressure washed, rained on for days, ignored and stuffed. I never have had any water in the fuel.


    After all the calculations. I think maybe somebody is adding water to your tank.

    My boat is the same age as yours. It sounds to me like the original vent design was bullet proof just like the hatch gutters.
    I have never had an issue with any water in the fuel or the hatches under any conditions, even when I filled up the cockpit a couple of times over at Sebastian Inlet. Perhaps they should go back to the clearly proven reliable designs on the new boats as it seems to be hit or miss with the new design.
  • jjchompjjchomp Posts: 34 Greenhorn
    Running out of an inlet I took water over the bow of my 2011 immediately got the "water in fuel" on my yamaha gauges. Shut down and made back to dock with troller. Had to have gas filtered for water to the tune of $250.00. That was the first time. Second time got water in fuel during a heavy rain storm. Able to get water out by watching and draining the racor. 2 times in first 10 hours of owning. Talked to frank about it, got the riser. No problems in the last 100 hours.

    John
  • Last-CastLast-Cast Posts: 197 Deckhand
    Egrets Landing and Saltwater Junkie have old boats similar to mine (1997). With that said. Same top cap. Old version with sealed filler and vent on the side. I have been less that gentle with my boat and have never had water issue. The boat lives outside with only a boat cover. It has been stuffed and trolled in heavy water and have never had a water issue. I replace my filter twice a year no matter the hours. As Saltwater Junkie can tell you go up the rivers and into the Gulf in Flamingo is a twenty mile run the last thing you want is a water issue.
    Egret 189
    Maverick 17T sold
  • rbtbryanrbtbryan Posts: 99 Deckhand
    I too have a re-powered and updated '95 189, and have had the dubious pleasure of stuffing it more than once when I lived and fished the Florida Northeast coast for Tarpon and Cobia. I have never had water in the system, and as Glenn pointed out, with the deeper gutters on the lockers, have never had water in the lockers. The boat is washed thoroughly after every outing, and has been power-washed on many occasions without fuel incidents. The original design had a lot of very fine features to it that probably have been sadly overlooked in the newer boats. Not to take anything away from Frank's product btw.
    Last-Cast wrote: »
    Egrets Landing and Saltwater Junkie have old boats similar to mine (1997). With that said. Same top cap. Old version with sealed filler and vent on the side. I have been less that gentle with my boat and have never had water issue. The boat lives outside with only a boat cover. It has been stuffed and trolled in heavy water and have never had a water issue. I replace my filter twice a year no matter the hours. As Saltwater Junkie can tell you go up the rivers and into the Gulf in Flamingo is a twenty mile run the last thing you want is a water issue.
  • camgcicamgci Posts: 185 Deckhand
    One of the many things I found that I really liked about my Egret after I bought, it was the deep drains around all the storage areas. It's the only boat I have owned that can be washed down and never get a drop of water in any of the lockers. Most had to have everything removed before or after a storm or good cleaning. The longer I own the boat,(and I have had 2) the more I appreciate a lot of the little things Egret has to offer.
  • LEV8NLEV8N Posts: 3 Greenhorn
    I have a 2010 189 w/Merc 175ProXS . It has the factory vented fuel fill , a Racor water separating fuel filter in front compartment as well as water separating fuel filter on motor . Motor has approx. 300hrs . I've taken waves over the bow while fishing in the pass and I wash the boat after every trip , deck covered with soap and hosed down with a lot of fresh water . I have never found any trace of water in fuel .
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