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    Remove fuel tanks from boat to fill them?!

    I was reading my manual for my E18 which has the two removable / portable fuel tanks- it says on page 45 to "Remove the portable fuel tanks from the boat to fill them." Should I do that even when fueling at a fuel dock?? I'm thinking because they don't want fumes getting into the storage areas or?
    Attached Files
    2016 E18 115 Merc

    #2
    I wouldn't even think twice about it, honestly. Those tanks are sealed and you have that compartment open when you are refilling.
    Matt Train
    BOC Site Team
    Chicagoland, IL

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      #3
      Good question. The bottom of the compartment is sealed so fumes won't in theory, get into any storage areas. There is ventilation higher up in the compartment, so fumes should be able to escape from the sealed compartment, except that fumes are heavier than air so some might remain. Also, if you spill while filling the tanks, then the fuel just sits in the bottom of the compartment, fuming away, until it evaporates.

      All that having been said, it's a PITA to remove the tanks and then replace them when full. The 12 gallon tank weighs about 75-80 pounds. So, I don't remove them, and am careful not to spill. The one time I spilled while filling I took an extra 15 minutes to remove the tanks and wipe up the fuel. Fortunately there was no water in the compartment, otherwise I would have had to pump everything out with a hand pump (NOT AN ELECTRIC PUMP!!!, unless a gasoline transfer pump), then wipe up.

      As an aside, there is absolutely no smoking permitted on any of my boats, ever.

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        #4
        Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it. One real advantage I see is the storage place is 1/2 mile from home and a non-ethanol station is only 2 miles, so I could remove the night before, fill, have my son help me to re-board them and be ready for an early start.

        I did do a search on this topic and found quite a bit that devolved into discussion about static electricity and marina laws etc, which are good topics but not what I was looking for.
        2016 E18 115 Merc

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          #5
          When the Element was introduced, it was strongly implied that the tanks could be filled either in place or removed for convenience.
          Matt Train
          BOC Site Team
          Chicagoland, IL

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            #6
            Way to heavy once filled with fuel to move. I use a 20 litre fuel container and fill up the tanks in the garage before i hit the water.
            Bayliner Element XL 2015
            Australia

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              #7
              Lawyers are in charge. They review the manuals, and then cover their own behinds.

              Fill then tanks onboard at a gas station easy peasy, don't have to fill fast, you can slow the nozzle down. Watch as the tank fills, and don't over fill.



              Be good, be happy, for tomorrow is promised to no man !

              1994 2452, 5.0l, Alpha gen. 2 drive. Sold ! Sold ! Sold !

              '86 / 19' Citation cuddy, Merc. 3.0L / 140 hp 86' , stringer drive. Sold ! Sold ! Sold !

              Manalapan N.J

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                #8
                Yeap, I do that too chief.
                Anything like we have discussed is better then taking out the tanks to fill.
                Bayliner Element XL 2015
                Australia

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                  #9
                  The biggest mistake people make when fueling, is filling the tank to the absolute top. By doing so it is almost a sure thing you will have spillage. When I fill my tank, either at the fuel dock or gas station, I leave a space, just enough to get the dribble out of the nozzle. Use a small rag or paper towel to get any spillage off the top of the tank.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have always been told, when filling portable gas tanks they should be on the ground because of static electricity.
                    Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

                    Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
                    Twin 350 GM power
                    Located in Seward, AK
                    Retired marine surveyor

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by boatworkfl View Post
                      I have always been told, when filling portable gas tanks they should be on the ground because of static electricity.
                      Electrically speaking, how does a "portable" tank on a boat differ from a built-in tank on a boat?


                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by 6104696 View Post

                        Electrically speaking, how does a "portable" tank on a boat differ from a built-in tank on a boat?

                        Built in tank has a separate vent overboard, and is usually a sealed thru hull fitting so any fuel will go overboard and not on the deck.
                        That being said some older boats have fuel fills on the deck, but will drain overboard.
                        One gallon of gasoline properly mixed with air is equal to eighty-three pounds of dynamite
                        Break that down to a pint!
                        Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

                        Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
                        Twin 350 GM power
                        Located in Seward, AK
                        Retired marine surveyor

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by boatworkfl View Post

                          Built in tank has a separate vent overboard, and is usually a sealed thru hull fitting so any fuel will go overboard and not on the deck.
                          That being said some older boats have fuel fills on the deck, but will drain overboard.
                          One gallon of gasoline properly mixed with air is equal to eighty-three pounds of dynamite
                          Break that down to a pint!
                          The question was related to "electrically speaking," since the issue raised related to static electricity......

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re-printed from The Hull Truth:
                            Re: filling portable fuel tank while tank on top of boat?

                            All this talk about grounding would be all well and good except for one small problem - the tanks are plastic.
                            Don't fill a plastic tank while it's sitting in a truck with a plastic bedliner. No manner of straps or wires will help you period. You need to not be a lazy ass and take the tank out of your truck, fill it while it's on the ground, and then lift it back in. The same holds true for a plastic tank sitting on a plastic (FRP) boat. If it's too heavy to lift, either eat your wheaties & start working out, switch to a metal tank, or buy a smaller tank. This isn't something to fool with. If the tank was metal, then the grounding strap would dissipate the charge.

                            In case it wasn't clear, there is NO way to properly ground a plastic tank sitting on a plastic bedliner or on a fiberglass boat deck unless you can somehow convince plastic to start conducting electricity similar to the way steel can. This will involve some alchemy and rearranging of the periodic table, which is well beyond the scope of this discussion.

                            Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

                            Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
                            Twin 350 GM power
                            Located in Seward, AK
                            Retired marine surveyor

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by 6104696 View Post
                              Electrically speaking, how does a "portable" tank on a boat differ from a built-in tank on a boat?
                              The risk a static spark between the fuel fill nozzle and the tank igniting gasoline vapors (both in the tank storage compartment and inside the tank).

                              As mentioned, the built-in tanks are vented to the outside, so you're less likely to get gas fumes building up in the fuel tank compartment or the top of the fill tube. They're also required by law to have a metal lip on the fuel fill hole which is connected to the boat's grounding plate (and an inspection hole which lets you see that this grounding wire is present and connected). Granted this doesn't ground to anything when the boat is out of the water on a trailer (it grounds to the water when in the water), but the total mass of metal is enough to absorb most static differentials between the fuel fill nozzle and the boat. Same way your car's fuel fill hole is "grounded" even though the only parts of the car touching the ground are rubber tires.

                              Plastic, being an insulator, can't truly be grounded. But likewise it's really difficult to make it spark because electrons can't flow over the surface of the plastic. it has to have a *lot* of charge built up in one spot to spark.. (Electrons can flow over your skin, which is why you can easily build up enough static to discharge through your fingertip - basically the static in *all* of your body is shooting through your fingertip as a static shock.) The idea of putting the tank on the ground is that if your plastic tank somehow has that much charge, it'll be so much that contact with the ground should dissipate most of it.

                              What I would do is run the blower (assuming you have one) to blow any gas fumes out of the fuel tank storage area. If it doesn't have a blower and you smell gas, obviously don't fill until you resolve the problem. Then while holding the metal fuel fill nozzle with one hand (to put your body at the same ground as the nozzle), run your other hand over the entire surface area of the plastic fuel tanks near the fill hole and the surrounding fiberglass. Anywhere the fill nozzle could accidentally touch. Any static charge (differential) on the plastic should transfer to your hand when you do that, then subsequently travel to the metal fuel nozzle. Then you can unscrew the cap and fill the tanks. And hopefully by using the entire surface of your palm the static travels through a large surface area via direct physical contact, instead of a tiny point on the nozzle thus creating a spark through the air.
                              1994 2556, 350 MAG MPI Horizon, Bravo 2

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