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ATTWOOD Gray Fuel Line Failure
|Author||Topic: ATTWOOD Gray Fuel Line Failure|
posted 07-21-2015 12:48 PM ET (US)
Fellow Boaters please check your fuel lines.
On June 15 I took my neighbor's family out fishing. A short distance from the harbor my outboard motor began starving for fuel and could only operate at an idle. I had a full tank of gas, my vent lines were operating properly, and there was no anti-siphon valve installed on the tank. I discovered that my new Attwood fuel hoses were all clogged .
The ethanol in the gas had delaminated the inner lining of the fuel hoses and effectively blocked fuel flow. You can see how extensive the blockage was in this photograph.
EPA COMPLIANT DETHPLINE890 USCG TYPE B1-15 SAE J1527B Attwood OEM HD 89-06 LOT #043103Z CANADA /---08:46 CE
These were not old fuel fuel lines. I purchased them at West Marine on February 14, 2015. I was later told by the West Marine store manager that these hoses are only rated for E5 ethanol, and in California some gas stations are pumping E10 and E15.
I called Attwood customer support department in Lowell, Michigan to alert them to this problem. When I mentioned the fuel line blockage the phone call was abruptly disconnected. I left several phone messages and emails to their customer service department, and they have yet to respond.
If you have these Attwood fuel hoses on your boat I strongly recommend that you replace them before they leave you stranded. I replaced my hoses with automotive fuel lines that are reinforced for use in fuel injected engines.
posted 07-21-2015 01:30 PM ET (US)
Good info, thanks Bill
posted 07-21-2015 02:13 PM ET (US)
I don't think [the delamination of the inside lining of the Attwood fuel hose] is ethanol related. I think it is the liner in the fuel line delaminating due [to] external forces. Bending or pinching.
I also would be surprised to hear there are different levels of ethanol protection. If [a fuel hose is] good for E5 it will be fine for E10 or E15 or E80.
Glad it wasn't worse for you.
The in-tank portion of the hose in one of my ten gallon portable tanks broke off at the top last weekend requiring some creativity to get back in faster than 5-MPH on the kicker.
posted 07-21-2015 08:28 PM ET (US)
There are [four] things on your outboard that you NEVER use an after market parts for: the water pump, its housing, the fuel [primer bulb], and the [fuel] line. The best fuel line I have found to date is AEROQUIP FC 332-06. It should be used with ear-type clamps or Oetiker clamps; they are stainless and will never come loose. Put [the fuel line] together with your factory fuel [primer] bulb with factory ends. You will never have to worry about your fuel line again. I re-did my 17 about two years ago, when I rigged the 1985 boat I used this type of fuel line. I just change it because I was re-doing the entire boat. The old fuel line is still be used on another boat.
posted 07-21-2015 11:24 PM ET (US)
Nantucket: California is not the only place that gray fuel line will fail. It fails in Michigan, too. I have been recommending avoiding it for several years. I've seen several instances where the internal wall structure de-laminated just as you show in your linked image.
posted 07-22-2015 12:50 AM ET (US)
Jim--I took that length of clogged fuel line to several local marine mechanics to get their professional opinions. In both cases they had seen this same problem on other customers boats. They agreed that the culprit is the ethanol that is mixed with today's pump gas. California boaters are attempting to have non-ethanol fuel available at fuel docks. I would gladly spend more per gallon to avoid the pitfalls of ethanol in my boat's fuel tank.
posted 07-22-2015 08:27 AM ET (US)
The legislature in Michigan several years ago passed a law that required fuel refiners to make non-ethanol fuel available to marinas. Most marinas in Michigan now offer non-ethanol fuel. It is called REC 90, short for recreational 90-Octane pure gasoline. Like all fuel at a marine fuel dock, it sells for more than highway gasoline, but the availability of pure gasoline without any ethanol dilution attracts many boaters to using it.
posted 07-22-2015 08:37 AM ET (US)
I use a site to find ethanol-free fuel for all my engines in boats, mini-bikes, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, etc., except the cars. The site does list a number of sites even in California that have ethanol-free gasoline.
posted 07-22-2015 08:40 AM ET (US)
ATTWOOD is a brand of Brunswick, much like their Boston Whaler brand. Brunswick acquired Attwood in 2003 while under the leadership of George Buckley as part of their corporate strategy to move into the parts and accessory area of the boating business. Around that same time they also bought Land 'N' Sea, another marine part distribution business.
Dustin McCoy, then president of the Brunswick Boat Group, an operating unit of Brunswick, said about the acquisition of Attwood:
posted 07-22-2015 09:45 AM ET (US)
Happy to leave boating in Massachusetts where nothing but E10 is available. Happy to return to Florida and see my neighborhood gas station has added an above ground tank with 100-percent gas.
posted 07-22-2015 10:54 AM ET (US)
Wow I did not realize you guys had a hard time getting good non-ethanol fuel. Around our lake(lake Murray) almost every gas station sells 93 ethanol free and every marina sells it. Its not common not around the lake but the availability is there where you need it.
I wrote on here a few months back about what my Local boat dealer told me after I got water in my fuel tank. he said that most ethanol free tanks have a significant amount of water in them as they do not turn over the fuel as much especially in the winter. He said buy ethanol gas unless you boat it from a marina where the fuel is turned over quicker to avoid the water.
I found that my vent line had about a quarter size hole in allowing water to enter my tank. After removing the tank and fixing the line I have not had any more issues but I do only buy from one gas station which also sells racing fuel. This station does a lot of business as it is near a public landing and turns over its tanks fairly quick.
posted 07-22-2015 11:36 AM ET (US)
The liner that separated from the outer fuel line IS the impermeable barrier designed to keep the alcohol away from the surface of the outer fuel line.
Poor adhesion of that liner is the problem not ethanol. Those mechanics really should know better. You should ask them how the alcohol permeates the impermeable barrier in order to degrade the adhesive.
Ethanol sucks but let's not get carried away.
posted 07-22-2015 11:56 AM ET (US)
At the end of last season, my fuel flow monitor stopped working, and I suspected that after many years of service, the sending unit that is mounted in-line with the fuel hose had finally quit. I took the sender out, and found it full of a thin, translucent brownish colored material that I initially thought was fuel varnish that had flaked off the inside of my fuel hose. Investigating further, I noted that I had used a short length of that same gray fuel hose between my fuel filter assembly and the sending unit. The ports of the sending unit must be oriented vertically, and I recall using that bit of gray hose because it was more flexible than the heavier black fuel hose that I used for the rest of the system, and it was easier to bend it to the mounting location of the sender. The gray hose appeared to have the same brown varnish inside it, so I removed the entire length. When I split it open with a razor blade, I discovered that the material was not varnish at all. It was the remains of the lining material inside the fuel hose! I suspect it would not have taken much longer before the hose either leaked, or was completely obstructed with the failed lining material. Fortunately, the body of the fuel flow sensor acted like a trap, and my investigation of the remaining fuel hose and the on-engine fuel filter showed no evidence of the material.
The hose I used was cut from a hose and bulb assembly that was longer than I needed. It was Quicksilver brand, left over from my previous Mercury outboard. Avoid this stuff at all costs. If you think you have some in your system, replace it before it leaves you stranded.
posted 07-22-2015 01:34 PM ET (US)
GNR--Many thanks for your observation regarding the failure of the adhesive holding the inner barrier of the fuel hose.
ANDY--Many thanks for your contribution of another report of failure of the Mercury QuickSilver brand of gray fuel hose.
posted 07-22-2015 07:22 PM ET (US)
I believe there was an alert about the hose lining problem in my latest issue of the BOAT/US Magazine. It's now in the recycling bin so I am not positive.
At any rate it's a widespread problem.
posted 07-22-2015 07:44 PM ET (US)
Your "Continuouswave" website has outstanding coverage !
Within 48 hours of posting my comments, on this Whaler GAM, I received a phone call from Mary at the Attwood customer support Department.
She was very gracious and offered to reimburse me for the cost of my faulty fuel line.
Mary explained that a problem had been found with one of their previous fuel hoses.
That fuel hose was replaced over a year ago with their new hose and the delamination problem has been resolved.
Apparently I purchased some of the old problematic fuel line that was still on shelf at "West Marine".
posted 07-22-2015 08:59 PM ET (US)
Butch - Would that be the same issue of BoatU.S. magazine which featured a letter to the editor from a Mr. Butch Davis of Spanish Fort, AL?
posted 07-22-2015 10:50 PM ET (US)
Any information on how to identify the bad vs new hose?
posted 07-23-2015 09:07 AM ET (US)
posted 07-23-2015 10:29 AM ET (US)
Besides what is printed on the hose, can you direct me to a SKU or part number for the Attwood hose?
I work at a West Marine store and as far as I know we don't carry Attwood hose, only Shields hose.
Was it a kit with the primer bulb attached? Bulk hose? Special order?
I want to investigate this further.
posted 07-23-2015 11:10 AM ET (US)
Fishgutz, good question as I have recently bought a grey fuel line off of a spool and a kit which I believe was an Atwood fuel line with connectors from West marine. Now Im wondering if I need to replace those. This has been in the last year on the spooled line, and last 2 months on the fuel line kit.
posted 07-23-2015 01:25 PM ET (US)
If I remember correctly the inner lining of some faulty hose was white or light gray.
posted 07-23-2015 10:44 PM ET (US)
Why would anyone want to take a chance on purchasing the same type of fuel hose again?....You guys do not want any trouble with your fuel line best listen to me on this one...
posted 07-24-2015 01:08 AM ET (US)
The "West Marine" model number of the "Attwood" fuel line that delaminated was # 14705578.
I went in to "West Marine" today and examined their pre-packaged fuel line assemblies.
posted 07-24-2015 10:23 AM ET (US)
gnr, maybe the problem lies with the barrier liner not being impermeable and the alcohol/gasoline acts as a solvent on the bonding between that layer and the outer hose. Just offering a possibility!
posted 07-24-2015 09:03 PM ET (US)
Hmm, I found that exact SKU and I also checked all the packaged hoses and all of ours are made in the USA and have slightly different markings. My store is a larger Flagship store and we have lots of turnover of merchandise. I don't know what happened with yours or why yours was made in Canada. It could be an East coast/West coast thing. We have a different distribution center and often different suppliers. I'll look into it more.
posted 07-26-2015 01:25 AM ET (US)
Good to see Attwood stood behind their product and offered to pay for the replacement. I also have had problems with GREY fuel-line that was supposed to be safe for use with ethanol fuel. Now I just use quality marine grade black fuel line, so far with no problems.
Maybe one day the EPA will end the subsidized use of ethanol in this country's gasoline. It is NOT good for machinery or the environment.
|John from Madison CT||
posted 07-27-2015 07:55 AM ET (US)
I get my fuel line from the local Advance Auto store. About 1/3rd the price of West Marine. Fully ethanol compliant too.
posted 07-27-2015 10:25 AM ET (US)
I wouldn't bet the rent money on it though!
posted 07-27-2015 01:50 PM ET (US)
The section of my fuel line that failed was the glossy gray type.
posted 07-28-2015 04:18 PM ET (US)
I went out & checked the gray gas line on my 1985 Revenge, that have been there since I bought the boat in 2006, they are marked "Tempo" and indicate they are made in Canada.....
posted 07-28-2015 05:04 PM ET (US)
I can confirm Nantucket sleighride's problem with a similar story. I had some of the same fuel line which I have been using to syphon fuel from tanks that had been sitting around too long. After about a year, it suddenly stopped working. I assumed a bug or other material had become trapped inside the tube. upon investigation I found the exact same condition shown by NR in multiple locations of the 10 foot piece of fuel line. I only use A1 rated fuel line in my boats now.
posted 07-29-2015 04:06 PM ET (US)
I second John from Madison' reply as all current cars are (Flexfuel) i.e. 5-15% ethanol compliant their fuel hoses are good for this bad stuff for our boats. Buy top of the line car fuel hose and you should be fine. Even though I don't have to worry about it here in Michigan (all marine fuel is ethanol free) I installed some nice SS braided fuel line on one of my other boats with a 25HP old Evinrude. Looks great and harder to kink
posted 07-29-2015 04:43 PM ET (US)
I forgot to mention it is still not to late to contact your representative/senator to stop this ethanol nonsense in the gasoline.
Do it tonight if you haven already. Simple and quick with today's internet.
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