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Author Topic:   Fuel Lines
jimh posted 07-17-2001 09:15 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
To comply with USCG regulations and various other ABYC and NMMA standards, fuel lines on boats must be rated to the SAE J1527 standard.

One nice feature of this standard is that it requires the year of manufacture to be printed on the fuel line. You can tell precisely how old your fuel lines are just by looking at them. If the label has worn off, they are probably too old.

There are four categories of hose in the SAE J1527 standard, indicated by these designators:

A -- fire resistant
B -- non fire resistant
1 -- permeation resistant
2 -- non-permeation resistant

Regulations require that inboard and inboard-outboard powered boats use fuel lines of grade A1.

Outboard powered boats with internal fuel tanks and with lines longer than 7-feet must also use grade A1 fuel lines.

I was digging into the fuel system on my Whaler this weekend and found that all the lines in the system, including the feeds to the engines were rated A1. They also clearly showed their date of manufacture, 1987.

Also interesting to note is the rigging by the factory of the fuel lines. In the OEM configuration, the boat was apparently delivered with the fuel lines run from the tank to connectors which ran through the teak hatch cover at the STBD rear of the cockpit. The dealer then apparently installed the appropriate fuel filter and fuel lines to the engine, rigging from the topside side of these connectors.

This set up makes for several extra connections in the fuel lines, and these connections also happen to be located in the sump area, making them likely to be submerged from time to time. In checking with Whaler's great customer service guy Chuck Bennett, he told me that they stopped rigging like that in the 1980's, and it was standard now to bring the lines directly from the tank, through the opening in the missing corner of the hatch, and over to the filter, wherever
it was located.

So I'll be re-rigging the new lines in that manner, using grade A1 hose.

I was going to replace the lines running from the output of the fuel filter to the engines with new TEMPO lines with new Squeeze Bulbs. These lines would be less than 7 feet long and would be grade B2.

Anyone have any comments about that? The TEMPO brand grade B2 lines are nice and flexible, while the available grade A1 lines are pretty ugly and stiff in comparision. TEMPO also says their hose has UV protection. I have seen it on a million boats...


jimh posted 07-17-2001 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Oops, forgot to add my question:

If I use the grade B2 hose from the above deck filter to the engines, less than 7-feet long, will I be non-compliant with the regulations?

bigz posted 07-17-2001 09:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
JimH from the deck filler to the tank you must use the A-2 USCG reinforced fuel/vent line. The metal filler fitting should be grounded to directly to the tank. Do not use the fuel line wire reinforcement as the ground, that's a no no, separate wire.

I have what seems like two miles (2 fuel tanks to selector switches then to fuel filters then to flow scan meters then to the engines) of fuel lines to replace and I was informed by one mechanic not to use ss pipe clamps but to get a special style clamp available at most service shops especially for this application --- now I can't remember the "name" used --- memory is going ---

flwhaler posted 07-17-2001 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for flwhaler  Send Email to flwhaler     
I have had experience with the grey thempo line and I am not pleased with the results. I prefer the OEM OMC black fuel line. You can get it in blulk. I would use a permenant conector at the tank end too. The black OEM OMC line will get hard with age...the tempo line gets spongy with age.
I don't think there would be a problem with running you line down your sump. The bulb can be at you tank or at the engine where it has not an opportunity to suck water if there is a problelm. Keep the clean look of the line in the sump!


bigz posted 07-17-2001 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Oops the mind goes then the eyes -- filler for filter duh! Bad day at black rock for me I guess.

JimH you from what I gather will be compliant for that short run -- a sharp looking alternative is use Aeroquip (sp?) stainless braided covered fuel line for that above deck installation it is in compliance with USCG regs.. just a pricey thought.

jimh posted 07-17-2001 11:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I hadn't thought about the filler and vent lines! Glad you mentioned that. I will put them on the list, too.

As for OEM lines, man, I don't know where I'd find a Yamaha dealer around here. It is a 50-mile drive.

It would be interesting to know the rating of the hose in various OEM lines.


bigz posted 07-17-2001 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Guess I didn't goof up to bad, thanks Jim.

I believe flwhaler is speaking of "OMC" now Bombardier fuel lines, these are in compliance don't know who makes them for them but I do know my Bombardier ex-OMC dealer/marina carries these in bulk. I will be using them to handle my little fuel line re-rigging chore.

I am using the stainless braided ones on the 13 from the tank under front seat to the filter, then to the engine. All exposed where as on the 27WA they are in the rigging tubes to the engine ---

jimh posted 07-18-2001 01:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     

Have you remembered where to get the better hose clamps fittings?

I am not a fan of using those little helix hose clamps thangs on the fuel lines. They always have some material projecting to catch onto things.

I've seen some plastic clamps that ratchet together, but only in kits, not separately.


HookedOnHer posted 07-18-2001 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for HookedOnHer  Send Email to HookedOnHer     
question,when should you replace fuel lines. how old should they be?? i believe i could have a age problem now . i am loosing preasure on my bulb after it sets a couple of hours. i have to use my choke like it was a cold crank. at this point my bulb is soft, and my fuel filter is empty. any comments welcome.
compounder posted 07-18-2001 06:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
While on the subject of fuel lines, let's not forget those lines on and around the powerhead.

It took almost 10 years, but the lines on the inside of the cowling of my old Evinrude 115 finally deteriorated internally and took a crap in my carbs. I had never paid any attention to these hoses....they were nearly invisible having been spray painted the same color as the block. When removal was attempted they came apart in pieces.

Just guessing, but I'd say every 3 to 4 years these should be replaced.

lhg posted 07-18-2001 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
One of the main issues on replacing fuel lines from built-in tanks is the implementation of the alcohol resistant lines around 1988. Alcohol in gasoline is a fact of life now, at least for the majority of us, and the older fuel lines will turn to "mush" with alcohol laden fuel passing through them.

My 1989 Whaler came with the new standard in fuel hoses, and after a recent check, are still strong and solid.

However, my 1986 Whaler had the older hose, and it needed to be replaced. Alcohol resistance is also now used in the primary bulb fuel lines, so if they are older than 1988, they too should be replaced.

bigz posted 07-19-2001 06:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
JimH, they are for a lack of a better term plactic rachet clamps designed for fuel lines. I was informed most decent service departments carry them. I also was told in my case to use ss clamps since all my fuel plumbing is below deck and to make sure the ss clamps are "all" stainless not just the band.

The plastic (nylon) quick ties similar to wire wraps should only be used on above deck tank connections and should be applied with a special tightening tool --- for what that's worth.

The stainless braided fuel lines come with a special re-usable coupling -- I have these on order now plus the marine grade fuel line (about $8 per foot) for the 13 at our 4x4 truck parts and service store.


jimh posted 07-20-2001 12:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Fuel lines at $8/foot! You're killing me! I have at least 10 feet of fuel lines....

I stopped at WEST MARINE and got SHIELDS brand FIRE-ACOL SAE J1527-A1 line, 3/8-inch, which unfortunately comes in black, at $2.12/foot.

I was examining the hose for a date code. The specifications were all printed in white on the hose. The date was printed in red and was marked as "09 21 2001".

That is pretty good hose! Since today is "07 20 2001" I wonder what the hose is gonna look like in two months when they finally get around to making it!

On closer inspection, maybe the date stamp includes the hour and should be read as "09-2-1-2001" as in 9 a.m. 2 Jan 2001.

Well, we're dangerous now. We have the hose and we're gonna open up the fuel system this weekend.

I am thinking that once I take the fuel feed from the tank to the filter off of the filter end, any fuel in the line should drain back into the tank, since the tank is vented. Then I can take the line off the tank without draining two quarts of gasoline into the tank comparment foam bed.

Also, I notice the fuel filter specifies it is be in the "suction" segment of the line. I guess you couldn't put it anywhere but in the suction side of the system unless you plumbed in into the engine downstream of the fuel pump.

By the way, in the Whaler OEM part of the install, the fuel feed lines are secured to the barbs on the tank with double hose clamps, which I am assuming are Stainless Steel as they show no rust.


jimh posted 07-20-2001 12:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I also wanted to mention that the OEM lines were also SHIELDS brand, but they were red rubber covered, which I thought was a nice look.

I did find some RACOR fuel line which was a nice BLUE color, but I couldn't source it locally and I wanted to get this project started Saturday.

But the BLUE lines would look nice on a Whaler, especially one with lots of blue Mills Canvas or a older blue gelcoat liner!


bigz posted 07-20-2001 06:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
JimH, remember just using the ss lines from the tank under the front seat of our 13 to the filter mounted close to where a stern all around light would be on the starboard transom then to the engine. I think about 7 ft. I ordered 8' --

On the 27WA approximate estimate is roughly 14 to 16 for the major plumbing and another 10' run to the aux. tank forward mounted under the aft berth. Using "OMC" fuel line which is available in bulk from my marina so I can sort of get pretty close just cutting as needed. All these are below deck and the lines to the engines are encased in the rigging tubes.

Might want to take a trip to the local dime store hmmm maybe not since come to think of it haven't seen one locally for ages --- oh well the local "dollar" store and pick up a few small plastic sand buckets (remember sand buckets) I use these as safety devices held under the fuel filters as I unscrew them --- ain't as steady as I used to be and have saved me a bilge rinse out a couple of times --- just a thought --- ah ha if you have some small empty coffee tins would work too, forgot about them been buying whole beans to long ---

Have fun, going to warm this weekend --- hope we don't hear a boom coming from the northwest --- ;) Z

bigz posted 07-23-2001 06:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Well James didn't hear any "booms" from the Detroit area or see any news flash that a famous TV techno fried his boat playing with fuel lines --

So were you able to accomplish this task and now have everything nice and tiddy?

jimh posted 07-23-2001 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It was blisteringly hot this weekend, but I did manage to replace all the fuel lines from the tank to the engines.

I also put in a new fuel filter and filter manifold. I finished up on Sunday evening, when the temperature dropped back to about 85-degrees.

I ended up with (big, black) 3/8-inch SHIELDS FUEL-ACOL J1527-A1 lines from the tank to the filter. From the filter to the engines I used the more flexible and more attractive 5/16-inch SHIELDS SILVERADO 2000 J1527-B2 lines. They are silver-gray with blue lettering; they look better than the big black FUEL-ACOL rated line. They are alcohol rated, but only at the B2 rating.

I was going to use TEMPO pre-made lines with the primer bulb and YAMAHA fitting attached, but all the lines in the store were badly packed and the hoses had kinks and creases in it from lying in the bubble pack packaging for a long time.

The TEMPO brand hose products also lacked any date of manufacture, which is a direct violation of the USCG regulations. The line must be dated with the year of manufacture in order to qualify for USCG marine use.

I did use TEMPO brand squeeze bulbs for the primer bulb. Among the many bulbs on the shelf there was a wide variation in the firmness of the squeeze. I got two that seemed to be equal in squeeze resistance.

I was going to buy some hose barb of the "house" (WEST MARINE) brand, which were half the price of the TEMPO hose barbs. Then the clerk cautioned me that they "were not fuel rated." I should use the more expensive ones, he advised.

Today I looked through 33CFR183.5 (the Coast Guard Regulations for boat fuel systems) and there is no mention of any "fuel" rating for hose barbs. The notion that the more expensive TEMPO barb is "fuel rated" is complete hokum, if you ask me.

I got the system assembled, deleting the rather complex assembly of fittings that traversed the floor hatch in the OEM assembly. This eliminated:

--hose barb 3/8 hose-to-1/4 NPT
--90-degree elbow
--bulkhead nipple
--90-degree elbow
--90-degree hose barb 1/4 hose to 1/4 NPT

All that was replaced with a few inches of extra 3/8-inch hose.

I replaced the fuel filter fitting. The old one was corroded and all the paint was gone. This is an aluminum casting (pot metal) with a steel insert for the threaded fuel fitting. The hose barbs were brass. The filter element is steel. In total, plenty of dissimilar metals in contact, and lots of potential for corrosion.

I should mention that at the fuel tank, Whaler used aluminum elbows and hose barbs to connect to the aluminum tank, reducing the potential for dissimilar metals in contact. Another example of the extra touch of the Whaler.

I may look into getting some aluminum fuel line hose barbs and elbows to connect to the filter manifold to prevent corrosion. But I had to get the thing back together with what I had on hand, so I used the brass hose barbs. I also re-used some of the elbows from the old floor fittings.

In the original installation the lines from the floor hatch fittings to the filter and then to the engines were all 1/4-inch hose.

Now the filter draws directly from the tank via twin 3/8-inch lines and dual fuel pickups.

I suppose if I wanted the ultimate in redundancy I would add a second fuel filter and isolate the two pickups and fuel filters. With one filter, this could be a single point of failure, but I can just replace the filter. A filter element is about $8, so it is not a problem to carry one (or two) aboard.

I did not have any gas handy to prime the filter, but with enough squeezes on the primer bulb I did get fuel drawn up from the tank, through the filter, and into the primer bulb. I took the fuel fitting off the end of the hose and used my thumb as a flapper valve to keep the line suction high.

I made one goof. I expelled some gas from the bare hose end as I was priming into a plastic cup. I set the cup down and put the fuel fitting (for the engine) back on. Then I looked down at the cup and the fuel was gone!

The gasoline had rapidly dissolved the plastic cup bottom and spilled right into the bilge sump!

Yikes! I soaked up the two ounces of gasoline and water in the sump with some paper towel. Then I opened up all the access ports and let the fuel tank area ventilate for about 20 minutes. Then I washed out the sump with a strong mixture of water and SIMPLE GREEN solvent.

When I could no longer smell any trace of gas from the bilge sump water I was satisfied it had been cleared. Then I flushed the sump with a couple of buckets of water and let the bilge pump clear it out.

I started and ran both engines for about five minutes. I think there is still some air in the lines, as they sputtered a bit. The primer bulbs are a little squishy and never get firm.

What is the best way to bleed the air out?

I guess you'd have to remove the end fittings and squeeze until you expell all the air and only have fuel in the lines.

Maybe if I hold the end of the open line up in the air and carefully prime it until the fuel is just at the top, then replace the end fitting, I could evacuation all the air.

Or, I think I might buy the matching engine fitting and attach a short hose to the engine fitting. I could keep the fuel lines sealed up, just mate this temporary engine fitting to the end of the fuel line. Then I could pump some fuel into a (non-plastic) container, keeping the end of the hose submerged. I could squeeze until no more bubbles came out. Sort of like bleeding brake lines, I guess--same principle.

Otherwise, I could just run the engines for a while and they should eventually bleed the air out, too. Am I right?


DIVE 1 posted 07-30-2001 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
It is easier to run the engines at a slow speed to bleed the air from the lines. It should not take more than 15 minutes. If you do not get an improvement, recheck all connections for air leaks.
We have had terrible luck with TEMPO primer bulbs maintaining fuel pressure. The best ones we found were OMC primer bulbs.
Whaletosh posted 07-31-2001 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
This is another example of how boat makers lag far behind car makers. Primer bulbs, non self-priming fuel pumps, the need to bleed air from fuel lines, etc.. Car makers solved these issues long ago.

Why can't boat makers put an electric fuel pump in the fuel tank? Every modern EFI car has had this since the 1980s. This would eliminate all of these problems.

I don't know much about diesel boats, perhaps they do use an electric pump.

I know that safety would be major safety hurdle. There would need to be a pretty bullet proof method of stopping the pump in the event of a motor failure. Plus, if there is rupture in the fuel line, the pump would pump fuel into the bilge.

Perhaps, an in tank pump isn't the best method. But, clearly the fuel pumps on most outboards a pretty wimpy. and air in fuel lines shuldn't be such a big problem.

Maybe all we need is an air/filter seperator. How about a clear plastic "jar". The inlet could be about 3/4 of the way up. The outlet could be on the bottom. there would be bleed valve on the top. this is plumbed in the fuel line between the primer bulb and the fuel fitting on the motor. Open the bleed valve, squeeze the primer bulb, fill the "jar" up with gas, close the bleed valve continue to pressurize the fuel line. As the motor is running; most of the air that is in the fuel line will float to the top of the "jar", the fuel will sink to the bottom. Underway one could open the bleeder valve and squeeze the primer bulb to push out the air. This would be pretty easy. Pretty quickly the air in the fuel lines would be gone.


bigz posted 07-31-2001 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Sean, you can certainly get at least for the big hp engines today electric fuel pumps replacing the tried and true "bulb"! Though at a cost of about $300 each (if you got twins) think I'll stick with the bulbs!

Jim, didn't get back to this informative post!

Dive 1 answered your question.

What the heck kind of "plastic" cup did you use that the gas did it in? Anyway Clark in another post hit the right solution a Mason canning glass jar -- T

Whaletosh posted 07-31-2001 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

I guess I was thinking of something more permanent that could be mounted soe where in the motor well. The truth is that I don't really have a problem with the current design, I have never had problems with air in the gas line causing anything except a momentary shudder.


Whaletosh posted 07-31-2001 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
.... But I can see room for improvement in the fuel delivery system.


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