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  How much do you trust your gas gauge?

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Author Topic:   How much do you trust your gas gauge?
prm1177 posted 03-22-2003 12:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for prm1177   Send Email to prm1177  
Just getting my head around my Outrage 17, and was curious if the gas guages in Whalers are reasonably accurate, i.e. for a 58 gallon tank, 1/2 is approx 30 gallons. I put 30 gallons into, what I believed was an empty tank, and the gauge is showing nearer to 3/4.
Jerry Townsend posted 03-22-2003 02:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
I have always had the same concern about ALL gas gauges - including the one on my 17 OR. About your only choice is to "calibrate" your gauge - from an empty tank. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I have never had an empty tank.

I would like to find a truely electronic sensor (ultrasonic, that would accurately detect the surface. So far, I have not found one. If you are aware of an ultrasonic or other surface level pick-up, please let me know. ---- Jerry/Idaho

msullivan006 posted 03-22-2003 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for msullivan006  Send Email to msullivan006     
I noted that BW says that the gas guage is not accurate while underway, only at rest, which is a little limiting if you are offshore. I also noted that the amount of gas that I added did not seem at all in proportion to the guage reading while the OR 17 (1993) was on a trailer stopped at the gas pump, so I pretty much lost confidence in being able to rely on the guage. As an alternative, I just joined the group on this forum who have ordered Standard Horizon FF-41 fuel flow meters. This allows you to set the amount of gas in the tank when you fill it up, and then it tells you how much you have used, both by leg, and for total since last reset. Not only does this give you a pretty accurate "guage" reading, it also lets you optimize the MPG's you are getting by matching GPH per the meter with a GPS for boat speed. Also allows you to set a low fuel alarm so you know when you have hit your personal safety margin for the particular trip. Best of all, there is a great deal on these until 3/31. List is supposed to be $355, but they are on various internet sites form $319 down to $183. In addition there is a factory rebate of $75. on purchases through 3/31. I bought the $183 version from Bethel Marine Electronics, so my net after both shipping and rebate will be under $120. It arrived yesterday, and installation looks like a breeze (2" mounting hole for guage). I wouldn't be supprised if it also paid for itself in better fuel economy by the end of the season at current fuel prices ;-).
where2 posted 03-24-2003 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Jerry, At the show in Miami this year, there was a vendor with an ultrasonic sensor. Oddly, he really only quoted it for use in the holding tank, and on a diesel tank. I wondered later whether that was a housing incompatibility with the gasoline fuel, or what? I'll check around and see if Dad still has the brochure. if not, maybe he has the floorplan for the place, I have an idea which room it was in... Didn't find any floorplans on the miami show website...
Jerry Townsend posted 03-24-2003 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Where2 - thanks. I am interested in any reference to an accurate gas gauge. The ultrasonic system would be accurate, but may be a tad expensive. Appreciate any help. ------- Jerry/Idaho
triblet posted 03-24-2003 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
"A gas guage on a boat tells you how much gas
you MIGHT have."
Capt. Phil Sammet, a buddy of mine.


Jerry Townsend posted 03-24-2003 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Chuck - I agree - but I would sure like to have a better "guess" at how much fuel I might have. Running out of gas on my boat is not my idea of having fun - consequently, I make darn sure that I have enough.

----- Jerry/Idaho

jimh posted 03-24-2003 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Were LHG around I am sure he would suggest his method of gas tank gauge calibration. Briefly you need to simply:

1. Run the tank dry. (Switch to portable tank
to get back to the gas dock.)

2. Refill the tank at a gas dock, with the boat in its typical trim.

3. Record the number of gallons at each "eighth " of a tank as the tank fills.

4. Don't loose the information.

5. Make up a table of gauge readings versus actual number of gallons.

You cannot go by readings while underway since with any way on the boat the gas will be pulled to the back of the tank and the gauge will be reading lower that it should.

lhg posted 03-26-2003 05:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Well said, Jim. Actually the Whaler mechanical floor gauge has 16th increments, and I recorded the gallons it took to reach each of these, beginning with "E". All boats are different, and engine weight also makes a difference. In my 18 outrage, "E" means I still have 15 gallons in the tank. On my 25, "E" means I'm dead in the water, bone dry!

Since boats are not like cars, always on a level surface, one simply has to come rest in the water to determine your fuel level. Once I had made my calibration chart with boat in the water at the gas dock, I have found "repeatable" accuracy with the Whaler gauge to be excellent, and highly reliable.

tomol posted 03-28-2003 07:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for tomol  Send Email to tomol     
A lot of good ideas here for calibrating and gas guage. Unfortunately, they all require doing it at the dock, which is fine except that when I need to actually know how much gas I have, I'm almost certainly a long way from the nearest dock and in open, often choppy water. I've also probably got trim issues since I've got one, two or three bodies and gear in the boat. Jimh, has your method proved itself in these conditions?

A note regarding flow sensors, I only have had experience with two (don't know the brands) on friends' boats, and somehow they never seem to match up with the numbers on the gas pumps. The error has never been huge, but it has been significant.

dfmcintyre posted 03-28-2003 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I've done what Jim and Larry described, for my 25 and 21, and Walt Steffens 25.

To make sure I didn't loose it, I typed it up, laminated it and taped it to the underside of the clear plastic lid covering the fuel gage itself.


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