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Author Topic:   Possible fuel leak in a Dauntless 16
Tallydon posted 06-02-2002 10:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for Tallydon   Send Email to Tallydon  
I own one of the newer Dauntless 16s with the fuel vent on the outside of the hull. Ever since I purchased the boat (last August), I have noticed a gasoline smell in the center console when I open the access door. The smell is not great, but it is there. I have talked with my dealer and he advised me to poor some detergent in the bilge to neutralize the smell. I have also noticed that when I'm filling the tank, I have to be careful that the fuel is not going in too fast. If it is too fast, I have fuel spilling out of the vent.

I'm wondering if the fuel, when exiting the vent, leaks around the tank-air vent connection and that is the cause of the fuel smell in the center console. The bilge is dry and there is no sign of fuel leakage from any of the connections. Now, I am a little worried about fuel vapors in the console because of the electrical connections in there and a possible explosion hazard. As I said, the fuel smell is not great, but it is rather noticible. Your comments would be helpful. Thanks.

Tsuriki BW posted 06-02-2002 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Tallydon,

I have exactly the same problem with my 1999 Dauntless 14. I am going to take it to the dealer for the filler upgrade/recall that is outlined in other posts. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

Tsuriki

Tom W Clark posted 06-02-2002 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Tallydon,

I think you situation is normal and the smell is just part of how these type of Whalers are.

I had the use of a 1999 Dauntless 14 last summer and I noticed the same thing. I think it is just the result of having a fuel tank, bilge and center console all effectively connected together.

This is one of the things I do not like with this "three skin" design but I doubt the smell is the result of a leak. It only takes a tiny bit of gas to stink up a relatively closed space.

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you but I think the dealerís advice of sound. A clean bilge is a good thing.

Tom W Clark posted 06-02-2002 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Tallydon,

I think you situation is normal and the smell is just part of how these type of Whalers are.

I had the use of a 1999 Dauntless 14 last summer and I noticed the same thing. I think it is just the result of having a fuel tank, bilge and center console all effectively connected together.

This is one of the things I do not like with this "three skin" design but I doubt the smell is the result of a leak. It only takes a tiny bit of gas to stink up a relatively closed space.

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you but I think the dealerís advice is sound. A clean bilge is a good thing.

B Bear posted 06-02-2002 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Tallydon,
I have had water come out of the fuel vent at times after the boat has been sitting for a while or after I have had her out in a heavy chop, or a good rain. Maybe even after a misdirected fresh water wash down into the vent.

This would happen when I would start filling the tank the air pressure blows the vent line clear and after that nothing will come out.

The vent openings with the flame screen has one pointing aft and the other pointing down. The fitting itself is cap like in shape which explains the collection of moisture after those events I mentoned above.

There is a barely noticable oder in my console, but it is not gas, it smells more like, for lack of a better word, plastic or vinyl.
Bear

B Bear posted 06-02-2002 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
I have a question for everyone - Does this discharge out the vent happen everytime you fill or once in a while?

For me this happens only a few times a year.

Gigabite posted 06-03-2002 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Gigabite  Send Email to Gigabite     
I have had my 99 16' Dauntless upgraded with the fuel system kit. After I picked the boat up from the dealer, I went and filled it up. There was about a 1/4 of a tank of gas in it at the time. I was able to pump the gas in at full speed. The next time I went to fill up I had 1/2 a tank of gas and had a very hard time getting gas into the tank without having it spill out the vent or from the fill area. It seems to be very inconsistent. One thing that I have noticed that seems to help a good bit is to let the boat sit at the pump for 10 minutes before filling up. I still can't fill up at full speed but I can usually squeeze the handle about 3/4 of the way with out gas spilling out.

That being said, it is still much better than the way it was before.

I also have a strong gas smell when I open the console or the bildge access panel. This was present even before the fuel vent upgrade. I was told that that was common with the new style(polyethylene) tanks. I can only smell it, I have never seen any fuel in the bildge area.

blackdog posted 06-03-2002 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I have slight oder also, nothing to be alarmed about. Never had vent spill over.

Blackdog

whalerfran posted 06-03-2002 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerfran    
Tallydon, I think the fuel vapors in the center console are a big problem. Just the smell of fuel itself is very troubling, but I would be far more worried about the risk of explosion. Hearing that other Dauntless owners have the same problem is no comfort; that just tells you the boat has a design defect, and a serious one at that. I would press for a solution from BW or demand my money back.
Tallydon posted 06-03-2002 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
I have e-mailed Boston Whaler last week, still no reply. I will let you know what they tell me. I'm still not sure this a major problem although it does concern me.
Stonacek posted 06-03-2002 11:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Stonacek    
My 2001 Dauntless has the slight odor B Bear describes. Plastic or Vinyl but definitely not gas. As far as explosive risk, hard to say, I'd be surprised at such a major design risk but also have some experience w/ other petroleum based solvents via my profession the "lower explosive limit" of which is around 12,000 ppm, these a bit more volatile than gasolne but I'm guessing "LEL" for gasoline is close to the same. Bottom line is if you can smell it, your probably, but not necessarily, close - especially given confined nature of center console. Would then need two more things for explosion, oxygen (lots of it around) and ignition source. Not sure how great ignition risk is given electrical connections but might be worth checking out. Solvents I'm used to produce vapor that is heavier than air which means it sits around and gets real dangerous. I think, but certainly not sure, that gasoline vapor is lighter than air and may therefore vent better ex center console.

Bottom line is if concentration is high enough, you absolutely can't afford to have ignition source, but again would be surprised at such a flaw as liability risk is clear and huge for whaler. Short term alternative is lots of venting to dilute concentration of vapors below "LEL" but what a pain that would be.

My company uses electronic "sniffers" to detect ppm concentrations of solvents I mentioned above. Would imagine anybody in petroleum business, maybe even larger service stations, would have same. I'd get a hold of one to determine what ppm concentration your dealing with, and then compare to "LEL" for gasoline to see what your true risk is.

dgp posted 06-04-2002 06:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
FWIW, in August of 2000, while at my dealer picking up my new Montauk, I noticed in the shop they were replacing a leaking fuel tank in a Dauntless 14.
I'd contact BW to see if this is larger then a few isolated failures.
Tallydon posted 06-05-2002 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Well, I heard from BW today. Here is my question and their reply:

Sir,

I bought a new Dauntless 16 last August. I have been smelling gasoline in the center console for a while now. The smell is not strong, but it is there even when I leave the console door open while the boat is covered. Is this normal? There is no gasoline in the bilge at the rear; it is dry. I am wondering if I have a leak of some sort underneath the center console.
When fueling, sometimes gas will escape from the outside vent on the side and spill onto the pavement. Could it be the vent hose connected to the fuel tank leaks a little onto the tank when this happens? I'm worried about a possible explosion because of the electrical connections in the console.
Please advise. Thanks.


BW replies:

From what I understand, sometimes the plastic fuel tank, itself, will give
off a strong odor, however, gas fumes are nothing to fool around with, I would recommend bringing your boat to an authorized Boston Whaler dealer for evaluation. They can test the fuel system for possible leaks by performing a pressure
test. Please call 1-800-Whaler-9 or check the dealer locator on the Whaler
website for the location of your nearest dealer (by zip code).

Guess I will take it to my dealer.

Tallydon posted 06-05-2002 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Here's an interesting article on aluminum tanks verses poly tanks. All of older BW's out there with metal tanks should be very aware.

http://boats.com/content/default_detail.jsp?contentid=1189

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 06-10-2002 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
INTERESTING THREAD; FUEL SMELLS
I had a 1998 18' ventura purchased new in 1999. Always smelled gas when i opened the floor inspection hatch [over the gas intake connections/hoses]. I complained bitterly, they changed out the gas tank, 2 weeks later it still smells strongly of gas, back to dealer to do pressure tests on tank, tank ok, still smells gassy. Whaler offer to change to alumimun tank, less capacity, no thanks, FINALLY GOT RELIEF, I decided to get rid of that piece of %^^$$#@!@!!.

Now have a 21 ventura, no gas smells!

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 06-10-2002 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
FORGOT TO MENTION, THE 135 OPTIMAX BLEW AFTER 20 HOURS, the primer bulb failed and the oil tank leaked air, THAN IT WENT!!!!
Swellmonster posted 06-11-2002 04:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
For the people that think a "it's just a little gas smell, not really strong".
Open up your console and flick your bic!
(only if you are sure its nothing to worry about)
Tallydon posted 06-11-2002 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Well, I took my boat into the dealer and he said that there was a problem and whaler is sending a part to fix it. There was no fuel leak, but the vent hose and/or connection was leaking fumes. Whaler knows about this and has a solution for it. I hope to pick up my boat on Friday, if the part arrives before then. I will keep you posted when I find out more.
Tallydon posted 06-11-2002 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Well, I took my boat into the dealer and he said that there was a problem and whaler is sending a part to fix it. There was no fuel leak, but the vent hose and/or connection was leaking fumes. Whaler knows about this and has a solution for it. I hope to pick up my boat on Friday, if the part arrives before then. I will keep you posted when I find out more.
BOB KEMMLER JR posted 06-13-2002 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
Well since i only got to put gas in my tank once before the powerhead blew up,i dont have any basis to draw a conclusion,Do the Rages seem to have this problem too?I know they are kind of a kissin cousin to the dauntless models.My rage has a 23 gallon aluminum belly tank and i figure since i have everything exposed and down with the swap im doing.Should i look into this further,or am i worrying about nothing?
Tallydon posted 06-16-2002 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Well, I picked up my D16 on Friday. The part which was installed was a vent under the center console where there is a place for your feet. There was no leak but gas fumes were accumulating in the console. This new vent, that all new D16s now have, will work with the console door vent and create a flow of air. It seems to have worked; the smell of gas in the console is gone. My dealer said that most poly tanks and the connecting hoses vent a small amount of fumes.
ShrimpBurrito posted 06-25-2002 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
The lesson to be learned from TrafficLawyer's post above is that if you ever have a problem with your boat, just buy a bigger one. I like it. LOL :)
stevenellis posted 03-17-2003 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for stevenellis  Send Email to stevenellis     
Hey Guys ..... I build boats in Florida and have had to research the exact problem that you are experiencing .... the smell of gasoline is caused by the plastic tanks ......... they have a "permeation rate" ............. just like a helium balloon loses it's gas and shrinks ....... the plastic fuel tanks allow minute amounts of fuel to wick through the plastic ..... this is generally not enough to cause a hazard, but it is certainly enough to make the bilge smell like gas ......... the Coast Guard sets maximum allowable limits ...... they also establish ventilation guidelines for the manufacturers .... I hope this helps
BWdaunt18 posted 04-01-2003 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for BWdaunt18  Send Email to BWdaunt18     
I have a 2001 Daunt 18. I got it out of winter storage on Saturday. Opened stern storage door to install battery adn noted fuel odor. No fuel visible. Odor seemed to dissipate after I had the door open a few minutes.

E-mailed Whaler. They advised me to have my dealer check it out.

Fbray posted 04-02-2003 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fbray  Send Email to Fbray     
I have the same smell inside the center console of my 22 foot 2002 Dauntless. I had the tank checked for leaks, none found. I was advised that these plactic tanks emit a smell of their own. Still worried.

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