Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
  Fuel Gauge

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Fuel Gauge
rperry posted 07-17-2003 05:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for rperry   Send Email to rperry  
A minor but frustrating problem... I have a 1995 21ft Outrage with a Merc 225 Offshore.... Great boat...Absolutley love it.... Supposedly the boat has 129 gallon gas tank... The gauge however reads almost empty when about 75 gallons from my last fillup have been burned... This has happened during my last 3 fillups... I only bought the boat this spring.... Is there anyway to confirm that I still have another 50 gallons available even though my gauge is reading empty?? Is there anyway to align the fuel gauge??? Do all 1995 21ft Outrages have a 129 gallon tank.. Is there anyway that I am almost empty when the gauge reads empty???..



jimh posted 07-17-2003 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As a general rule a fuel gauge only reads accurately when the boat is not underway and is at rest with normal trim. In any other condition the trim on the boat is usually bow up and any fuel in the tank is now in the aft end of the tank. The gauge sending unit/float is typically in the forward end of the tank.
im4bc posted 07-17-2003 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for im4bc  Send Email to im4bc     
I have the same problem with my 23 outrage with 225 opti and smart craft guages. I am reading it at the gas dock while I am filling it up. It has a 166 gallon gas tank and has never read above 140 gallons even when gas is coming out of the exhaust port. There has to be some way the adjust the read out
Jarhead posted 07-18-2003 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
Same on my 160 Dauntless.

Shows an eighth on the gauge with a third in the tank.

Being a new boat I called the dealer and asked what could be done. He told me Whaler does it that way [showing less than you actually have] as a safety feature.

Sounded like BS at the time but now it sounds like it might be the case?

Backlash posted 07-18-2003 08:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
I had the same problem with my 21 Walkaround. Finally, after 10 years of never knowing how much fuel I had, I installed a Standard Horizon fuel flow meter. IMO this is the greatest thing since sliced shows fuel remaining to the 10th of a gallon! Simple installation and well worth the money.


Jarhead posted 07-18-2003 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
Forgot to add. Guage reading taken with boat on trailer and level.
Backlash posted 07-18-2003 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     

From my experience this is a problem with all the "post classic" Whalers with an electrical sending unit in the tank. The sending unit is the problem, not the gauge.

Example: Several years ago we were leaving Okeechobee Lodge and my digital (bargraph) Yamaha gauge was on empty and the low fuel warning light was flashing. We ran over to Killarney for lunch and I topped off the tank. It only took 60 gallons to fill up the 92 gallon tank. Actually, I get more reliable readings while underway than at rest.


jimh posted 07-18-2003 06:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With electrical gauges you ought to consider the effect of battery voltage on the reading. The gauge circuit would be much better if operated from a regulated source. You can get a three-terminal 12-volt regulator for about a buck.
im4bc posted 07-20-2003 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for im4bc  Send Email to im4bc     
So do we have any answers for the original question. Jimh have there been any other threads discussing this topic that we can refer to. I talked with a dealer and they said Whaler does that on purpose with the gauges?
rperry posted 07-21-2003 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for rperry  Send Email to rperry     
Okay guys ... You won't beleive it...After posting this post on Friday... and thinking that I had 50 gallons of gas left after my gauge was reading empty, I ran out of gas on the water.... Thank God for Sea Tow..... But it was a humbling experience to report on the VHF that a Boston Whaler captain was so stupid that he ran out of gas....

The good news is that I found out the reason why I could only get 70 gallons into the boat when the gauge read empty... The boat was pitched down when trailered and being fueled... I happened to have water in my fishwells and saw that the front was full to the top and the back was still empty.... I leveled the boat with my trailer jack and sure enough I was able to get 120 gallons into the tank....
I will invest in a gas flow monitor... and fill up when the gauge is reading empty...just in case!! Can anyone recomend a brand that is easy to install???

RLSmith posted 07-21-2003 12:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for RLSmith  Send Email to RLSmith     
I filled up my 2000 Dauntless 16' today. The fuel gauge went from in-the-red to full with only 20 gallons. The tank is 45 gallons. Quite a reserve! This behavior is consistent. That is an extra 150lbs of gas I am afraid to use, on a boat that weighs less than 2000lbs. Arghhh.

It should work better than that. The sender is located in the middle of the tank. The tank is level when the boat is not underway (or trailered). I keep hoping to discover some sort of electronic calibration. I would be better off with a notched wooden stick, but the filler is not directly above the tank. Too bad they didn't put some sort of sight glass on the wall of the poly tank...

Backlash posted 07-21-2003 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     

I installed the Standard Horizon FF41 fuel flow meter on my 21. Navman makes the identical unit and both are under $200. Installation is pretty simple: install the sensor (about the size of an inline fuel filter) in your gas line AFTER your fuel filter/water separator and BEFORE your primer bulb. The sensor has an electrical wire attached which connects to the gauge on the dash. The gauge is installed by cutting a 2" dia. hole in the dash and connecting a ground and hot wire and the wire from the sensor. It is not necessary to have power to the gauge all the time, as it will hold the last readings in memory when the ignition/battery is switched off.

When refueling, and your gauge shows 18.4 gals remaining in the tank and you add 30.7 gals, just reset the gauge to 49.1 gals.

In addition to fuel remaing in tank, it also displays fuel flow in GPH, total or trip fuel used, and has a low fuel alarm.

Jerry Townsend posted 07-21-2003 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
I suspect that virtually everyone owning a boat with a built in fuel tank has this same problem. I feel strongly that my fuel gauge is not accurate and have, for a long time looked for an accurate fuel gauge. So far, I haven't found it.

The flow meter approach discussed is one approach - BUT, realize that this technique is, in my mind, not the real solution. The reason is that the flow meter is totally dependent on the accuracy of the flow meter. That is, the fuel remaining is calculated by the initial weight of fuel less the total fuel used (summed product of flow rate and time). Therefore, if the flow rate is accurate to within, say 5 percent, that 5 percent error is accumulated over the TOTAL TIME - the time from when the unit was installed.

Lets say that the flow meter indicates that you are using 5 gph (gallons per hour) and the flow meter is accurate to within 5 percent and the actual flow rate is really 5.25 gph. Lets also say that you installed the flow meter last year and you have run your boat for 100 hours in that time. Therefore, instead of using 500 gallons of fuel, you have really used 525 gallons. Now that 25 gallon error is not that much - but it accumulates year after year. Therefore, after perhaps 2, 3 or 4 years, you think you have fuel where, in fact, your tank is empty.

There is, however, a way to alleviate this problem - simply fill your tank periodically (perhpas once a year) and reset the capacity to the known or specified capacity. ------- Jerry/Idaho

andygere posted 07-21-2003 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I installed a Standard Horizon FF41 in my Outrage 22 Cuddy, and like Backlash, I find it to be very accurate. The calibration feature really dials in the instrument, and since you reset the totalizer each time you fill the tank, the cumulative effect that Jerry is concerned with never really comes into play. I always find the totalizer to be within two or three gallons of my actual fuel use when I refill tank. That's about 5 percent accuracy (when adding 60 gallons), which is superior to any electrical or mechanical guage. Keep in mind that some of that deviation is due to running my kicker, which is not metered by the FF41. The sending unit is a simple turbine type meter, similar to a water meter. It simply measures displacement caused by fuel passing through it, and converts that to an instantaneous GPH read. This feature is really nice because it allows you to find the most fuel efficient speed for the conditions. I was amazed to see that a few mph could easily cost another gallon or two per hour.

Although I find the mechanical guage in my '89 Outrage to be quite accurate, the electronic fuel meter provides a nice backup, especially when going off shore. It also has an alarm feature that you can set to any level so you know when you are getting close to turn around time. Installation was a snap, and I'd consider it worthwhile for anyone with a less than reliable fuel guage.

Backlash posted 07-21-2003 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
Jerry - I would gladly accept a 5% error in my stock fuel gauge, but in reality it is more like 33%! If the Standard FF41 is only off by 5% then I am a happy camper.

As Andy mentioned, there is also the ability to recalibrate it to be more accurate than the initial factory setting. I have not tried this yet.

Jerry Townsend posted 07-21-2003 08:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Backlash - I have no idea and would not even hazard a guess as to what the typical accuracy of the conventional fuel gauge systems is - and your 33% may well be in the ball-park.

Recall the only system we were discussing above is the fuel flow system - and again, I don't know what the typical accuracy is - but I would suspect that is in the 5% region +/-.

The accumulation of the error is real - but, as I mentioned, it can be eliminated by periodically filling the tank and setting the remaining fuel as the known or specified capacity of the tank. This procedure is simply nulling out the error via resetting (not calibrating) to a known capacity. Simply adding the gallons added does not eliminate the error accumulation problem.

As such, and eliminating the error accumulation affect, the flow meter technique is a reasonably priced, possibly the most accurate device currently available and therefore, acceptable remaining fuel indicator. ----- Jerry/Idaho

Drisney posted 07-22-2003 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Drisney  Send Email to Drisney     
I also installed the flometer on my 22 Revenge.
I also had to be towed in.
Also thank god for vessel assist. The tow would have been 500 dollars. but was no charge. My meter said I had used 45 gallons out of 70 that is supposed to be in hull. At home I pulled the rear hatch to the tank expecting to find that the pickup tube was damaged or missing; instead I find that I am out of fuel! I did not realise that the Floscan needs to be calibrated to the boat the first couple times out. The kicker came in when I filled the tank and it only took 54 gallons and fuel came out the filler tube and vent. I contacted Chuck at Whaler and he assured me that the boat originally had a 70 gallon tank. Now i am wondering about if the bow was down in the gas station as others have mentioned...Dave
im4bc posted 07-22-2003 06:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for im4bc  Send Email to im4bc     
Yes you can calibrate the fuel meter on the smart craft guages. It is in the manual. Page 22. Fill it 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full then follow the procedure. I f anyone needs the exact details I have them.


rperry posted 07-23-2003 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for rperry  Send Email to rperry     
I guess I hit a sensitve topic... Thanks for all the informational posts... I'll definately install a flow meter, calibrate it regularly, fill up my 21 ft Outrage with the trailer nose jacked up to level the fuel in the tank...but still keep my membership to Sea Tow current...

Thanks Again,

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.