Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
  18 Dauntless w/Fuel Smell in Bilge

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

Author Topic:   18 Dauntless w/Fuel Smell in Bilge
tmatt posted 04-19-2006 09:11 AM ET (US)   Profile for tmatt   Send Email to tmatt  
I have a 2005 18 Dauntless and regularly have a heavy fuel smell in the bilge when I uncover and open-up the boat. I had it in for service recently, asked them to check it, and the dealer said everything was fine. I can't help but wonder if something is amiss. I always open the hatches & rear seat to vent before heading out to the ramp.

I've checked all the lines & connections and everything is dry and looks good. I've never seen any fuel in the bilge, nor any tell-tale film on any water in or around the boat.

I'm wondering if it is from the vented fuel fill, or if there is some other issue with the fuel system.

Any thoughts? Do any other Dauntless owners have simlar odors in the bilge?


K Albus posted 04-19-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I have a 2002 Dauntless 180. I also get the fuel odor in bilge area, as well as in the center console. I also don't have any fuel leaks. I believe this is just one of the characteristics associated with the plastic fuel tank.
jimmy c posted 04-19-2006 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimmy c  Send Email to jimmy c     
Does your cover, cover the vent?
If so it could be the reason for the bilge fuel smell.I believe gas fumes are heavy and sink to the lowest points.
Aso make sure the vent is working properly.
The vent should never ever be covered with a mooring cover or shrink wrap....
tmatt posted 04-19-2006 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for tmatt  Send Email to tmatt     
Ahhh, maybe that has something to do with it jimmyc. My cover does indeed cover the fuel fill. This is an all-in-one unit from perko that has the integrated vent.

I think I'll try leaving the fuel fill uncovered and see if that makes any difference.


tmatt posted 04-19-2006 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for tmatt  Send Email to tmatt     
K Albus,

In the console, the fumes come up through the rigging hole. I noticed this when I took it apart to run some wires.

My rigging hole came from the factory with the boot secured with a zip tie, then filled with expandable foam. This does cut the odor in the console. When I finished my wiring, I zip-tied the boot and then resealed it with some 'great stff' type foam in a can (not sure if this is the best choice) and my console doesn't have the odor.


Lars Simonsen posted 04-19-2006 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I think it has to do with the plastic tank. Apparently, the tanks allow some vapor to escape, and it's enough to give a fuel odor in both the bilge and the console. It supposedly is not a big safety issue, though. I've heard it's common in boats with plastic tanks. I also have an 18' Dauntless, and have the same fuel odor, but it's not a big issue to me. I had two trolling motor batteries in my console, and have had some sparks when rigging them up, and lived to tell about it. If the fuel vapors were at explosive levels, I would have long since been blown to bits along with my boat.
Whaletosh posted 04-26-2006 08:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
This subject has been brought up many times on this forum. I have owned two D-14s and been around many others, all of them had fuel odors in the bilge. Many other Dauntless owners have stated the same thing on this forum and elsewhere.

The cause IS the plastic fuel tank. The tanks allow minute amount of fuel vapors to permeate out into the bilge. The level of the fumes doesn't get to a level that will support combustion, therefore no explosion or fire problems.

I store my D-14 with the door on the console open and the rigging hatch in the splash well removed. This eliminates most of the fuel smell. I am not concerned about safety, just don't like the smell.

As a side note, the other fuel related issue on Dauntlesses is spilling fuel when filliping. The tanks don't have baffles to speak of. When filling, especially at a fuel dock, fuel sloshing around the tank will sometimes plug off the opening of the fuel fill. The result is that fuel backs up the fuel fill hose and spills. This is particularly bad on some of the early boats with fuel fill with integrated vent. The best solution is to fill the tanks slowly. Another trick is stand in the bow when at a fuel dock or disconnect the trailer and put the tongue on the ground at a gas station. I fill my D-14 on the trailer and if I go slow all is fine. It just takes a while longer. Also don't put in more gas than you need. Just because one a has 40 gallon tank doesn't mean it needs to be filled completely.

swist posted 04-26-2006 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
This sounds like a pretty unsafe situation to me. I've never had a plastic tank and have always relied on any smell of gas in the bilge to alert me to a problem (leak, spill, etc). If your bilge always smells of gas regardless, what are you supposed to do?
skred posted 04-26-2006 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
My former 1999 Dauntelss 16 had the same problem with gas smell. I noticed that the newer Dauntless 16's had a vent on the back of each stern jump seat. Mine didn't, so I installed a pair. That helped eliminate about 80-90% of the odor.
tmatt posted 04-26-2006 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for tmatt  Send Email to tmatt     
Whaletosh, thanks for the explaination. I've lurked here for almost a year, but I guess I should have done a search on the topic first.

I've noticed the filling issues on the trailer...I've had some splashout but seem to have overcome it now. I can usually hear the tank getting full. I have yet to experience the fuel dock issues, but thanks for the tip! I expect to face that when we go to the keys next week.

I didn't know that the plastic allowed odor to escape like that. My first thought was that there was a loose fitting or problem with the water separator.

I do vent the bilge with the hatch cover open, the deck port open, and even the back seat propped open before use. I tried to leave the mooring cover off the fuel-fill/vent cap but that doesn't seem to help.

Having the boot under the console filled with foam does prevent odors there....It's just a PITA when having to do any rigging there.


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.