Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Jon W on April 28, 2019, 07:54:32 PM

Title: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on April 28, 2019, 07:54:32 PM
I originally posted this as a reply on the Fuel Calibration message. I deleted it from there, and moved as it's own topic to make searching easier for anyone that may be interested in this type data in the future.

I've removed my diesel fuel tank to clean the inside and check for any corrosion of the aluminum inside the tank that may lead to a future leak. Since I have everything apart, clean and at home I thought it would be worthwhile to determine the volume on a per inch basis inside the tank. I marked off inch increments externally on all sides, subtracted the material thickness as appropriate. This should provide the best estimate of the internal volume at each 1 inch section. I then converted that volume number to the number of gallons in the tank per inch. Sum up the gallons at each inch increment and I get 25.16 gallons. Considering there is a lot of distortion from the tank fabrication process, I was very surprised to get this close to the advertised 25 gal capacity. I plan to do an actual measurement with gallons of water per inch to compare the two.

The main reason for this exercise is to have a story pole with number of gallons per 1 inch increment. The story pole will be kept on the boat as a manual back up to the fuel gauge. If needed, I can dip the tank through the port cockpit locker using my new tank access plates to check how much fuel I have in the tank.

So for what it's worth, the attached PDF is my attempt to characterize this odd shaped fuel tank. I'd be interested in comments to make this a better document.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: britinusa on April 29, 2019, 05:10:20 AM
I'm pretty sure my tank label read 23 gallons.

Rather than complicate the dip stick, how about marking it in gallons rather than inches. That way you could read the amount of fuel rather than the depth of fuel and then convert it.

When we purchased Eximius, the fuel sender had been removed and replaced with a simple analog model ie. dial showing fractions of full. To read it involved diving into the aft berth where 2 holes about 4" were cut in the partition next to the tank. With one hand holding a mirror, look through the other with a flashlight to read the dial.

I installed a new no moving parts sender very early on in my upgrades.

Paul
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Stu Jackson on April 29, 2019, 07:13:22 AM
Great job, Jon.

Are the changes in the B & C dimensions due to the shape of the tank?

As far as rank volume, I've always worked on the 23 gallon capacity, left three in reserve, and used 20 as "useful."  At 0.50 gallons per hour consumption for 20+ years of record keeping in my Fuel Log spreadsheet, I fill up with 10 gallons every 20 hours.  All sorts of ways to do it, but this is a truly helpful effort.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on April 29, 2019, 05:24:04 PM
Hi Paul, The label on my tank reads 25 gallons. The number 5 in 25 is tough to read, but it's a 5. Regarding labeling gallons on the story pole instead of inches, it will depend on what I use for a story pole. It will need to be legible. I am replacing my current swing arm fuel sender with a reed switch type.

Hi Stu, Thanks. The topic of tank capacity seems to come up once a year on the message board so thought I would take the time to answer the question (at least for myself). Ironically the hardest part was putting a sensible spreadsheet together. Yes the B and C dimensions change due to the tank shape on the outboard side of the tank. I use the .50 gph method too, and use the electric sender/gauge as a reference. Now I'll have a manual method if all else fails.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Stu Jackson on April 29, 2019, 05:31:00 PM
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Ironically the hardest part was putting a sensible spreadsheet together. Yes the B and C dimensions change due to the tank shape on the outboard side of the tank.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That's what I figured, thanks for confirming it.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Noah on April 29, 2019, 05:55:53 PM
Good math/geometry exercise. But, not sure I would relish pulling the inspection port to sound the tanks with a dipstick. On the 220 ft. oil rig supply ships I ran in my youth, the engineers used to sound the tanks with a roll-up tape/plumb bob, but we carried 250,000 gals of diesel and were NOT concerned about each gallon. On a C34 it has got to be pretty flat water and a cleared out locker, and still not pleasant.  Stu’s keeping an engine hour log and filling up with 10 gallons every 20 hours seems like “good practices.”  Perhaps carrying a jerry can(s) on deck or a 1-1/2 gallon jerry jug lashed in my anchor locker for an emergency, would be my solution on a passage—where I thought tank capacity/range might be stretching it. I would also figure 3/4 hr. per hour at cruising on the M25XP, to be super safer cushion.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on April 29, 2019, 09:07:32 PM
The story pole is when all else fails. The aft deck plate in the port locker is easier to access than the forward one by the level sensor. I have diesel jerry cans.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Ron Hill on May 01, 2019, 03:10:38 PM
Guys : I always went below and hit the calculator with .5 gal/hr for 28 years and 5000hs running!!  It was right ON!!
Why screw with other methods of fuel consumption????

A thought



Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jim Hardesty on May 01, 2019, 04:16:40 PM
Ron is right again.  :thumb:  The hour meter is the most accurate fuel gage.  When I fill up the date and hours go on a post-it note at the nav station (and of course the log book).  My fuel usage is about .75 gal/hour.
Jim
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on May 01, 2019, 06:25:46 PM
What I said was that I use gph as my primary method of monitoring fuel consumption. The fuel gauge is used as a reference. Gallons per indicator mark on the fuel gauge face will be correlated to gallons available when I fill the tank. The story pole is a back-up, not the primary method. Don't understand why any of this is controversial.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: britinusa on May 02, 2019, 06:28:33 AM
There's probably a good chance that the tanks were not exactly standard.

Here's my tank label.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Ron Hill on May 04, 2019, 01:37:26 PM
Paul : My 1988 tank stated 25 gal on it's data plate.  I'm sure that all C34 tanks are made to the same exterior Catalina dimension specs.  I believe that maybe different manufactures measure differently??   total capacity/usable capacity??
 
I'm sure that with the tank vent being on the top of the back side that my real capacity is only 23 gal!!  My 25 gal would "over flow" down to only 23 gal!

My Guessing  :donno:!!
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Noah on May 04, 2019, 03:26:09 PM
Ron and Paul- The vent on both my old tank and my new tank were/is located on the top of tank, not the back side.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: britinusa on May 05, 2019, 06:05:45 AM
Ron and Paul- The vent on both my old tank and my new tank were/is located on the top of tank, not the back side.

Mine too.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on May 06, 2019, 03:09:03 PM
For anyone interested - I filled the tank with water to compare the actual gallons/volume per inch to the measurements I made earlier. I updated the original summary chart to reflect the actual volume and gallons per inch.

With the tank filled to the level sender, the total capacity is 26 gallons and ~40 ounces (but who's counting). 25 gallons would be a full tank with no diesel overflow into the vent line. There would be a little diesel sitting in the 1 1/2" diesel fill hose.

Next step is to check the CD SST deck fill cap to make sure it doesn't leak water. It doesn't feel like the o-ring is sealing like the plastic cap did. Final step is re-install the tank into the boat, fill with diesel while documenting gallons per indicator mark on the fuel gauge.

A couple photos and updated PDF diagram/chart are attached.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: britinusa on May 07, 2019, 12:49:44 PM
For me, those pics raise more questions.
Ok, two inspection plate holes.
One Fuel Fill line - connected to the vent and the fill
One Fuel fill sender hole
but what are the other holes?

FYI Eximius is a 1987 Mk 1 also. #463

Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on May 07, 2019, 02:36:57 PM
Using the bottom photo from my post yesterday as reference -

3 holes on left side top to bottom are fuel supply to Racor, level sender, fuel return.

Moving right are two holes with fastener hole patterns for new access plates. Access plates are 8” Seabuilt brand.

Small tube on tank top right end is the tank vent. On the tank end vertical surface is the 1 1/2” stub for the tank fill hose connection.

The gray piece is a rubber P-trap I used temporarily so water wouldn’t drain when I completely filled the tank as part of comparing actual tank capacity to my measurements. It won’t be used on the boat.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on May 07, 2019, 03:22:55 PM
Maybe this photo of the assembled tank (minus ground wires for access plates) ready to be installed helps? This photo is oriented like it will be installed. The FWD end of the tank is on the right, and the AFT end of the tank is on the left.

Keep in mind, this photo is reversed from the photo I used to answer your questions earlier about what holes are what. Not trying to be confusing, just the way the photos I took ended up.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: britinusa on May 08, 2019, 05:58:42 AM
Ah! got it. Thanks.
Title: Re: Diesel Fuel Tank Volume - 1987 MK 1
Post by: Jon W on May 14, 2019, 04:18:26 PM
Well, extra effort and good intentions don't always result in what you want. Installed the tank the other day, began filling it by gallon today. Got to 7 gallons in the tank, went down below to make sure the fill hose wasn't leaking. Looked at the forward end, and oh no the tank is leaking. Frustrating that it leaks now after being filled with water and simple green for days without any leaks. I guess the debris I cleaned out is what was plugging the hole. :shock:

Drained and pulled the tank, and brought it to a local metal guy I've used for other work. He's fitting me into his schedule and hopefully I'll have a new tank in a couple weeks. Material will be upgraded to 3/16" thick, and the fill tube put on top of the tank instead of the end.

I think the moral here is, if your tank is original you're on borrowed time.