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Old 29 July 2007, 13:16   #1
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Water in the fuel

Well, 0800 and there I was on my way to Scarba. Super day, calm and sunny with the morning nip still in the air. 3500 revs and engine purring sweetly as we headed down the glassy loch.

Then , it suddenly slowed. Thinking I'd caught some seaweed or a plastic bag I slipped her into neutral and she stopped. No weed, no bag, no steam, no start. Symptoms were like fuel starvation, but clear liquid came out of the transom filter, not the brown stuff one might find in the tank at the beginning of the season.

Broken down, we were and not a soul in sight. Thank goodness for my tiny little Johnson, which got us back to the mooring at 3 knots.

Using the fast idle lever I managed to coax a bit of life from the engine, but no power and not for long. Still, it wasn't ignition, must be fuel. When I noticed the clear liquid running from the filter drain into the bilge didn't smell and was running off my then oily hands I had the answer. After a bit I saw the surface line marking the water petrol separation creeping down the glass. That was that then.It meant the whole engine fuel system was full of water .

I've changed the engine filter, drained the float chambers, pumped fuel through until no more water seemed to be coming from the chambers. And it won't start . Dead.

I'd value some advice as to what to try next. The boat's on a mooring and I'd rather not pull her out if I can help it.

Would it help to blow through the fuel feeds to the carbs? Should I just keep churning her over on the starter until she fires? Any ideas welcome (well, almost any).

OK, I know I could just have said, 'Ive fed my engine water, how do I get it going again?', but the whole thing was an adventure for me, so please bear with me. There's a pretty picture attached.
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Old 29 July 2007, 13:35   #2
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Have a close look at your carbs. Hopefully they've got drain screws. If they have, undo them and drain them. If not,then if possible loosen the floatbowls off and empty them by tilting the engine as far as possible. That should avoid disturbing the carb synch.

Then put a couple of capfulls of Wynns Dry fuel into half a litre of fuel and run the engine on it til it runs out. It WILL be a bugger to start, but DONT rev it-keep it at tickover. That'll clear any remaining water out of the carbs.
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Old 30 July 2007, 13:19   #3
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Originally Posted by Nos4r2 View Post
Have a close look at your carbs. Hopefully they've got drain screws. If they have, undo them and drain them. If not,then if possible loosen the floatbowls off and empty them by tilting the engine as far as possible. That should avoid disturbing the carb synch.

Then put a couple of capfulls of Wynns Dry fuel into half a litre of fuel and run the engine on it til it runs out. It WILL be a bugger to start, but DONT rev it-keep it at tickover. That'll clear any remaining water out of the carbs.
Thanks Nos,

Yes, the carbs have drain plugs and I used them yesterday. I looked again today and from the outside they don't seem to be at the lowest point of the float chamber. Today was calmer and I could trim the engine right in parallel with the raked transom. Full starboard helm tipped the engine the right way and I got a good deal more water out. Thought I'd try it before the 46 mile round trip to get some Dry Fuel. With the jump starter connected to help the battery, which was out of breath from yesterday, I tried it and it fired. You were right though, it WAS a bugger to start. Gave it 15 mins on tick over while it got smoother running, then a blast round the loch. Sweet as a nut now. Guess I just needed the confidence boost you gave me.

Incidentally, I put the water in the tank myself. Got some cans mixed up and tipped in all the crud I'd pumped out at the beginning of the season. Also syphoned some fuel from my car ( safer than carrying another thirty litres inside) and might have got some water from that tank too. Boats are always teaching you things.
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Old 30 July 2007, 14:02   #4
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You probably still need to chuck a bit of "dry fuel" in there-you never get everything out with the drain screws. Don't chuck it in the tank though-if you've got a considerable amount of water in there it'll emulsify it with the fuel to the point of making the fuel useless.
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Old 30 July 2007, 14:47   #5
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Don't chuck it in the tank though-if you've got a considerable amount of water in there it'll emulsify it with the fuel to the point of making the fuel useless.
Good stuff that dry fuel , but i had never thought of that . Good point . I wonder if wynns give any advice on just how much Fuel/water ratio it will deal with .
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Old 30 July 2007, 17:51   #6
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Good stuff that dry fuel , but i had never thought of that . Good point . I wonder if wynns give any advice on just how much Fuel/water ratio it will deal with .
We used it on Sixy's XS650 a couple of years ago to clean the tank out and it made it an absolute pain to start with only a couple of tablespoons of water mixed in with the fuel.

Since then I just use quite a significant overdose in a litre or two of fuel (depending on how much water's in there) and bin what comes out. Anything left will run through without problems.
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Old 31 July 2007, 04:22   #7
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You probably still need to chuck a bit of "dry fuel" in there-you never get everything out with the drain screws. Don't chuck it in the tank though-if you've got a considerable amount of water in there it'll emulsify it with the fuel to the point of making the fuel useless.
I'm sure you're right. I'll give the dry fuel a go - from a separate container. The last six litres I pumped out of the tank, with a small syphon pump and the inlet pipe on the bottom of the tank, didn't pick up any more water so I think all will be ok. The transom water separator will handle any that's left, I'm sure. So far, that's clear but I'll keep a close eye on it for a while.
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