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Old 14 April 2006, 10:29   #1
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Viper -No Fuel Guage - How much is left!!!!

I just bought an ex-dive Viper with the standard built in tank. It was supposed to have a fuel guage but in fact only has the fuel sender in the tank and no guage. This may or may not work but the non-existent wiring is not inspiring.

With the extended and convoluted filler and breather hoses I can't see (by the light of my cigarette lighter of course!) any way to tell how much fuel is in the tank (apart from performing the slosh test by picking the boat up and shaking it). But I don't want to do that too often so any ideas would be welcome.

I'd appreciate it if anyone out there has figures for the resistance readings the sender should give at empty to full and also where I might lay hands on a suitable guage?

Othewise I fear having to replace the sender with a matched guage+sender unit and it looks like it's glassed in with the tank.

The sender is very vulnerable sitting right where all the straps/weigh belts/spare anchor/chain/O2bottle/WHY get dumped into the console so maybe some of you have had this problem. It's also why I'll be surprised if it still works.

Have a great Long Weekend - I'll be spending mine in search of a very long flexible dip stick!

D
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Old 14 April 2006, 10:52   #2
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Stevetheboat on this forum will sell you a gauge. He does them as a kit, c/w sender unit, but if your sender's ok, the gauge should be compatible. I think they're pretty universal. The kit costs around £30. They're also often on e-bay. Here's a link for one on sale now:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Fuel-Tank-Gaug...QQcmdZViewItem

Good luck
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Old 14 April 2006, 11:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daibheid
The sender is very vulnerable sitting right where all the straps/weigh belts/spare anchor/chain/O2bottle/WHY get dumped into the console so maybe some of you have had this problem. It's also why I'll be surprised if it still works.D
I was going to say most of the Osprey viper tanks that are under a console are normally either 20 or 30 gallons. However I am not sure what you have got, any chance of some photos ? The long flexible dip stick approach is much more reliable than some fuel gauges btw. Empty the tank, then fill it up in five gallon shots at the garage marking the stick as you go. Whats the boat length ?

Pete
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Old 14 April 2006, 13:39   #4
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I wouldn't write the sender off without testing it. It might be worth cleaning up the contacts on the top of it and connecting it to a compatible gauge. The working parts are immersed in an oily enviroment so could be ok.
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Old 14 April 2006, 15:24   #5
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fuel meter

Have you seen the Navman fuel flow meters?

Rgds
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Old 18 April 2006, 05:54   #6
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Great suggestions all -thanks. Anyone have numbers for testing the sender?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7
However I am not sure what you have got, any chance of some photos ? The long flexible dip stick approach is much more reliable than some fuel gauges btw. Empty the tank, then fill it up in five gallon shots at the garage marking the stick as you go. Whats the boat length ?

Pete
Pete it's a 5.25 -pic attached and I can get a pic of the tank/sender if that was what you actually meant? Good idea on the fill and graduate although emptying the tank might be messy. I could probably just add fuel in steps and get an idea of the level difference by adding 5 gallons (or 25 litres as I should use!).I could then extrapolate and graduate from empty, the bottom of the dipstick, without emptying it.
I abslutely agree about the reliability of guages but at least they give you some indication whether you're approaching Bingo and need to stop and get the dipstick out before you start sucking air. Even small 2 strokes IMHO are very unpredictable and variable on burn rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice
I wouldn't write the sender off without testing it. It might be worth cleaning up the contacts on the top of it and connecting it to a compatible gauge. The working parts are immersed in an oily enviroment so could be ok.
Alice I'm with you on this one and suspect it's just the wires got obliterated. But I don't know yet how to check the sender 8-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Downhilldai
Stevetheboat on this forum will sell you a gauge. He does them as a kit, c/w sender unit, but if your sender's ok, the gauge should be compatible. I think they're pretty universal. The kit costs around £30. They're also often on e-bay. Here's a link for one on sale now:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Fuel-Tank-Gaug...QQcmdZViewItem

Good luck
Thanks Dai for the suggestion- if all else fails this could be very useful. However I'd really prefer not to have to break the seal into the tank. That spot gets plenty wet and a bulit-in tank is not somewhere I want to risk contamination. But the link is filed! I'll contact Steve about a guage if I can establish the sender is OK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ezgoing
Have you seen the Navman fuel flow meters?

Rgds
Hi Ez, I glanced at the Navman idea but I'm Humminbird based and frankly after spending the New Bathroom loan from the credit union on the boat I've enough damage done on the finances for a bit without switching electronics package!

Thanks again to everyone for a solid bunch of helpful contributions. now if someone can just tell me how to check a working sender. I have good access to multimeters etc.

Dave

PS Pete I see you flying the flag in your sig for Drivers Wharf - I'm happy to endorse them too as I dealt with them last year (Gill) and found her terrific to deal with and their rates very reasonable
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Old 18 April 2006, 06:09   #7
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NAVMAN F2100 fuel flow gauge is perfect.

since I calibrated mine (ie filled up - used loads of fuel then filled up again and told the meter how much i used) - It is now accurate to within one litre over 110 litres of used fuel (that's better then 1%)

Every time i fill the tank up i reset it to 180 litres and i always know Exactly how much fuel is in my tank

I picked mine up from the states for around £70 and it only needs a single 2" hole drilled in the dash
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Old 18 April 2006, 07:43   #8
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Dave, the Vipers had either 20 gallon (90L) or 30 gallon (130) tanks, unless you have something really odd (unlikely). From memory The 20 gallon tank left about 9 inches between the back of the tank and the underdeck tube. the 30 gallon tank was tight up against the the underdeck tube. However there is another way of working it out. I think the tanks are 18" deep (but it was 10 years ago) , so if you measure the width and length you have the volume. Charles (CT01) found this site which will help with the calcs.

http://www.onlineconversion.com/

The tank is wrapped in glass then set in through the deck and more glass added. When I dropped a torch into my viper tank (don't ask) I had to cut the tank and put one of these in from Vetus. It might be an option as the fuel gauge is going to be a sod to get out.

Superb boats for there size btw

Pete
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Old 18 April 2006, 07:48   #9
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Final thought, I am not an electrician, but I think the fuel sender units are a variable resistor, it wouldn't take much to convert one into a heating element by connecting it up wrong and its all exposed inside the tank.

Pete
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Old 18 April 2006, 08:31   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7
Final thought, I am not an electrician, but I think the fuel sender units are a variable resistor, it wouldn't take much to convert one into a heating element by connecting it up wrong and its all exposed inside the tank.

Pete
So my previous faffing about swapping the wires around till it worked wasnt really a good idea!!!
Andy
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Old 18 April 2006, 10:22   #11
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Osprey Sender Unit.

I replaced the sender unit on our Osprey a few years ago.

Although the sender unit looked as if it was glassed in after looking more carefully it was actually held in place with stainless steel screws, so was quite easy to remove and test and then replace.

Have a closer look it may be that with a little careful removal of some glass fibre you may be able to see screw heads.

Also I think the 90 litre tank is contained within the consul, if you have a 130ltr tank it will stick out a little at the base of the consul.

I am a big fan of the Viper but I would say that mine is 12 years old this year..
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Old 18 April 2006, 10:51   #12
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Hi guys... long time no RIBnet!

My viper gauge was also held in with small nuts (studds glassed into top of the tank) and i managed to buy a new sender and install it HOWEVER i would strongly asvise against this because since i broke the seal i had lots of problems with getting a new seal - tried lots of rubbers and sealants and in the end had to glass right over the top of all the wires and connections to stop it leaking.

The fuel gauge is a variable resistor, yes. Don't recall the range but they are petty standard in the marine world. I could find it out and tell you if required - if you know how to use a multimeter you could then test the sender, but any (make) of marine gauge should work - a quicksilver one is quite common in most chandlers. I may have one if you can't source one. I also have a new sender if you want to buy it.
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Old 18 April 2006, 12:37   #13
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Well my viper must be the exception to the rule. I can only seem to fill with 15 gallons max.

Have a word with Dave Manning off here, Dave seems to be Dr.Viper
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Old 18 April 2006, 14:54   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
The fuel gauge is a variable resistor, yes. Don't recall the range but they are petty standard in the marine world.
No they're not, you've got the choice of euro or american!
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Old 19 April 2006, 07:47   #15
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OK, OK, but i've never had a yankie boat - and they don't make RIBs i don't think. Would it be fair to assume unless we had an american boat they are all compatable or would we be seeing amerian senders in european tanks and boats?
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Old 19 April 2006, 10:58   #16
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Sender looks functional 20KOhm reading at 40% full

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
...My viper gauge was also held in with small nuts (studds glassed into top of the tank) and i managed to buy a new sender and install it HOWEVER i would strongly asvise against this because since i broke the seal i had lots of problems with getting a new seal - tried lots of rubbers and sealants and in the end had to glass right over the top of all the wires and connections to stop it leaking.

The fuel gauge is a variable resistor, yes. Don't recall the range but they are petty standard in the marine world. I could find it out and tell you if required - if you know how to use a multimeter you could then test the sender, but any (make) of marine gauge should work - a quicksilver one is quite common in most chandlers. I may have one if you can't source one. I also have a new sender if you want to buy it.
Thanks Daniel for confirming what I believed about not breaking the seal unless absolutely essential. That seal is under serious dynamic hydraulic pressure when the boat is bouncing down and the fuel is sloshing backward.

I got a resistance reading of 20KOhms at about 40% full. the fact it's not open circuit looks good so guage looks worth a shot. If you can give me hte range I'd appreciate it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper
I replaced the sender unit on our Osprey a few years ago.

Although the sender unit looked as if it was glassed in after looking more carefully it was actually held in place with stainless steel screws, so was quite easy to remove and test and then replace.
.......
Also I think the 90 litre tank is contained within the consul, if you have a 130ltr tank it will stick out a little at the base of the consul.
Hi Viper, (I take it you're never going to change to anything other than another Viper <GRIN> seems to be some strong brand loyalty among Viper owners here!) You're right about access to it once the crud is cleared away but it looks like it may be OK. With your info and what Pete said about space back to the services tube, the pic attached suggests it's a 90L tank.
BTW what was wrong with your sender that you had to replace it?

So how did I establish it's 40% full? Well I eventually figured out a way to dip the tank. After quite a while of wandering around the garden and garage looking for inspiration (it worked for Newton and he didn't even get off his ass) with all dipstick ideas tempered by Pete's tantalising mention about getting his torch out of his tank, I'd tried quite a few items without success. Then I tried a fibreglass sail batten out of a sailboard sail and it went right past the S bend of the plastic tube but fouled on the metal lip of the tank. I cut across it at 45deg and filed a one-sided chamfer on to that (so it looked a bit like a dagger tip) and with a slight twist as the 45deg point touched the tank/hose joint Eureka it went on past the joint to thump the bottom of the tank giving me a reasonable indication of the fuel level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roycruse
NAVMAN F2100 fuel flow gauge is perfect.
..........
I picked mine up from the states for around £70 and it only needs a single 2" hole drilled in the dash
Sounds like the ultimate solution (and source) -thanks Roy. If I still have the boat in a year I'll probably spring for one of these. BTW great website especially that wakeboarding vid.

Finally
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler
No they're not, you've got the choice of euro or american!
Thanks Dirk for pointing that out - great to see someone in the UK sticking up for the poor Euro<YUKYUK>
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Old 19 April 2006, 12:31   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
OK, OK, but i've never had a yankie boat - and they don't make RIBs i don't think. Would it be fair to assume unless we had an american boat they are all compatable or would we be seeing amerian senders in european tanks and boats?
What has yanks not making ribs got to do with it? I thought we were talking about fuel senders! Especially as you run a merc, you'll most lkely be running an American spec sender, especially if you have smart gauges!. If you have Merc Instruments, or Mariner, or Yamaha, then the instruments will be US spec! Doesn't mean to say that your fuel sender will be the same, but it's unusual for a builder to mix and match!

Out of interest, a US spec fuel sender is commonly referred to as a "240 ohm sender"
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Old 19 April 2006, 12:46   #18
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I was refering to RIBS being built in the UK using euro senders, but yes OK point taken about quicksilver instruments.

The smart gauges can be calibrated which may make them independent of EURO or US senders - or it may not. Someone may know more than me here.
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Old 19 April 2006, 15:15   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
Someone may know more than me here.
You don't say!
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Old 09 May 2006, 07:18   #20
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Another ebay return.

I see this 'ex dive rib' Osprey Viper is back on Ebay.

Did the fuel sender get sorted?
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