This Round Goes to the Bubbles
28 December 2011 | Vero Beach Marina
We left our mooring ball this morning, stopped at the fuel dock to pay for our mooring, take on water, and walk Fuzzy one last time and headed out. Away from Vero Beach at last. I checked the engine. Yes, the stuffing box was dripping nicely. Yes, the Racor was bubbling, perhaps more than ever. We got out into the main channel, Bud opened the engine up and… it slowed right back down. Fuel starved, gulping bubbles. He had me get the anchor ready in case it quit altogether, we turned around and came right back to mooring ball # 31 at Velcro Beach.
The good news is that Pete made the air leak so bad that it confirmed our diagnosis. Bud took apart the new fittings Pete had installed and found the same type of fittings we’d had in there, only Pete had bought one with the wrong sized hose barb, so the fuel hose wasn’t secure on it. He took them ashore to talk to Pete, who insisted that two places he’d visited yesterday had told him these fittings would work (that’s what they told Bud when we put them in originally). Only Pete insisted what he’d bought was slightly different from what we had (they weren’t). He also told Bud that West Marine had fittings for our Racor in their catalog. So after contacting Ace marine and having John search unsuccessfully through his van for a fitting to go from the straight flare hydraulic fitting now on the Racor to the pipe thread fitting for the fuel hose barb, we hopped the bus for West Marine.
For a mere $30 extra we had two fittings ordered for overnight delivery that would go into the Racor and end directly in fuel barbs. We then just had to get fittings to go from 3/8-inch line to ¼-inch line, which we were also able to purchase at West Marine.
Meanwhile, Don, Pete’s friend and sometimes helper, mentioned again how much better our system would work if we moved the little electric fuel pump down to a low point in the system. Then it would prime the Racor without having to dump diesel in from a bottle, act as a check valve to keep fuel from draining back out of the Racor and eliminate a lot of fittings and valves that Bud had between the Racor and the engine. It made enough sense that we decided to do it. The photo shows the fuel pump all plumbed and wired in it’s new home by the fuel manifolds under the galley floor.
Tomorrow we get the new Racor fittings; bubbles beware!