Check those fuel lines!

Santiago - 6-11-2017 at 09:00 AM

Last day on the water, at the back end of Don Juan Cove and my 115hp merc quits, won't restart. No big deal, I switch the fuel valve to my kicker and can't get it to start either (I always start both in camp before launching).

I start pumping the fuel bulb and can not get it fill with gas. I know that I can not possibly be out of gas, it was full the day before and the gauge, which can be a bit sketchy, shows half a tank. The only other boat in the cove comes over and says they are leaving and do we want a tow in.

We agree and after getting on the trailer and back to camp, I put 12 gallons of fuel in the 39 gallon tank and start pumping the bulb as hard and as fast as I can - after 3 or 4 minutes I start to feel fuel going thru it and then a very small leak in the line that runs from the valve to the main motor starts to drip gas.

Here is my analysis, tell me if you agree:
a small crack in the line opened up while trolling with the 115 so the fuel above the crack went to the engine until it was out; the fuel below the crack simply drained into the tank which is below the floor boards. When I cranked the 115, it was just pulling air; but when I turned the valve to the kicker, there is about 10' of empty hose and no amount of pulling the start cord will ever pull the fuel all the way to the kicker; you have to pump the bulb maybe 50 times to get the fuel to the kicker. Since my tow boat was leaving, I did not spend enough time doing this and accepted the tow.

Barry A. - 6-11-2017 at 07:43 PM

Just guessing, but air entering the fuel line thru the hole I believe is the culprit. Any hole in the fuel line that allows air to flow thru it into the fuel line negates the pumping ability of the "hand bulb" (it just sucks in air thru the hole in the line rather than pumping fuel, and ditto for the engine's ability to pump fuel). Thus, you never build up any fuel pressure to the engines.

Solution (if you can id the leak): cut out the small leaky section of fuel-line with a knife and repair with an inline-insert-nipple and stainless hose clamps.

BajaGlenn - 6-11-2017 at 07:57 PM

Would be a good place for an inline filter???

Barry A. - 6-11-2017 at 08:04 PM

Good point, BajaGlenn.