Fuel Tank Pickup Troubles

boataddict

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2020
170
33
Point Pleasant, NJ
So, I know my boat has the fuel pickups in the front of the tanks, as dumb as that may be. I initially ran out of fuel with about 5 gallons in the tank while on plane. After filling the tanks with about 20 gallons I was good to go on my next ride.

After burning no more than 5 gallons, I had issue again last time out with running out of fuel on plane.

Took a look at the tank yesterday and noticed it appears that the pickup tube completely rotted away. I'm not surprised it's gone, but I'm surprised the boat was running at all, as there was a huge clog of the broken down hose in the exit of the tank. This is what it looked like when I fished it out:
PXL_20220612_172026881.jpg


I ordered a 24" pickup tube that I am going to try to snake down towards the back of the tank to help with the fuel supply issues on plane. Hopefully that helps the issue.

I inspected both the fuel return and supply fittings- correct me if I'm wrong but the fuel supply going to the motor comes from the larger hose at the bottom of the image below correct?

PXL_20220612_172643617.MP.jpg
PXL_20220612_172019345.jpg
 

Ship

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2008
11,953
305
Atlantic City, NJ area
What I am seeing is fuel separation because of E10. Your tank probably has more crust in it. By the way, you can get and use plastic pickups that can bend and be snaked to the back inside corner of the tank. The ethanol can and will corrode the aluminum tank and pickup.
 

boataddict

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2020
170
33
Point Pleasant, NJ
What I am seeing is fuel separation because of E10. Your tank probably has more crust in it. By the way, you can get and us plastic pickups that can bend and be snaked to the back inside corner of the tank. The ethanol can and will corrode the aluminum tank and pickup.
I believe it. I do think some of that garbage is from the plastic pickup which disintegrated. I change my fuel filter religiously since I know the tanks are full of some junk still. Going to replace them this winter. I ordered a 24" plastic pickup tube in the meantime which I'll definitely snake back there as best I can.
 

Ship

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2008
11,953
305
Atlantic City, NJ area
Go as far back as you can. Add tube if needed. AND siphon some gas from that back corner and let it separate in a clear container. You will get an idea of how much water is in the bottom and be able to access if you need to drain and replace the gas and water. The E10 sucks the moisture out of the air and the only way to get rid of it is more ethanol gas additive which only makes it worse.
 

crhodes

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
2,718
88
Southport, NC
Don't think you are going to like what I have to say but I'll give you my honest two cents worth....

It appears in the photo that the sending unit is closest to the boats center. If so this would be the deep side of the tank and would be the pickup/suction side which I believe is consistent with what you described. (Unless this is a center mounted tank, the tank's bottom on stock tanks has a shallow side on the gunnel and a deep side near the keel.) Guessing the metal object on the hose is a check valve on the suction side which is normal.

Now that gunk on the pickup tube, as Ship stated, definitely appears to be the result of E-10. Regardless where it came from it's got to go! You may have success emptying the tank, pulling the sending unit, flushing with high water flow, and vacuuming/blowing out the tanks; but, as Ship indicated, there may be damage to the inside of the tank in areas which cannot be inspected. Assuming you can get non-ethanol in New Jersey, I would think hard about replacing the tanks unless they are very new. That will 1) make existing sludge a moot point and 2) let you sleep at night regarding tank integrity. I have seen too many boat fires, with serious injuries on some, to not take this seriously. Not what you wanted to hear, and a bit controversial, but you did say your pickup tube "completely rotted away."

Good luck.
 

Ship

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2008
11,953
305
Atlantic City, NJ area
Don't think you are going to like what I have to say but I'll give you my honest two cents worth....

It appears in the photo that the sending unit is closest to the boats center. If so this would be the deep side of the tank and would be the pickup/suction side which I believe is consistent with what you described. (Unless this is a center mounted tank, the tank's bottom on stock tanks has a shallow side on the gunnel and a deep side near the keel.) Guessing the metal object on the hose is a check valve on the suction side which is normal.

Now that gunk on the pickup tube, as Ship stated, definitely appears to be the result of E-10. Regardless where it came from it's got to go! You may have success emptying the tank, pulling the sending unit, flushing with high water flow, and vacuuming/blowing out the tanks; but, as Ship indicated, there may be damage to the inside of the tank in areas which cannot be inspected. Assuming you can get non-ethanol in New Jersey, I would think hard about replacing the tanks unless they are very new. That will 1) make existing sludge a moot point and 2) let you sleep at night regarding tank integrity. I have seen too many boat fires, with serious injuries on some, to not take this seriously. Not what you wanted to hear, and a bit controversial, but you did say your pickup tube "completely rotted away."

Good luck.
Cecil, the only non ethanol I have been able to find here in NJ is aviation gas. Way expensive BEFORE price increases.
 

boataddict

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2020
170
33
Point Pleasant, NJ
Don't think you are going to like what I have to say but I'll give you my honest two cents worth....

It appears in the photo that the sending unit is closest to the boats center. If so this would be the deep side of the tank and would be the pickup/suction side which I believe is consistent with what you described. (Unless this is a center mounted tank, the tank's bottom on stock tanks has a shallow side on the gunnel and a deep side near the keel.) Guessing the metal object on the hose is a check valve on the suction side which is normal.

Now that gunk on the pickup tube, as Ship stated, definitely appears to be the result of E-10. Regardless where it came from it's got to go! You may have success emptying the tank, pulling the sending unit, flushing with high water flow, and vacuuming/blowing out the tanks; but, as Ship indicated, there may be damage to the inside of the tank in areas which cannot be inspected. Assuming you can get non-ethanol in New Jersey, I would think hard about replacing the tanks unless they are very new. That will 1) make existing sludge a moot point and 2) let you sleep at night regarding tank integrity. I have seen too many boat fires, with serious injuries on some, to not take this seriously. Not what you wanted to hear, and a bit controversial, but you did say your pickup tube "completely rotted away."

Good luck.
Yeah I get it, but I know it's not leaking right now thankfully, as I examined the entire compartment. As I said, I'll definitely be replacing it this winter, no doubt about it. Good to know about the dimensions.
 

Ship

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2008
11,953
305
Atlantic City, NJ area
Don't think you are going to like what I have to say but I'll give you my honest two cents worth....

It appears in the photo that the sending unit is closest to the boats center. If so this would be the deep side of the tank and would be the pickup/suction side which I believe is consistent with what you described. (Unless this is a center mounted tank, the tank's bottom on stock tanks has a shallow side on the gunnel and a deep side near the keel.) Guessing the metal object on the hose is a check valve on the suction side which is normal.

Now that gunk on the pickup tube, as Ship stated, definitely appears to be the result of E-10. Regardless where it came from it's got to go! You may have success emptying the tank, pulling the sending unit, flushing with high water flow, and vacuuming/blowing out the tanks; but, as Ship indicated, there may be damage to the inside of the tank in areas which cannot be inspected. Assuming you can get non-ethanol in New Jersey, I would think hard about replacing the tanks unless they are very new. That will 1) make existing sludge a moot point and 2) let you sleep at night regarding tank integrity. I have seen too many boat fires, with serious injuries on some, to not take this seriously. Not what you wanted to hear, and a bit controversial, but you did say your pickup tube "completely rotted away."

Good luck.
Cecil, the only non ethanol I have been able to find here in NJ is aviator gas. Way expensive BEFORE price increases
 

boataddict

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2020
170
33
Point Pleasant, NJ
Well, of course after putting in the new pickup tube with the small screen in it, it clogged up after a couple minutes on plane. I guess the lack of screen filter before bought me more time as it was more difficult to clog, and the water fuel separator/filter was taking care of any residue headed to the engine.

So I called around asking about tanks.
The place in Bayville, NJ speedytanks wants 1250 PER TANK. They were also pretty rude on the phone as well.

I’m trying for the life of me to get around completely replacing the tanks with one of these custom beasts, because that’s just an absurd amount of dough to drop on fuel tanks. I was hoping I could find a pre made tank, even at lower capacity for a lot cheaper. The only one that I could find that may fit was only 25 gallons. After buying two of those I’m still in for 700 for just the tanks and who knows what sort of fittings and things I’d need to buy to get them to work properly- even then I’d be at way too low of a capacity.

Open to suggestions. Was really planning to replace at least one tank this winter, now it seems like the boat won’t really be usable until I do it. That was when I thought it was going to be about 1500 for both tanks based on some quotes I’ve seen on this site over the past few years. Now I don’t know what to do. Moneys tight the next couple years- finishing school so won’t see a paycheck for two more years

If anyone knows of any better shops to contact for tanks, or simpler tank designs, let me know. Wouldn’t be opposed to like a 35 gallon each capacity or something close to it.
 

DaveR

Well-Known Member
Aug 5, 2012
697
29
St Augustine FL
Pull the tank or tanks,I’m assuming you have two. It’s a fairly easy job once you get the foam cut out around them. clean the tanks on the inside and out. Pressure test the tanks to 2.5-3 psi. If your all good and they hold ,coat them with interprotect and reinstall And you have a couple hundred in materials. Tanks seem to last between 20-30 years. If pulled and inspectEd often maybe longer. If they don’t hold then you’re putting new tanks in. I’ve got a bunch of sets of tanks from Action Manufacturing. Richard Shepards contact info is on this site somewhere.
 


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