View Full Version : Water in Fuel Problem

09-05-2005, 04:16 PM
I just got my boat back from the shop and was told that the boat was having trouble running at idle and water in the fuel was the most likely problem. All ignition components were checked for proper operation. As some of you may know, I took on a LARGE amount of water a few months back, and the boat ran just fine before that, trolling an all, so it seems logical. The advice I was given at the shop was to drain ALL the gas and dispose of it, put new gas in and give it a whirl. With the price of gas these days, is there another option to try and fix this problem? Is there an additive that removes water? Is a fuel/water separator the way to go? If I dispose of the existing fuel, is there somewhere that will accept and dispose of it? Advice is appreciated! Thanks!


09-05-2005, 04:29 PM
Id do what they say. However, not that extreme right off the bat...

See if this sounds like a possibility. Disconnect you fuel hose on the suction side of your fuel pump. Drain and flush your system from there on. Connect a remote fuel tank with a clean hose to your fuel pump and take the boat for a test drive using the fresh fuel and cleaned out pump/carb./lines/etc. If you run well again, you've now narrowed down your problem to bad fuel in your tank and you can procede with the shops advice.

The biggest benefit to doing it this way, is that you don't waste an entire tank of gas not knowing that that is the problem. Only guessing that it is.

09-05-2005, 05:12 PM
I drove a truck for 10 years and we always had to use fuel water separators because diesel has lots of water in it. *They are just a small tank the size of a small propane disposable and now I am putting it on my list to use one. *For one, every time I turn the knob to let the water flow out the bottom, (often pieces of dirt too), I will know how much water I am getting. *Gas floats and water sinks so the water flows out the bottom. *I think I am going to do it soon just in case. *Water will shorten engine life.http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/gary-james@prodigy.net/detail?.dir=/b2c5&.dnm=2841.jpg&.src=ph

09-05-2005, 08:09 PM
Way back in 02 when I was a kid we had some water remover that we could buy at any K-Mart, Wal Mart or Auto Parts Store. If I remember correctly the way they said it worked was that it allowed the water to mix with the fuel so that it could just be eliminated by being run through the engine with the fuel. When it was mixed that way you didn't even notice that you had water going through & when the tank was empty, the water was gone too. Someone said it was basically alcohol that allowed the water to mix with the gas & be moved through the system & out the tailpipe. Anyway it worked pretty darn good. I just used some about 5 years ago that I think I got at Kragan Auto.

09-05-2005, 09:07 PM
I've had to deal with your problem more times than I care to remember back in Florida. Hurricane damaged boats were the worse.

We used to siphon all of the fuel out of the tanks into plastic 50 liter carboys and let the water separate for a few hours. We'd then siphon the upper layer (the gas) back into the boat and add any commercial dri-gas product.

Since you probably don't have access to large semi-transparent containers, I would suggest a different approach. Open the port in your floor that provides access to the fuel level sending unit of your tank. This is usually the lowest point in the tank. Remove the sending unit with a wrench and insert a siphon hose attached to a rubber bulb or electric drill pump (like for changing oil on inboards). *Make sure that the hose is at the bottom of the tank and remover a gallon or so of fuel into a glass jug. If there is significant water present, you will see a cloudy mixture that will eventually separate out in to an upper layer of gas and a lower layer of water. *If you have more than 10% water, you have a problem that will likely only be solved by draining the tank and disposing of the fuel. But if you just have a little water, just install a water separating fuel filter. Racor makes them that have a clear plastic water collection vessel at the bottom. These filters do not allow any water to pass into your engine. The water just collects in the clear collection vessel as your engine runs. You can drain off the water as it is collected by the filter. However, if the collection vessel fills up, your engine will stall.

These filters are not cheap. But every boat with a permanent fuel tank should have one.


09-06-2005, 10:29 AM
donzitroller, I know a little about what you are talking about. I had the same problem a few months ago and it got me stuck on the river!! Water in the fuel is a common problem this time of the year, mostly if you haven't used your boat for a while. Ask any boat shop. Most inboards already have a water/fuel seperator installed. Like the previous post said, if you don't have one, get one!! I have one on my boat, but remember to dump it out or change the filter regularly. This season, I changed my filter, but unknowingly had so much water in the tank that the new filter collected so much water (after a few days/hours of use) that it rendered it ineffective. Also, after you get your problem solved, use a fuel additive to remove water such as Stabilize. Hope this helps a little! ;)

09-06-2005, 11:29 PM
I think if you have old gas you can take it to any fire Dept. to be disposed of, I did this but it was like ten years ago and it was only 10 gallons. Give you local Dept a call they would know where to take it ;)

09-07-2005, 08:38 AM
Donzitroller, another thing that I forgot to mention was the hookup of your kicker motor. I think in the past you put a kicker on your boat? Anyway, if you have a kicker, it's recommened not to hookup your kicker and your main engine to the same water/fuel seperator. Sometimes this can cause a fuel starvation problem (also can suck air). I found this out the hard way! Either route your kicker to the main tank, or add another filter. In any case too much water in the tank can still get you stuck!! >:(

09-07-2005, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the info and suggestions. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has suffered this problem. I'll dig into it a little more this weekend maybe. Silver, the kicker I put on has a separate gas tank that's kept under the sundeck so no problem there! I'll report what I find, and what works out!


11-13-2005, 04:07 PM
Water in fuel is a common problem on all boats. You should never run without a water fuel seperator. I would highly recommend you buy a quality unit like a racor. The cheap units don't work nearly as well and the racors have a drain on th bottom so you can drain water out easily. Water in fuel is a major problem especially in fuel injected motors. This could easily kill your motor even if its new.

11-15-2005, 08:19 PM
defenetly get the one with the drain. it has a clear blue plastic bottom to it. It is easy to see the water/junk. and is easy to drain. I always carry an extra filter element. as for the trolling moter goes I use a 3 gallon plastic can.

11-15-2005, 09:52 PM
I just went thru. the same problem on my old boat. After I got the old fule out I pulled a piece of dirt into the carb. and it clogged up one of the jets. $40 kit and carb. dip I am running again. I installed a remote fuel seperator unit similar to the pic. doc posted.

11-16-2005, 10:16 AM
for a water filter and mounting base go to napa and ask for a 4309 base and a 3123 filter. this filter has a drain petcock and is metal not plastic. the filter cost me $11.25

11-16-2005, 12:42 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of ethanol mixed gasoline, the ethanol attracts water.

Buy a good Raycor water fuel seperator and keep a ten micton filter on ot and change it out a minum of once a year or better twice a year.
Also keep a fuel stabalizer in your fuel at all times as this will help pull out the water and keep you motoring.

If you don't do this you will spend big bucks on repairs this spring.

Read this article


11-17-2005, 05:12 PM
i paid 35.00 for the base, 1.80 per foot for marine 3/8 fuel line plus hose clamps.. marine fuel line is thicker and supposed to resist salt etc. and i would not trust auto fuel hose.

11-17-2005, 08:13 PM
Great thread, guys. Thank you...