Our technicians have recently reported their caution when replacing fuel pumps on their clients’ marine inboard engines. This issue revolves around a dangerous scenario if a boating operator doesn’t properly clear the bilge of dangerous fumes before starting their equipment. Earlier marine inboard engines had a fuel pump that, when their diaphragm would rupture, it would fill the bilge with fuel. This can be extremely dangerous and could lead to an explosion, so watch out!
The good news is that now newer fuel pumps have this covered, with excess fuel from the failed pump spilling into the intake manifold. Presto! The marine engine may choke out, but the fuel stays out of the bilge, preventing the dangerous situation. A cleverly designed hose barb routes the fuel through a tube, and the dangerous scenario is avoided.
Can we update older marine systems to maintain safety and reliability? Yes we can, replacing the older version with the newer hose barb equipped fuel pump.
But while there are a multitude of fuel pumps out there on a variety of marine inboard engines, special attention is needed for the inlet, outlet, and separator fittings, which is located differently in relation to the rocker arm. Even on the same engine, the location of these fittings can be different, so keep in mind to use the old pump for reference.
Although the blower system will clear out the dangerous fumes, even with these precautions, gasoline that has not pumped overboard by the pump can still accumulate in the bilge.
When the boat is engaged and you’re sailing along, most often the blower system is turned off. It is much safer to leave the blower system on when people are on your vessel, and the engine is engaged. Sniffers are a wonderful product and should be installed when possible, because an alert will sound with the fuel pumps fumes are approaching dangerous levels, signaling when the blower system should be activated.
Bottom-line, with a little foresight, we can continue to enjoy the water responsibly and safely. Call Eagle Engine Sales today and we can discuss marine fuel pumps! We look forward to talking with you!