Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

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Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:11 pm

Thank You to everyone on this forum.

Today I walked into my 3880 and was hit in the face with a bad Diesel Fuel smell in the cabin. I checked the engine bilge - nothing. I checked the cabin bilge and UGGG... Pink Diesel Fuel.... I looked around and couldn't exactly pinpoint anything. So, I jumped on ROF and searched for Diesel Leak 3880. Found a string between Rommer, FranklyScarlet, and KellyG (Some others too I believe) that lead me to the problem. That is awesome!!

I had just recently filled the tanks up. I never do that, but this time we were going for a nice long trip. The trip to our destination was flat calm - no bouncing (no sloshing). Coming home was a nice 2 - 4' chop on the Chesapeake - head on too. Bounce Bounce / Slosh Slosh. When we got home and cleaned up I didn't notice anything - that was Sunday. I went back today and was hit hard with the smell. After a deductive thought process, and researching ROF - The fuel on the return trip was still fairly full. The sloshing of the fuel from the waves caused pressure against the top plate gaskets. ( the same gaskets that were leaking in the other post I read) The pressure caused that gasket to leak no doubt. I used a white paper towel and found the towel to have an oily residue on it. I checked the screws and few of them were a little loose on the sender.

So - now I need to find the gaskets for the SS Fuel Tank - Inspection port and sender. Any Thoughts on this or do I remove each screw and reinstall with some sealant approved for fuel. This was on the starboard tank. I'll test the Port tank when I go back to boat.

Also - it was 105 degrees in the boat, diesel fumes - Not Fun. I have a headache now as I type this. I removed about 3 gallons of water/fuel mixture from the bilge. It is in a 5 gallon bucket --- What should I do with it?

Lastly - I am scared the diesel smell will permanently soak into my soft goods. Any thoughts on that? I got most of the fuel out, I left my door open and closed the screen door. I had about a 12 oz of bilge cleaner and I dumped that in the bilge. I'll get more tomorrow. What should I do for that smell?

Thanks all!

Tim & Jen K
'Best Day Ever'
2006 3880
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Seven » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:07 am

Wow. That's not good but glad you got it sorted. I need to check my tanks this weekend...
We have been fighting a wet cabin bilge since we bought our 3880 and with the wet bilge is smelliness. I finally sorted out the sump box and so the source is gone but I have tried almost everything to fix the smell and most ideas don't work. Bilge cleaner is good maybe a little dish soap down the bilge and rinse out. Make sure bilge cleaner has citrus in it like orange, it will cut the diesel smell better. The problem is getting every last drop of water under the floor. I attached a small 1" hose to my shop vac to suck up as much as possible but still leaves some behind. Throw damp rid containers down there. I just picked up the big containers at lowes last night. Having diesels and full tanks you are probably level in the water or maybe a little stern heavy so the water should run back and into the engine compartment. Make sure you get all that standing water in there right in front of the batteries or it will run forward when moving.
The only thing that seems to clear the smell is our hepa filter. I bought a decent one at the beginning of the season and it stays on all the time. If it were gas I would say don't do it but diesel should be okay after its all cleaned up.
BTW, the smell will get pulled in through the AC. You can temporarily put charcoal filters over the AC screens or replace the screen with charcoal screen. You don't want any thing to stick to the air ducts because you will never get it out.
--2002 3880 Regal Flybridge | Twin Merc 8.1HO| **Seven**
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:09 am

Great suggestions - Thank you.

The mid-bilge and rear/Engine Bilge are only connected through the drill hole where the battery cables are run to the bow thruster. That is about 5-7" above the bottom. I don't think much, if any, water or fluid is mixed between the two Bilges.

Love the Charcoal Filter idea! And the Air Cleaner - I have one at home for my son - Bad Allergies. I'll bring that down to the boat.

Thanks! Other suggestions are welcomed.

(BTW - The Sump Box - At the end of each trip on my boat I put a little Head Treatment solution down the shower drain. That way that solution is sitting in the sump box while I am gone. It helps keep it cleaner and breaks down some of the 'gunk'. The 'gunk' is the smell stuff.)
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Seven » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:02 am

Sounds like yours is different which is an improvement. I have a small drain hole that flows back into the engine compartment at the bottom of the hull.

Thanks for the tip on the sump box. No issue with it smelling, its the water that leaked from the old box that created mildew. I installed a new Whale box and pump and it works awesome so far.

I also read tea tree helps kill spores for smells. I have been using it for 2 years and its okay but nothing to brag about. The gel is expensive but you can get the pure extract at walmart for like $6 a bottle. The gel lasts for about a month. The extract dissipates quick. Don't know if it will work with diesel smell.
--2002 3880 Regal Flybridge | Twin Merc 8.1HO| **Seven**
--2003 AB 13 VST Console Inflatable | Tohatsu 40hp TLDI **Phish'n ski**
--310 Mercury Inflatable | 1982 9.9 Johnson
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:36 pm

Diesel smell can be a tough one to get rid of because it won't evaporate over time. Its not been distilled enough, and has to much "oil" content and must be fully cleaned before it will go away. Simple green or dawn might help break up the oil residue but really needs to be all wiped down otherwise I am afraid that it could be smelly for a long time. Don't try to mask the smell actually clean it away. A friend had the same issue and took a long time to get it fully cleaned out so that over time the smell wouldn't come back again if its all buttoned up for a while.
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:50 pm

I’ve got bigger problems.
Went back to boat tonight to continue clean up. Bilge was full of Diesel again. So- I checked my fuel gauage. My starboard tank is on EMPTY! I have about 60 gallons of diesel laying in my bilge somewhere I can’t see. I’m so upset over this! Appreciate any advice!!!
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:14 pm

Sorry to hear.

You need to pull it out of the water if its in there. My guess is you did have 60 gallons in the boat somewhere. Bilges might have pumped it all overboard at this point. 60 gallons of fuel in the bilge is way to much, and pumps would have kicked in. I am not sure if they used steel tanks or aluminum tanks in your boat. You are going to need to borescope the tank and see if you have a hole somewhere or maybe a fuel line leak? Maybe a quicker option is to use some fuel dye to see where it might be coming from. Not sure if your tanks are below the level of your fuel lines or if you have some longer downward runs of fuel lines that could siphon if leaking?
Thanks, Chris

2012 - Regal 35 Sports Coupe - Twin VP 5.7GiCE-300-P - DP-SA - SOLD
2011 - Sea-Doo RXT260s - 1503HO Rotax 4TEC
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Seven » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:40 am

Yikes, I agree with Chis. Also could be a fuel line busted and it's just gravity leaking. If you can't find the leak right away you will need to pump the tank out so you don't loose anymore overboard.
--2002 3880 Regal Flybridge | Twin Merc 8.1HO| **Seven**
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--310 Mercury Inflatable | 1982 9.9 Johnson
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby kellyg » Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:26 am

FYI, all fuel hoses are at the top of the tank.
If the tank is completely empty, then it can likely only be two things.

A leak at the bottom of the tank, or a leaky hose that is siphoning the fuel.
Sure hope it's not the tank. Not sure how it can be removed.
Keep us posted.
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby gofast24 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:41 am

Agree, the fuel feed is from the top of the fuel tank but will have a stand tube going down to within about a inch of the bottom of the tank. Also, your thought of the fuel siphoning is a real possibility! With 60 gallon missing have to assume your bilge pump pumped most of it out to sea? Could be a major liability problem if the USCG gets involved. Our boat insurance covers up to $300k in fuel/oil leaks fines/clean up. Has to be a leak in the feed/return line or the fuel filter/water separator connection to the injection pump. If you can't get this figured out soon you need to have the vessel pulled and find out what is causing the massive leak! Cant believe it would be a leak from the bottom of the fuel tank, but still possible!
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:34 pm

Boat is on the hard. I cleaned up the bilge today. They will pressure test the starboard system on Tuesday/Wednesday of next week to start the process of finding where the leak is located.
To keep options open, I contacted Regal. They helped and got me a quote in same day for a replacement Aluminum fuel tank. I'm impressed by Regal's response on a 12 year boat.
In doing some research - it seems Aluminum tanks last on average of about 12 - 15 years if not properly coated. The newer Aluminum tanks are coated with an epoxy finish. The ones in my boat are not. SO - if this leak is the tank, should I do both tanks - the other as a preventative measure.
I'll keep everyone posted. I might start a GoFundMe page
TK
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:42 pm

Yea, would be interested to see if a good aluminum welder could fix it as well. Steam cleaned out they can be welded on and fixed. However without the coated tanks I think it would be more trouble. If you have them out at that point just replace them. The biggest issue is access to get them out. Hopefully they will come out pretty easy and not have to cut up a bunch of fiberglass or pull and engine or two out to get to them. :o
Thanks, Chris

2012 - Regal 35 Sports Coupe - Twin VP 5.7GiCE-300-P - DP-SA - SOLD
2011 - Sea-Doo RXT260s - 1503HO Rotax 4TEC
2007 - Regal 3060 - Twin VP 5.0OSi - XDP - SOLD
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:55 am

I'm with you Chris. The Tank replacement is actually not the hard - getting to them is another thing. In doing some research the non-coated aluminum tanks last about 12 years and my boat is 12 years old. So - it makes sense to replace them both - if indeed it is the tank. Pressure test is next week.
I'm thinking this will be a $10k bill. Not happy about this.
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Seven » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:56 pm

Ouch, I didn't realize they corroded that quick.
My take is if you are keeping it replace both tanka and maybe look into poly if they are better. If you plan on upgrading soon then go the cheapest route.
--2002 3880 Regal Flybridge | Twin Merc 8.1HO| **Seven**
--2003 AB 13 VST Console Inflatable | Tohatsu 40hp TLDI **Phish'n ski**
--310 Mercury Inflatable | 1982 9.9 Johnson
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby gofast24 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:07 am

Aluminum fuel tanks = In my years in the gas/diesel engine business we (I) sold diesels up to 8000 HP. Never allowed aluminum fuel tanks, if aluminum tanks found during commissioning we advised the owner and indicated warranty would be voided for any problem due to the corrosion of the aluminum tank/fuel lines. Have to wonder why Regal used aluminum tanks for a diesel powered vessel? They probably used the same tanks for both gas and diesel? On another note, copper fuel lines were not recommended for a diesel engine either. Hope you dont have to pull your fuel tanks out to get repaired if it is actually the tank that is leaking (has to be th problem if you dont have any leaks on the lines/fuel filters/water separators/ etc. )! Let us know how you make out!
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:00 pm

I appreciate that information - Assuming the tank is bad, (I'll find out this week), what would you recommend as a replacement? Poly? I understand the newer aluminum tanks are coated with an epoxy to keep them from corroding - any thoughts there?
TK
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby ChesapeakeLover » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:07 pm

Update -
Insurance is covering the full discovery to remove the salon floor and gain access to the tank. Once we see what is leaky and why, they may cover the whole job - just depends on what we see.
TK
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby Seven » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:32 am

That's good the insurance is covering it, sorry to say it's going to be a big bill pulling the floors and steps and I can't even see the second tank buried under the dinette(I assume it's there). If they do cover it get the best tanks and do both. They probably won't cover the tank not leaking but its worth it if insurance it covering the majority of the repair.
--2002 3880 Regal Flybridge | Twin Merc 8.1HO| **Seven**
--2003 AB 13 VST Console Inflatable | Tohatsu 40hp TLDI **Phish'n ski**
--310 Mercury Inflatable | 1982 9.9 Johnson
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby kellyg » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:21 am

Glad it's being covered. Take pictures, as I would like to see how they gain access.
Gary Kelly
Mount Sinai, NY
2001 Regal 3780
REPOWERED WITH YANMAR 2011
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Re: Diesel Leak Found because of ROF

Postby gofast24 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:24 am

if it was me and the insurance was covering the repair I suggest either a poly tank or SS tank. Yes, SS tank expensive but will never give you that problem again. Wonder why Regal used aluminum tanks on a diesel powered vessel?
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