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It is hard to get too excited about the fuel system on a sailboat.  I mean, after all how complicated can it be!  With a single engine, not complicated at all - but add a second diesel engine and the possibilities abound.

I have prepared a drawing of Annabelle's fuel system that can be downloaded from here.

The standard Out Island 41 has an 132 gallon fuel tank located in the engine compartment on the starboard side.  There is a remote fuel cut off valve control located in the starboard cockpit locker.  The fuel flow after the cut off valve goes through a standard fuel/water separator with filter and on to the engine.  Excess fuel is returned from the engine to the fuel tank by the return line.

I added a second diesel engine in the form of the Genie 150 Generator.  This is a 4 HP diesel engine driving a 12v 150A alternator used to charge the batteries, or to drive heavy AC loads via the ProSine 1800 Inverter.  Setting up the fuel line to the Genie was not difficult.  Annabelle had come with a diesel stove, which I replaced with a propane unit - there was already an unused fuel port on the diesel fuel tank.   The second fuel port was piped to a second filter followed by an electric fuel pump and then on to the Genie.  As with the Perkins, excess fuel is returned to the fuel tank.  In my case, I used a T to feed the Genie's return fuel into the same return line the Perkins's engine used.  This set up worked with no difficulties.

  One day I had changed the fuel filters (one in the fuel/water separator and one on the engine), and discovered the "joy" of priming the engine.  The Perkins 4154 has a mechanical fuel pump with a small lever to manually operate it.  I think each stroke of the pump handle moves 1 milli-liter of fuel.  I did not think I would ever get the system primed again.  While sitting there operating the pump lever, I started wondering how I could make this easier.  End in the end, I purchased two "T"s, two 3-way valves and some fuel hose.  After installing these items, I can now prime the Perkins in a matter of 30 seconds - by changing the two 3-way valves and pressing a button. 

Here is how it works.  Notice the two 3-way valves on either side of the Genie Electric Fuel Pump.  They are shown in their normal position in which fuel from the fuel tank passes through the fuel/water separator, down to the electric fuel pump and on to the Genie.  To prime the Perkins 4154, both 3-way valves are changed so that now the fuel from the line that feeds the Perkins passes through it's fuel/water separator and on toward the engine.  But just before the Perkins mechanical fuel pump, there is a "T" that diverts the fuel to the electric fuel pump.  The output of the electric fuel pump now is fed into the return line and the fuel is pumped back into the fuel tank.  One push of a button starts the electric fuel pump and the fuel starts flows.

One added advantage of this system is that there are now two separate fuel lines, each with a fuel/water filter that can be used to supply fuel to either engine - in case of an emergency


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This page was last modified: 01/22/14
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