This one falls in the why didn’t I think of that category. One of our readers sent me a photo the other day showing his solution to pushing some fuel through his diesel fuel system to get it to his fuel lift pump. He had been changing his fuel water separator filter and had drained quite a bit of fuel off. The new canister held about a pint of fuel, and he did pre-fill the filter housing before reassembly.
But in spite of doing the right thing on that end, he still had air in the system and was having a heck of a time getting fuel from the tank to his electric lift pump, which would pressurize the system slightly from that point to the engine. His solution is brilliant, but may not work on all boats, at least not without several people involved. Check the photo below:
Yes, that’s correct, he’s using his inflatable dinghy pump to pressurize his fuel system just enough to get flow from the tank to his electric fuel lift pump, where the pump should take over to prime the system up to the engine, where additional bleeding will probably be needed.
Now on a lot of boats, this little trick might not work due to the fact that the fuel tank will most often be vented directly to atmosphere. But, if extra hands are available, you could temporarily block the tank vent and get some pressure going. Not much is needed, just engough to get the fuel flowing. So you might need somebody down below working the bleeder either at a designed bleeder screw or by cracking open fuel attachment fittings, and somebody on deck blocking the vent. Depending on your vent fitting, you may be able to temporarily block it with a small piece of old tire inner tube to act as a seal, and tighten a hose clamp around the vent fitting. That could eliminate the extra body.
This particular boat is equipped with a somewhat unique venting system made by Seacurefill. Systems like the Seacure fill are the future for all boats as the EPA tightens things up relative to evaporative emissions from boats. You should check them out at: www.seacurefill.com
Anyhow, with the Seacurefill system, the venting and fill are essentially a closed loop, so pressurizing the system with the dinghy foot pump and an appropriately sized adaptor to fit in the fuel fill and attach to the end of the pump hose, you’re in!