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thethrillofspeed

Very Annoying Trip to the Gas Station - Bad Design

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thethrillofspeed

Whoever designed the gas tank on my Malibu should be replaced. I have owned five watercraft and this is by far the worst design of all of them. First the nozzle fell out, that was partially my fault, I should have held it. I thought the boat was on fumes because the gas gauge was reading below empty. We had to shut down our last day of boating because it was pretty scary to look at the gauge. Well right at 26.5 gallons gas comes spraying out of the vent. Wouldn't the environmentalists love to see that happen on Lake Tahoe. I ordered a fuel air separator to solve that problem, but that should be standard equipment. My boat supposedly has a 40 gallon gas tank, before I get told by my dealer "that is just the way they are", does anyone else’s boat read empty with over thirteen gallons of gas left in it?

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Malibudude

Yes it's a built in saftey mechanism, when it's on E time to get to the marina or launch ramp. My boat consistantly had 10 gallons left when on E.

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BuFootin

Yep....just about everyone's that still has the stock fuel gauge in it. The ones from the factory are notoriously inaccurate. IF you do a search there is a pretty good post by a crew memeber on how to change out the gauge to read more accurately.

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jshap

When my gauge reads around 1/4 tank, I throw 30 gallons in, which fills it up...so I guess my gauge is pretty close to accurate.

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thethrillofspeed

Thanks for the tip, I didn't even think of doing a search for the fuel gauge. I had already done a search on the vent problem and have the kit sitting on my workbench. I think I will put that in tonight.

Here is my next project:

http://www.themalibucrew.com/forums/index....page=fuelsender

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zad0030

I had this idea the other day for a fuel guage system.

A multi float system, uses 2 or more floats in the tank, and a computer averages all the readings and no matter which way your boat is listing or if your driving or not you will get a lot better reading on whats there.

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ucontrol
Whoever designed the gas tank on my Malibu should be replaced. I have owned five watercraft and this is by far the worst design of all of them. First the nozzle fell out, that was partially my fault, I should have held it. I thought the boat was on fumes because the gas gauge was reading below empty. We had to shut down our last day of boating because it was pretty scary to look at the gauge. Well right at 26.5 gallons gas comes spraying out of the vent. Wouldn't the environmentalists love to see that happen on Lake Tahoe. I ordered a fuel air separator to solve that problem, but that should be standard equipment. My boat supposedly has a 40 gallon gas tank, before I get told by my dealer "that is just the way they are", does anyone else’s boat read empty with over thirteen gallons of gas left in it?

You got me too. My gas tank is a 38 gallon unit. When it reads empty, it gets scary so I head for the gas dock. But the most it has ever held has been 19 gallons. That leaves a 19 gallon reserve. I have had it to the dealer 3 times, and it still is not fixed. The first time they cleaned it, then twice the sender was changed. But because Malibu only offers the same sending unit, the situation stays the same. I have heard that there is a replacement unit available (after market), but malibu refuses to allow it to be put in under the warranty. Now I am out of warranty, but the problem remains. I was told that the 06 models had a metal float instead of a plastic one (mine). But again the dealer said that Malibu will not authorize the upgraded part. So I am in the same boat as you.

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EZSnow

If yours only puked out the vent, consider yourself lucky. Mine pukes out the vent AND the fillneck. It doesn't matter how slow you pump, you can't let go of the trigger fast enough.

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99response
I had this idea the other day for a fuel guage system.

A multi float system, uses 2 or more floats in the tank, and a computer averages all the readings and no matter which way your boat is listing or if your driving or not you will get a lot better reading on whats there.

The sender is in the middle of the tank/boat and hence is not particularly sensitive to the boat listing from side to side...

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mlange

Throw in the new sender. It's a really easy job and as long as you calibrate it right following the steps you'll be dead-on for now on. Livorsi marine also has a real nice sender that I was thinking about putting in, but they want too much money for it. If an extra $50 or so doesn't bother you it may be worth a try.

Mike

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Pistol Pete

Just be advised that with the new Teleflex universal sending unit the fuel gauge will be accurate but, will bounce around a lot unless the boat has been still for awhile. There is no dampening unit in the instrument cluster like there is in a car. Also, don't crank down on the screws that hold the flange into the tank, it may leak fuel.

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mlange

I haven't noticed any bouncing around at all. I just assumed that was due to the gauge design. Are people actually seeing their gas gauges jump around a lot?

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Pistol Pete

When I stop and the boat is rocking, I can hear a "grinding" noise (like the "grinding" sound you hear when you first key-on and the gauges come up) behind the gas gauge and the gas gauge is moving up and down a bit.

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joey_durgin

if your gauge is always empty, then you should always be filling up.

now you should have no excuse to run out while on the water

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MalibuTime
Whoever designed the gas tank on my Malibu should be replaced. I have owned five watercraft and this is by far the worst design of all of them. First the nozzle fell out, that was partially my fault, I should have held it. I thought the boat was on fumes because the gas gauge was reading below empty. We had to shut down our last day of boating because it was pretty scary to look at the gauge. Well right at 26.5 gallons gas comes spraying out of the vent. Wouldn't the environmentalists love to see that happen on Lake Tahoe. I ordered a fuel air separator to solve that problem, but that should be standard equipment. My boat supposedly has a 40 gallon gas tank, before I get told by my dealer "that is just the way they are", does anyone else’s boat read empty with over thirteen gallons of gas left in it?

You got me too. My gas tank is a 38 gallon unit. When it reads empty, it gets scary so I head for the gas dock. But the most it has ever held has been 19 gallons. That leaves a 19 gallon reserve. I have had it to the dealer 3 times, and it still is not fixed. The first time they cleaned it, then twice the sender was changed. But because Malibu only offers the same sending unit, the situation stays the same. I have heard that there is a replacement unit available (after market), but malibu refuses to allow it to be put in under the warranty. Now I am out of warranty, but the problem remains. I was told that the 06 models had a metal float instead of a plastic one (mine). But again the dealer said that Malibu will not authorize the upgraded part. So I am in the same boat as you.

I am sure we can get some others to chime in, but in my (non)expert (il)legal opinion, the extent of the warranty that you would put at risk is the sending unit (since you would replace it) or anything directly related to that aftermarket part (eg, the tank leaked where you put the new sending unit in). Everything else would still be warranted, unless it was a direct problem of the replaced sending unit (I think you would have a hard time having a faulty fuel gauge replaced, for example). So, in other words, replace the sending unit with the noted improved unit if that is a big enough issue bugging you.

Edited by TheBlackPearl

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SunriseH2OSkier
I haven't noticed any bouncing around at all. I just assumed that was due to the gauge design. Are people actually seeing their gas gauges jump around a lot?

Plus1.gif My gauge seems quite damped. In fact, I've noticed on powerup that it goes to a default initial position of 1/2 tank, then slowly filters to the actual reading.

As an aside, when I changed out my fuel level sender, I found that the production sender was fundamentally flawed in that there was not enough vertical travel to even be able to detect much below a quarter tank (and that might be generous - maybe more like 1/3 of a tank). I calibrated the new sender so that E really means E. Unfortunately, I forgot that little fact recently and ran out of gas while pulling the kids around on a tube.

It was relatively early in the season, and I had topped off the tank before dumping the boat in the lake for the season. I hadn't been using it that much, so when I saw the gauge reading near empty, my first reaction was that the gauge must be off because 'there's no way I've burned through 41 gallons of gas this season'. We were doing just fine until one of the kids fell off the tube and I turned around to go get him. All of a sudden the engine is laboring really bad. I'm starting to get concerned about what might be happening. The engine stalls and I can't get it started again. Pop the motor box and check around, nothing seems out of the ordinary - temps are fine. Then I saw the engine hours that I wrote on the oil filter when I changed it at the end of last season. Then I checked the hours on the meter. Hmmm - about 9 hours... Times 4-5 gallons per hour... What do ya know? The gauge is accurate! :Doh:

Good thing was it was a sunny afternoon and I had a cooler with a couple beers in it. Dropped anchor, let the kids swim, and called a buddy to have him go get my 14 gallon gas can from the garage and bring it to me on his pontoon (fortunately I had just filled it). In 15 years or so of boating, had never run out of gas. Won't let that happen again!

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superjet
If yours only puked out the vent, consider yourself lucky. Mine pukes out the vent AND the fillneck. It doesn't matter how slow you pump, you can't let go of the trigger fast enough.

Easy fix -- stuff a few paper towels around the fill nozzle. It will click off much sooner, plus the towels catch the spillage.

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MalibuNation
Whoever designed the gas tank on my Malibu should be replaced. I have owned five watercraft and this is by far the worst design of all of them. First the nozzle fell out, that was partially my fault, I should have held it. I thought the boat was on fumes because the gas gauge was reading below empty. We had to shut down our last day of boating because it was pretty scary to look at the gauge. Well right at 26.5 gallons gas comes spraying out of the vent. Wouldn't the environmentalists love to see that happen on Lake Tahoe. I ordered a fuel air separator to solve that problem, but that should be standard equipment. My boat supposedly has a 40 gallon gas tank, before I get told by my dealer "that is just the way they are", does anyone else’s boat read empty with over thirteen gallons of gas left in it?

You got me too. My gas tank is a 38 gallon unit. When it reads empty, it gets scary so I head for the gas dock. But the most it has ever held has been 19 gallons. That leaves a 19 gallon reserve. I have had it to the dealer 3 times, and it still is not fixed. The first time they cleaned it, then twice the sender was changed. But because Malibu only offers the same sending unit, the situation stays the same. I have heard that there is a replacement unit available (after market), but malibu refuses to allow it to be put in under the warranty. Now I am out of warranty, but the problem remains. I was told that the 06 models had a metal float instead of a plastic one (mine). But again the dealer said that Malibu will not authorize the upgraded part. So I am in the same boat as you.

Ditto

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WakeGirl

I don't think that I've ever been on any boat (power, sail) that had what could be called an accurate fuel gauge. Some are better than others, but in general they're pretty bad compared with other industries.

And for those of you that have gas coming out the vent on fillup, you need the Racor.

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vette-ski
I had this idea the other day for a fuel guage system.

A multi float system, uses 2 or more floats in the tank, and a computer averages all the readings and no matter which way your boat is listing or if your driving or not you will get a lot better reading on whats there.

The sender is in the middle of the tank/boat and hence is not particularly sensitive to the boat listing from side to side...

My sender is at the rear of the tank. Under floor tanks on a vlx are long and flat. I can get a huge discrepancy based on attitude of the boat. Mine will read E sitting in my driveway which is a slight decline with nose down. Pull out into a level street and now I have half a tank. The opposite has actually gotten me in trouble because like Jerry, I ran out once too. We had two back-to-back nice days a couple years ago (as you can see, doesn't happen much here in MI) and I also wouldn't have expected to burn a whole tank that fast. But when I am pulling boarders with wedge down and bow up in the air, my guage will read plenty of fuel. Then the level drops quick on plane or sitting still. We were doing a lot of boarding that day and I periodically looked at the guage and it looked fine because all the gas was always at the back. We decided to stop and hang out at the beach area and when I went to leave it wouldn't start. Once the boat leveled out there wasn't enough fuel for the pickup. If the pickup were in the middle it would help keep this from happening.

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SacRiverRat

I keep track of the hours at every fill up - The burn rate is actually quite predictable.

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CTSunsetter

On of the best features of my "old" Sunsetter is I can see the gas tank! I will certainly miss that feature if and/or when I replace her.

This works great! I did this upgrade two seasons ago and I can't believe I waited eight years to do it! One thing to add: at the end of the stiff wire the float is on, cut it just a little bit longer and bend the tip 90 degrees to shape an "L" at the end. The friction clip can fall off and then you will loose the float. I happen to know this from personal experience!

And for those of you that have gas coming out the vent on fillup, you need the Racor.

I installed a Racor and it helped but doesn’t always completely prevent fuel from coming out the breather on my boat.

Edited by CTSunsetter

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spaznoook
I don't think that I've ever been on any boat (power, sail) that had what could be called an accurate fuel gauge. Some are better than others, but in general they're pretty bad compared with other industries.

And for those of you that have gas coming out the vent on fillup, you need the Racor.

We have a high-tech solution - I sit in the boat & watch the fuel tank & tell Troy when it's full. No over fills, no gassy vents (at least not from the boat...).

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WakeGirl
On of the best features of my "old" Sunsetter is I can see the gas tank! I will certainly miss that feature if and/or when I replace her.

This works great! I did this upgrade two seasons ago and I can't believe I waited eight years to do it! One thing to add: at the end of the stiff wire the float is on, cut it just a little bit longer and bend the tip 90 degrees to shape an "L" at the end. The friction clip can fall off and then you will loose the float. I happen to know this from personal experience!

And for those of you that have gas coming out the vent on fillup, you need the Racor.

I installed a Racor and it helped but doesn’t always completely prevent fuel from coming out the breather on my boat.

Yeah, it works for most, but there are a few that don't have complete success with it. Still, it's worth a try if you have the problem.

I don't think that I've ever been on any boat (power, sail) that had what could be called an accurate fuel gauge. Some are better than others, but in general they're pretty bad compared with other industries.

And for those of you that have gas coming out the vent on fillup, you need the Racor.

We have a high-tech solution - I sit in the boat & watch the fuel tank & tell Troy when it's full. No over fills, no gassy vents (at least not from the boat...).

You guys are so cutting edge. :lol:

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Guest J-Ro

My old sunsetter had a visible gas tank too and I never ran out of gas or had it shoot at me when filling.

When we got the LSV I couldn't believe how fast we burned gas. I think the gauge is even worse on the newer boats. When it hits E how much do I have left? What is the burn rate on a mosooned LSV?

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