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Interesting fuel dock experience


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This is a real first for me. We had run the engine for one day of skiing after filling it up at the Conoco and felt the need to top off the tank for another day out at the lake. Usually we use about 10 to 15 gallons a day on average and we have a 35 gallon tank. So we did the unthinkable for us and filled it up at the marina. The pump there said that we took on 23 gallons of their exceptionally expensive 91 octane so I figured we were good for two more days. Three hours later we were towed back to the dock after experiencing constant engine shut down problems. I figured it was either a clogged fuel filter or something floating around in the tank blocking the outlet. The fuel pump was still functioning fine. And of course I had gas. Right? So after spending the better part of my day today trying to figure out what the problem was and dragging it 45 minutes away to the marine tech I now found out that the fuel tank is totally dry. I figure that they sold me 23 gallons of air at the pump. This makes sense in that I assumed we had about 10 gallons of fuel left before filling up and that was about what we used based upon the last 10 years of experience.

Now I know what you are saying at this point. What did the fuel gauge read? Well, that dam thing never read accurately so I stopped looking at it about 5 years ago. I installed a new one from Hardin that used two tubes and air pressure to read the level but it never worked and once I cut it to length I couldn't return it. So I go by engine hours. Plus, I just filled the tank. Right? Why worry.

Anyone else out there who bought air at $4.25 a gallon?

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Air won't make the meter on the pump head work. I'd be more inclined to suspect someone with a siphon hose.

This is a good point but I'd still be tempted to go back to the marina gas station and inquire about the pump.

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No one siphoned it if they skiied for 3 hrs. right after "filling" up and then the boat started dieing and wouldn't run that same day.

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Actually air will turn a meter which is why there is supposed to be an air eliminator in front of the meter. Sounds like there wasn't one or it wasn't working.

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This has happened to me in my wifes car. Did not think much about it as the gauge is very slow to respond. Got 10 minutes down the road and realized I got nothing. Turned around and explained I did not get any gas...........they were good about it and filled the tank.

So it can happen.

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This is a very interesting topic as I had a situation today at a Marina while hitting the water this afternoon around 2 with fuel gauge showing 3/4 full which normaly takes around 50 bucks to top off and the bill was actually 56 bucks, so we took off did very minimal running and no surfing or wakeboarding. As evening approached knowing I was going to do some sunrise surfing and wanted the extra weght of a full tank of fuel I pulled into Marina B to eat some dinner and top of the tank. This time the guage was showing over 3/4 full but it took 140 bucks to top of the tank. I figure either the their pump is off or the guy at the gas dock scammed me, wichever the case its the last time I ever fuel up at Marina B.


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Now I am totally confused. I called the marina and they say that they dip their tank twice a week and have their pump inspected once a year by the state. I wrote down my engine hours when I filled up which is how I manage my fuel consumption. I have 2.2 hour on the engine after filling. 1998 Malibu Sunsetter VLX with Monsoon engine. Approximately 35 minutes of surfing with full ballast of 1600 lbs and plate down and 20 minutes of wakeboarding with half ballast. We did about 30 minutes of skiing and 30 minutes of cruising around at 30 mph. Then the obvious tooling around. Elevation 6600 feet and 91 octane. So how in the world did I go through 35 gallons of gas?

On another note when we did get to the marina we had a constant high pitch whine in the tranny in idle, reverse and forward that was totally unique. The engine strained to get into gear and sounded awful. I checked the fluids and they were down minimally so I tried to rotate the prop. Bits of black rubber came out of it when counter rotated and other bits of junk came out as well. Have you ever had something sucked into the strut holding the shaft in a marina before? This could not be part of the plastic bushing in the packing nut. There is no rubber in there.

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