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-   -   Run your blowers! (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=794833)

Tucker_McElroy 07-31-2012 6:39 PM

Run your blowers!
 
We have had FIVE boat explosions here in AZ in the last two weeks! At least three were fuel injected boats! Be safe!

nitrousbird 07-31-2012 6:53 PM

Though I run my blower a lot (and replaced the blower/venting when I purchased it), are all 5 of these explosions related to not running the blower?

Tucker_McElroy 07-31-2012 7:02 PM

All are under investigation still, but I can't think of very many reasons why a boat blows up, other than gas fumes.

silver98formula 07-31-2012 7:42 PM

Another one????

brett564 07-31-2012 8:07 PM

How long does everyone run theirs prior to turning the key?

fman 07-31-2012 8:22 PM

The newer BUs have it automatically come on after entering the ignition code, it runs for about 2 mins then shuts off. Assuming two minutes is adequate.

downfortheride 07-31-2012 8:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Last weekend at Lake Powell... This boat just ended filling his gas tank and crank to BOOM. Thank goodness nothing else was hurt in the process. Captain was life flighted to a local hospital with something like 80% of his body burned.
Attachment 24449

Tucker_McElroy 07-31-2012 8:38 PM

Yes, that one is included in my five...

durty_curt 07-31-2012 10:20 PM

Was that on the Utah side or Arizona side of Powell. . :p

CobraRob 07-31-2012 11:12 PM

when we are in the staging area, doing the stuff like putting the boards up rotating racks out. loading up people and ice and anything the other brought.. First thing I do is kick the key on for some tunes and hit the blower on... This way by the time we get to the ramp it's been on a while.

you_da_man 08-01-2012 6:46 AM

My storage and gas station I use are about 2 miles from the ramp. When I fill up at the gas station I turn on my blower there so it runs for at least 4-5 min by the time dip the boat in the water.

petrie141 08-01-2012 7:03 AM

Does anyone else just lift the engine cover before heading out just to make sure everything is sound anyway? Anytime we've gone out the driver does that at the house just to check stuff, then when we get there we use the blower, then fire it up. It might sound like over kill, but we've never had a problem doing it that way.

08-01-2012 7:18 AM

^^^i just always life the engine cover when we're loading gear and before backing it in. Hit the blower when I actually sit in the drivers seat before I get backed in. If we're docked, just hit the blower while everyone is loading into the boat and getting settled.

Mahoney86 08-01-2012 7:21 AM

I lift the engine cover the entire time Im in the ramp area. This way we are loading the boards, coolers, gear etc... Then waiting in line to get the boat in. I back it up with my buddy in the boat with the cover open, run the blower and start with the cover open. Better safe than sorry

Brett_B 08-01-2012 7:25 AM

Gasoline fumes are heavier than air, lifting the engine cover does not clear them out!

ironcross25 08-01-2012 8:11 AM

fumes are a scary thing. I pray for the guy in the accident above. I was burned in a boat explosion restoring my old supra. my shop vac filed with gas fumes and blew. I was burnt about 50% of my body 4 days of skin graft surgery and 21 days in the hospital. I am fully recovered and now am spec aware of running blower more than normal.

downfortheride 08-01-2012 8:18 AM

Dirty ~ That was at Antelope Point Marina...

srock 08-01-2012 10:33 AM

I lifted my cover an found a mist of fuel coming from an incorrectly installed oring on the fuel line. Glad I looked. Now I like to look at the engine, glance at hoses, belts and sniff around for anything odd.

antoddio 08-01-2012 12:11 PM

On a fuel injected engine I am not sure how fuel vapors would get in the engine compartment unless there was a leak. In that case I am not sure how running the blower a bit it going to help matters much. Also I never fill on the lake but would wait awhile if I did.

So, I do run the blower most of the time but no one has been able to explain why it's really necessary. I'm not sure if anyone knows.

pprior 08-01-2012 2:54 PM

Once I get to the ramp, i turn the blower on. It goes off when we're in the water, so maybe 2-5 minutes. With all the nanny state stuff we have, I'm amazed it isn't somehow hardwired to turn on...

I however never do the "open engine compartment, smell for gas fumes first" technique, which is technically part of the pre-start routine.

On occasion we've forgotten to turn the blower off for awhile while on the water, no harm done thus far that i can tell.

Tucker_McElroy 08-01-2012 4:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by antoddio (Post 1772771)
On a fuel injected engine I am not sure how fuel vapors would get in the engine compartment unless there was a leak. In that case I am not sure how running the blower a bit it going to help matters much. Also I never fill on the lake but would wait awhile if I did.

So, I do run the blower most of the time but no one has been able to explain why it's really necessary. I'm not sure if anyone knows.

Depending on how old the engine is, gas can easily enter the crank case, either past the rings, through valve overlap into the calve covers, etc... fuel vapor can also easily come out of the intake depending on the came the age of the engine.

Also, when you fill the boat tank you force whatever gas vapors are in the tank out the breather tube. On my SAN the breather tube is vented to the side of the boat; however, I have seen a couple boats where the vent tube was no longer attached to the surface vent, but instead flopping around under the gunnel. I think it is Supra that use to use big spring loaded clamp that falls off sometimes.

Latest incident...

PBC 08-01-2012 5:09 PM

Great thread...it's amazing how serious gas fumes in the engine compartment can be.

Tim
Performance Boat Candy

motorcitymatt 08-01-2012 5:35 PM

Sounds like a good episode for "Mythbusters"

antoddio 08-01-2012 5:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pprior (Post 1772826)

On occasion we've forgotten to turn the blower off for awhile while on the water, no harm done thus far that i can tell.

I usually run it all day. worst thing that will happen is a $20 blower will need to be replaced, but that's pretty rare anyway

phillywakeboarder 08-01-2012 8:13 PM

I don't think I've run my blower more than 10 times in the 7 years I've owned my boat. This thread is a good wake up call . . . .

Tucker_McElroy 08-01-2012 9:26 PM

Please don't tell anyone in the non wakeboarding section that I posted a good thread!

Thanks!

BTW, in post above I was trying to say, "depending on the cam and age of the engine"

Tucker_McElroy 08-01-2012 9:42 PM

I did find this post in another thread and thought it made sense!

Carb vs. FI makes zero difference. Most of the gas fumes in the bilge results from fuel leaks and a FI engine actually has higher fuel system pressure then a carb engine. You can go 100 life times and never have fumes in your bilge and never have a problem, but gasoline fumes are heavier then air and if you ever have fumes and the right ratio everyone might die. Gas tanks never ever vented into the bilge, it is and always was about fumes accumulating where they were not meant too.

denystaucd 08-01-2012 11:07 PM

Since I've only owned ski boats and that boat in the picture looks rather larger. Do they have adequate blower on say cabin cruiser, etc. Even fountain boats seem to have very large enclosed engine compartments. Seems like they would need fairly large blowers?

Just curious,
DC

Tucker_McElroy 08-01-2012 11:38 PM

Yes! Most of the big boats have fuel vapor sensors in the engine compartment and automatically turn on the blowers when they sense any kind of fuel vapor.

This is another advantage a diesel boat would have, it's pretty hard to ignite diesel fuel vapors..

boardjnky4 08-02-2012 4:11 AM

Run mine as soon as I get to the ramp while getting the straps off and loading last minute items. Why open the hatch when all you need to do is flip a damned switch?

cadunkle 08-02-2012 6:24 AM

I probably don't run mine as much as I should, but always run it briefly when I drop the boat in, and the whole time I'm fueling on the water. After starting and before backing off the trailer I open the hatch and check for any fuel or water leaks. You'd be surprised how many boats I've seen that don't have working blowers though... Or bilge pumps for that matter.

antoddio 08-02-2012 7:32 AM

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...w#.UBqNtKPhdjw

Maybe a worthwhile mod

antoddio 08-02-2012 8:58 AM

Okay, found the detector for $120. That mod is def on my short list for the winter. Great piece of mind against dying or being burned to a crisp.

tonyv420 08-02-2012 10:26 AM

my blower has more hours on it then my engine!! LOL!

boardjnky4 08-02-2012 11:16 AM

That's a waste of money, just flip the ****ing switch 3 minutes before you start the boat. Is it that hard?

srock 08-07-2012 8:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brett_B (Post 1772654)
Gasoline fumes are heavier than air, lifting the engine cover does not clear them out!

There has to be some a least a little advantage.

Maybe the breeze would help? Maybe there are tailing fumes or a higher level of pressure holding fumes that could be exhausted. Maybe lifting he hatch would allow air flow or movement at those "heavier" levels. Maybe you would smell the problem and not turn the key?

tx_foilhead 08-07-2012 5:13 PM

Lifting up the hatch at least gives the pressure of an explosion a place to go. Assuming your really dumb and lift the hatch, smell the fumes, but turn the key anyway, the flame goes out through the open hatch. With a closed hatch it has to blow something open to get out, think flying fiberglass shards, the back seat ect. Some of these things may pierce the gas tank and cause further issues. I had it happen to a jet ski when I was a kid, loose spark plug wire on a stand up, fortunately the hood wasn't strapped down and I just lost some hair on my arms when the flame came out and got a nice sunburn. Had the hood been strapped it probably would have cracked or shattered and who knows where the pieces might have gone.

Brett_B 08-08-2012 8:53 AM

The stoichiometric air/fuel ratio of gasoline is 14.7:1. A volume of 100% gasoline vapors will not ignite, it needs oxygen to burn. Again, fuel vapors are heavier than air. You can't clear them all out just by opening the hatch. How about the ones collecting under the floor near the fuel tank? It's possible that by opening the hatch you are just giving the fuel vapors sitting down in the bilge the oxygen mixture it needs to really explode. You need to pump the fuel vapors out from near the lowest point in the bilge. Fortunately boats come with blowers to do just that.

srock 08-08-2012 9:55 AM

Science ^^^ There you have it

TroyD 08-08-2012 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by srock (Post 1774394)
Science ^^^ There you have it

I don't trust science. I like theology better.

srock 08-08-2012 10:50 AM

Pray for your engine not to blow up? God Bless

Tucker_McElroy 08-08-2012 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brett_B (Post 1774366)
A volume of 100% gasoline vapors will not ignite, it needs oxygen to burn. Again, fuel vapors are heavier than air.

If we have a volume of 100% gasoline "vapors" this implies that something other than gasoline is taking up the space; otherwise, the "vapors" would return to their liquid state. A 100% gasoline solution will still ignite, unless it is in a vacuum, because gasoline mixes with the air rapidly. In fact gasoline has a lower explosion limit of 1.4% by volume and an upper explosion limit of 7.6%. If the concentration is below 1.4% the air-gasoline mixture is too lean and will not ignite. If the concentration is above 7.6% the mixture is too rich and also will not ignite. This is why we have carbs and fuel injectors, to help mix the gasoline/air combo more effectively.

The concentration changes very rapidly. Lets say that you have a high pressure gas leak in your boat, under the engine cover. The concentration is above 7.6% and doesn't blow up, but when you open the engine cover, presto, the concentration changes and kaboom! This is why we have anti-spark intake covers and marine specific starters.

While the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio of gasoline is 14.7:1, this only says that at this ratio all the fuel and air would be converted to CO2 and H20 with no waste product. You can still have an explosion with left over air or left over fuel.

2 C8H18 + 25 O2 → 16 CO2 + 18 H2O

An interesting read is about Smokey Yunick's Hot Vapor Engine. He built a motor with the belief that if he made the gasoline completely vaporize the surface area of the gas would be greater; therefore, the explosion would be quicker and more violent in the cylinder resulting in more power and better economy. I saw his engine run at the University of Florida probably 20 years ago.

Anyhow, be safe!

boarditup 08-08-2012 12:28 PM

Needless to say, but if you ever catch a wiff of gasoline in the bilge you need immediate repairs. Do not operate! Something is wrong and the results may be deadly. A healthy engine and fuel system should never smell like gas (older manual choked carbs excepted).

Brett_B 08-08-2012 1:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tucker_McElroy (Post 1774433)
If we have a volume of 100% gasoline "vapors" this implies that something other than gasoline is taking up the space; otherwise, the "vapors" would return to their liquid state.

What? I’m not sure the point of your post and I almost didn’t bother replying since it doesn’t really help the original topic, but why not.

Of course you can have a condition where gasoline is a pure gaseous form without an air mixture present. Is gasoline somehow a magical liquid that does not undergo a phase transition to a gaseous form when heated? A great example is the head space in a partially full gasoline container that has been heated. If it’s partially vented during heating air will have been purged due to the heavier specific gravity of the gasoline in its gaseous state. This is done intentionally to decrease degradation of the fuel from oxidation during long term storage.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tucker_McElroy (Post 1774433)
A 100% gasoline solution will still ignite, unless it is in a vacuum,

Of course a solution of gas and air will combust, which is why I did not use the term solution anywhere in that example.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tucker_McElroy (Post 1774433)
While the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio of gasoline is 14.7:1, this only says that at this ratio all the fuel and air would be converted to CO2 and H20 with no waste product.


Yes, hence the definition of stoichiometry. This was meant to illustrate how adding air to a fuel rich environment via venting the hatches could actually increase the combustion potential. Gasoline in an IC engine will readily ignite at ratios as rich as 9.5:1 and as lean as 16:1, depending of course on in-cylinder conditions, combustion chamber design, spark energy, etc.

Anyway, run your blower people!

ers906 08-09-2012 9:32 AM

This may sound dumb, but when I was a kid, I was told that it is not as important to run the blower after towing the boat a moderate distance. I still do my best to remember to run the blower, and will actually be doing something to remind myself every time after reading this post. But would towing make a difference and why (other than motion and maybe some air being vented into the engine compartment) would this be the case

shawndoggy 08-09-2012 9:35 AM

some boats (malibus, for instance) have ram-air ventilation from the windshield to the bilge so towing definitely ought to help out.

davenk 08-09-2012 11:08 AM

Most boats are designed to self vetilate while underway on the water. My Tige has two inlets at the bottom of the windsheild which has ducts that flow to the rear. The boat being covered while on the trailer while traveling then the self ventilation won't happen. While you are at idle on the water the self ventialtion doesn't happen either. Per recomendations and my experience you should run the blower for about 3-5 minutes before starting and while idling. It can be shut off while underway. In addition, when we unload, I always open the hatch, take a look around, listen for the blower to make sure it is on, check for water in bilge, anything out of the ordinary, and take a sniff for fumes. I also typically let the blower run all day, as mentioned above a $20 blower every other year is cheap insurance against an explosion and risk to myself and passengers. Here in Houston, we usually hear of the explosions happening about every other year +/-, usually at the gas pump on the water because they did not run the blower for a reasonable amount of time before starting the boat.

johnny_defacto 08-09-2012 1:08 PM

are all marine blowers intrinsically safe? They require electricity to operate, just as the starter does. I assume that it is the spark created when closing the circuit to the starter that ignites the fumes. If that assumption is correct, then I will assume the same thing can happen with the blower as well. Electricians and mechanics please explain.

great thread

boarditup 08-09-2012 1:18 PM

Marine equipment is designed to be intrinsically safe - blower, alternator, starter, fuel pump, EFI (or carb), engine controls, etc. That is why you don't use those components from a automotive environment - most of the time they are not built to that standard. I have personally witnessed a minor explosion and fire immediately after an automotive starter being bolted onto a MerCruiser. It was a great lesson in using the correct parts.

Also, there is a big difference between automotive and marine grade flexible fuel lines.

johnny_defacto 08-09-2012 2:07 PM

If marine equipment is intrinsically safe, and my boat is new, why do i need a blower? in other words, what is causing the spark in these explosions and are all these incidents in older boats? Any of these explosions in wake boats newer than 2008?

behindtheboat 08-09-2012 2:29 PM

Yes, brand new boats have blown up at the ramp their first time.

jhartt3 08-09-2012 2:38 PM

Do you guys use your blower everytime you switch riders? Or just after filling up or extended stops?

Tucker_McElroy 08-09-2012 2:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnny_defacto (Post 1774811)
If marine equipment is intrinsically safe, and my boat is new, why do i need a blower? in other words, what is causing the spark in these explosions and are all these incidents in older boats? Any of these explosions in wake boats newer than 2008?

Mostly faulty equipment, but aftermarket equipment is also a good source...

cadunkle 08-09-2012 3:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnny_defacto (Post 1774811)
If marine equipment is intrinsically safe, and my boat is new, why do i need a blower? in other words, what is causing the spark in these explosions and are all these incidents in older boats? Any of these explosions in wake boats newer than 2008?

New boats won't be new forever. There are also QC issues so sometimes things slip past that are not totally sealed. Parts get old and the gaskets on marine electronics fail. Straps and harnesses get old, and can chafe, sag, etc. and short to ground. Things happen, so you have a blower to minimize that risk. A $50 feature on a $50k+ boat is peanuts.

Gryphon 08-11-2012 1:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jhartt3 (Post 1774824)
Do you guys use your blower everytime you switch riders? Or just after filling up or extended stops?

I had the same question, I use the blower only after extended stops but I don't know if that is correct or not? Good question.

boarditup 08-11-2012 5:36 PM

Every time I am at idle speed for more than a couple of minutes the blower goes on. While fueling, the blower goes on. When on plane, the blower goes off - just before the rope goes tight. Make it a habit, and it may save your life and the lives of those aboard.

Most fuel leaks are the result of chafing of the fuel cell, chafing of a hose, and a break in a hose by a fitting. Other causes include fuel filter loose, alcohol eating away the inside of your hoses, alcohol eating fuel system gaskets, loose connection to fuel tank fill hose, etc.

Even if your boat is new, run the blower and make it a habit. Then, when you are in some other boat, you will follow the same habit and be safe.

eabtx 08-12-2012 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jhartt3 (Post 1774824)
Do you guys use your blower everytime you switch riders? Or just after filling up or extended stops?

I use my blower every time I start/stop the engine and also when at slow speeds or idle. It's better to be safe than sorry. It gives me a certain "piece of mind" when it is running.

srock 08-13-2012 8:46 AM

Things like the starter and blower are created so the spark is not exposed where it can ignite any vapors. A interesting item...a starter rebuilding guy told me that often the failure of a marine starter comes from a contained gas from the spark in marine starters at results in corrosion. He noted automobile starters do not have a contained system. He also cautioned to replace a marine starter with a marine unit.

tracktor 08-13-2012 12:33 PM

I had an interesting experience with this subject. After installing a new fuel sender fro some reason it didn't seal well. I filled up before we hit the lake and didn't think to check anything. We put in, filled the ballast and were getting ready to ride. I popped the rear hatch to get something and smelled fuel & saw a couple inches of what i thought was water in the bilge. Turned out to be fuel. Luckily we were close to the dock and idled back close enough to get the boat on the trailer with minimal effort. Drained about 5 gallons of fuel out of the bilge. I was scared $hitle$$ the whole time. I soaped & scrubbed the bilge quite a few times to get it all out...........I run the blower from 5 minutes before we put in the water until wipe down now..................and I habitually check everything out after fueling......................

srock 08-13-2012 1:34 PM

Burn Notice
 
1 Attachment(s)
OK I waited until everyone had a chance to digest their lunch. Oddly enough after positing to this last week I was the one who managed a nasty burn. In this case I had fuel on my shirt from running and then fixing a cracked fuel line on my hedge trimmer. It did not seem like much fuel but I could smell it. While walking to the house for a new shirt, I walked by and kicked a branch into my burn pile that would not start and was sitting lifeless for 30 minutes. I heard a woosh and found myself on fire. Oddly, the but pile still looks untouched.

Then I heard from a coworker who said he used mineral spirits to clean his forearm of paint. Someone walked by with a cigarette and his arm went up in flames.

Our receptionist then told about her husband who was working on getting a car started. They had put fuel into the carb and it belched fuel then ignited. He spent the next 3 weeks in the hospital burn unit.

My new rule, if you can smell it be very careful and prepared.


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