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Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       06-14-2010, 7:51 AM Reply   
PIcs from Friday night. Luckily, nobody injured... Explosion shortly after starting....

Total loss, obviously...

Had the wind been blowing the other direction, this fireball would have been blown into our cove instead of out, and who knows what lse it would have ignited...


This can happen to anyone, and it is easy to forget. I post these pics as a hopeful reminder to someone who will run their blower next time, instead of blowing it off...


Phil
Kicker
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Old    Bill Connell (mrawdtsi)      Join Date: May 2009       06-14-2010, 8:15 AM Reply   
holy cow... glad no one was injured!
Old    Michael Van Hove (mvanhove)      Join Date: Nov 2009       06-14-2010, 8:49 PM Reply   
Was that a wakeboat that just totally exploded?
Old    Joe (ilikebeaverandboats)      Join Date: Jul 2007       06-14-2010, 8:52 PM Reply   
I think the new tiges auto run the blowers when you turn the key or the battery on, something like that, I saw it on one of the vids they have.

When do you guys typically run your blowers? I know I rarely do...but will be starting. For sure before initial startup, ill just flip the switch when i turn on the batts and then will try to remember on otherstarts. Will after fuel ups as well

Last edited by ilikebeaverandboats; 06-14-2010 at 8:58 PM.
Old    Ajholt7 (ajholt7)      Join Date: Apr 2009       06-14-2010, 9:17 PM Reply   
I turn mine on about 1 minute before I start my boat and I leave it on as long as the boat is running.
Old    Drew Pancoast (dru1974)      Join Date: Nov 2009       06-14-2010, 9:24 PM Reply   
only need to run the blowers for 10 to 15 sec before firing, and shut off after ignition
Old    Ajholt7 (ajholt7)      Join Date: Apr 2009       06-14-2010, 9:28 PM Reply   
It should also be ran at idle speed. That is why I just leave it on. It can't hurt anything. The blower may have a shorter life but they are cheap.
Old    Red C5 (peterc4)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-14-2010, 10:59 PM Reply   
That really happened because someone didn't run their blower? I admit I almost never turn mine on.
Old    Erick (dingleberry)      Join Date: Apr 2009       06-14-2010, 11:15 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvanhove View Post
Was that a wakeboat that just totally exploded?
I think elsewhere Phil said it was an open bow Baja runabout.
Old    Ajholt7 (ajholt7)      Join Date: Apr 2009       06-14-2010, 11:19 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterc4 View Post
That really happened because someone didn't run their blower? I admit I almost never turn mine on.
It happens quite often. Gas fumes get trapped in the hull and are highly explosive.
Old    mojo            06-14-2010, 11:56 PM Reply   
run blower when the boat hasn't been used that day or added gas. generally run a minute or two before and a few after ignition.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-15-2010, 6:37 AM Reply   
Bummer. Seems like someone has to learn this one the hard way every year.

Bought my first extended pylon from a guy who's boat had blown to kingdom come. It had been sitting on the dock at the time. That & the trailer was all he had left.
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-15-2010, 6:48 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajholt7 View Post
It should also be ran at idle speed. That is why I just leave it on. It can't hurt anything. The blower may have a shorter life but they are cheap.
The noise of blower must get annoying. Everyone has their preferences, but outside of initial start explosions, imo there are just as easily other causes, such as fuel line leaks, buildup, etc. I run for 2-3 min if I remember early enough before initial start, and then 10-15sec if we've sat for a bit.
Old    Tim (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       06-15-2010, 6:50 AM Reply   
I had gas spraying from a fuel line connection on my Monsoon. There was an o-ring that was pinched but it did not leak until 200 hours on the motor. I could smell the fuel while underway but I didn't take a close look until at the dock. I cannot believe it did not ignite. At initial start up, I open the hatch and give it a sniff and will investigate immediately if I every smell fuel again and the blower runs if I restart and often at idle. What can it hurt to run the blower a bunch. I also notice it dissipates heat from the engine room.
Old    Charlie Koch (cwkoch)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-15-2010, 7:07 AM Reply   
We were about 100 yards from this boat when we heard the loud bang. They just launched, were sitting at the dock about to go out on the lake, turned the key, and bang. Never ran the blower. No one was seriously hurt, but a kid did take the engine compartment cover to the face and got a little banged up.

Run your blowers!!







Old    Chris (cjh1669)      Join Date: Apr 2005       06-15-2010, 7:32 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by behindtheboat View Post
The noise of blower must get annoying. Everyone has their preferences, but outside of initial start explosions, imo there are just as easily other causes, such as fuel line leaks, buildup, etc. I run for 2-3 min if I remember early enough before initial start, and then 10-15sec if we've sat for a bit.
My Blower is so quiet that you can only really hear it if you're sitting on the transom. Mine runs pretty much all the time, like said before, cheap to replace and adds extra safety
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-15-2010, 8:23 AM Reply   
My routine is this: As soon as I take the cover off, I jump in the boat, turn on the blower and finish up all of the other stuff and then when the trailer is being backed down the ramp the blower will already have been running for a good minute or two (more like 5-10 in our case). Just try and make it a habit like checking for the drain plug.

Be safe out there!
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-15-2010, 8:42 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by behindtheboat View Post
The noise of blower must get annoying. Everyone has their preferences, but outside of initial start explosions, imo there are just as easily other causes, such as fuel line leaks, buildup, etc. I run for 2-3 min if I remember early enough before initial start, and then 10-15sec if we've sat for a bit.
Unreal how people can be so nonchalant about this. I'd rather you be a little put off than blown to hell. The blower isn't that loud. Turn your stereo up to 2.

I run mine a lot. I'll turn the blower on when I shut the boat down just so it's been going for a few minutes when we get going again.
Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       06-15-2010, 8:44 AM Reply   
Ignited gasoline vapors are the single biggest safety issue on any boat. This is a prime reason that so many boats being exported to Europe are being fitted with the new-generation diesel motors. Diesel cannot concentrate into a flammable vapor at atmospheric pressures and ambient temperatures.

It is rather easy to accumulate enough gasoline vapors to create an explosive atmosphere. Picture a slightly loose gas fill hose fitting, combined with a tank vent that is plugged up by an inadvertent mud-dauber wasp nest. You fill your tank and crank the filler cap on tightly, to prevent water from getting in. The cool fuel from the great big underground tank slowly warms up in your boat, which is out sitting in the sun. The gas expands, the vapor pressure starts building pressure, and while the fuel hose fitting works fo keeping gas in the tube during filling, it does a poor job of keeping the vapors in the tube. Instead, gas vapors slowly escape the fuel fill line and start taking over the engine compartment. You have a very large BOOM just waiting to happen... This happens to all of us way more than we care to realize.

Boat builders do a good job of recognizing the potential for danger, and take steps to prevent it. The blower is an obvious safety device. Run it, and you will suck clean air in and push the fuel vapors out, diluting the vapors to a non-explosive environment, or completely replacing the explosive vapors with fresh air.

The builders and parts suppliers do other things as well to prevent ignition of flammaboe vapors. Look in your engine compartment, particularly at your starter, your alternator, any trim pump(s) for tabs, or wake enhancng planes, etc. Look at all the electronic devices and search around a little for the code: SAE J1171 MARINE That code is an indication that the device you are looking at has been built to either not create a spark which could ignite an explosive vapor, or it will completely contain the ignited vapors inside the device, not allowing it to ignite the larger volume of vapor in the motor compartment. Often we hear people asking why they have to spend more money for the marine starter or alternator when compared with an automotive equivalent. The reason is that the marine starter and alternator are designed to never start a fire or create an explosion due to a spark. An autombile, with a huge hole underneath the engine compartment usually cannot contain, trap, or seal in enough gaoline vapor to create an explosive vapor environment.

What about a steady stream of gasoline from a leaking or punctured hose? While a blower will have a hard time overcoming the sprayed stream of fuel from a leak in a pressurized fuel line, it still can and will if given the chance. Keep in mind, all we need to do is continuallly introduce enough fresh air so that the gas vapors cannot accumulate to a percentage where they can be considered explosive. It is relatively easy to get lots of fresh air into an engine compartment while you are on plane, the boat moves fast enough to force air into the engine compartment. But what about idle? Pretend you bust or crack a fuel hose while you are pulling someone, but you do not know you have a leak. A little later, you come off plane, hit the no-wake zone heading for the ramp. Fuel is spraying, and has been for a while. Now the boat is going slow, vapors are building in a hot engine compartment, and there is not enough air going into the motor compartment to flush out the vapors. BOOM! This is a good example why we should make it a habit to run our blowers 5 minutes prior to starting the boat, and then all the time it is running until we turn it off. I know, I am bad about not doing that, and it takes me writing this example to realize why I should always run my blower.... It scares me to think what could happen in that worst case scenario...

I know this will be a topic that could be argued, but think about this: What is one of the biggest non-mechanical thing that can damage old fuel lilnes? I know the answer, it is ethanol. What kind of gas are most of us running? You scratching your head yet? Older boats will be more susceptible to fuel line problems, as they were built with fuel line that was not compatible with today's alcohol blended fuels. You can buy a boat today that SHOULD have ethanol-resistant fuel lines, at least if it is new. I routinely see ethanol-related fuel line problems at my mechanic's shop these days. Most of the time it is clogged filters, clogged carburetors, (remember it is worse for the older boats) etc, but from my experience restoring and running old vintage outboard motors, it can cause a fuel line to go brittle and crack in two... It is hard to know for sure what your gas station is really selling you, so you should act as if you are geting ethanol every time you gas up. If you have an older boat, consider having your fuel lines replaced, or at least gone over, to look for signs of damage... Oh, and make sure your blower works.... I check mine by turning it on and opening the engine hatch to listen for it every time I am about to launch. I also turn on the bilge pump and check to make sure it is working every time....

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to touch on several issues that all point to this recommendation, (I will repeat it): For your safety, and for the safety of your friends, your family, and your boat, as well as to your property and the property of others around you, try making it a habit of turning your blower on for 5 minutes prior to the first start-up of the day, and after any and every tank refill. Then keep it on and running all the time while your boat is running. If somehow, one of our boats does not blow up because I wrote this I will be happy. I know I will never know, and that is okay.
Be safe out there-

Phil
Kicker

Last edited by philwsailz; 06-15-2010 at 8:49 AM.
Old    Cody (loudontn)      Join Date: Feb 2005       06-15-2010, 8:57 AM Reply   
Solid post, Phil.
Old    Mattgettel (mattgettel)      Join Date: Jan 2009       06-15-2010, 9:09 AM Reply   
that convinced me to run my blower, thanks phil.
Old    Anthonyv911 (tonyv420)      Join Date: Jul 2007       06-15-2010, 9:54 AM Reply   
Always run the blower before starting for at least 3 min. Your crazy if you dont. Sometime I open the engine hatch and move it up and down just to get some good air in there. Last Sat. I smelled gas, and upon further investigation my fitting on the fuel filter was leaking. Good thing I checked cause if I would have turned the key without turning on the blower, it would have been disaster!! Does anyone know if boat insurance covers a thing like this ( boat on fire)
Old    Mario (mdaijogo)      Join Date: Mar 2010       06-15-2010, 10:43 AM Reply   
We run our blower almost all the time.

1. At launch.
2. When idling.
3. After sitting/anchored for a while and starting up.

Heck, we sometimes leave it on. Cheap insurance in my book.

m-
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-15-2010, 10:46 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_airjunky View Post
Unreal how people can be so nonchalant about this. I'd rather you be a little put off than blown to hell. The blower isn't that loud. Turn your stereo up to 2.

I run mine a lot. I'll turn the blower on when I shut the boat down just so it's been going for a few minutes when we get going again.
I was referring to running the blower at all times, and yes, my blower is loud. Loud enough I prefer to turn it off so that I can listen to the engine and make sure everything sounds right. I run the blower every initial start, but this is the first I've ever heard of running it all the time.
Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       06-15-2010, 10:51 AM Reply   
A-dub-

I gotta tell you, I usually turned mine off after it had run a while and the boat was started just like you, but literally typing that note I got scared thinking about what could happen if the scenario I shared was true. I had an eye opener just typing it, so I will probably run mine all the time now....

Phil
Kicker
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       06-15-2010, 11:10 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by philwsailz View Post
A-dub-

I gotta tell you, I usually turned mine off after it had run a while and the boat was started just like you, but literally typing that note I got scared thinking about what could happen if the scenario I shared was true. I had an eye opener just typing it, so I will probably run mine all the time now....

Phil
Kicker
Thank you for the information you gave, you enlightened myself, yourself, and likely many others. Not countering any information given or said, I am no mechanic or anything close to it, but in over 15 years of being around inboards I can not think of 1 person that ran the blower constantly, therefore this thought is out of the norm, and will be a new practice to be accepted. It is just so out of the normal standard that I know and have history with, I guess it's hard to understand that if it is true, why now?
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-15-2010, 11:19 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by behindtheboat View Post
I was referring to running the blower at all times, and yes, my blower is loud. Loud enough I prefer to turn it off so that I can listen to the engine and make sure everything sounds right. I run the blower every initial start, but this is the first I've ever heard of running it all the time.
Time to replace your blower? Their cheap, like $30 or $35? I can barely hear mine sittin in the driver's seat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by behindtheboat View Post
.........new practice to be accepted. It is just so out of the normal standard that I know and have history with, I guess it's hard to understand that if it is true, why now?
Good call. Might save you & your family some day. And if not, no skin off anyone's back.

BTW, this happens more often than you think. It's at least the 3rd time I've heard of it on WW. Even happened to a very active member who owned a board shop in VA.

Last edited by bill_airjunky; 06-15-2010 at 11:23 AM.
Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       06-15-2010, 12:20 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by behindtheboat View Post
Thank you for the information you gave, you enlightened myself, yourself, and likely many others. Not countering any information given or said, I am no mechanic or anything close to it, but in over 15 years of being around inboards I can not think of 1 person that ran the blower constantly, therefore this thought is out of the norm, and will be a new practice to be accepted. It is just so out of the normal standard that I know and have history with, I guess it's hard to understand that if it is true, why now?
A-dub-

I don't know of anyone who constantly ran the blower constantly either, including myself. I am reconsidering what is standard practice for me, due to the scenario I described above, specifically that freak event where you spring a leak while running, only to have an explosion of fire while idling. My mechanic recommends having the blower on full time, but his recommendation is more due to its ability to get more fresh air into the motor compartment for better engine performance, (he used to race way back in the day and won one of the Mississippi Marathons years ago). I think my personal concern comes in part from my bad experience with ethanol and what I have personally seen it do to fuel lines.

I still think a properly maintained boat, with proper updated fuel lines, (or closely monitored old fuel lines used with ethanol-free fuel) can be safely run with the blower being run for a time prior to starting and then turned off, which is my normal practice historically; same thing you and I have been doing all these years. Still I know "stuff" happens, and I still catch myself being stupid at times. Seriously... If I can get in the habit of always using the blower when the motor is running, I think I stand a better chance of avoiding a bad situation, an explosion or a fire if something happens "under the hood" that I am not aware of while running.

I think the short answer to your question: "why now" for me is mostly tied to what I have personally seen happening to fuel systems on my boats and others as a result of blended ethanol. That and watching a boat go up right in front of me last Friday...


Phil
Kicker
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-15-2010, 12:24 PM Reply   
One thing that is pretty cool on my Tige RZ2 is the fact that it has functional air intakes on each side of the bow. There is a 3" or 4" diameter hose that runs from the front all the way to the engine that keeps fresh air going into the engine compartment while under way which should help get rid of some of those fumes that may exist. The blower on my boat is so quiet that I left it on one time at the lake and didn't notice until I was closing the door at my storage that I heard a slight humming sound.
Old    Tim (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       06-15-2010, 1:39 PM Reply   
Great post Phil. Like I said may two year old Malibu was spraying a mist of fuel from a joint in the fuel line. I was shocked when I started the motor with the hatch open and saw that mist.
Old    Ajholt7 (ajholt7)      Join Date: Apr 2009       06-15-2010, 1:46 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyb View Post
One thing that is pretty cool on my Tige RZ2 is the fact that it has functional air intakes on each side of the bow. There is a 3" or 4" diameter hose that runs from the front all the way to the engine that keeps fresh air going into the engine compartment while under way which should help get rid of some of those fumes that may exist. The blower on my boat is so quiet that I left it on one time at the lake and didn't notice until I was closing the door at my storage that I heard a slight humming sound.
That is not just on the RZ2. My Tige 20V has intakes near the windshield that run to the bilge. I run my blower all the time and can barely hear it while at idle.
Old    Ian (epicwinnipeg)      Join Date: Feb 2010       06-16-2010, 4:34 PM Reply   
wow, i never run my blower, ever. will start tonight!
Old    A.J. West (you_da_man)      Join Date: Sep 2009       06-16-2010, 5:44 PM Reply   
I run the blower for about 30-60 seconds before intial start but I also lift my engine hatch. After floating in a cove for a while I'll do the samething.
Old    Walt (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       06-16-2010, 6:07 PM Reply   
I open the cover and do a sniff test every time I drop my boat in the water. If I'm not up on plane it stays on. If I remember right a 1/4 cup of gas with the right air mixture equals a stick of dynamite. It's a no brainer IMO.
Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       06-16-2010, 11:32 PM Reply   
Great post Phil, and well put. Once or twice a year someone posts pictures like this and it always reminds me to run the blower. Scientifically speaking, I don't know if running the blower full time makes a difference, but it makes me feel better, knowing my little kids are on board.
Old    Nick Heckerson (kstateskier)      Join Date: May 2002       06-17-2010, 12:09 PM Reply   
I can't believe all the people that say they have never run it? What did you guys think it was there for? Ours is almost always on when someone is skiing/boarding. With all the starts/stops, like said above, it's just cheap insurance.
Old    Fred (olmoomba)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-17-2010, 1:37 PM Reply   
I don't always use my blower, but I do always lift my engine cover for a quick inspect as well as the rear center seat to put the plug in. When I fill up, I usually have a 10-15 min or longer tow from the gas station and that will also vent my engine hatch.

BUT Phil has a scary scenerio and I have had pleny of one off WTH moments on the boat. As a matter of fact GM marine 8.1ltr engines had a fuel rail related recall, faulty clip causing leaking fuel.

Guess I will test the longevity of my blower motor running all the time now....
Old    Ian Morton (Ian)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-23-2010, 1:50 PM Reply   
Phil,

Great post.

I always run my blower. The only time I turn it off is when the boat is not running. I do run it for at least 5 minutes before I start the boat. I even turn it on sometimes when we are beach or just floating.

I was at the lake a couple of years ago. Apache Lake in Arizona, when a new Glastron or something like it, blew up at the gas dock. The owner had just filled her up, and then started the boat. No, blower wasn't turned on. BOOM!! Destroyed and sunk on the spot. It was a husband, wife and their dog. Dog didn't make it and one of the 2 was heli'd out with burns. They were ok, but scary as hell!

I always leave it on and open the hatch every so often. I also have 6 batteries in the engine compartment so I worry about the vapors from the as well.

I did have a blower go out on me and when I replaced it I went with a higher rpm model to move more air. Was like $30-$40. Took 5 minutes to replace. I now keep an extra on my boat or toy hauler.
Old    puckhead (jcollinge)      Join Date: Apr 2004       06-23-2010, 3:40 PM Reply   
I run the blower when I'm done gassing up and leave it on until I start the engine after launch. It takes me 2-4 mins to get to the ramp but I do it every time I go out. It's just not worth the risk...
Old    Jay Conrad (pwningjr)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-23-2010, 8:21 PM Reply   
I usually run the blower before the initial startup. I _always_ do a sniff check- right down in the bilge (a lot easier with a direct drive than a v) where possible gasoline vapors would be. I am starting to wonder if replacing the fuel line would be appropriate for an '89 though just as a safety precaution. Luckily enough here in Iowa we can get gasoline - usually 87 and 91 - without ethanol (imagine that!).

No way in **** that key is turning if I get the slightest whiff of gasoline vapors.
Old    Brock Landers (formfunction)      Join Date: Jun 2008       06-23-2010, 9:01 PM Reply   
The air to fuel ratio needed for ignition is pretty heavy.If you have a vapor problem a blower won't clear it out for several minutes.If you have a serious fuel leak a blower won't do anything.You should allways lift you engine cover and take a sniff.If its there you will smell it real strong at which point your trip should be cancelled till you address the issue.We leave our cover open till the boat warms up just to make sure everything is functioning right and not leaking but I have never needed to use my blower.
I would assume most fires come from people not doing the initial inspection before starting or freak gas leaks when operating.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       06-23-2010, 11:24 PM Reply   
Just happened on Hayden Lake in Idaho today.

Carbed older boat, recently fueled up, sounds like it was flooded.

You can't run your blowers too much.....

Last edited by bill_airjunky; 06-23-2010 at 11:28 PM.

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