We Just Discovered a Scary Fire Hazard On Our Boat

By Rich

Last week I began the process of removing the fuel lines from our port aft fuel tank so I could clean it, and in the process discovered that our fuel lines were so old and brittle that they tore the moment I began to try to remove them from the tank. Here is a photo of the end of one of them where you can see they are delaminating and falling apart:

But wait – that’s not the scary part. Until they are handled there wouldn’t necessarily be a reason why the fuel lines should start to leak. That being said, when I saw the condition they were in I made the decision to replace all of the fuel lines to every tank aboard Rover.

Today I got a start pulling the fuel lines for the port aft tank and was alarmed to find that the tank’s return line had been run so that it was in contact with the wiring for the secondary alternator. I took this photo so that I could run the lines in the same manner that I found them. The alternator is the white object in the lower left of the photo and the fuel lines can be seen running past it through those zip ties.

Once I got the return line out, I was horrified at what I found!

The fuel line had been chafed so badly that only a tissue thin piece of the inner hose remained (about the consistency of a zip lock bag) which means were were some number of minutes or hours away from the hose failing, whereupon the engine would have been pumping raw diesel right over a (hot, electrical) alternator and from there all over the engine compartment…

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