LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
questions. I am planning to add a
fuel polishing system to the 45-gallon
diesel tank on my 1986 Tartan 40.
There is one 8-inch inspection lid,
but unfortunately, only one existing
pickup tube for the fuel supply. I
will install a second pickup tube for
the polishing, about 1/2-inch off
the bottom, and fasten it to the tank
My existing fuel lines are 3/8-inch
inside diameter. From the tank for
the new polishing system, I will run
3/8-inch Type A- 1 hose to a Racor
500 with a 2-micron filter element
and vacuum gauge, then a Walbro
FRB- 13-2 43gph fuel pump, and
then T into the engine return line. I
will also have some kind of diverter
valve after the pump where I can
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connect a hose and divert to jerry
cans in the cockpit when I need to
empty and clean the tank, or give
fuel to someone in need.
What material should the new
pickup tube be made of (it will not
have a screen at the bottom)? Also,
how do I best fasten the tube to the
tank? Should I use a threaded tube
and have it pass through the tank
where I can then attach a plumbing
fitting? I’m assuming I will have to
use brass fittings, but with some kind
of stainless steel bushing or insulating
material. Finally, what is the best
liquid- and vapor-tight sealant to use
for fitting to the diesel tank?
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Your questions regarding the
installation of a polishing system are
all very good ones, indeed.
As far as the arrangement goes,
consider installing the pickup tube in
the removable inspection cover rather
than in the tank. With this approach,
you can do the cutting and drilling
in the shop, away from the tank.
You can have a welding boss (these
are inexpensive threaded bushings)
welded to the inspection lid, into
which you can install the pickup.
Pickup tubes can be purchased online
or from fuel tank manufacturers. The
tube portions are typically available
in either aluminum or nylon, while the
head is usually aluminum, either one
would work. You can trim its height
to fit your tank if necessary. It should
be removable without having to enter
the tank interior, and, as you noted, it
should not be equipped with a screen.
Screens are a source of clogging and
servicing them is much more difficult
than replacing a filter element.
The overarching concern I have
with the design involves the return,
for two reasons. The return is almost
certainly smaller than the pickup,
probably 1/4-inch inside diameter,
which will restrict the flow. And, it
isn’t plumbed to the tank bottom,
which means it will splash fuel back