You aren’t going to have to do much of anything with your existing boat until you need to replace fuel lines. There has been a gradual phase-in of requirements since 2009, and it began with the introduction of less permeable fuel hose.
The new requirements call for hose with a maximum permeation rate of 15 grams per square meter (about a half-ounce for every 11 square feet) over a 24-hour period, a significant reduction.
Outboard fuel hoses and primer bulbs are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light rays, dictating that these parts get replaced on a regular basis. With inboards, hoses out of sight are out of mind. When you replace, look for hose marked U.S. Coast Guard A-1-15.
Beginning in 2009 for California and in 2011 for the rest of the United States, portable fuel tank makers and PWC manufacturers had to meet diurnal emissions requirements. For the portable fuel tank, this basically meant using new multilayer plastic formulas to reduce the fuel vapor permeability rate for the tank as well as re-engineering fill cap and vent setups on the tanks to reduce the potential for any leakage..
Fuel hoses and primer bulbs have also been re-engineered to meet the new requirements for lower permeability. One important note in this area is that most of the hose available with pre-fitted primer bulbs is B-1-15 rated, meaning that it is not fire rated and therefore should not be used in engine compartment applications as we sometimes see.
Your marine boat parts professional knows that as for boats, either inboard or outboard powered with built-in fuel tanks, the new fuel systems not only need to control evaporative emissions, but they also need to integrate components to control fuel spit-back associated with refueling and to ensure that fuel can’t escape via the tank vent system when the boat is fueled or stored on an incline.
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As for fuel tanks, builders have some options. Traditional aluminum tanks are one option and will require only modification to facilitate the mounting of some needed valves.
I had a chance to inspect some samples of new plastic tanks that are certified to meet EPA requirements at a recent industry trade show. Moeller Marine Products, for example, had its tanks on display and described its plastic tanks as “bi-layer” plastic, with the inner layer being made of nylon.
On my own 2012 outboard-powered center-console, I’ve inspected the entire fuel system in the year I’ve owned it. Aside from that, about the only noticeable differences are some small air bleed vents located on the inside of the fuel-fill cap and the presence of a carbon canister under one of the seats in the transom of the boat.
Trouble Symptoms: New Tank Effect
The first fill-up of a new tank may cause the system to vapor-lock and shut off the fuel nozzle. If that happens, wait 10 minutes for fuel vapors to penetrate the whole system. Following that, this glitch should not reoccur.
One thing you don’t want to do is try to get the evaporative control system bypassed or removed, or try to do that yourself. Remember too that all of the components for these systems need to be certified by the EPA and substitution with improper hoses, valves and canisters could end up causing more problems than you’ll be minimizing.
So don’t forget these helpful points on how to protect your fuel system. 1) You aren’t going to have to do much of anything with your existing boat until you need to replace fuel lines; 2) Fuel hoses and primer bulbs have also been re-engineered to meet the new requirements for lower permeability; and 3) The first fill-up of a new tank may cause the system to vapor-lock and shut off the fuel nozzle.
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