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Fuel Tank Connections


Barry Schnur
From the feedback I've received from other M38 owners, I've decided to add a port/starboard pair of fuel tanks just ahead of the aft bulkhead in the forward stateroom. It's apparent that the boat can easily carry the extra weight of 40 gallons of fuel up forward, even with an all chain rode and a windlass. (One of the keys is to pull out the lead ballast installed under the forward end of the v-berth.)
The next decision is how to get the fuel into and out of the tanks. I'm considering having the fuel lines draw from the bottom ot the tanks as opposed to a siphon tube out of the tank tops. The tanks would then gravity feed to the filters and ease bleeding the lines should the extra tanks ever go dry (a definite probability). I've heard somewhere that gravity feeding gasoline is illegal, but that it's OK for diesel. Does anyone have information on this?
Also, is there any reason not to install only one deck fill plate & hose and then allow the opposite tank to gravity-fill from the first tank? If the bottom fuel outlet connections were tied together through a manifold arrangement, they would slowly equalize while filling.
Lastly, which is better -- feeding the engine only from the main tank and re-filling the main from the extra tanks, or connect the extra tanks directly to the engine via a fuel manifold?
Any thoughts would be appreciated -- especially from those folks who "have been there and done that".


bud fetter
<div>I haven't done it yet but plan to add a forward tank this spring or summer. I presently have 2 flexiable water tanks, 46 gal. total, and there is room for a 15 to 20 gal. tank just forward of these two water tanks. I believe you have to fill whatever tank or tanks you install from the deck, entering from the head or starbd. closet area, or installing a pump and pumping from the main tank to the forward tank(s). If you use the pump and it's reversiable, you can pump back into the main tank as needed.I have an isolated, inline fuel pump that can fill either Racor 500 or force fuel to the engine to aid in bleeding. I believe by adding a valve or two and some fuel hose I'll be able to fill this forward tank as I fill the main tank. My Racor's are placed just under the sink and accessed by two doors cut into the cabinetry across from the wet locker. I installed a magnetic light switch so when the doors open you have light to work by. This system works when your engine starts to quit; when traveling away from clean fuel it's a must.Good luck!