Small amount of water in one tank.

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by drotto, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    I consistantly get some water in the right tank if the plane (PA32R) is outside during heavy rainfall, maybe 1/2 to 1 oz. Never more than that. It always is easy to drown off, and is always just in the wing, never in the belly sump. Plane has always flown just fine after draining. At annual I replaced the gaskets on the fuel caps, and that did not seem to help. The plane does have the inner site glasses, which have a access port, and there is an access port around the fuel cap.

    Other then the caps and the access ports is there anywhere else to get a leak? I guess at the next service I should get those access ports resealed.

    From a safety standpoint, what amount of water would cause an issue?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  2. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Any.
     
  3. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's not entirely accurate. It's true that any amount of water is unacceptable to launch with, but it does not make the plane unairworthy to discover some water and discard it. As long as the water can be removed reasonably and there isn't some other issue that would make it unairworthy, nothing says you can't safely fly the plane. Just means you need to be extra vigilant about checking the sumps.

    For reference, also, the IO-540 on that aircraft pumps an ounce in two seconds. That can definitely get your heart rate up on takeoff as it coughs through the water, but that ounce is not going to stop a running engine. How much will? I don't know, which is why taking off with any you know about in the system is unacceptable. But it does mean that you can take your time figuring the issue out. This leak rate is highly unlikely to cause a safety issue.

    If you're not using a Gats jar for sumping, now is a good time to switch to that. They make the process of finding water much less painful.
     
  4. manac

    manac Pre-Flight

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    Gee fix the right tank!
    Yes sump the tanks get good fuel go fly.
    More than once you have an issue that needs to be fixed.
     
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  5. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yes? Where did I ever say otherwise?
     
  6. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    I read that as implied from your one-word answer that you were suggesting that this made the plane unairworthy. Maybe you didn't mean that. "Issue" and "Any" are pretty squishy words, so I was making best guesses to connotation.
     
  7. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Nope, I didn’t mean that at all. I meant that any amount of water in the tanks is unacceptable and should be sumped prior to committing flight.
     
  8. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Could be worse

    [​IMG]
     
  9. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    What the hell am I looking at? The upper layer doesn't seem blue enough for avgas. Jet fuel mixed in? Visually looks too oily for avgas, too. But there is a hint of blue there. The lower is...disgusting, whatever it is. Clearly aqueous, but what would make it that color, I have no idea.
     
  10. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You not only have water,but also contaminants in that sample. Have your mechanic purge,clean and inspect that tank.
     
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  11. Gary Austin

    Gary Austin Pre-Flight

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    Also, remember water will not compress, as in while trying to go thru a small orfice, that's why it doesn't take much water to get an engine to stumble or stop
     
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  12. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    Why would that matter? Liquid gasoline doesn't compress, either.
     
  13. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You don’t say...:mad2:
     
  14. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Looks like someone spent some time with some ladies of the night. I’ll get ya a shot of penicillin for that:D
     
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  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You’re looking at a plane that sat through a few storms in AK, not mine, but yeah
     
  16. Jeff Cutler

    Jeff Cutler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Replace the fuel cap gasket--
     
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  17. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    How so? I knew a GATS was the way to go to find Jet fuel in your gas but I'm not seeing how it would make it easier to find water
     
  18. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's not an easier way to find it. It's an easier way to deal with it. First, the GATS jar is generally far larger than a standard tester, so you can pull more fuel at once, which also helps test more of it. However, the thing that makes the most difference is the membrane they use. It means that you can safely pour the fuel back into the tank and the water will stay in the jar. Then open the jar and chuck the water on the ground safely.

    If I remember correctly, a PA32R needs 5-6 drains checked. Additionally, (again, if I'm remembering correctly) because of the length of the lines, the fuel selector drain is supposed to be drained for extended period of time (many seconds). Not quite as bad as the restart 172s with 13 drains, but still a pain. GATS jar makes that easier.
     
  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Ah. Didn't know that about the membrane catching the water when you pour back in.
     
  20. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Liquids aren't entirely incompressible...they compress a tiny bit.

    From your friendly POA pedant. :D
     
  21. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, yes. And gasoline a bit more than water.
     
  22. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas En-Route

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    Water has a far higher surface tension than gasoline. If you're real careful you can float a sewing needle in a glass of water. Try that with gasoline. It's the surface tension that keps water from passing through the metering orifice, especially when that orifice already has gasoline on it.
     
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  23. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    This I'll buy. Coincidentally, that's exactly the mechanism the GATS jar uses to separate the two liquids.
     
  24. JDACO

    JDACO Pre-Flight

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    I'd purge the tank and replace the seal in the cap as others have recommended.
     
  25. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen Pattern Altitude

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    I think I’ve drank a shot that looked like that before. :)
     
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  26. comancheflyer30

    comancheflyer30 Pre-Flight

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    I had a tank that let a little water in during rainfall. It was coming in through the top filler neck screws and around the gasket. I backed out the filler neck screws a bit and added a little EZ Turn Fuel Lube and then screwed them back down. Then I added a thin layer of EZ Turn around where the gasket is around the filler neck. No more water in the tank even during an overnight downpour. Works in a pinch if you can find where the water is coming in at.
     
  27. bluerooster

    bluerooster Cleared for Takeoff

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    Gasoline can pass through a finer mesh screen than water. Back in the day a chamois was used to strain fuel as it was poured into the tank.
    Gas will pour through the chamois, while water, and other contaminates would be trapped.
     
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  28. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas En-Route

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    One of the secrets to using felt or chamois is to have the media wet with gasoline before water gets to it. Water can pass through many dry media.

    The screen in the fuel strainer (gascolator) partly relies on that. Surface tension does the rest.

    I did run into a filter media that's currently being used in fuel delivery systems, like the avgas trucks or stationary pumps. It will not pass water at any time. It soaks it up and swells until it's full, and all flow then stops.