Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

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Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby EchoWhiskey » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:55 am

Hi all,

I am mounting my tanks in my Highlander and have been researching fuel sight gauges. The LSA Ive been flying for a few years has them, and I have never wondered if I was low on fuel. If I was, I knew. My current plane has back up electric fuel pump. The end goal is a Yamaha Apex and a back up electric pump. Has anyone done this? Any reason Not to(except for the potential fuel source with a hard landing). There are some well built metal gauges that enclose and protect the glass. Would this eliminate the need for a header tank?
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby danerazz » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:08 pm

Metal or fiberglass tanks? Good idea for metal tanks, but you can just look through the fiberglass ones.

As for the header tank, these are two COMPLETELY unrelated issues. The header is there to act as a collector; it separates air and ensures constant fuel flow to the engine. In certain (nose down) attitudes the wing tank pickups will not be submerged and thus will suck air. The header is your only fuel source during those times. You would have to run fuel lines from the front of the tanks, in front of the doors, and tie them together with the rear lines at some sort of collector at a low point to eliminate the header, but you would still need a small collector to allow air to escape while providing a positive fuel flow.

Fuel pumps are dependent on your engine installation, but due to the possibility (eventuality) of running off of ONLY the header at times with little to no head pressure they are a good idea.
Dane

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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby BucF16 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:29 am

I was going to ask the same question; Aluminum or fiberglass? I have Fiberglass, and mounted a high alum LEDs outboard of the tanks. This should help with the visual of tank quantity. I also am installing a Apex from Steve Henry, a Turn-Key setup. Steve suggests a 5 gallon header tank. I purchased his tank. It has a provisions for a sight gage.

If you don't use a header, you will need a good Fuel Selector valve (I think Andair is the best choice) and a gascolator.

In the end, I have 2 - 13 gallon wing tanks, and a 5 gallon header. Total 31 gals. My bladder will give out long before I'm out of fuel. But for around the patch, If I see air in the sight gage, I still have 45 minutes till empty.

Cheers,
Bruce
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby EchoWhiskey » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:23 am

Aluminum Tanks,

I've learned the sight gauges are common, just not covered in the manual. Actually, the manual shows fiberglass tanks. It also has conflicting info. It says to install tanks tight to the rib webbing but has pics and talks about maintaining a space. I just mounted my wings and I am getting ready to install tanks. Apparently I need to install some brackets on the spars to support them. Manual is a little light on info on this. But Richard posted some proper pictures.

I have read the posts about fuel starvation on descents and I certainly don't want to be part of that club. So the headers act to remove air from varying flight attitudes and debris.

My lsa has two fiberglass wing tanks, one wing root filter and supply line, a fuel side selector switch, and no header tank, and a gascolator. I have never had an issue(except for fiberglass in fuel)
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby FredHoffman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:39 am

Aluminum Tanks ! I second that. If you have not covered you wings and you can put in aluminum tanks I would! I do no like the fiberglass tanks at all. If I had put in aluminum tanks in I would have a much greater choice of fuels for my Rotax. I currently avoid ethanol fuel because of a possible reaction to epoxy. Very few places carry 91 plus octane ethanol free fuel !
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby alan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:08 am

I had fiberglass tanks for the first 10 years. Then I had a small leak I could not find. My buddy said I had a flying molotov cocktail. I cleaned my fuel filter by shaking the cleanable element in a jar of gasoline and then poured the gas through a shop towel. When it dried I had a significant quantity of dust the same color as the tanks.

I ordered a pair of aluminum tanks and drove to the factory where Jak showed me how he was installing the first pair of Super Stol tanks in a factory built Highlander.. Thanks to Jak and Just the molotov cocktail part is just a memory. I use Helix Racing clear fuel line. I change it at every annual even though it is still flexible.

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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby BucF16 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:42 pm

My Highlander is #393. How many of y'all with late model fiberglass tanks have had issues? I was under the impression that the later fiberglass tanks were sound.

Thanks in advance.
Bruce
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby SheepdogRD » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:02 pm

I switched to the aluminum tanks about 3 years ago. I hadn't heard of any current failures, but I had been told that the content of Mogas is much more loosely defined than that of Avgas, and that we don't know what sort of chemicals they'll add to Mogas in the future. I'd already replaced fuel systems on small engines -- mower, weedeater, chain saw, go-cart -- and thought the best way to avoid future fuel contamination problems was to use metal tanks and all metal lines. We still have O-rings in gascolators and fuel selectors and drain valves, but those present readily-resolved problems. Degrading fuel tanks that are built into the wings seemed like it was a possibility I wanted to avoid.

At the time, the factory was still using fiberglass tanks, but Steve Henry had built his own aluminum tanks. I figured building my own tanks would be a great learning experience, so I put off finishing the wings 'til I could do that. By the time I was ready to go on the tank project, JA had decided to change to aluminum tanks, so I bought one of the first sets.

I still haven't heard of any current failures in late-model fiberglass tanks, but I have no regrets.
Richard Holtz
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby BucF16 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:54 pm

Thanks Richard, I am just about to cover the wings. One more coat of polyurethane on the right wing and a little bit of filler. Steve said that the apex will run on farm non ethanol fuel. I am very fortunate to live in a very farm friendly area. There are 2 fuel depots associated with grain elevators that serve and deliver this type of fuel within 12 miles. I think as long as we have gas tractors in the area, I'm safe. If that changes, I'll cut out the old tanks and install AL tanks. Last year I purchased a trailer with a 119 gallon transfer tank. I am thinking 3 fill ups per summer should do the trick.

Cheers,
Bruce

ps. It was great talking to you last week! You have a Highlander, that the workmanship, should be in a museum, as art work.
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Re: Wing Root Fuel Sight Gauge

Postby SheepdogRD » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:45 pm

Thanks, Bruce. I hope the finished product is that good, but I know where the mistakes are... and they aren't all hidden. :shock:

Once I get this windshield project to bed, I'm going to focus on getting Ms. Tonka in the air. I've gotten to the point where there's a To Do list. It still seems endless, but it's getting less endless. I promised myself: no more changes on this plane. I have several I want to do on the next Highlander, as well as refinements (mostly reduced-weight versions) of mods I've already done. But I need to get flying before I'm too old to swing myself up into the seat.

I enjoyed our conversation. I drive up through Ohio a couple times a year... I'll see if I can stop and see you and your project.
Richard Holtz
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