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View Poll Results: How do you use your blower when running the engine?
I run it continuously when the engine is running. 70 34.83%
I run it sometimes, but not all the time the engine is running. 48 23.88%
I don't run the blower at all when the engine is running. 83 41.29%
Voters: 201. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1   IP: 75.199.181.15
Old 09-10-2009, 06:33 AM
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How do you use your blower?

At Dave Neptune's request, here's a poll asking you to describe how you use the blower to vent the air in your engine box when running the engine.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:01 AM
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I run the Blower 3-5 minutes before starting and continuously while the engine is running.
I NEVER start without the SNIFF test.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:42 PM
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I sniff the bilge and engine compartment, more time then not as soon as I enter the cabin. I always do this before I turn on the fuel or water 100% of the time, but sometimes it's not as soon as I enter the cabin.

After that I run the blower for a minute or two and if it smells clean coming out of the vent I turn off the blower and start er' up.

I feel 100% safe doing this. Regular maintenances and inspections , not just a quick once over are the key to safety in my opinion. That also includes not using automotive parts on my boat!

After fueling I always sniff test the lockers around the fuel tank and vent line areas. I also run the blower before start up after fueling.

As for the failed Facet fuel pump in the other tread, I'd have to hold it in my hand before I would make the comment that raw fuel would gush out of it. For all I know that hole is in the casing from the factory and covered up by the lable. Again,as others have said, proper fusing would have prevented that from happening in the first place.

Running the blower while the engine IMHO is overkill on a properly maintained vessel. I would go so far as to say I would think it odd to run the blower all the time. sort of like driving down the road with your hazard lights on all the time just to be extra safe....

flame suit on. :-)

Last edited by MikeB.330; 09-10-2009 at 12:43 PM. Reason: humor
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:47 PM
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It depends. I ran it a lot early, when I had a new galvanized hot section that was off-gassing a lot.

Now I tend to cycle it..if there is no wind and the engine is working hard, I might run it, especially if I think the ice-box might be suffering.

I always do a sniff test too, as my fuel tank seacock is the first item on my checklist (even before the blower which allows me to pre-check for smells) but I usually start the blower, and then after a few minutes pull the engine housing (under my galley) and open the intake, etc..

No problems yet..if I don't feel warm air from the blower exhaust when the engine is running, I usually turn it off.
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:33 AM
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Normal first time starting procedure on the MC. Check the bilge. This puts my nose at the lowest point in the boat. Sniff. Open the main hatch to the engine and open thru hull and gas cutoff, check oil level and general visual check of engine. Sniff. Run blower for 1 minute or so. Sniff. With hatch open I start her up. The man who built the MC gave her a large engine compartment with good ventilation. While motoring I often open the main hatch, in the cockpit sole, and give a good look/see. I always run the blower before restarting after sailing but do not do all the other steps. So yes I use the blower before each start but not constantly while the engine is running. Dan S/V Marian Claire

Last edited by Marian Claire; 09-11-2009 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:04 AM
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I do about the same as sastanley: sniff test down in the bilge/engine compartment, run the blower three minutes while I prep the engine, sniff the blower outlet pipe for odors and start the engine. If the weather is fine I open the forward hatch and get good ventilation going into the boat- and I turn off the blower. If not, I run the blower while the engine is running.

Kelly
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:04 PM
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I am am at heart a power boater, my wife is the Captain of the Alanna Michele. Power boating since I was 10, my Dad, a former Navy man, taught me the blower is never turned off unless the engine is off. Just pure safety, plain and simple. I've taught my kids the same.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:15 PM
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I voted with the "don't run the blower at all while running the engine" crowd but after reading the stories I am beginning to rethink this matter and am planning another renovation that will cycle the blower electronically while operating the motor.

Say, every 10 - 15 minutes operate the blower for 1 -2 minutes?

My current procedure is -

1. I approach my vessel with my "nose-in-gear";

2. open the companionway - sniff - look for evidence of spilled fuel;

3. open the starboard cockpit locker and sniff - look at and feel my fuel petcock and fuel line for signs of leakage;

4. then I start the blower which is activated by a Water Witch timer set to 4 minutes.

5. after the blower times out I then go below, open my engine compartment door and check for signs of leakage at that section;

6. if all is OK I turn on the fuel, open engine raw water intake and start the motor.

Cheers!

Last edited by 67c&ccorv; 09-14-2009 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:12 PM
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Bilge Blower

I need to wok in quieting my blower. The admiral doesn't like hearing both the engine and blower racket.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:25 PM
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Surprising poll results

I am a bit surprised to see that there were 12 people who voted for 'continuously running the blower' and 12 who voted for 'never running the blower'. If you count the 8 votes for 'sometimes run the blower' then the majority of us do run our blowers.
The biggest nightmares of an A4 powered boat owner should be:
- fire, gasoline does not just burn; it can and will explode. Propane is no joke either.
- lightning
- getting holed
- being caught out in a tropical storm or worse
- running out of food or beer
(to list only a few potentially life threatening possibilities).
Most of the items in my list can be controlled by us by exercising due diligence and maintaining our systems. Lightning is obviously beyond the control of most of us.
Since it is a CG requirement to have a blower on a gas inboard engine I am a bit puzzled as to why so many folks voted that they never use the blower on their boats when it is clearly one of the reasonable best practices with a gasoline engine located in your boat.
Most of the posts to this thread are from the 'run the blower' camp so I wonder if some of the 'never run the blower' camp would care to post here with their reasons for doing so.
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  #11   IP: 142.68.249.245
Old 09-18-2009, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
I am a bit puzzled as to why so many folks voted that they never use the blower on their boats
My guess is they meant they use the blower to vent out for four minutes prior to starting, but not continuously while running?
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  #12   IP: 69.251.211.217
Old 09-18-2009, 06:13 PM
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That's what the pole question says. People who never run the blower WHEN the engine IS running.

I'm sure at least 95% of us at least run tbe blower before starting and after fueling. The other 5% will become statistics with enough time.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:23 PM
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I am not so high and mighty.

There have been enough times that I have started our A4 without running the blower and then just motoring out of the mooring field. I have become quite a bit more sensitive to this issue/safety precaution since cleaning the carb. and finding out that some fuel does leak out of it. We now turn off the fuel as well as close the raw water intake as part of our normal shut down procedure.
I suppose that it helped that I hand cleaned our bilge and painted as much as I could - there was some scary stuff down there that resembled tar. It is not a job that you want to have to do that often so minimizing spills of any kind into the bilge is more of a priority then it used to be.
Tonight I saw the aftermath of a car accident in Brooklyn, NY from a few blocks away. There was no explosion but eventually flames engulfed one car that I could easily see from 3 blocks away. A conservative estimate is that the flames were twice as high as the Caravan type vehicle, so about 10' high. I really don't want to think about what a fire like this would do to my poor old boat or me and my crew.
Running the blower before starting up the engine is the minimum we should all be doing. Since we have to open the fuel and raw water valves we get to do a free nose test in the process as well.
I am not all that crazy about the noise of the blower either and I would rather be sailing then motoring but there are other gasses (CO) that can build up in the cabin so for long stretches of motoring the blower can be powered by the alternator.
I suppose the poll questions could have been a little more finely graded.
I also hope that it is not 5% of A4 owners who are 'bound to become statistics'.
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:13 PM
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I do a sniff test when I open the boat and before I do anything else, then at the blower exhaust after running the blower for 5 min. Since my blower is not designed to run continuesly transport canada regulations do not permit me to run continuesly.

Alberg
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:33 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is offline
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Talking Noise

Hi guys, lots of interesting opinions on this one. Personally I am a safety nut since handing off a 4 year old boy missing his leg from just below the knee to a coastie out of a chopper. Before they lifted off I dove for his leg and found it in time to get it aboard as well. It was reattached and he was unable to attend the funeral for the seven dead relatives. Shook me up!

RE noise, I mounted my blower on vibration isolators which hang off a bulkhead. The blower is sort of suspended from a bracket attached to the blower with isolators and the bracket is mounted to the bulkhead on isolators as well. It's very quiet and you have to be in the back of the cockpit to hear it. I have even left it on for a while because the music drowned out the noise of the blower itself.

Dave Neptune, Thanx
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:49 AM
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Of course one should always run the blower before starting the engine. And a sniff of the exhaust is also excellent practice. Nevertheless, you guys running the blower constantly are forgetting that the engine is itself a vacuum sucking up air from the engine compartment and keeping a steady stream of fresh air entering. Furthermore, I have never, ever, ever had a gasoline drip while my engine is running. Never. A few times in my 30 years of running an Atomic 4 I have had a blockage in the float bowl that caused a drip and I learned to shut off my fuel supply as a precaution. But never while the engine was running. I guess it is possible, but the uptake of fuel by the engine as well as the draw through the scavenger tube makes a drip from the engine nearly impossible. If a fuel line comes undone while you’re underway your blower isn’t going to clear all those fumes anyway.

Somebody posted previously that the history of gasoline explosions is very rare. That has been my experience too. In 35 years on the water I have only heard of one locally—a power boat. I’m all for safety, but what really are you accomplishing by running that poor little electric motor for all those hours?
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:41 AM
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Blower use 101, when and how long is in every boat manual printed in the last fifty years. Some runabouts even have it embossed next to key and switch. Proper use is that important.
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:49 PM
Jesse Delanoy Jesse Delanoy is offline
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I run my blower continuously when the engine is on. I had no problems with it for seven years of ownership (and I think it was original on a 1977 Catalina 30), when it abruptly quit last year at the time of a fairly significant accident (dragged anchor while we were ashore on a rough evening, and ran up against the seawall at the Naval Academy - still not sure how that affected the blower, but it did).

Cost me about $150 to replace - parts and labor.

If I have to buy a new blower every 7 years for $150, I'll consider it money well spent.


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Pasadena/Baltimore
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  #19   IP: 67.90.51.162
Old 10-09-2009, 07:33 AM
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You failed to impress me that running your blower continuously actually accomplishes anything so I don't see how that's "money well spent." But I also don't see how I'm harmed by other people wearing a belt with suspenders. So be it.
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:31 AM
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Run Blower at start up

I've owned boats with an Atomic 4 for over 30 years now. My fuel tank is higher than the fuel pump/carburetor. So I have a solenoid fuel valve that is in the fuel line upstream of the filter and that is activated by the ignition switch. This would not protect against a leak while motoring, which I don't believe I've ever had. But it does protect against a stuck or leaky float valve at shut down. I run the blower before startup and immediately smell test the blower exhaust. I do not run it otherwise except one time when I had an exhaust pipe failure. I've never been aware of having had a fuel vapor problem except during carburetor removal or filter replacement. I feel that the solenoid valve is a good idea -- it is comforting to know that the fuel is always off when the engine is not running. Also it is convenient when carburetor removal is needed -- avoiding having to remember to shut off the manual valve which is awkward to reach. I have a friend who had a stuck float valve when the engine was off. Someone smelled fuel in the cabin. They found fuel almost pouring out of the carburator and repaired it, thus averting a disaster. The solenoid valve would have prevented that. If one has a fuel vapor problem, it seems to me that the idea of always running the blower when the engine is on would only mask, not solve the problem. If one runs the blower to remove blowby fumes, the better answer to that is to install Indigo's blowby device. To reduce heat, use proper exhaust pipe installation. Moyer is a source for that.
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  #21   IP: 173.66.178.163
Old 10-09-2009, 10:54 AM
keelcooler keelcooler is offline
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Ghaegele, What do you mean it accomplishes nothing. Aboard my boat if I run the blower for 30 minutes I can make a hot grilled cheese wrapped in foil. The wife loves it because she can make believe she didn't hear me when I bark out orders. And of course the sense of security I have when it's running after engine start up is priceless.

Joking aside, make sure the hose induction is located in the lower portions of the bilge 6" above the normal bilge water level. Many owners place the hose under the carb. Any fumes are going to be down deep in that bilge.

Make sure the hose is secured and can not come in contact with revolving machinery. Blower hose wire bird nests will be be avoided around shaft couplers and alternator belts.

As Sastanley discovered no sags allowed in hose, otherwise rain and other waters will puddle blocking off air flow. This also holds true for the air vent hose.
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  #22   IP: 158.106.52.10
Old 10-12-2009, 09:47 AM
Mighty Pearson Owner Mighty Pearson Owner is offline
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Blower Operation

you all are missing the important point of blower operation..the blower hose also sucks up an carbon monoxide fumes...remember all the blue haze that comes out of our engines if we do not have the PVC mod? that is exhaust gases coming from the pistons..the suction of the blower should be in your bilge..

Google CO poisoning - it puts you to sleep and you dont wake up..yes if we smell gas you have a gas leak, my new boat - well the blower runs if the engine is running i do not have an option...and it is a diesel...
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  #23   IP: 206.125.176.3
Old 10-12-2009, 11:17 AM
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Another good point MPO.

I hadn't thought about it much except that all my inboard powered powerboat friends have one, so I just picked up a AA battery powered CO detector from Lowe's for less than $25. It says it will work for 7 years.

As long as I see the little green light blinking it is supposedly OK.

More piece of mind when the family is down below & the engine is running.
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  #24   IP: 67.90.51.162
Old 10-13-2009, 11:16 AM
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The PCV kit does wonders to eliminate blowby in the engine compartment and is a lot quieter than running the blasted blower all the time.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:26 PM
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As said, CO blue haze in your cabin, the blower hose is in the bilge. Don't think your blower is going to take care of it. Could be a deadly error. Take care of the problem properly for only 80 bucks. Always open/crack the forward hatch when running. With the cabin closed up even a pin hole leak in the exhaust can kill you.

Have a detector at home and aboard. Anything w/a flame will produce CO.
I had big time blow by. The PVC device is the real deal that works.
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