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Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

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  • Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing


    As its raining and blowing a gale here in South Wales; to 'kill time' I went for a walk round the town - popping into the odd motorfactors.

    1 meter lengths of black fuel tubing 'cought my eye' - all different sizes suitable for 'all types of fuel'. Also on sale was the clear fabric braced type that always leaked/de-laminated (after a while) when I used it on my old Ford Cortina. What I found 'interesting' was the packet details that stated the tubing was 'Not Suitable for Unleaded Petrol'.

    Now I know the Icarus C42 uses that type of tubing from the tank to the firewall - so question is...

    Does anybody know if the type used on C42 is different (and is suitable for unleaded) or is all fabric braced unsuitable for unleaded?

    Only asking out of interest.


  • #2
    Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

    Afternoon Paul, We (at hogg towers) have been climbing up a very steep learning curve re sutability(or not) of fuel pipe.
    The type of pipe you remember from your youth was actually air line pipe . Motor factors used to sell it either not knowing or not wanting to know that it wasnt actually meant for petrol.
    It was this stuff that caused the engine failure and subsiquent fatal on a gyro years a go that lead to a mandatory ban on the stuff for our toys.
    There is now however a similarily reinforced pipe that is petrol proof and I assume that is what Icarus use.
    There is a more insidious problem that is starting to affect a lot of us know, (just some dont know it yet).
    Petrol pipe that was sold or put into stock a few years ago was proof for neat petrol or petrol with very little ethanol. The problem is now Petrol usually has rather a lot of ethanol amongst other things in it.
    The alcohol molicule is a great deal smaller than the long petrol hydrocarbon chains in the rest of the brew and freqently can leach through the tube wall to atmosphere, taking the rubber placticisers with it as it goes. Thats why your rubber trellborg petrol pipe starts to crack on the outside after about a year.
    Pipe manifacturers (or at least some of them) got on to this about 6 years ago and started to alter their pipe spec, If you want to lose a day out of your life, google the american SAE specs on fuel pipe.
    The american spec has very recently been superceeded so they obviously found the brew was getting through.I would concuor with them as we had a length of injection hose go porous at 8 months , replaced with supposedly modern spec hose from a well known rally car supplyer which failed at 12 months. Part of the problem is supplyers carrying old stock which says "sutable for unleaded and ethanol" on it , which it isnt anymore and their not being fully up to speed on fuel. developments,I suspect another part is that manifacturers of pipe are (in line with saving the planet) having to use new and novel plasticisers in thir products which have turned out to be not so... Ahem.... Durable as the old ones they knew.
    Interestingly but not surprisingly the big motor manifacturers are fully up to speed, We replaced our fuel line with the up to date spec but had to have it especially imported from the states!!,
    As a little experiment I surgest you have a ratch in your hangar/ garage for all your old bits of pipe. Cut of a couple of inches off each one and seal them all in a jamjat full of modern fuel, then every couple of months fish them out and compare solidity and flexibility. My friend has done just this and within six months the results have been sobering!
    So in conclusion I would say if you are buying replacement petrol pipe I would ask enough questions to acertain from the vendor If he really knows what he is selling/how old the stock is and a written guarentee that it's fit for purpose.
    Ah well off to build a seaplane (or an ark)
    Pip Pip Ian Hogg


    • #3
      Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

      Hi Paul,
      Buying the correct stuff is perhaps easier than Ian makes out.

      Stick with black 'rubber' tube which is twin walled and which is supplied by P+M, Skydrive or their local dealer.
      Clear types of fuel line are available but tend to be single walled so perhaps are more likely to leak or kink - and will not be fire retardant.

      Using the correct material for breather tubes is also important so that it remains flexible and does not fall off - do not use PVC tube used in home brew beer kits! The black 'rubber' twin walled tube is fine for most applications



      • #4
        Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing


        It would seem that there is a need to check carefully :-

        1. What fuel tube is fitted.

        2. Condition on 'before flight' inspections.

        I fly a SSDR Magic Laser and have 6 mm fire proof fuel tubing from Skydrive.

        Of interest (bearing in mind your posts) is the system is primed with a bulb hand priming pump. I was aware of the problems with the 'one way valves' of these devices but now also appreciate how alchohol doped fuel could affect the rubber of the bulb (I have previously replaced 2 primer bulbs [one appeared to be 'wet' all the time - one went very hard]).

        I use Shell V Power petrol (I am advised it has lower levels of alchohol) and Shell VSX oil (for compatibility with the petrol).

        Many thanks for your replies I hope this post is of use to other readers.



        • #5
          Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

          Error in above - for alchohol read ethanol.


          • #6
            Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

            Hi Paul,

            Regarding low Ethanol fuels I was in conversation with a Jabiru pilot recently and he said that High Octane fuels from Esso, BP & Texaco are Ethanol free at the moment, Shell V Power has Ethanol.

            After this meeting I went out to test this using the Mauve Testing Buds Kit, sure enough Shell has Ethanol, Esso and Texaco did not, I have not yet tested the BP fuel.

            I am using the Texaco at the moment (nearest garage)

            How long these fuels remain free of Ethanol I don't know (get the kit and test yourself) , I fly the Cyclone so I have the same concerns as you do.

            Hope this may be of some help,

            Regards, Gary Pearce (G-BZEZ - G-GAZO))


            • #7
              Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing


              When I investigated this topic Shell Premium had the 'lowest' ethanol content - I am led to believe that all petrol these days has 'some' ethanol?

              However, thanks for info - when you say Esso and Tesco do not have ethanol are you referring to their standard or premium petrol? I would like to revert to a less costly option (Shell Premium is dearer than diesel!).

              Do you have any further details of Mauve Testing Buds Kit?



              • #8
                Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

                We've found daylight affects some fuel tubes too.
                nuttin' scientific, mind, just personal observation.


                • #9
                  Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

                  Hi Andy, The main reason I posted Was that Our problems showed up first on fuel injection hose (running at 3 bar) so it probably acellerates the leaching problem, But I worry that the potential problem is more widespread. Whilst we were investigating what pipe to replace it with it becambe apparrent within the hose industry that they knew things have changed and have upped their spec,. But that there is a load of old /unsuitable stock out there that in some applications may be tolerably long lived but in others (ie aeroplanes ), may not. My point is that pipe that worked fine in the past may not keep doing so.
                  So just another thing to keep an eye on.......Sigh
                  Pip Pip Ian


                  • #10
                    Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

                    Hi Paul,

                    Iam refering to the High Octane Fuels (dearer)

                    When I tested Shell High Octane about a year ago I was dissapointed, the petrol sample turned mauve quicker than there std unleaded so i give up trying thinking all High Octane fuels were the same.

                    It was only after the said conversation that I tested the other fuels (Esso & Texaco not yet BP) and these showed no Ethanol content.

                    Not knowing how these petrol companies distribute or share ther fuels, I just know at this moment locally this is the case.

                    A quick look on the internet, this is what I use.





                    • #11
                      Clear 'fabric cross braced' fuel tubing

                      Hi Ian,
                      Agree with what you say that there may be stocks of unsuitable fuel line out there - that is why is is a good idea to buy from P+M, Skydrive or their dealers as the stuff from those sources does not seem to be giving problems.
                      Cheaper fuel line can be found in car shops or ebay and may look the same but is not necesarily the same quality - and as you say, it may also be old stock.

                      As well as finding cracks in fuel line another problem is that some stuff goes very stiff in quite a short time.

                      We have had problems with fuel line for many years now - sometimes due to owers trying to save a few and fitting the wrong stuff (eg clear pvc tube for fuel level sight tubes) - and sometimes due to manufacturing batch problems (eg the MPD relating to Trelborgh fuel line).