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Fuel Contamination

Checking the forum on this subject, I didn’t find anything, so here’s my story.

I had never had any problems with fuel cleanliness with my 25 year old LE, but then all of a sudden it became an issue. I started picking up debris and, more importantly, water in my carb float bowl. I wasn’t getting any water when I drained the tanks each day, and my gascolator wasn’t collecting any water, or appreciable junk either. So where the heck was the stuff coming from.

I raised the nose way up in the air, removed the gascolator bowl, and drained the tanks through gascolator. Nothing. Then I got the bright idea to inject a few shots of compressed air to “back flush” the tank sumps. (After first removing the fuel caps)

Good Golly Miss Molly! You name it, it came out of the tanks! All kinds of dirt, small vegetation, some sort of weird biomass, and a LOT of water. I back flushed and drained 8 gallons out of just the right tank alone before the gas was clean enough that I would want to use it.

Obviously, even fully nose down, my sumps weren’t draining toward the tank drains. So for me this flushing procedure is going to be a yearly event.

A possible contributing factor for me was that I would refuel the airplane before going flying in the morning, and then go out and take off, which requires a nose high attitude. So basically I was agitating the fuel and then making it settle near the tank outlets on takeoff. From now on, whenever possible, I fuel the night before.

Bob MacNicol
Long-EZ in Florida.

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Fuel Contamination

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