US 3331392 A
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July 18, 196? A DAVIDSON ET AL 3,331,392
CLEAR PLASTIC FUEL MANIFOLD Filed Oct. 15, 1964 L I 'l ul zfi v g INVENTORS: k ANDREW 1.7. 1.7mm: SUN,
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United States Patent Office 3,331,392 Patented July 18, 1967 3,331,392 CLEAR PLASTIC FUEL MANIFOLD Andrew B. Davidson, 425 Southdale Drive 43612, and Earl D. Robertson, 1809 Ketner 43613, both of Toledo, Ohio Filed Oct. 15, 1964, Ser. No. 404,056 1 Claim. (Cl. 137-55?) This invention relates to a fuel manifold for a motor of a motorboat, for selectively connecting one or more motors to a plurality of fuel tanks.
In recent years, there has been a decided trend toward the sale and use of larger motors for boats and particularly larger outboard motors. The larger motors, and particularly two-cycle motors, have a much higher rate of fuel consumption. At the same time, however, the portable fuel tanks commonly used with motors have retained the same fuel capacity, because a tank with a six-gallon capacity is about the most than can be carried and handled easily. Also, the smaller tanks are more desirable from the standpoint of a potential fire hazard. As a result of the use of larger motors with the same size tanks, the contents of a full fuel tank may not last more than an hour or even less. Therefore, it is not uncommon today for several fuel tanks, frequently three or more, to be used in order to provide a reasonable gas supply for the larger motors.
The fuel tanks are usually located at remote and rather inaccessible positions in boats, usually under seats or shelf structures. As a result, some time is required to change from one fuel tank to another in order to switch the motor to a full tank from an empty one, for example. This not only is bothersome and requires time and effort, but also can be dangerous, particularly under windy or stormy conditions or when the boat is being used in a crowded channel or other area. During the time of change-over, the boat may be out of control if the motor has stopped or if the operator must be away from the steering wheel or handle while effecting the change. Further, changing fuel supplies is more diflicult when the water is rough, often with the operator'being in a vulnerable position, close to the gunwale of the boat, out of balance, etc.
The present invention relates to a fuel system and particularly to a manifold for outboard motors, which system and manifold overcome the problems discussed above. In accordance with the invention, all fuel tanks are connected to the outboard motor through a manifold provided with valves arranged to enable the fuel tanks to be selectively connected to the motor in any desired manner. The tanks can be connected one at a time or two or more can be connected simultaneously. When less than all of the tanks are connected to the motor together, it requires but a matter of seconds to switch from an empty tank to a full one. This can also be accomplished with the operator in a safe position and in control of the steering wheel or handle.
The new manifold is provided with a valve for each of the fuel lines for each of the tanks to enable the tanks to be connected to the motor in any desired manner. For example, each tank can be connected individ ually to the motor with the next full one connected when the previous one becomes empty. As another possibility, all but one of the tanks can be connected to the motor and then the last, full one switched on when the others are empty. This gives warning to the operator that the fuel supply is nearing the end. The manifold can be quickly connected to and disconnected from the various fuel lines to enable the motor to be removed easily and to enable the various tanks to be removed for refilling, etc.
Further, the new manifold preferably is made of a clear plastic material through which the flow of fuel is visible, so that an operator can change from one tank to another without any interruption whatsoever of the motor when the flow from the first tank appears to become discontinuous. This assures a continuous supply of fuel to the motor without stopping or sputtering. The clear plastic manifold also is attractive, which is important for boat fixtures and hardware, particularly with the manifold positioned in an exposed location. The plastic manifold also is rust-proof and durable, particularly important for salt water operation. Finally, the manifold has provisions for being attached to the stern of the boat, near the motor, or in any other suitable location, even on the dash near the steering wheel, if desired.
An object of the invention is to provide an improved fuel manifold for use with motorboat motors and a plurality of tanks, which manifold has the advantages outlined above.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, reference being made to the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a somewhat schematic view in perspective of a boat and outboard motor incorporating a fuel system and manifold in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view in elevation of the fuel manifold and valves, and portions of the fuel lines shown in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a view in perspective of the manifold of FIG. 2 without the fuel valves.
Referring to the drawing, and more particularly to FIG. 1, a conventional boat 10 is particularly designed for use with larger motors, an outboard motor 12 being clamped in the usual manner to a stern 14 of the boat. When the size of the motor 12 is of 40-horsepower or more, for example, the fuel consumption is such that the fuel in a six-gallon tank lasts for only a short period of time, an hour or even less, for example. With a six-gallon tank being the largest usually commercially available because of handleability and safety, it is almost a necessity that a plurality of tanks be used with a motor. As shown in FIG. 1, the boat 10 carries three fuel tanks 16, 18, and 20, preferably at remote locations under seats, shelves, etc.
Heretofore, each of the tanks 16, 18, and 20 was con-. nected individually to the carburetor of the motor 12. When the first tank became empty and the motor began to sputter, the fuel line would be connected to the second tank, and finally to the third. As discussed previously, this was time consuming and required some effort, particularly with the tanks in out-of-the-way locations. In addition, a hazard was created, especially under adverse weather conditions or in crowded waters. During the period of the change-over, the motor frequently would be stopped and the operator would be away from the steering wheel or handle thereby increasing the danger.
In accordance with the invention, a manifold 22, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, is employed to overcome the various above problems and disadvantages. The manifold 22 includes a block or body 24 preferably of clear plastic material such as Plexiglas, Lucite, or the like. The clear plastic enables the flow of fuel through the manifold 22 to be constantly visible which forewarns the operator to change tanks before the motor stalls and also enables the operator to immediately ascertain whether or not fuel is the problem if the motor sputters or fails. The clear plastic also provides an attractive manifold which is important since the manifold is in an exposed location and also because most boat owners insist on attractive fixtures and hardware in a boat. Further, in view of the fact that the manifold is plastic, it is resistant to corrosion and rust and also is durable.
The manifold block 24 includes a central, longitudinally-extending manifold passage 26 which terminates in a threaded end 28 at one end of the block 24. When two motors are used, such as two Outboards, two inboards, or two inboard/Outboards, a second threaded end is provided at the other end of the passage 26. Communicating with the central manifold passage 26 are three shorter transverse passages 30, 32, and 34 which terminate in threaded ends 36, 38, and 40. The three transverse passages communicate with the central manifold passage 26 and terminate in the bottom surface of the block 24. The block 24 further includes two spaced fastener-receiving openings 42 and 44 through which extend screws 46 (FIG. 1) or other suitable fasteners to afiix the manifold 22 to the stern 14 or other suitable portion of the boat 10.
A fuel outlet nipple 48 has a threaded portion 50 screwed into the central passage end 28 and terminates in a tapered portion 52 over which is placed an end of a main fuel line 54.
Three inlet valves 56, 58, and 60 are provided for the transverse passages 30, 32, and 34. The three valves 56, 58, and 60 are identical and each includes a threaded portion 62 which is turned into one of the threaded ends 36, 38, and 40. Each of the valves also includes a valve control handle 64 and a tube-connecting portion 66. The first tube-connecting portion 66 for the first valve 56 is connected to a first fuel line 68 for the first tank 16. Similarly, the tube-connecting portion 66 for the second valve 58 is connected to a second fuel line 70 for the second fuel tank 18. The third valve 60 is similarly connected to a third fuel line 72 for the tank 20.
With the fuel system shown, any one of the tanks 16, 18, and 20 can be connected to the motor 12 or two or more of the tanks can be connected to the motor 12 simultaneously. As shown, the first valve 56 is opened to enable fuel to flow from the tank 16 through the manifold 22 and through the main fuel line 54. As the tank 16 begins to empty, the discontinuous flow of fuel will, be apparent in the main manifold passage 26 and the operator can then connect the motor 12 to the second fuel tank 18, simply by turning the valve handle 64 for the second valve 58. The third tank can then be operated similarly. If desired, the first two tanks 16 and 18 can be opened to the motor 12 simultaneously with the third tank 20 then being connected when the first two tanks empty. This gives the operator warning that only one tank of fuel remains.
The transparent block 24 also provides the operator with immediate knowledge as to whether fuel is a problem if the motor 12 stops. A quick glance at the passage 26 immediately indicates whether or not there is fuel in the line. Of course, the valves 56, 58, and 60 can be manipulated in a matter of a second or two and are immediately available to the operator without requiring removal of seats or other objects, stooping, bending, etc.
Various modifications of the above described embodiment of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, and it is to be understood that such modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention, if they are within the spirit and tenor of the accompanying claim.
What we claim is:
A fuel manifold for connecting at least two fuel lines of at least two fuel tanks independently and separately to a main flexible fuel line for an outboard motor attached to a boat, said fuel manifold comprising a one-piece block member made entirely of clear plastic material, said block member having a horizontal dimension greater than a vertical dimension, said block member having a central,
longitudinally-extending passage terminating in a threaded end opening at one end of said block member, at least two transverse passages in said block member, one for each of the fuel tanks, said transverse passages communicating directly with said central passage and having spaced, interally-threaded end openings at the bottom of said block member, all of said block passages being clear throughout their lengths to enable flow therethrough to'be visible to a boat operator, a stopcock threaded into each of the threaded end openings of each of said transverse passages,
a tapered nipple associated with each of said stopcocks and having means for making a connection with the fuel line of one of the fuel tanks, a tapered nipple threaded into the threaded end opening of said longitudinally-extending passage at one end of said block member and having means for making a connection with the main flexible fuel line, and at least two fastener-receiving openings at opposite end portions of said block member to receive fasteners for afiixing the block member to a portion of the boat, the rear of said block member having flat portions at least around each of said openings to provide a stable bearing surface for said block member when said fasteners afifix said block member to the boat.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 786,881 '4/1905 Doran 15846.5
811,823 2/ 1906 Christian l584-6.5 1,283,228 10/1918 Le Bozec 137606 X 1,303,290 5/1919 Gibbs. 1,329,997 2/1920 Page 158-36 1,461,890 7/1923 Carlson 15-846.5 2,097,492 11/1937 Lang 158-465 X 2,630,247 3/1953 Rafferty 222-459 2,698,027 12/1954 Branson l37606 X 3,158,193 11/1964 Anderson 15836 OTHER REFERENCES Lunkenheirner Motor Accessories, Catalogue No. 3 Supplement, The Lukenheimer Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, Stamped Div. XXX, Oct. 28, 1914, class 158-46.5, p. 22.
FREDERICK L. MATTE'SON, 111., Primary Examiner. ROBERT A. DUA, Assistant Examiner,