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Extra Fuel for Long Distance Touring

21902 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  ChuckTheVoice
So I did a bunch of research regarding carrying extra fuel on our Sparks for long trips. Seems that very little information is available specifically for the Spark.
Don't get me wrong, I love thrashing the Spark about but sometimes it's fun to do long cruises too.
After looking at what the PWC fishing community does, I decided to make a holder for an extra fuel tank out of PVC. The difficulty with the Spark over most other skis is that the back deck isn't flat. Bending the PVC was necessary but the fit is pretty good. My Spark being a 2up, I have less rear deck space to work with but it turned out to be plenty for this project.
I've tested this setup for about an hour so far and rode moderately aggressively with no issues. The fuel rack is fairly stable; though if I build another one I might put some front feet on it too. More testing is needed, of course, but so far so good. The Spark felt slightly more tippy at idle speed.
I get 5 extra gallons this way. I calculated that the extra 5 gallons should increase my safe range from about 70 miles to 110 miles. I'll keep track of my GPH and MPG on long trips and have better range numbers in the future but that's all I have for now.
Here's some pictures...

I just wonder what will happen when I roll it. >:D


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nice plumbing work but would take much to knock it off in big waves

I can fit 2 times 5L fuel containers in the front storage bin that's a third of a fuel tank

sometimes long trips are good to do here one we did the other day

the spark at the beginning is my Vtech spark
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That looks like a great trip you went on there. Your wave jumping skills are impressive.

I had thought about putting some small gas cans in the front storage bin. Do you strap them in somehow? In heavy seas or wave jumping do they try to come out?

Never planned on taking my PVC setup into heavy seas or on any ocean trips. We have lots of inland waterways in central Florida where the only rough areas are boat wakes. I jumped a few wakes today with the PVC rack and full extra tank of fuel; it held ok. Even did a few 180's with no problems. Still, I don't think I would trust it in the ocean.

The ultimate in extra fuel storage would be an expanded internal tank. There's plenty of room in front of the stock tank. I was thinking about making a longer tank to replace the stock one. Don't know if that would throw the balance of the Spark off but at least the weight of the extra fuel would be a lot lower than carrying it externally.

I would like to hear other ideas for carrying extra fuel.
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Here's what I did for the lid Velcro strap to keep it in but generally when I do long trips I don't do much jumps until I put the extra fuel in the tank to be safe.

Some people on other ski have found a bladder type of fuel tank
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Ready for a cruise to the Bahamas now ha ha
Eventually I plan to do the Bahamas trip. Shouldn't even need to carry extra fuel.
Never really thought of the Spark as something to take on a long distance journey. I'd be interested to read about how it works out for people though, especially with this extra fuel mod that you've done. Never really considered a long trip as a possibility.
Great job! Excellent idea of bending the PVC to account for the rack bouncing up. How did you bend the PVC?

Can you climb back on if you fall off? I had found a pic of something like this (they painted it black) on the Internet, but with that design I saw no way to climb back up.

I was thinking that if I ever did it, maybe I would try to create something like yours but design it for 2 smaller tanks (side by side) and have the rack sloped back (and strap the tanks in). That way, you'd be able to climb back up.
Difficulty with climbing back on board is definitely something I'm concerned about. I think it should still be possible but quite a bit more difficult. Only one way I can think of to find out - have to test it out soon.

Bending the PVC is fairly straightforward. You fill the pipe with sand and cap the ends with tape. Heat it evenly with a heat gun at the portion you want to bend. Once it becomes leathery you just bend it into place. It cools on its own but you can lock it in place quickly with a little water.

I've since bent the ends of the pipes so they go up under the lip of the hull. It made the setup even more stable and only slightly more difficult to set in place.

Next is sanding and painting it to match my Spark.
The first thing i was thinking of when i saw this is reboarding if you fall of :)
I don't fall off often
Never had any problem getting back on the spark even in big surf climb back on from the back only.

If you have two people first person get on start the ski idle it and get the second to climb back on as soon as they get on the back deck start to move straight to get some stability.
Your technic sounds dangerous with iBR. I'll never start the ski when someone is climbing on it.

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Your technic sounds dangerous with iBR. I'll never start the ski when someone is climbing on it.

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good advice but some times with a person that doesn't rides skis its the only way to get it stable only low revs
I took the Spark out today and tried boarding it with the gas rack on the back. It is possible but only somewhat more difficult; it was necessary to use the rack itself for handholds. It would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to get back on without the re-boarding step. I had the pleasure of attempting to re-board and falling off a few times in front of a large crowd. Doesn't matter though, any time out on the water is better than sitting at work waiting for 4pm.
The rack has been improved and painted. It has proven itself for hundreds of miles so far.
The biggest improvement was making the ends wrap up and under the back rail. This added a significant amount of stability.
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There's actually plenty of empty space in the nose of the Spark in front of the gas tank inside the hull. It would not be a completed suprise if an aftermarket gas tank replacing the original or come aside of it would come up anytime now.
Indeed there is plenty of space. It looks to me as if a larger tank holding an additional 3-5 gallons could easily fit in the nose of the Spark. This would no doubt be the best solution.
An extra gallon or two would be nice. I'm guessing that maybe they made the decision based on balance.
30 litres it's enough.

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