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Old 09-03-2010, 08:00 AM   #15
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Re: diesel polishing

I think the ethanol issue is hi-jacking the original diesel thread and it's becoming two issues now.

Ethanol or other alcohols are very hygroscopic and do attract water very well. Isn't that why a glass of scotch attracts ice, no? More importantly though, alcohol is fully miscible with the stray water droplets that collect at the bottom of a tank, for whatever reason. This miscibility forms the basis of the "water removal" additives you can buy for many $ to add to gas and diesel. The water does not miraculously disappear but will become part of a "mixed drink" instead. This drink is much more palatable to gas or diesel, it can now mix freely throughout the fuel without stratification and is readily combusted in this highly diluted form.

Alcohol can be quite rough on rubber and some plastic parts though. I thought this fact was the "early years" issue when it was added to gasohol and gummed up injectors and destroyed powerboat tanks... but I do not know and only surmise on this.

As to the diesel polishing or cleaning, a good filter before the gozinta when you fuel up is IMHO likely to be the cheapest solution. The setup with a lot of valves, a pump and diverters is very impressive but only a reaction to already contaminated fuel. Why not be proactive and keep it clean to start off with? Neither do I immediately see why a sufficiently robust diesel tank should not be hermetically sealed during storage. Sure, it needs some outside air to let a pump suck from it, but only while the engine is running. In-tank water condensation would be minimal without air exchanges. Racor hawks a few good inlet filters ( kinda like the baha) and EBay sells their largest 15 gpm one for about $55. I'm sure you can roll your own for a lot less... a deep funnel and some .005" sized screen are the basics of the commercial unit..

Another idea would be to add a dry-rite air filter to the tank vent. Dry-rite is a pebbly inert dessicant that absorbs moisture reducing the relative humidity to near zero%. You can regenerate it by heating on a stove top almost indefinitely. Plus, you can get it with a color change marker, from white/pink to blue when saturated... not expensive either as its a a common lab item. But to really keep your fuel dry... there is always Depends.. in the Adult Size.

Ivo
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:38 PM   #16
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Sandman

Your filter system sounds like a great idea, perhaps a bit of an over-kill though. ........
Linnupesea

Unfortunately I do not have enough room in my engine compartment for a day tank. I think that is an excellent idea but it doesn't cure my primary tanks of the sludge problem. Because of the long periods of no use the fuel in the main tanks will continue to break down and cause the asphalt/wax problems. I can treat them with an additive for the algae/fungus/Bacteria problem.

Although dirty fuel from a fuel dock is always a possibility, all the more reason to have an independent filtration system. I would clog up one Racor 1000 fuel element for $10

rather than two 500's and seven engine filters (including generator) big bucks.

Regarding the 20/80 comment, I will agree to a degree, if my engines are incompacitated due to fuel contamination what good is my "powerboat" to me. Likewise if your sails are torn to shreds and you don't have an engine what good is your "sailboat". No insults indended because I love both type boats.

Re Honda outboards, they solved the carbuerator problem by going to fuel enjection in that particular model engine.

......man
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:44 PM   #17
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I've had similar problems with carburetted petrol engines on land with ethanol based fuels, to the extent where one I was driving caught fire. Ethanol is fine in modern injected engines but in carburetted engines ethanol should probably be avoided. This is especially the case where the fuel is allowed to stand because ethanol, as noted, will tend to absorb moisture from the atmosphere over time, and it is this moisture that presents the biggest problem rather than ethanol itself.

OTOH I drove a Hyundai for some time with a standard fuel injected engine almost entirely on fuel with 10% ethanol and had no problems.
delatbabel

Honda cured the problem by going to fuel injection on later models. Your explanation of ethanol is exactly what I have read about it. Thanks for the explanation.
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:52 PM   #18
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I have experienced same problem with ethanol added gasoline ( called gasohol here) when left it in a carburetor for a long period eg a month. The motor started OK but would not idle. Reason the idling jet was blocked - only ONE remedy that works is a VERY fine steel wire to clear the tiny hole in the tube of the jet.

Next time I service the carb I will photograph the jet under a microscope or good magnifyer.
MMNETSEA

I am sure you are aware of the "MARINE" additives available to prevent this problem. (Sta-Bil, Star-Brite, etc.) My problem was accelerated because my opaque plastic fuel tank is partially exposed to direct sunlight (no way to avoid it other than painting it Black).

Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:19 PM   #19
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Re: diesel polishing

I think the ethanol issue is hi-jacking the original diesel thread and it's becoming two issues now.
linneuosea

Thank you but I'll have my scotch neat if you don't mind!

I like your idea on the Depends but it is not necessary in this neck of the woods, We have "mud dobbers" that build their nests in the air vent thus preventing moisture but the fuel dock people get upset when my fill tube backsup and spewes diesel all over the harbour(Oh the little annoyances while owning a boat).

Reputable fuel docks normally have filters at the pump and it behooves them to keep their fuel clean. There is nothing worse that an irate sailor that has just bought bad fuel!
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:45 PM   #20
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Yeah, I think we've all gotten distracted by the "Algae-X" - BP says bacteria and fungus are the problems, no mention of algae.
JeanneP

As you state, contaminated diesel fuel is a huge problem. I am one of the 90% as you mentioned, however I caught the problem before it did any damage and am in the process of correcting it. If someone believes this is not a problem tell them to go talk to a injector/pump rebuilding outfit, its what keeps them in business. Most injectors and pumps will

a thousand hours or more under clean fuel conditions but introduce water or other contaminants their life will be reduced dramatically.

Thanks for the input.

Sandman

ps I am envious of your boat!
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:19 PM   #21
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You da man, ...man

In some parts of the boonies you will be thankful for a tank full, regardless of

quality. Those are the places and times my concerns are mainly directed to.

As to scotch, you perhaps cannot drown all your troubles but sure as heck

you can make 'em swim for it!

Ivo
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:25 PM   #22
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You da man, ...man

In some parts of the boonies you will be thankful for a tank full, regardless of

quality. Those are the places and times my concerns are mainly directed to.

As to scotch, you perhaps cannot drown all your troubles but sure as heck

you can make 'em swim for it!

Ivo
Bravo!!! Bravo!!!!
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:12 AM   #23
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Default Fouled diesel fuel and dirty (sludge) tank

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Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
Yeah, I think we've all gotten distracted by the "Algae-X" - BP says bacteria and fungus are the problems, no mention of algae.

As far as shelf life, just because crude oil is millions of years old doesn't mean that the refined products from that will survive in its refined form for long periods of time. For that matter, all oil pulled from the ground is not equal. One doesn't wisely burn lubricating oil in place of diesel, for example.

Regardless, it's pretty clear that degradation of diesel is a significant problem considering the many systems on the market for filtering and cleaning the fuel. And in my experience, most sailboat owners report at least one instance of engines failing due to contaminated fuel. And I will bet that 90% of first-time owners of used boats find, within a year of buying the boat, that their engine fails from bad fuel. Because it had been sitting so long in the tank before the boat was bought, and the new owner wasn't aware of the potential problems.

Ironically, we've had several (at least 5) instances of engine problems due to foul diesel, yet I still forget to warn new owners of this very common problem. Why I seem to have this blind spot I can't explain, so I hope this serves as a reminder to me, and to all others who read this thread.


Doh!


Hello fellow sailors

You are so right!

Within 1 year of my purchasing my Cal Cruising 46, I was enroute to the beautiful Catalina Island in Southern California when my engine suddenly died
While underway

After vessel assist towed me back to my home port in Marina del Rey
My tanks ( both tanks 180 gal each) needed to be cut open and scrubbed to remove the sludge grime and tarry build up at the bottom

That was 5 - 6 years ago

Now I just wonder when I should perform another major surgery to take an exploratory look at the tanks to make sure they are clean
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:31 AM   #24
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I run three progressively finer Racors. I know people who have spent a literal fortune on fuel polishing and exchange pumps and so forth. Is it overkill, or is it prudent to install a 'polishing' system. I understand also that one can hire a mobile fuel cleaning service. But, again, is it necessary more than just desirable?
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:17 PM   #25
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I run three progressively finer Racors. I know people who have spent a literal fortune on fuel polishing and exchange pumps and so forth. Is it overkill, or is it prudent to install a 'polishing' system. I understand also that one can hire a mobile fuel cleaning service. But, again, is it necessary more than just desirable?
I don't get the fortune part--because you can plumb a polishing system in cheaply if you're willing for it to take awhile by using a low volume 12V pump from the autoparts store. We have one of those RCI spinner type systems that does all the work of spinning out heavy stuff and water (drain it from the bottom of the RCI). Then a Racor. Then the on-engine filter (that we've never changed...hum...might want to get another one... That's it. Works a charm--but I must admit, our tanks are new and they are built in a way that the pick up is right at a bottom corner so we shouldn't have loads of nasty stuff build up unless we're just never using the engines or polishing the fuel.
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