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Clean fuel tank

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by seadaddler, Dec 5, 2018 at 6:02 PM. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. seadaddler

    seadaddler

    Joined Dec 19, 2006
    5,403 posts, 118 likes
    Hunter 36
    US Punta Gorda
    Well 2 times had to get towed by BoatUS back to my dock and changed out both fuel filters but yes engine still stopped and so decided to check fuel tank and pulled out pickup tube and found the screen was dirty but got one of those snake camera and could see some funny looking junk down on bottom and so pumped the fuel empty and could still see junk and used shop vac and sucked out some funny junk.
    I am now running all my fuel through a racer fuel filter before putting back into tank
    here are some photo’s of funny globs that came out of my tank.
    First time ever having fuel problems.
    Nick
     

    Attached Files:



  2. thinwater

    thinwater

    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    2,126 posts, 458 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    That is a classic case of diesel bug. The mucus the bugs secrete makes them look and feel like snot. Get it ALL out.

    Better disinfect with a shock dose of Biobor JF after you clean, and start with a maintenance dose thereafter. Also be aware that is in all of you hoses and pipes, so you will be changing filters a few more times. Blowing the lines out will be worth the time.

    I would also check the vent (poor location, low loop) and filler (bad o-ring) for water leaks; water is getting in the tank.

    http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/p/diesel-biocides.html
     


    kloudie1 likes this.
  3. Allan12210

    Allan12210

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    1,426 posts, 164 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Alameda CA
    You have several square feet of filter surface area that makes the screen unnecessary. There have been several posts of that thing clogging up at the worst time. Mine did right under the Golden Gate Bridge trying to go to Half Moon Bay. It was a five hour sail back home to find out the problem. An icepick solved it.
     


  4. Mickstr

    Mickstr

    Joined Jun 1, 2007
    162 posts, 20 likes
    O'Day 322
    US Mt.Sinai
    I've had a few fuel problems on my O'Day 322, and although I'm in good shape now, decided to make a change. I bought an access port from Seabuilt, which I'm installing in the next few weeks. I have a plastic tank, and bought their 8" inspection plate, which gives me a 6" opening. I've already drained all the fuel I can via pump, but now will be able to drain the rest, and then reach my arm in and scrub the tank squeaky clean!
     


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  5. seadaddler

    seadaddler

    Joined Dec 19, 2006
    5,403 posts, 118 likes
    Hunter 36
    US Punta Gorda
    Thanks Guys.
    I will be adding Biobor to my tank and I am running my old diesel fuel through a Racor R20
    before putting back into tank.
    I think I was lucky it only was clogging the screen pickup tube and never got past my Racor 500
    and will be changing filters again soon after adding Biobor and my tank did look real clean after shop vac
    the empty tank with no fuel left in tank and used a snake camera to look inside tank and now with about
    15 gallons of clean fuel my motor is running great and it did run kind of crazy while at idle before engine
    stopped all together but now idling really smooth and running engine around 2500 at dock sounds like it
    always did before real nice.
    Nick
     


  6. sailme88

    sailme88

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    108 posts, 20 likes
    Catalina Catalina 34
    US Casco Bay
    You'll need to find a tank polisher. Usually they are mobile. Process: remove fuel, filter it and return to tank under high pressure thru what can best be described as a Bresnan distributor. It get into all nooks and crannies, puts the sediment and scale into suspension, sucks it re, re,re,re,refilters it until clear. Last time I had it done it cost about $125.00
     


  7. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    7,213 posts, 2,750 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    You got off cheap... or maybe it was many years ago. I had quotes in the Seattle area that ranged from $800 to $2500. The high number included 2 inspection ports installed.
    I looking into the cost and you can find a polishing pump nad filter on a hand cart for about $700.
    Even at that I elected to go the manual methods. Bought a fuel pump and attached some hoses to a donated fuel filter and placed the hoses in the tank to circulate the fuel and squirt it back into and around the tank. So far it has worked fairly well. No stoppages. Use fresh fuel in tank, add Star and BioforJ with new fuel, maintain fuel cap O rings and carry replacement filters.

    Got the fuel filter change down to about 7 minutes on the high seas. 10 if you included sipping the beer reward for job well done.
     


  8. The Shadow Knows

    The Shadow Knows

    Joined Jun 10, 2017
    136 posts, 48 likes
    Catalina 1980 Catalina 30 Mk II
    US South Pasadena / Tampa Bay
    Years ago having similar problems, I cut a 6" x 6" opening in the tank top. I also got rid of that DAMN
    screen. I can now inspect my tank & clean it once a year easily. My filters can retain particulates & bugs etc. without
    a screen to gum up. It also saves you having to clean the screen.

    As for bugs, look for a gas station that has alot of vehicles fueling diesel. Therefore unlike dockside fuel
    tanks with fuel that may just sit longer, busy gas station underground tanks are re-fueled frequently hence fresher diesel.

    The real secret is to burn your fuel & knot let it sit long in your tank. When I'm at my boat/dock, the engine is always run at different RPM's for 30 minutes & I carry my new fuel to the boat 6 gallons at a time. This along with filter changeouts twice a year, I have had no diesel problems in years.

    I use a 10 micron primary & a 2 secondary. At changeouts, the 2 micron is always clean. And, it much easier changing out filters than dicking around at the tank. I grab the new filters, fill them up & screw them in. Them my priming consists of 3 or 4 cranking tries, it starts running abit rough for about 10 seconds & then a smooth idle. I let it run then take the RPM up in stages to clear any leftover air.
     


  9. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    5,594 posts, 1,258 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    Stories like this that make me afraid of diesel .... I guess it is the devil you know.
     


    thinwater likes this.
  10. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,564 posts, 1,263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Well those diesel bug masses that Ol’Seadaddler was raising in his fuel tank were old enough to have names and social security numbers! They were swimming in enough water to have killed a gas motor carburetor years ago.
     


    thinwater likes this.
  11. thinwater

    thinwater

    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    2,126 posts, 458 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    Isn't that funny. Of course, E10 brings carburetor corrosion and phase separation. But I know those devils.

    Of stoves, I remember someone saying they would "rather die a clean death by propane than a slow death fighting kerosene."
     


  12. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    5,594 posts, 1,258 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    Yeah, I see your point. I'm still trailer sailing so I use an O.B. The thought of dealing with bleeding lines, polishing tanks, sterilizing fuel, FILTERS, aligning prop-shafts, replacing engine mounts, figuring out which prop-pitch I need, etc, etc. scares me. I know there are analogous issues with O.B.s, it is just that I am already familiar with those issues. :meh:
     


  13. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,867 posts, 125 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY
    Don't be afraid.....
     


  14. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,495 posts, 700 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    If the 2 is always clean, then something ought to be different. Either the 2 passes all the dirt(unlikely), or the dirt is not getting past the ten( the usual size). In 50 years of getting wrench blisters, I have seen it said that you should not use a 2 unless you have an electric fuel pump pushing the fuel. The 2 is too restrictive and COULD starve the fuel delivery. Yeah, yeah, some people use a 2 and say there's no problem. I don't know what filters are available for your make, but I'd suggest a 10 and 15 so you can see get a feel for what size stuff comes from the tank. My 2 cents.
     


  15. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    5,594 posts, 1,258 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    Fear can be a health emotion!:yikes:
     


  16. NYSail

    NYSail

    Joined Jan 6, 2006
    1,867 posts, 125 likes
    Beneteau 423
    US Mt. Sinai, NY
    Overcoming fear leads to greatness..... or broken bones, torn emotions and stuff like that!
     


    rgranger likes this.
  17. rgranger

    rgranger

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    5,594 posts, 1,258 likes
    Hunter 26
    US Smith Mountain Lake
    Right.... that which does not kill you.... often leaves a scar.
     


    thinwater likes this.
  18. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,564 posts, 1,263 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Ron;
    The Yanmar filter on my engine (secondary) is a 2 mic filter OEM. The Racor 110A primary is 10 mic. All fuel pumping is engine mounted. It works fine as long as you keep a clean fuel storage system with filters and valving correctly configured in accord with engine and filter guidance.
     


  19. Allan12210

    Allan12210

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    1,426 posts, 164 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Alameda CA
    Here is a link to my description of adding a clean out port to my tank. I mention to remove the screen in the pickup tube at that time if not already done.

    https://hunter.sailboatowners.com/mods.php?task=article&mid=31&aid=8144&mn=34

    There really wasn't too much stuff in my tank after 28 years, but it was good to give it a fresh start. Since then (6 years) I have been vigilant about using bioside and keeping a good seal on the fill cap. I've yet to find any water in the Racor and haven't removed that cleanout port even once. I guess that will be there for the next owner.
     



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