Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 287 Times in 220 Posts
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Physical scrubbing is the obvious best method, principally because you must 'visualize'.
When first using the "tank cleaner" I naturally had 'snake oil' trepidations;
but, I have prolonged/doubled my cleaning interval from every year to two years with the Startron product ... as I find that it doesnt 'loosen' the debris deposition; rather, it seems to slowly put the crud into 'solution' (& without plugging the filters) and that does takes time. I do semi-continually operate an onboard polishing system, so my large tank doesnt have the chance to become as fouled as yours, even after being in the 'tropics' for past several years.
Ive also started using the 'tank cleaner' in my multiple home heating oil tanks ... and yes, it does seem to be slow acting but is positively reversing a 40+ year old very thick deposition layer and without clogging the filters or flame nozzle.
With respect to the 'cleaner stern', I would expect that too as most enzymatic action makes 'smaller' particles which would have an enhanced probability of being 'more completely burned' in the combustion chamber, rather than 'surviving' the combustion chambers and being deposited in the exhaust leg.
Suggest you give the 'tank cleaner' more soak time and if possible do this in the heat of the summer for the thermally enhanced reaction rates. Im still in the 'learning curve phase' of using such tank cleaners and so far my observations are it does take a quite a bit of time but doesnt have the disadvantage of 'loosening' a LOT of crud which would create a 'particle storm' of the larger particles. More patience!
Maybe I will give it another shot. That was after 15 years + of Soltron/Startron and two tank "cleanings". The PO a buddy of mine did spend many years with the boat in warm climates and I suspect that is where a lot of the growth came from.
With my new tank I have a dedicated high flow polishing system, per discussions with yourself and many other industry experts, and so far it has work fabulously but was designed when building the tank. I would have gone pressure, as you suggested, but when I spoke with Racor they were pretty adamant that they wanted the pump on the suction side for better water removal benefit.
I am using a Carter rotary vane pump @ 72 GPH on a 32 gallon tank. Amazing results thus far..
New Fuel Tank & Polishing System
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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