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post #1 of 20 Old 06-12-2011 Thread Starter
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Diesel fuel treatment

I'm starting year three with a Yanmar 3YM20 - love it, of course.

As well as changing the oil and filter, changing the tranny fluid, changing the impeller (that's another story, premature failure), checking the belts (and carrying spares) and changing the coolant, all according to the official recommendations ...

... there's the issue of fuel. I'm just buying diesel at PetroCanada, which as far as I can tell from their website meets all of the arcane specifications listed in the owner's manual.

I bought a high-tech filling-filter to use which is supposed to remove everything from the fuel except fuel (www.mrfunnel.com). With some difficulty I have just changed the primary and secondary fuel filters (and the primary had a little gunge in it), and several experts I know are alarmed at how many diesel boaters don't do this regularly.

I don't know what I'll do when it comes time to clean the tank (and when will that be and how will I know?), because it might require pulling the engine on my boat. The tank was cleaned 2 years ago when the new engine was installed, and very much needed it, I learned.

So, I "hear" from supposedly authoritative sources that I should be putting all sorts of things in my fuel, including lubricants, water-removers, stabilizers, goodness knows what else, and ... biocide.

However, the owner's manual says very clearly "Do not use biocide." It doesn't say why, or what to do instead.

My feeling is that most people missed that page and do use biocide.

So, that's my question: what are the right things to put in diesel fuel?

"Stanadyne Lubricity" has been suggested to me, as a start, by a marine professional.

I live in a temperate climate on the St. Lawrence River, warm Summers and cold Winters, and put about 60 hours on the engine a year (and get much more sailing that that!).

There are other questions, particularly to do with Winter storage, but I can get back to that later, if needed.

Thank you.

Charles
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A long time ago I had a VW Diesel. I used an additive called "Power Service", available at truck stops. I put some fuel in a glass jar, added a little water then some of the additive and watched the water disappear. Don't know if it had biocide in it but I understand the "bugs" need the water to survive. It was also supposed to keep the injectors clean and reduce deposits. Other products may work as well?

Power Service Products, diesel fuel additives, prevent gelling, clean injectors, disperse water, boost cetane, reduce emissions, improve fuel economyPower Service Products, diesel fuel additives, prevent gelling, clean injectors, disperse water, boos

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post #3 of 20 Old 06-12-2011
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I've read that the concern with biocides is the tendency to use too much, ie over feeding the goldfish. Can't say with authority that is true, but if so, easily accommodated. I use a biocide and stabilizer/injector cleaner at each fill up, but have a turbo Volvo.


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post #4 of 20 Old 06-12-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks, Minnewaska and Dabnis.

In the meantime, I've been reading around, and have found any opinion that one might wish. The marina where I bought the engine said to use pretty well every type of additive I could lay my hands on (slight exaggeration, perhaps), and lots of it.

But there are apparently-knowledgeable professionals who say that the fuel as provided from reputable companies is fine as it is.

Everyone agrees on the importance of clean fuel and of keeping water out of it.

Some people think that means leaving your tank empty over the Winter but others say full (reducing the area of tank wall which can form condensation).

For those who favour draining the tank, the details of how to pump the fuel out would help me. How?

Thank you.

Charles
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Thanks, Minnewaska and Dabnis.

In the meantime, I've been reading around, and have found any opinion that one might wish. The marina where I bought the engine said to use pretty well every type of additive I could lay my hands on (slight exaggeration, perhaps), and lots of it.

But there are apparently-knowledgeable professionals who say that the fuel as provided from reputable companies is fine as it is.

Everyone agrees on the importance of clean fuel and of keeping water out of it.

Some people think that means leaving your tank empty over the Winter but others say full (reducing the area of tank wall which can form condensation).

For those who favour draining the tank, the details of how to pump the fuel out would help me. How?

Thank you.

Charles
Very carefully!!, suggest whatever type of pump you use, just like when filling, keep the hose in contact with the tank or fill hole to help prevent static buildup. "Empty" tanks, even diesel, may contain lots of fuel vapors ready to go boom if a spark gets to it.

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post #6 of 20 Old 06-14-2011
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On moisture in the tank..... One cubic meter of empty fuel tank will only produce 1 gram of water at 90% humidity... this is an overblown concept. You get more water in your fuel tank with a worn out filler gasket than by keeping the fuel tank empty.

I sail year around and over the years have settled on using 3 fuel additives.

The first is a biocide. I, like some of you thought this unnecessary, until I contracted the 'diesel bug' in my starboard fuel tank. What a slimey mess.

The second additive is a fuel stabilizer. I don't know about you folks, but even sailing year around, I simply don't use my engines enough to use the fuel in the tanks. The stabilizer is necessary in my case as the recent changes in fuel production have impacted the length of time diesel fuel is stable.

Lastly I use an additive to increase lubricity. This is necessary as my 26 year old diesel engines were designed when diesel fuel contained high sulfur. You can only buy low sulfur fuel in America these days and something has to replace it.

Anything off this list should do.

http://rivrdog.typepad.com/files/cop...-version-3.pdf

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Last edited by TropicCat; 06-14-2011 at 06:09 AM.
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post #7 of 20 Old 06-14-2011
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I agree with Tropicat. A biocide, a stabilizer, and a lubricity additive if you have an older engine. And follow the directions on the can. More is not necessarily better.

Last edited by JimsCAL; 06-14-2011 at 01:07 PM. Reason: fixed typo.
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post #8 of 20 Old 06-14-2011
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additives

Adding 3 additives (lubricity, biocide, stabilizer) might run into some money. From what little information I could find, most additives seem to have a relatively short shelf life (2-3 yrs?) yet are sold in containers suitable for trucks etc that use high volumes of fuel rather than the miniscule amounts that I need for the few gallons of fuel I burn each year in my boat. Seems a shame to have to buy $20 for a bottle of additive, use a few milliliters for fuel in my puny diesel, and then have to toss most of the bottle out after a few years when it has gone bad.

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post #9 of 20 Old 06-14-2011
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Sure it costs some money, but aren't our engines worth the trouble? Isn't it better to head off rather than deal with the issues?

When I think about your central point, I agree .... however, it's important to remember where we diesel owning sailors stand.

If approximately 10% of North Americans have any kind of boat whatsoever........ and sailors are somewhere around less than 5% of that total ... diesel owners are probably less than 20% of that number .... and we consider your point about how little fuel we actually use ...... I doubt we'll see anyone jumping to introduce new packaging just for us.

It is what it is.

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Last edited by TropicCat; 06-14-2011 at 01:17 PM.
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post #10 of 20 Old 06-14-2011
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As for lubrication...

Won't chime in on additives as my views have more or less been covered, but I will toss out that biodiesel is the best remedy for fuel lubrication. Aside from any of the pros and cons of biodiesel from an ecological point of view, there is no question it does wonders for the injection system. I forget the data on how much it helps, but know from experience that it does.

When I started running biodiesel in my Universal 5432 about 4 years ago, my engine noise went down noticeably. I can only surmise that the increased lubrication quieted the injection system. Of course, it is also great to have sweet smelling exhaust.

It doesn't take a high % to have this effect. Even 5% does it I believe. I happen to maintain between 50% and 75% depending on the season, but you don't need to do this.

My tank and filters are spotless too!

Aeolus
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