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post #11 of 20 Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

I used this hand pump to pump out are gas tank: Beckson Siphon Mate Specialty Transfer Pump
and I am still here. It claims to be good for water or diesel fuel - but not gas.

It is manual so no spark. I was a bit worried about static electricity while I was using it for gas though.

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post #12 of 20 Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

I just went through this scenario.....you need to have a professional fuel cleaning done. Because even if you get all the diesel out, the crud tends to accumulate at the bottom of the tank and your engine will die when you hit rough seas and the crud starts to move around in the clean diesel. I only had 14 gallons and it cost me $400, BUT they cleaned the inside of the tank properly after they had extracted the diesel. I was not happy about the price but the result has been great. The term "fuel Polishing" is what to look for if you do a search for companies in your area that can do this. This way you don't have to worry about how to dispose of the fuel etc.
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post #13 of 20 Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

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Originally Posted by newportermike View Post
I just went through this scenario.....you need to have a professional fuel cleaning done. Because even if you get all the diesel out, the crud tends to accumulate at the bottom of the tank and your engine will die when you hit rough seas and the crud starts to move around in the clean diesel. I only had 14 gallons and it cost me $400, BUT they cleaned the inside of the tank properly after they had extracted the diesel. I was not happy about the price but the result has been great. The term "fuel Polishing" is what to look for if you do a search for companies in your area that can do this. This way you don't have to worry about how to dispose of the fuel etc.
Good point,
Other option (this is what I did) is to pump all fuel out of the tank into 5 gallon diesel jugs. Pull the tank from the boat (I also have 12 gallon tank), take it home and clean it. You could let the old fuel set in the fuel jugs for a few days to let water and sediments settle to bottom, then use your fuel pump (instead of just pouring it which would agitate the settled sediments) to transfer the diesel from the 5 gallon jug to an empty jug. A water/fuel separator funnel filter (sold at west marine) can be used during the transfer. When you transfer, leave some of the old fuel at the bottom of the 5 gallon jug (this is where sediment and water as well as bacteria should be) by keeping the fuel suction a few inches of the bottom of the jug- try to look in to see how much sediment you have- you could pour into a clear container to see what fuel looks like. Dispose legally of the old contaminated fuel not reused- should only be a few gallons.

Last edited by casey1999; 06-21-2012 at 07:01 PM.
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post #14 of 20 Old 06-27-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

It's next to impossible to be sure a siphon hose is sitting at the lowest part of the tank. Sometimes a weight, like a sinker on the end of a pc. of hose can get it close. Getting a mouthful of diesel is not very tasty, so use clear hose so you can see it coming! It's possible to get everything out EXCEPT the crud. The best way is really to get the tank out, invert it and give it a couple of good rinses with clean fuel. Access inside a tank from the top, even if done by a pro, is an iffy operation. If impossible to remove, I would just get it as clean as possible with a siphon and then keep an eye on the fuel/water separator. The best way to avoid crud getting in there in the first place is to use additives that inhibit growth also, keep the tank full all the time so condensation does not form.

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Last edited by smurphny; 06-27-2012 at 05:06 PM.
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post #15 of 20 Old 06-27-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

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It's next to impossible to be sure a siphon hose is sitting at the lowest part of the tank.
I have taken a length of small diameter (say 1/4" diameter available at hardware store) copper tube and tie wrapped the siphon hose (or fuel pump hose) to this tube. Now I can hold the copper tube from outside the tank and move the siphon hose around the bottom of the tank. You can even bend the copper tube to allow access to the corners of the tank. Agree though it is easier to pull tank, I plan to use above though say once a year to clean bottom of tank as preventative measure that does not take a lot of time.
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post #16 of 20 Old 06-27-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

That sounds like a good method. The problem is in actually seeing where the end of any kind of probe is. If it's just 1/4" off the bottom, it's possible to miss the majority of the black crap that tends to dwell on the bottom of diesel tanks. I removed my 24 gal. tank when I replaced the cockpit deck core and cleaned it out good at that time but would not be confident that I could effectively clean it through the deck fill if the need arose. Without ripping up the deck, as in many sailboats, there seems to be no good way to be 100% sure the tank is clean. Having an additional filter before the primary engine filter is good insurance. Just replaced my old plastic bowl filter (which is now disallowed by USCG) with a solid bowl filter. I don't at all like the idea of not being able to see what may be in the bowl so will have to drain it on a regular basis. I also use a Bahama funnel filter if I have any doubt as to what may be coming out of a fuel hose. They work very well.

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Last edited by smurphny; 06-27-2012 at 07:23 PM. Reason: more
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post #17 of 20 Old 06-27-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
That sounds like a good method. The problem is in actually seeing where the end of any kind of probe is. If it's just 1/4" off the bottom, it's possible to miss the majority of the black crap that tends to dwell on the bottom of diesel tanks. I removed my 24 gal. tank when I replaced the cockpit deck core and cleaned it out good at that time but would not be confident that I could effectively clean it through the deck fill if the need arose. Without ripping up the deck, as in many sailboats, there seems to be no good way to be 100% sure the tank is clean. Having an additional filter before the primary engine filter is good insurance. Just replaced my old plastic bowl filter (which is now disallowed by USCG) with a solid bowl filter. I don't at all like the idea of not being able to see what may be in the bowl so will have to drain it on a regular basis. I also use a Bahama funnel filter if I have any doubt as to what may be coming out of a fuel hose. They work very well.
With the suction/siphon hose wire tied to a flexible 1/4" copper tube you can suck right off the tank bottom. You could even attach the suction/ siphon hose directly to the 1/4" copper then you would have a rigid but flexible suction tube that you can move around on the bottom of the tank.

My tank is a 19 gallon moeller plastic so I can remove the fill hose connection and look down this 1-1/2 hole and see the entire tank. I shine a light on the outside of the tank which then lights up the inside. Access to this tank is a lot easier than some. I do have a clear bowl racor prefilter- these are allowed as long as not in the engine compartment- mine is next to the tank.
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post #18 of 20 Old 06-27-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

Nice that you can actually see into the tank. Mine is also a Mueller, down around 4" from the deck surface and buried under the cockpit so there's no way to see in except straight down. I added some Star Tron a couple of weeks ago to all the fuel on the boat-24 gals in main tank and 25 gals in jerry jugs. It's all been there since last fall. The stuff has had some good reviews about stopping microbial growth. At least the jerry jugs are easy to see into.

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post #19 of 20 Old 07-15-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

You think you have a problem !! I have just put 20 galls of diesel in my water tank on my Hunter 40.5... I have not run the water, and I am considering converting that water tank to Diesel... as there are 3 other water tanks.. is this possible ?? Ian
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post #20 of 20 Old 07-15-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

That is a novel solution but you'd need to make sure the tank material is compatible, then look into replumbing the tank vents, fill, and into fuel supply. And if the fuel sits around too long of course critters grow, so more isn't always better.

If there's an inspection port allowing you to access that tank, pumping it out with an inexpensive transfer pump or hand bilge pump, followed by filling it to the brim with a detergent solution 6? 12? times might restore it to water service. And using that same type of pump to empty it each time, keeping the diesel out of your plumbing. Or possibly replacing the tank valve instead of trying to clean it out.
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