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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Old 06-20-2012
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How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

To prevent any fuel problems I am going to remove the diesel fuel from my tank and replace it with fresh. It is only 12 gallons so is not that much. How do I get the fuel out? What kind of pump should I use? A friend tried to use a manual style pump and it didn't work. Just made a mess. We both tried using a drill driven pump and it wouldn't work. It doesn't have enough lift to pull the fuel up the 3-4 feet from the tank through the fill hole into 5 gallon containers. Is there a small, simple, portable pump I can use that will have enough lift?
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

I always try to siphon fuel if I can. There is a device called a simple siphon which makes it really easy to start although I haven't tried it with a big head. Alternatively, if you use flexible tubing you can shove a bunch in the tank, pinch the tube off and pull it out. As long as you have enough tube with fuel in it to get below the level of the tank, you can un-pinch it and it will siphon. All of this is harder if your boat is in the water already since it is hard to get jerry cans below the tank level.
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

Use a vacuum oil changer reservoir and transfer the fuel to jerry cans.
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

siphon is great and cheap if the tank is higher then the receiving container.

to pump, you need a self priming impeller pump. most drill pumps aren't worth the $ A 12 or 120 volt flotech pump should do the job. Hand held plunger pumps work pretty well too.
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

Some diesel tanks have a drain on the bottom of the tank.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

Does your tank have an inspection port or a gauge on it? I'd pump from there rather than from the filler hole up on deck. Just lay down plastic and something absorbent to avoid the dreaded diesel in the cabin.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

cheap 12 volt fuel pump, about $30 and keep it as a spare.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

First, invert the boat.

Oh. Sucking the fuel all the way up the filler hose may be impossible. I also second the vacuum oil pump as being one of the best ways to suck stuff up, and you'd use it in the top of the diesel tank. There's either going to be an inspection plate, or a collar that allows the fuel gauge to be removed, accessing it from there.

A drain valve on a marine diesel tank is unlikely, on small craft apparently that's either an ABYC or USCG no-no.

You could also pick up a cheap fuel pump (as I understand it, a gasoline pump will work) and hook it up to the fuel feed on the tank, and just pump it out that way.

But if you are going to the trouble of cleaning out the tank, REALLY consider going the whole nine yards. Remove the tank, get back in there to clean and inspect, and while the tank is out have it steamed out to get rid of any crud, if you can find a radiator or tank shop that will do it for you.

Changing out old fuel, that's nice. But if there's crud in the fuel, odds are there's biomatter on the tank interior as well, and if you clean it out now you can make sure it doesn't come back.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

If the tank is not in the bilge but slightly higher in elevation, then the easiest/cheapest way is to simply siphon the fuel into a 'lower' container.
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Old 06-21-2012
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Re: How to Remove Diesel from Tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by maccauley123 View Post
A friend tried to use a manual style pump and it didn't work. Just made a mess. We both tried using a drill driven pump and it wouldn't work. Is there a small, simple, portable pump I can use that will have enough lift?
Electric drill pumps are not for diesel. The sparaks from drill brushes could ignite fuel.

Maybe try:

Diesel Transfer Pump - Save on this 12 Volt Transfer Pump

or

12 Volt Electric DIESEL Fuel Transfer Pump 4-7psi 35GPH - JTOutfitters

Check how much lift you need (how high from bottom of tank to receiving tank). 1 foot height = about 0.5 psi.
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