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Old 10-01-2000
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Cleaning a Diesel Tank

I have a diesel fuel tank filled with gunk over a half-inch deep that has clogged the fuel pickup and the surrounding area. What's the best way to get this stuff out?

Michael Borga

Mark Matthews responds:

Cleaning diesel tanks is a grimy project. There are professional services that specialize in just this sort of thing. I had the same problem with the tank in my boat. I removed the tank, cut an inspection port in the top, and cleaned out the gunk with several rolls of paper towels, about three T-shirts, and a solvent that escapes me—acetone, or perhaps denatured alcohol. I'd recommend cutting an inspection port in the tank since if you take on some bad fuel, you can clean it out.

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