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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-14-2006
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Filtering diesel fuel?

As previously posted, we are bringing a boat up from FL to NC, starting 9/24. The captain bringing it up will be going outside around St Augustine, coming in at Beaufort, NC (weather permitting, obviously). I have had a suggestion from the dock master where the boat is currently to have the fuel filtered because "going outside can stir it up." So... thoughts?!

Just quick background, the boat is a 1983 Newport 33, only 1335 hrs on the original Universal diesel, but the engine has been maintained and is getting thorough once-over before leaving. It currently starts and runs fine, no smoke, etc., and we'v replaced the alternator.
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Old 09-14-2006
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A layer of dirt collects on the bottom of a fuel tank and as long as you don't stir it up much you have no problems. But take the boat out in some big waves for a spell and you stir that stuff up causing the filter to plug. If it's bad it can even plug the pick up tube in the tank. It is advisable to have the fuel polished. There are services that do this. They will remove the fuel sender and stir things up in the bottom of the tank while running the fuel through a filter. Good way to avoid big problems. I did this myself on a 78 Newport 30 when I started having fuel problems. Messy work but it solved all my problems.
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Old 09-14-2006
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If there is any sediment, algae, debris on the bottom of the fuel tank, going outside, and the rougher conditions there can indeed stir up the fuel and raise the debris, algae and such to the point where it gets picked up by the fuel pump intake. That can cause the fuel filters to clog or the fuel pump to clog. What you probably should do, more than just filtering the fuel, is to clean out the fuel tank.
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Old 09-14-2006
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Ditto on the fuel polishing...get someone with a wand that can get into the bottom of the tank to get rid on the gunk/algae and water that forms in idle tanks. Also..bring a LOT of extra racor filters with you and make sure you know how to change them and bleed the system.
The passage north to Beaufort can be dicey at this time of year and aside from getting the fuel stirred up it might not be wise to set a course straight for Beaufort as this will take you too far to sea to scramble for an inlet if the weather deteriorates. I would think about a more indirect route that leaves you within reach of shelter. The Dodge Guide to SE US inlets would be a good thing to have aboard. Good luck with the trip!
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Old 09-14-2006
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We have an experienced captain doing the trip, not us, and he's done a lot of racing all along the way from Charleston to the Bahamas. That being said, weather will dictate, as Gordon and now this new one are generating high seas. In anticipation of an inside passage, we are having the engine, throttle assembly, electronics, and sails all gone over and repaired and made as ready as possible...my standing order is to make it so that we have "a reasonable expectation" of getting the 700 miles if we have to motor the whole way. Obviously things can and do happen...when we get closer to "launch" we'll just have to see where we are with these storms.
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