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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-13-2007
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cleaning diesel fuel tank

My 18 gallon fuel tank is a contaminated with sludge. I am planning to pump out the remaining contaminated fuel, clean the tank, and replace with clean fuel and a biocide.

Has anyone done this before that can provide advice, in particular, what to use to clean the tank. Someone suggested paint thinner.

WaltG
Miami
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Old 05-13-2007
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Larus Marinus
 
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Since diesel cars often add a little petrol (gas) to their winter fuel to thin it for cold starting, I guess it would be a suitable cleaning fluid.
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Old 05-13-2007
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Exclamation tank cleanig?

are you planning to remove the tank to clean it?? If so I would use a cheap solvent / lacquer thinner to rinse it out and follow up with the high pressure water (i.e. car wash) make sure it is really dry before re-installing and adding fuel

IMHO

dano
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Old 05-13-2007
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Diesel Polishing kit #9325

I plan on cleaning out my 35 gal tank also. At first I was just going to install a cleanout port ($138) but due to the fact there are several baffels in the tank I wouldn;t be able to reach every where. My local WM dealer who I do trust told me about this kit ($19 on sale) it contains enough to do a 100 gal tank. but he did say the boat has to be in the water so you can get a rocking motion to distribute the cleaning agents all through the tank. I'll be puting the boat in the water some time before Memorial day and then I'll clean the tank, and report back to here how it went.
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Old 05-13-2007
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I just cleaned my diesel tank yesterday. I have had the boat less than 2 years so I was not sure what shape it was in. It is a small tank, about 14 usgal and I took it out which seemed the simplest. I also wanted a look at the bottom to see if there was amy corrosion, it is aluminium.

Pumped all of the diesel out and removed it. There was a lot of sludge and black scales on the bottom. We drained it through the fuel level indicator hole.
We just rinsed some fresh diesel in it a couple of times and it looks pretty good. Mostly shiney and clean. I was going to use gas but the diesel worked.

Only one small spot of corrosion on the bottom and it is not too bad. I am going to coat the bottom with some thing, just not shure what yet.

Gary
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Old 05-13-2007
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We pulled the tank, which is the only way to really do it, so you can invert it to drain it completely.

Clean out what you can (and dump it with the other oil waste) then use detergent and water, hot water if you can. Liquid Tide is very good at dissolving oily waste. LesToil, etc. also work fine. Just wash it out, and repeat. Fill the tank partway and shake it to help get the crud dissolved. Then eyeball it and see if that was enough, it often will be.

We let it air dry overnight, that was enough but if you are in a hurry a hair dryer, etc. would do the job in a shorter time.

If you need to "scrub" where you can't reach, coarse salt (deicing rock salt or koshering salt) in a dry tank acts just like sand, and it can be washed out 100% with water after it has done the job.
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Old 05-13-2007
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After it's clean, be sure to use a biocide when you refill. That "sludge" you are finding is actually an organic life form that lives in diesel tanks. Also water will stay at the bottom and corrode/rust anything not stainless. It's best to drain the bottom at least every six months. (Or remove it with a pump, drawing from the bottom)
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Old 05-13-2007
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I have been using two products on my diesel. One claims to emulsify water such that it passes filter and injectors without harming either, the other is supposed to kill the bio-bugs. The result is an increasing amount of "red-stuff" in the bottom of the filter bowls. As it passes through both inline filters, and the engine seems to run fine on it, I am hoping its harmless. Nevertheless, I think its time I pulled out and cleaned the tanks. Any one else seen this?
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Startron

I just went to the WM in Ft.Liquordale and found this product by Starbrite called Startron, the Fuel Tank Cleaner. It claims to "clean the fuel tank while rejuvenating old fuel which may be present in the tank". I bought the one gallon size for twenty something bucks. I also pumped out most of the old diesel which had the dark tea color indicating contamination. Will let you know the results with Startron.

WaltG
Sabre28
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Old 05-14-2007
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Could you give me more info about this product at WM. I was just on their website but couldnn't find anything about a diesel polishing kit or product 9325. Thanks.
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