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  #21  
Old 04-02-2008
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My system on Aeolus

On Aeolus I do a few things to reduce fuel problems. For one, I run a biodiesel blend of about 50% for purely mechanical as well as environmental reasons. No doubt about it, biodiesel does act as a detergent and cleans things out. My diesel Mercedes is the same deal. Had to replace a few filters after the first few tank fulls, and now no problems.

Anyway, Aeolus has a Racor primary and standard engine mounted secondary. I run a 2 micron primary filter because the filtration capacity is something like 30gph and my Universal M40 only uses 1 gph. I want that Racor to keep anything from even making it to my secondary.

My "polishing" system is to get back from a nice bouncy sail, tie to the dock, go below, disconnect my fuel return from the engine and connect it to my electric fuel pump "out". This way, the fuel pump is pulling fuel through the Racor, and pushing it right back into the tank through the return line. I do this once or twice a season and just leave the ignition key on and let the pump do its thing for 20 minutes or so. I measured once and found this amount of time would circulate more than double the tank capacity.

I know this is less thorough than removing the tank and so forth, but Gulf 32's have 70 gallon diesel tanks that are integral to the hull. They do not come out without major surgery.

I have never once had a fuel related engine problem. She runs smooth like silk and I think my filtration and "polishing" are a big help.

Good luck and best wishes,
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  #22  
Old 04-02-2008
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The easiest way I think is to hire a company that cleans tanks out with a wand (if you have an access port), and polishes the fuel. I had that done on the boat we own after we first bought it, and it cost about $200.00.
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Old 04-02-2008
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Bilge Yoga....

I timely topic for me. Today I was pumping nasty fuel out of my tank and hauling it up to the marina oil recycling barrel. My fuel is about 3 years old, there is known to be a gallon or so of water in the 90 gal fuel tank and there is DEFINATELY algae.

I have great tank access so it limits the necessity of bilge yoga, but I have no access ports. My plan for the tank is to pump out all the fuel. Add 10-20 gals of water, pump it out. Then add 10 more gallons of water (to further reduce the chance of fire) and cut some inspection ports into the top of the tank using a stainless cutting bit on a dremmel tool. Once I have inspection ports I'll scrub it out as best I can, dry it well, add some new clean #2/bio mix and biocide and watch my filters. I also installed a vacuum guage on the racor so maybe I'll have a little warning before she shuts down.

I'm half way through emptying the tank and even though I wasn't at the lowest spot on the tank I got a couple softball sized balls of creepy crud from the bottom along with 2 liters of water.

Owning boats is fun......

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  #24  
Old 04-02-2008
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Instead of adding water to the tank, IMHO, you'd be better off adding nitrogen or CO2 to the tank. That will force out the oxygen and leave a layer of relatively inert gas over any remaining diesel fumes or fuel. It's also a lot easier to clean up after.
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  #25  
Old 04-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Instead of adding water to the tank, IMHO, you'd be better off adding nitrogen or CO2 to the tank. That will force out the oxygen and leave a layer of relatively inert gas over any remaining diesel fumes or fuel. It's also a lot easier to clean up after.

NICE IDEA!!!!! Now, I'll just put my mouth over the fuel vent and continue to breathe until it has a high Co2 concentration.

MedSailor
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Old 04-02-2008
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If you have no handy cheap CO2 source, throw in some dry ice and come back after lunch.

In some southern states the supermarkets sell it for fishermen and coolers. Ice cream trucks & suppliers sometimes have it. Or your local yellowpages, somewhere it can be found, fairly cheap. (If all else fails, you order a box of Omaha Steaks and use the dry ice they ship with.)
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Drop a chunk of dry ice into the tank... That's work much better IMHO....

your way introduces too much hot air into the tank.
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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
NICE IDEA!!!!! Now, I'll just put my mouth over the fuel vent and continue to breathe until it has a high Co2 concentration.

MedSailor
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  #28  
Old 04-03-2008
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Letters from the bilge....

I spent the entire day in the bilge. I tell you if I really liked sailing I would belong to that club on the next dock.

Each time I would get disheartened with my project (as a pump died or such) I would suck up another softball sized ball of goop and another liter of water from my half-full 90 gal tank. I swear one of the balls of goop had eyes and even gave me the finger! Shortly after that I opened more hatches for better ventilation...

The tank is now as empty as I could get it and I can see through the existing 3" hole in the top that all the walls of the tank are lined with algae. I can't wait to get in there and kill them all! Next I must cut inspection port holes into the tank and fashion port covers.

Any suggestions on what will cut through 1/8" stainless? I was planning on using a large dremmel tool with a tungsten carbide bit, but I've never tried this before. I could also use a jigsaw or reciprocating saw with metal cutting blades but I can't imagine this will be pretty.

As for the inspection plate cover my resourceful neighbor suggested using polyethylene as it is much easier to work than stainless. Perhaps a couple dollar store cutting boards cut to size? I would then drill and tap machine screws to hold the plate down.

As for a gasket, I'm not sure here. My fuel gauge (which has a 3" hole) has a rubber looking gasket but I'm not sure what it's made out of. Anyone know what's a good gasket material and is impervious to diesel?

Thanks again for the dry ice suggestion.... Going to hunt some down tomorrow.

MedSailor
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Old 04-03-2008
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There are quite a few RTV silicone compounds that will work for a fuel tank inspection port gasket. As for the inspection port itself, I would try and find a bronze or stainless steel deck plate and ring and use that. Through bolt it to the tank, using the plate opening to give you access to the underside of the opening.

BTW, make sure you clean the tank very, very thoroughly when you're done. Metal shavings and bits, such as are left over from drilling and cutting stainless steel are bad for your engine.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #30  
Old 04-03-2008
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Med, I'd discourage cutting holes because each hole means shavings and metal bits that may work into or past a filter, no matter how careful you are. And someplace to leak when you fill it, no matter how careful you are. I do't think any RTV or silicone compounds are rated for 100% contact with fuels, as they will be in a tank. You're looking at mechanical clamps or welding and rings and hatches to proeprly recover each of the holes you make--more more work.

I'd get hold of a steam genny (generator) even one of the "home" grade ones if that's all you can get. Steam the algae off, or fill the tank with algecide and soapy water, and try to wash out or mechanically remove as much as you can, before you turn to making holes.

If the tank can be removed form the boat--do it that way. If that means lots of work to get it out--that's still going to be a better idea than making lots of holes the hard way.

if the tank is OUT you can do things like wash it, rinse it, pressure hose it, rinse out any shavings from metal work, etc. If the tank is left in place--you just don't have those great options.
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