diesel fuel tank dirty again.... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 11-04-2007 Thread Starter
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diesel fuel tank dirty again....

We bought a 1984 sailboat with dirty fuel in late June. In July we hired someone to come and "polish" our fuel and thus this would also supposedly clean the fuel tank. (I then also used the recommended additive.)

We used the boat not very often- in mid-October we found we were having dirty fuel again (filter dirty, engine stopped, etc.)

The engine serviceman said it is possible that the tank cleaner man went through the fill pipe only rather than taking the engine fuel gauge off and cleaning more thoroughly.

I called the tank cleaner man and he said he would do it again (I got the impression he would not charge this time) and he said he did go directly into the tank......

Should I have him clean the tank & fuel again? Should I wait and have it done closer to spring?

Any other ideas what I should be doing to prevent this in the future? (for problems, I know I could also have the fuel line and fuel filter rerouted so they are easy to look at and serviceable by me if necessary.)

Any insight appreciated! Thanks, Saltypat
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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"Should I have him clean the tank & fuel again? Should I wait and have it done closer to spring?"

NO!

'Fuel polishing' in most cases consists of someone hooking a pump and filter to tank-out and return pumping through filters until clean. Unfortunately the pick-up tube in the tank does not go all the way own, leaving the bottom sediments.
There is only one way to properly clean and be sure it is clean and that is to steam it out. Unfortunately that will in most cases mean You have to take the tank ashore and in some boats that might be some of an operation.
The bottom line is that the only way to clean a tank is to go 'into' the tank through whatever opening is available (inspection cover/fuel sender..) and either vipe/wash out or use a high-presure cleaner with detergent. A flexible hose with nozle might be useful to get behind welded internal bulkheads, there are normally an opening at the bottom.
Then You install a decent filter that lets You monitor what is going on!.
Some might say the filter on the pic is an overkill on a Yanmar 28, but!!!
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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Yes, polishing the fuel is only part of it. Getting into the tank and "mucking" it out is just as important.

We had to do the same on our new-to-us boat, and since then I've been religious about screening my fuel through a strainer when refueling too... We once got some bad fuel, and if we'd strained it then we would have avoided a lot of grief.
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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I am planning on cleaning out my fuel tank over the winter. Ok, I pump out the fuel. So after I wrap my arm in a trash bag and put on the rubber gloves, what is the best thing to use to wipe it out ? I don't want to fix one problem and create another.

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post #5 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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How big or accessible it your tank. On my 1984 boat I just took the whole tank out and then was able to clean it properly on shore. I now have a nice clean tank and I only add diesel via a 5 gallon can that I fill up at a busy truck stop.
Next step is to get the injectors overhauled but that is a different story.

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post #6 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
I am planning on cleaning out my fuel tank over the winter. Ok, I pump out the fuel. So after I wrap my arm in a trash bag and put on the rubber gloves, what is the best thing to use to wipe it out ? I don't want to fix one problem and create another.
We had two 6" access ports which allowed us to get into and clean two of the 3 baffled sections of our tank. We used the gloves etc, and the fibre/paper towels to muck out the film of crap that was on all inner tank surfaces.

If the tank is good and dry you can shopvac any remaining bits out. As for the center section, we reached as far as we could but know we were unable to get it all.. however the pickup was in an accessible area and we know that area got well cleaned.
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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Faster, thanks for the info, I do have a access port that is about 8 x 8 inches. I can also pick up a disposable shop vac

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post #8 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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When I read all the posts about Diesel tanks I can't help but wonder if it would be a good ideal to make the whole top of the tank a bolt on affair.

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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It'd be much tougher to prevent the tank from leaking.
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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
When I read all the posts about Diesel tanks I can't help but wonder if it would be a good ideal to make the whole top of the tank a bolt on affair.

Sailingdog

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post #10 of 15 Old 11-04-2007
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Oh I don't think it would be all that difficult Sailinghog. Not like there's pressure in there. Geeze, some guys are using plastic access ports from beckson!

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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