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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2008
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Question for the diesel fuel brain trust out there.
Isn't home heating oil #2 the same thing as the diesel you use in your engines?
According to wikipedia it is (citation needed of course): Fuel oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here is the relevant quote: "No. 2 is the diesel that trucks and some cars run on, leading to the name "road diesel". It is the same thing as heating oil."
The red dyed "off road" use diesel may contain more sulphur and is not supposed to be used in road vehicles but could be (with a $10,000 fine if caught). The main reason the "off road" fuel is dyed is for taxation purposes as the taxes are higher for diesel intended for "road use" then for heating or other purposes.
That said, if your home is heated with #2 oil you could fill your gerry cans from your home tank. Similarly, you could dump your unused gerry cans from your boat back into your home tank at the end of a season. But put any of this fuel into a road vehicle and you are breaking the law.
Hmmm. I wonder what kind of fuel our home heating oil distributor uses in it's diesel delivery trucks?
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2008
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No, I don't believe home heating oil is quite the same as diesel #2. I'll ask tonight, since I know someone whose expertise is petroleum products... and get back to you on what the specific differences are.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2008
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I found out the hard way this summer, about having too much fuel in the tank. Although I polished it every two months and used all the additives and check for water, It still didn't take care of the junk growing on the sides of my tank, and after we had gone out one weekend and it got pretty ruff, the next day there was so much junk in the fuel having come off the sides of the tank, I couldn't get the motor to run and had to have a tow. (thank goodness for Sea Tow) well worth it. Now I only keep 10 gals in the tank and
since it's a perkins 4-108, it doesn't use very much diesel at all. I'll remove what's in the tank this weekend and that I hope will solve any problems in the future.

Take Care,

Mike & GLinda
s/v Blue Bayou
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Old 12-04-2008
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sailing Dog & Caleb - according to my home heating fuel company, it's the same stuff. I always buy my fuel at a gas station that sees plenty of activity, so I know te fuel hasn't been sitting in their tanks long. When topping off, any extra I may have goes right into my home heating tank.

Now on the subject of topping off, Moon Sailor, the old salts in my area are adamant that condensatio will form over the winter if you don't top off. If that's not so, it would certainly make things easier. I've got an 18 gallon tank and only use about 4 gallons a year. And yes, some of my fuel is 8 years old (never had a problem yet, though). Anyone have a definitive answer on this?
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Old 12-04-2008
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Has anyone tried Sta-Bil? I thought about tring it but would like to here from others first. Gold Eagle - Stabil
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Old 12-04-2008
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The Myth of Condensation in Fuel Tanks by David Pascoe: Boat Maintenance, Repairs and Troubleshooting

Here is a discussion of the physics involved in condensation by someone who should know.
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Old 12-04-2008
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Basically, Diesel fuel and #2 heating oil are the same thing, however the diesel fuel has more additives, like an anti-wear additive, added to it because it is used in an engine rather than just being burned. You could probably burn #2 heating oil in a diesel engine, but it probably wouldn't be as good for your engine as diesel fuel, due to missing additives.

BTW, this info is coming from a guy who was a section chair of SAE and worked for a little company called Standard Oil of New Jersey for a while as one of their chief research engineers.
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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.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 12-05-2008 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 12-05-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonSailer View Post
topping off your fuel tank is a bad ideal. One is overfilling and spilling fuel but the other is the age of the fuel. I try not to have more than about 6 months worth of fuel in my tank. That way I use fresh fuel!!!! This means I keep about 1/4 tank. For trips etc I fill up . Condensation is not a problem in a boat's diesel tank. At least I have never had any problems in over 5 years. We are like you and only run the diesel long enough to get out and sail. That means maybe an hour or so a month or a quart-or two of fuel a month. that translates usually to about 5-10 gallons a year for me. With a 25 gallon tank you could end up with diesel that is 5 years old!!!!!!
Moon...that is just wrong for many boats in many areas of the country. Condensation is a HUGE problem and it is VERY advisable to keep tanks full at all times. 5 year old diesel is less of a problem than watrery diesel in a choppy sea. Use stabilizer to preserve perfromance over time.
Pascoe makes a hobby of going against conventional wisdom. I'll go with the twenty experts that say it DOES make a difference...especially since I have seen the effects of condensation in my own tanks on several different boats. Racors separate the water out...but you have to check them often and bleed AND be able to see the water which you can't do on the canister models on most smaller boats.
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonSailer View Post
Condensation is not a problem in a boat's diesel tank. At least I have never had any problems in over 5 years.
I've never had a problem either, MS, but it is very clear that condensation can be a major problem in a diesel tank, sometimes leading to the growth of clumps of bacteria which eventually choke the filters. My advice would be to keep the tank full if the boat is not liable to be used for a period of time and/or add one of the proprietary additives which deal with this problem.

Apart from the bacteria problem, deterioration of diesel fuel is no as much of a problem as it is with gas. My boat lay for at least four years with a full tank of fuel before I bought it and has run sweetly without any problems.

That's not to say that I would recommend this as a regular practice!

Stuart
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Well I believe in doing what works and is reasonable. Keeping 1/4 tank sure works for me and assures that my fuel is less than a year old. I think that part of the problem is confusion over what works with gasoline. Gasoline is very volatile and gas fumes expand and contract a lot with temperature changes. Another problem is power boaters. If you own a power baot and use several tanks of fuel per season that keeps your fuel fresh and tanks clean. But physics and reason does not support the ideal of condensation being a problem in sailboat tanks. Especially for a boat in the water. IMHO most of the water crud in fuel comes from the source where the fuel was bought. If not there then from leaking O-rings from the caps. Pascoe's article is actually the same arguments that I had when I looked at the physics of condensation. Condensation is probably a problem with huge storage tanks where large amounts of fuel are transferred daily. But anyway if it works do it. But if you find that you have to "polish" your fuel and are having problems then maybe change your ways and use logic. Knowledge and logic are powerful tools.
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