How to start diesel in spring - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-01-2012 Thread Starter
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How to start diesel in spring

The way I understand it is that some folks leave the fuel tank near empty and some near full. Depends on the theory you subscribe to.

If the tank is left near empty then what procedure do you you follow in the spring when starting.

I'm asking because the PO apparently is a leave it nearly empty guy and I've got to start it on the work dock and move to a slip.
Do most folks dump in a Jerry can full of fresh just to be sure?

Sadly their is no fuel separator on this boat?
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

Be it a boat or any other mechanized piece of equipment, most people would top off a tank before putting a piece of equipment up for storage. This helps to minimize condensation in the tank.

My concern for you is the fact there's no separator given the fact that the tank is almost empty. The other thing to consider is did the PO leave the tank close to empty because it's a leaker....

Other than that I'd dump some diesel fuel treatment in tank, toss 5 gallons of fresh fuel in, spray some WD40 in the intake & hit the switch. Just don't move the boat on a rough day.

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post #3 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

I would warm her up and test the transmission while tied to the dock, then off I would go to top her off at the fuel dock. Add biocide and stabilizer, but no more than recommended. If I could get a peak inside the fuel tank, I would take a look first. I like adding Marvel Mystery Oil too, but have no idea what it is doing. Just feels productive to keep firing at the enemy.

I'm sure you will add a separator.


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post #4 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

My first thought is "why no water separator"? I think that adding a water separator/fuel filter would be a priority to me. I haven't had marine diesel, but lots on the shore. Others probably know better, but water is real hard on injectors, if it gets that far. Are you sure there isn't one, maybe tucked up underneath somewhere? I would install a filter if it doesn't exist. They are not that expensive. If you decide not to permanently install one, you still might consider polishing your fuel through one with a pump. Water and diesel don't mix. You also have the potential for algae. Additives will kill algae, but it still needs to be filtered out. One other option that comes to mind is to remove the fuel that is in the tank (or at least pump some from the lowest point in the tank) and inspect it.

FWIW, I have never run a diesel without a filter/separator, even if it was a combination setup.

We'll see what others say.

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post #5 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

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Originally Posted by rrh View Post
FWIW, I have never run a diesel without a filter/separator, even if it was a combination setup.
I've never seen a diesel without one

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post #6 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

An empty tank will allow more condensation to form, more water in the fuel. You can roll the dice, see if it burns, see if there's enough water to damage anything. Or maybe jut pump out whatever is in there, and start with a clean fuel load.

If you pump put the old stuff and let it sit, the water should separate out so you can still use the old fuel if you want to skim it off. Or dump it all in the "waste oil" tank.
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

We just bought a new Racor w/f filter for about $110. You can get them cheaper.
We will be pulling out our old, plastic bowl type water separator filter in the next few days. You can have it if you want. I have a few fresh $10 filter elements for it.

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post #8 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

Anyway you can rig a temporary fuel supply & return setup from a jerry can? That'll get you into your slip, and give you time to check out the inside of your tank before you start drawing from it, and get a filter/separator installed.
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

Just my opinion, but I think the condensation concern is exaggerated. If there is that much water in a tank, it has to have a leak at the deck.

Expanding and contracting fuel during temperature changes can "breath" outside air in and out of the tank. Humid air could condensate, but it seems unlikely that would create enough water to be a problem. Certain very small amounts of water will actually mix with the fuel.

Maybe I'm wrong.


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post #10 of 25 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: How to start diesel in spring

The other thing to check is the level of the transmission fluid. I doubt that you will need to lower yours if the PO left the tank empty, but you need to know.

In the fall I top up the tank, and pour a full quart of transmission fluid (Dextron III) into my tranny. Filling the tranny is meant to keep the seals lubricated while the boat is on the hard for 6 months. Every spring I use a vacuum pump to suck the fluid out of the transmission to the proper level. I never specifically change the fluid, as I believe that this process is good enough.


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