Cleaning a fuel tank - Page 2 - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree6Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #11  
Old 09-18-2012
MedSailor's Avatar
Closet Powerboater
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Anacortes PNW
Posts: 2,461
Thanks: 71
Thanked 51 Times in 43 Posts
Rep Power: 7
MedSailor is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I had some crud in my tank and cut inspection ports in the tank to clean it out. Once the ports were cut I found FIST-FULLS of alge. It would have taken 1,000 racor filters to clean it out. I haven't heard good things about fuel polishing and considering how much stuff I had stuck to the walls of the tank I don't see how it could have worked.

I have to say that cutting inspection ports into the tank was THE best thing I have ever done for the boat. Messy to be sure, but worth it.

The only thing I would do differently is I would use a hole saw that matches a pre-fab inspection port rather than using any old size and making my own (crappy) port covers out of plastic. Something like this is what I would do if I could do it over.


I also ignored all the well meaning advice to pull the tank out of the boat. I couldn't see how manhandling the tank out of the boat was going to help any. I cut the holes in the top of the tank and cleaned it out with a toilet brush, then polished with paper towels. Now, 4 years later, when I look in the tank I can seem my ugly reflection off the shiny polished bottom of the tank through the crystal clear fuel.

Here is the thread where I document some of the project:
Cleaning Out a Diesel Tank
MedSailor
copacabana likes this.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


I have a sauna on my boat, therefore I win.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by MedSailor; 09-18-2012 at 02:15 AM. Reason: wrong link
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #12  
Old 09-18-2012
aeventyr60's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Andaman Sea
Posts: 1,479
Thanks: 5
Thanked 21 Times in 21 Posts
Rep Power: 4
aeventyr60 is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I just pulled one of my tanks that did not have an inspection port. I put in some mineral spirits, shook it around, drained it, did this several times, then let it sit over night, did it a couple more times, then rinsed with diesel a few times. Hopefully got most of the crap out....
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



"Your dreams minus your doubts equals your net worth"

Life is a short journey, filled with emptiness and pain. Get all the sailing and booty you can.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #13  
Old 09-18-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Old Saybrook
Posts: 296
Thanks: 1
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 8
justified is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I had this same question last yr and of course the sailneters had the answer. a product called Marine Clean by POR-15 POR15, Inc. - Stop Rust Permanently - Repair Gas & Fuel Tanks We had an aluminum tank that we were able to remove and cut an access port in the top that spans over the baffle. The tank looked brand new when done. use per the directions other wise you may pit the tank. We used an over sized Al. plate with a fuel gasket and rivnuts to secure.

Peter
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #14  
Old 03-26-2013
katsailor's Avatar
Fresh water refugee
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Southport, NC
Posts: 160
Thanks: 6
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 2
katsailor is on a distinguished road
Smile Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Not at all !!!! Most of the build-up is sequential layering of filamentous matts of living, dead, and dying microorganisms mixed with bacterial slimes --- if bacteria are a prominent component of the 'mix' in the massive 'colony' (calcyx). The chief contaminant of most 'fouled' diesel tanks is usually a fungal - Cladosporium Resinae or similar species of which most all are 'resin formers'.

Eventually when the underlayers of dead cells begins to decompose/putrefy and there isnt significant 'asphaltene', etc. (the cellular poop that these resin formers 'excrete') to hold/'glue' everything together .... then during a heavy seastate you have a fairly good chance of whole sections breaking loose and starting an overwhelming 'particle storm' to your Racors, etc.
Each typical small Racor only has a 'dirt capacity of approx. 35-50 grams (1 to 1-1/2 oz.!!!!) of 'crud' before they 'choke'.
Answers like this are why I love this site!!!! :
__________________
Experience teaches us things we would rather not know.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
S/V Shakti '81 Offshore Cat Ketch 33'
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #15  
Old 03-26-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nantucket
Posts: 247
Thanks: 1
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 8
ambianceack is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

About four years ago I installed an 8-inch inspection port into the top of my 20 gallon aluminum tank. I purchased it at Seabuilt - Access Plate Systems over the winter I plulled and cleaned the tank using a scrub brush, scotch brite pad and shop paper towels. I used small amounts of acetone to help with the tough spots. I just reinstalled it this past saturday. For me this is less expensive than a fuel polishing system or to have a professional do it.

For me a pressure washer was just to powerful, I thought spray would go everywhere and damage the tank. Local radiator shop couldn't touch it due to environmental regs. If you go with the post above saying putting a chain in the tank be careful with the float/sending unit that tells you how much diesel is in the tank. I too, love the biology, very cool RichH!
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #16  
Old 03-26-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brazil
Posts: 894
Thanks: 3
Thanked 21 Times in 20 Posts
Rep Power: 7
copacabana is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

I think Medsailor has hit the nail on the head. The only way to really clean your tank is manually and that requires a big inspection port or two so you can get in with a brush and rags. As my tank is integral to the hull I can't remove it for cleaning. I have a big inspection port (I can get my head inside!) and I can reach every corner of the 280 liter tank. I clean mine the following way: (1) remove and dispose of old fuel in tank. (2) remove any solids with hands and paper towels. (3) Add some kerosene and go at it with a scrubbing brush. (4) wipe out the tank with lint-free rags and refill with new fuel. Like Med Sailor, my tank is still squeaky-clean after 3 years and my Racor filters never have any water or sediment in them. I think the investment in inspection ports is really worth it.
__________________
Vindö 50
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #17  
Old 03-27-2013
jimgo's Avatar
Asleep at the wheel
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,916
Thanks: 71
Thanked 108 Times in 106 Posts
Rep Power: 3
jimgo is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

OK, I understand how to clean it, but how do you keep the gunk from coming back?
__________________
- Jim
Home: Western Philly 'burbs
1980 Allmand 31
1975 Albacore 15


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #18  
Old 03-27-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brazil
Posts: 894
Thanks: 3
Thanked 21 Times in 20 Posts
Rep Power: 7
copacabana is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Use clean fuel from a known source and add a biocide to keep the gunk from growing again.
jimgo and Brewgyver like this.
__________________
Vindö 50
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #19  
Old 03-27-2013
Captainmeme's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 739
Thanks: 4
Thanked 14 Times in 13 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Captainmeme is on a distinguished road
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Is there any reason why the majority of the inspection ports are round? I am going to add a port to my tank top. The top is rectangular and it would be easier for me to fabricate a rectangular hole and plate than a circular one.
__________________
No such thing as a free cat, and that goes for boats as well.
Nor'sea 27
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #20  
Old 03-27-2013
SloopJonB's Avatar
Senior Moment Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: West Vancouver B.C.
Posts: 10,656
Thanks: 56
Thanked 48 Times in 45 Posts
Rep Power: 4
SloopJonB will become famous soon enough
Re: Cleaning a fuel tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainmeme View Post
Is there any reason why the majority of the inspection ports are round? I am going to add a port to my tank top. The top is rectangular and it would be easier for me to fabricate a rectangular hole and plate than a circular one.
I've seen them all shapes & sizes. Oval ports seem quite popular on tanks. I'd make sure that any "square" corners were rounded somewhat to avoid creating stress risers that could propagate cracks. Drilling holes at each corner prior to starting the straight cuts is all that is needed.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cleaning out fuel tank pegasus1457 Diesel 16 10-04-2011 12:31 PM
Cleaning fuel tank Dreamin Gear & Maintenance 4 04-05-2009 06:41 AM
cleaning diesel fuel tank WaltG Gear & Maintenance 14 11-22-2007 10:12 PM
cleaning out gas tank calomar Gear & Maintenance 6 08-17-2002 09:36 AM
Cleaning Fuel Tanks Sue & Larry Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 03-21-2002 07:00 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:55 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.