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  #1  
Old 10-26-2012
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Cleaning fuel tanks

I would like to clean the main fuel tank (diesel). I have a dual racor system for filtering the fuel but want to remove the sediment on the bottom of the tank. Would like to do it myself as opposed to hireing it done. Anyone out there attempted this ? If so would like input. Access to tank is good.

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Last edited by Freedom007; 10-28-2012 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

Can the tank be easily removed or do you have to do it in place?
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

Has to be in place. It has a good sized access plate on the top and accessed from a large cockpit hatch.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

Freedom,

You just need to drain the tank and get to scrubbing. If you don't have a good place to drain it too you can do it with fuel in it, but it won't be nearly as complete a job. Just open the access hatches, and start scrubbing.

You have to test them, but some toilet bown brushes won't disolve in diesel, and work fine to stub the tanks. Only use clean, never used ones, then discard them afterwords.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

The best part is you will smell like diesel for at least a week. When I did mine I needed to dispose of the fuel, it was sitting for so long it smelled and looked like varnish, real thick. The local dump would take it as hazards waist. The good news is after your tanks are clean you wont have a clogged fuel filter for a long time. If it is possible you might want to replace the fuel lines at this time too.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

I did my tank when I bought the boat and it wasn't hard at all. If you have a decently sized inspection port on the top of your tank it's easy. Open it up and remove all the fuel, down to the last drop. Then remove any solid deposits or sludge with rags soaked in kerosene. Finish by adding about a liter of kerosene and scrubbing everything with a brush. Remove the kerosene and fill with new diesel. Be careful about using other products to clean your tank as it will enter your fuel lines (ie. no water, bleach or soap). It's probably not worth trying to recover the diesel you removed. I gave the 180 liters I removed to a fishing boat. Since I cleaned the tank 3 years ago I have noticed that my filters show no sign of dirt at all. It's a one-day job, but well worth it. Ditto the suggestion above to change the fuel lines while you're at it.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradhamlet View Post
The best part is you will smell like diesel for at least a week. When I did mine I needed to dispose of the fuel, it was sitting for so long it smelled and looked like varnish, real thick. The local dump would take it as hazards waist. The good news is after your tanks are clean you wont have a clogged fuel filter for a long time. If it is possible you might want to replace the fuel lines at this time too.
Brad
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Never pay to get rid of old diesel. Around here I get paid about $1.50 a gallon for old stuff (but I'm right by a refinery), and any oil change shop in the area will usually take it for free since they sell it back to the oil companies to re-refine.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

The most efficient method of tank cleaning includes the following steps:
1. empty the tank
2. scrub the internals with a long handled scrub brush
3. Sop up the debris thats now on the bottom.
4. Use a 'garage floor' cleaner to help 'sop up' any remainder, use a shop-vac to remove after letting it soak.
5. wipe down the inside surfaces with fresh fuel and paper towels .... burn when done.
6. Add 1/10 the volume with fresh fuel .... recirculate polish @ 20µM
7. Close the tank, insuring that the gaskets, etc. are well sealed .... w/ RTV (black or 'gold') that is 'fuel resistant'.

Consider to install an onboard 'recirculation polisher' to help keep the tank 'clean'.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

Just never use a shop-vac on gasoline unless you really hate the boat.
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Re: Cleaning fuel tanks

We did this a few years back after a rash of filter episodes.. we emptied the tank by using my vacuum oil changer and then transferring the fuel into jerry cans. Then scrubbed the tank as described above and mopped it out. We then screened/filtered the fuel prior to restoring it to the tank (it was not old fuel).

I currently have the tank out of the boat at the moment, and emptied it the same way. Slick and makes it easy to avoid any kind of spillage.
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