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SV_WholeHeart 02-27-2006 03:41 PM

Diesel Heater Carboning
I insatlled a Dickinson Newport heater on my boat this last fall but I'm having issues with carbon buildup in the bottom of the heater. I have to clean the heater once a week, of course now I've gotten pretty fast at doing it but it's a nasty job.

The heater draws fuel from my main tank after it is filtered though a Racor filter.

I'd like to know if anyone else has or has had this problem and how if at all you have solved the issue. I've talked to John at the Dickinson warehouse in Everett (he does rebuilds there) and have tried all his ideas but nothing seems to really help.


S/V WholeHeart

sailandoar 03-23-2006 11:57 PM

What about trying a differnt fuel? Rig a temp/alternate tank and burn some different/cleaner/better composition fuel.


Q: Black smoke emission, Inefficient burning and excessive carboning

A: Too much / too little fuel - In most cases the problem is caused by trying to run the heater too low. Either too much or too little fuel will result in black smoke and soothing up. Ideally there should be some blue colour in the flame. Controlling the drip rate accurately is crucial.

Flue not long enough - Poor draught will result and lead to heavy carboning, and soothing in the heater body and flue. The minimum flue length is around 89Omms (35 "). If it is not possible to increase the flue length inside the cabin, it can be added outside. If this is done, be sure to insulate the outside section (use heat resistant material) otherwise the temperature differential within the flue will tend to cause a down-draught.

SV_WholeHeart 03-26-2006 07:40 PM

Changing to a different type of fuel isn't as easy as adding a tank and just running it to the heater. Since I have a Dickinson heater the oil-metering unit would have to be changed for the different fuel, all had to do with viscosity.

I have 37 inches of flue inside the boat and added another 36 inches above deck to see if that made a difference. It didn't.

I don't have an issue with smoking, just the carboning in the bottom of the heater. The flame is above the burner ring and is the correct color nice lemon yellow with a touch of blue.

Thankis for you reply.


S/V WholeHeart
Seattle, WA

seamountie 04-06-2006 01:57 AM

If you are concidering adding a day tank, concider adding an anti-sooting agent to the mix. I had a similar problem with my Sigmar - it was running 24/7 over the winter, and I was, like you, having to clean the bottom "skunge" out every week. I threw an extra filter in the system and started to use "Red Devil" anti-sooting agent and I am down to cleaning it once a month.

S.V. Gandalf III

edwmama 10-23-2011 01:49 PM

anti sooting red devil agent
it that redevil anti sooting agent a form of fuel additive or soomthing to apply on the sooted area?

edwmama 10-23-2011 01:50 PM

anti sooting red devil agent
is that redevil anti sooting agent a form of fuel additive or soomthing to apply on the sooted area?

Capt Len 10-24-2011 12:49 PM

For years changed from diesel to stove oil come winter (viscosity) I run a day tank to a Dickinson Adriatic so it's easy as is adjusting the carb for float level. The most important part is not letting the heat get too low when you turn it down at night If you are not using the engine much in winter I don't see a problem with stove oil in the main tank. City buses use it year long but adjust their timing a bit. Any thoughts?

hellosailor 10-25-2011 12:01 AM

Suzy are you still with us?
I seem to remember Esbacher making a prominent note in their diesel cabin heaters than they MUST not be simply shut down, that they have to be turned don slowly and over a specific time period, to allow them to cool down properly, or they would carbon up and potentially fail.

If you're still with us you might want to check on this.

Capt Len 10-27-2011 07:43 PM

If you are using a pulse pump to the heater make sure it.s a good one. If the spring gets tired the pressure drops and you get carbon buildup.

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