Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere south of civilization
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Re: Black Sludge
Depending on its size and access to the interior, cleaning a fuel tank can be an expensive worthwhile or worthless experience. Most tanks have baffles which limit the amount of cleaning that can be accomplished without making holes in the tank to clean behind the baffles.
We have dirty fuel tanks (38 years old) and we keep lots of filters aboard and change them frequently. If you don't already have a Racor 500 as your primary, chuck what you have and install one of those with or without the gauge.
Then just change the filter frequently and you'll not have to worry. The nice thing about the Racor is that you change the filter from the top, so you don't have to make a mess of your bilge.
Many will try and suggest a fuel polishing system, but your diesel does that anyway so unless you are starting out with a perfectly clean tank, they aren't really going to make a whole lot of difference. Fuel polishing doesn't clean what's growing on the sides and top of the tank. A fuel polishing only cleans out whatever is suspended in the fuel, just as the return system on your engine does.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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