Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 45 Old 12-30-2019
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

What reasons would preclude having and using a vent line shut off/closing valve
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post #12 of 45 Old 12-30-2019
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

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What reasons would preclude having and using a vent line shut off/closing valve
If the fuel or air expands due to heating the tank could burst. Many (most) tanks are not built to withstand any pressure. Damage can also be done by cooling. The damamge can be gradual fatigue of a welded seam. This is a real fundamental need.

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post #13 of 45 Old 12-31-2019
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

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.....Treat regularly with Biobor JF or any other biocide that is listed as a pesticide. I've tested many, and they all work. Biobor is my first choice......
How do you feel about the pre-treated Valvtect fuels? It's my understanding that one shouldn't overdose with biocide and this fuel is reported to already have these additives.


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post #14 of 45 Old 12-31-2019
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

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How do you feel about the pre-treated Valvtect fuels? It's my understanding that one shouldn't overdose with biocide and this fuel is reported to already have these additives.
Over treating with some biocides (dithiocarbamates--what Valvtect uses) can result in a crystalline precipitate, particularly if not well mixed in. This is NOT a problem with pretreated fuel. In fact, you would have to over treat the fuel by many, many times to have this problem. Obviously, all effective biocides are registered pesticides and have use instructions against over treating. It also won't help.

Biobor is based on a different chemistry (boranes), and like a different antibiotic, actually attacks the bugs differently. You can actually make a good case for alternating treatments once a year, though few do. They do not interfere with each other or do any harm if mixed. But there is no reason to do both at the same time. Biobor will not precipitate if overdosed.

Bottom line: I wouldn't worry about it.

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post #15 of 45 Old 12-31-2019
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

Yes, but is the pre-treated Valvtect fuel sufficient to not needing more biocide?


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post #16 of 45 Old 12-31-2019
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

Another curiosity. How long does BioBore last? You need very little. A quart bottle would last me an estimated 10 years!


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post #17 of 45 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

No, I can't think of a reason to add more biocide.

I have tested samples of Biobor as old as 8 years. Carbamate types tend to crystallize after 3-5 years, but that is not a hard and fast rule. Personally, I give away additives that are more than 5 years old. My marina has a free-cycle bin, and they disappear in a few days.

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post #18 of 45 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

The fuel pickup tube is typically some distance up from the tank bottom and that's where the creatures and water will lurk if you have them. On my friend's boat he had water it seems from a leaky filler cap. He wasn't getting any crud into his 500FG Racor filter but his fuel line actually got plugged right above the tank by greenish foliage once he got into a seaway. The Racor bowl was still pristine so those might not tell you so much. That little bit of stuff we see in your first photo would not be a problem for the filter element but if that exists in your tank there is trouble brewing. If your fuel is clean you could go 4 years on one filter element.
I used a brass plunger pump with a metal/rubber suction tube and sampled liquid from the very bottom of his rather tall 40g tank into glass jars to see where it was at. It was loaded with algae florets and he clearly needed polishing. Perhaps his steel tank is at some risk from possible corrosion -- in retrospect. There was a recent article in a magazine ('This Old Boat'?) about a skipper that built his own fuel polishing rig.
If the fuel pickup tubes on tanks actually went down to the very bottom I think we would not have a hiding zone for cultures to grow and the primary filter could do its job continuously rather than intermittently. This practice seems to be a misplaced attempt to simulate tanks that have collection sumps and drains which can avoid these issues. Yanmar actually offers tanks for above-deck installation with these features meant for small fishing boats.
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post #19 of 45 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

We have owned this boat since 1994. There has never been a trace of water or any visible crud in the bowl in our Racor, on the former Universal diesel engine or the Betamarine I replaced it with in 2018.
I do add a bit of 'bug killer' with each fill.

This last summer, tho, I did have to remove the tank and have a microscopic hole welded up. This was from a drop of water that stayed in one place on the low side of the tank bottom. After talking to a couple of boatwrights, I do believe that emulsified water does come in sometimes with fuel and can then separate out inside the tank. Out tank outlet is at the lowest point, but this point is about a half inch above the bottom.

With 2020 hindsight, I should have removed the inspection ports at least every other season and swabbed out the low corner with some water-absorber material.
My intuition is also that more movement of the boat when under power stirs up the fuel well and water drops (and small solids) get trapped in the Racor. We have not been on an extended offshore passage since 2014, so there's another reason to go offshore more often!

No new wisdom here, except to take measures against water/moisture as well as potential dirt and 'critters' in your fuel.

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Last edited by olson34; 01-01-2020 at 07:56 PM.
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post #20 of 45 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

Are the non-alcohol based water absorbing additives effective? Alcohol/ehtanol are awful, as I understand them. This is advertised by USAFuel. Possibly Xylene, but that may be the cleaner, not the water absorbent. A few boatyards around here swear by the stuff to clean up small amounts of water in the tank.


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