Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 58 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
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.
I think you will find that all engine manufacturers advise against water absorbing additives. I know some of the engineering department guys (for 20-30 years) and they really don't like the idea. They would prefer you use a Raycor, sump the tank, eliminate leaks, and burn enough fresh fuel to suck up the rest. You won't get a recommendation. They prefer additives that create a clean break. Star Tron is good that way. Also helps with corrosion. Stabil Diesel is good against corrosion.

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post #22 of 58 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

Pdq you are a resource. Thanks for sticking around. Also learn good useful stuff when you post.
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post #23 of 58 Old 01-01-2020
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This is a great thread!

I am happy to see that someone else agrees with me about how condensation, especially when the tank is partially full, can lead to water in your fuel. The only additional advice that I can contribute is to close the vent (I use blue painter's tape) when the boat is laid up for several months to keep moisture out.


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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

Thats is my thinking.
Id go 1 wrap of elec tape...easy to bust out...low pressue
Could also stopper/cork the hose
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post #25 of 58 Old 01-01-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

A quick update, comments, and a few questions:

Regarding my bleach staining test in my original post, it occurred to me that having the muck saturated with diesel fuel might have prevented the bleach from actually reaching the fibers (due to its insolubility in diesel fuel), and thus skewed the results. So I allowed the sample to dry for a few days and applied some more bleach to the dried sample. There's still no change in color, so I think the sample has at least some asphaltenes.

Out of an abundance of caution, a few days ago I ordered some fresh Biobor, since my current 16 oz bottle is of unknown age, but it's likely >10 years old. During my boat's late October journey to winter storage I was using untreated diesel fuel, so yesterday I treated the ~5 gallons of fuel remaining in the tank with 1/2 tsp of Biobor and 2 tsp of Star-tron Enzyme (with about a quart of diesel fuel as chaser). I have no way to mix this up with the boat on the hard (unless there's an earthquake), so I'm letting it sit for a couple of days and then will pump it through my fuel loop using the manual pump on my Racor filter. After that hope I can get access to my fuel tank to pull off the gauge sender and reach in to pump out the fuel tank contents for storage at home, where I'll inspect it and decide whether to dispose of it or try to manually filter it.

The discussion here brings up the valuable question of what "cocktail" of additives we should use for protection against bacteria, corrosion, water contamination, and lubricity replacement for newer ULS fuel. Pre-treated Valvtect fuel is no longer available around here, so I need to find additives. (Note also in the attached report that Valvtect Diesel Guard addtivite actually makes lubricity worse than untreated ULS fuel.) And, FWIW, I buy all my fuel at busy land-based fuel stations because I always think that they are less likely to have water contamination than marinas.

The discussion of using multiple additives is potentially complicated because of the potential for them to attack each other with competing chemistries. In another post last fall I referred to the old Steven Wright joke about putting a humidifier and a dehumidifier in the same room together.

For the first year with my current boat, I used Biobor JF and Star Brite EZ Store EZ start, which were the two additives that the previous owner left behind. Then, after reading the well-known lubricity additive study (see attached picture), I replaced the EZ Store with Opti-Lube XPD, which was rated very high for lubricity properties. I was concerned that the two might interfere with each other because EZ store says it's an emulsifier, while Opti-Lube says it's a demulsifier. I've run out of the Opti-Lube, so will either order more for spring launch or find something else based on recommendations that I get here.

After re-reading the Practical Sailor articles, I've added the StarTron Enzyme additive for corrosion protection in addition to the BioBor JF. These seem consistent with Practical Sailor's recommendations, though I'd appreciate comments on whether to re-order the Opti-Lube or find another lubricity additive.
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post #26 of 58 Old 01-01-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

^^^ The color can also come from corrosion products (rust and other).

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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

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Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
^^^ The color can also come from corrosion products (rust and other).
Good point, I should have said “something other than bacteria”.

I’m curious what would cause a brown corrosion product. My tank is aluminum, which I think would have white corrosion solids. There are some brass fittings on the hose barbs on the Racor Which could be red+green=brown, and I know from your multiple articles that brass is a bad actor. What else should I look for? For now, I’ve started using the Startron enzyme. Are there other anti-corrosion additives I should try?

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post #28 of 58 Old 01-02-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

Been advised to
Use biobor at the conditioning dose at every fill.
Never fill shortly after fuel dock gets new fuel. Crap in the bottom of their tank(s) gets stirred up so better to wait until that settles. Also ask when they last got new fuel and how much is left. You don’t want to get fuel just before they’re due for a refill.
Fill at a high volume turn over fuel station. In most places that means that’s where the commercial crowd goes.
Use startron enzyme.
Avoid using return from one tank to fill a different tank. We have 4 tanks so could easily use this technique to put fuel in windward tanks to improve trim while sailing. Told a bad idea as you could transfer bugs and contamination.
Drain, replace filters, refill your racors periodically.

What I don’t understand is how often you should prophylactically replace racor filters?
Is there any benefit to prophylactically polishing all your fuel with a dockside device?
PDQ posts have been most helpful. But the devils is in the details.

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post #29 of 58 Old 01-02-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

People talk about before filling their tanks taking some to fill a glass jar and waiting to see how it looks. We carry glass for this purpose but haven't been able to do this. Fuel dock people just want to move you along. There’s often other boats waiting in line as you fill.
Does anyone know a quick way to check out fuel?

BTW we used to always have dish detergent to drop into the water to break up any small spills. Have stopped doing that as told it really doesn’t help but may rather make things worse. Better that fuel sits on the surface than be dispersed into the water. Thoughts?

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post #30 of 58 Old 01-02-2020
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Re: Does my fuel have bacteria/fungus or asphaltenes?

While one should take every precaution not to allow fuel into the water, a few drops of diesel or gasoline from a vent just isn't an environmental disaster. It will evaporate. Apologize to Poseidon and move on.
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