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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been using "Biobor® JF" fuel treatment for many years. What do you folks use to "treat" your fuel for when it sits in the tank all winter, AND as a biocide, if additional is needed?
And, is there anything on the market that will dissolve the remnants of the 'bugs' that do get killed. (Asked because a friend tells me that there is such a product....)

And, what will keep moisture in suspension rather than having it condense out and form little water drops in the bottom of the tank that will corrode the aluminum?

That's several questions and I am not really sure just how related they are!

I just pulled our tank out and had a very small hole welded up in the bottom of the low end of the tank. All is well now. Funny thing is that our Racor filter has *never* trapped any visible dirt or water. This particular tank was installed 11 years ago.
When I pumped out the fuel, however, I did find some little "clumps" of dirt or critters or something laying on the bottom... not a lot of them, but a depressing sight all the same. :crying

My repair guy (who builds custom tanks and lots of other things in aluminum tells me that all diesel fuel will have 'some' water invisibility present in it, in suspension, and this will coalesce out into little tiny drops of water when the tank sits.

Also, if I have missed a relevant thread, perhaps I have not searched the site enough.

Thanks much.
 

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What you need for corrosion is an additive that inhibits corrosion. In fact, that has been studied. Biobor won't help.
https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/37_32/features/Diesel-Additives_11083-1.html But really, nearly all water comes in through the deck fill or vent (really--samples nearly always show salt), and the salt is what makes it aggressive. Just a tiny bit.

Regarding dead microbes, if a biocide is used as a preventative, the number will be so small your filters will easily handle it. If you waited until they were clogging the system, no additive can dissolve that much, and would it be a good thing if it could (they will be going through your injectors)? Face it, you need to clean such a tank.
 

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Each fall I revisit the "empty vs. full" fuel tank debate, as well as assessing whether the additives that I currently use are sufficient. My fuel filter clogged this weekend, so I'll be taking another look and asking more questions. I don't have time for that now, so here are a few relevant threads from the last few years:

https://www.sailnet.com/forums/diesel/301937-old-diesel-fuel.html

https://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/325324-diy-fuel-polishing.html

https://www.sailnet.com/forums/diesel/326094-old-diesel-universal-25xp.html

https://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/264802-diesel-fuel-stabilizers.html
 

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I usually use the cheap stuff. Last few years it’s been STP Fuel Stabilizer. So far (18 winters) have had no problem.

I always fill the tank to limit water/condensation. And I also live in pretty cold climes, so perhaps bugs can’t grow as easily through my winters.

I change my Racor every few seasons, and only once did it have any visible amounts of junk on it.
 

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I usually use the cheap stuff....
Shame on you! A smart guy, too.

You justify a huge anchor, which you can see, and then cheap out on chemistry, which you cannot. StarBrite or Valvtect will stop corrosion. And they are ALL cheap, considering how little is used. The thing is, some are snake oil, and some are not.

(I'm just joking with you! But I have run side-by-side the tests on these, and I like seeing the winners get the credit they deserve.)
 

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Shame on you! A smart guy, too.

You justify a huge anchor, which you can see, and then cheap out on chemistry, which you cannot. StarBrite or Valvtect will stop corrosion. And they are ALL cheap, considering how little is used. The thing is, some are snake oil, and some are not.

(I'm just joking with you! But I have run side-by-side the tests on these, and I like seeing the winners get the credit they deserve.)
Thanks … I think ;). But just to be clear, I really don’t know anything about all these snake-oil products. I don’t even know if I need to add it to my diesel to over-winter here in the cold. So I’d be happy to learn more about all this stuff.

So… my cheap STP won’t cut it? Well, too late for this winter, but I’ll gladly look for better stuff next year.
 

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I use K100, it turns water into a suspension into the diesel, so it just burns. Not sure if it contains a biocide.
Depending on how fast you consume your fuel, emulsifying the water may be the WORST thing you can do, as it increases the surface area of the droplets where the bacteria can have an orgy. In fact, some products actually have demulsifiers to prevent this. If you're a big stinkpot going through hundreds of gallons of diesel, emulsifiers could be good. But if you're a weekender on a sailboat going through 25 gal. a year, no so much.

@pdqaltair - Based on your test results, I'm interested in adding Star Brite Bio Diesel to my biocide mix, but it looks like Star Brite no longer sells it:

Search

I don't know how long ago they discontinued it - I'm afraid if I find "old stock" somewhere it may be expired. Do you know if Star Brite come out with a replacement product that uses the same thiocarbamate pesticide?
 

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Thanks … I think ;). But just to be clear, I really don’t know anything about all these snake-oil products. I don’t even know if I need to add it to my diesel to over-winter here in the cold. So I’d be happy to learn more about all this stuff.

So… my cheap STP won’t cut it? Well, too late for this winter, but I’ll gladly look for better stuff next year.
I was just playin' :wink. Chemistry is my thing, and the advertisers do NOT make it easy to discern facts. It is not in their interest. In fact, a few have actively resisted development of industry standards, which tells you something of their character.

I did a bunch of tests, following a draft ASTM procedure, and some worked, and some didn't. A few made it worse.

In fact, I didn't test STP, since it was not a marine store product, so I don't actually know about that one. I do know that Merc Quick Store and Biobor EB are very good with gas and Starbrite and Valvtect are very good for diesel. But formulations change.

I've got a 12-product trial of gas additives running right now. It will be interesting to see if rankings have changed, since some of them reformulated since the last time I tested them.
 

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I was just playin' :wink. Chemistry is my thing, and the advertisers do NOT make it easy to discern facts. It is not in their interest. In fact, a few have actively resisted development of industry standards, which tells you something of their character.

I did a bunch of tests, following a draft ASTM procedure, and some worked, and some didn't. A few made it worse.

In fact, I didn't test STP, since it was not a marine store product, so I don't actually know about that one. I do know that Merc Quick Store and Biobor EB are very good with gas and Starbrite and Valvtect are very good for diesel. But formulations change.

I've got a 12-product trial of gas additives running right now. It will be interesting to see if rankings have changed, since some of them reformulated since the last time I tested them.
Don’t suppose you can add STP ;)

Don’t worry, I got the chuckle. Chemistry was always a bit too complicated for me. I’m more of a simple physics guy :).

But you’re right — I haven’t really done my homework on this stuff, so I really would love some tested guidance. Every year I wonder to my automotive store and stare at the wall of diesel stabilizers. I read the bottles — I really do. But they all sound the same, so I usually just pick one that is cheap and sounds good.

Like I said, I’ve been winterizing this way for going on 20 years now, and have never had a problem (that I know of) with gunk building up in the tank. I suspect it has something to do with always filling the tank, and also living in a cold climate where stuff doesn’t grow very fast over winter. But maybe I’ve just been lucky.
 

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I've been using Biobor JF, which could be 10+ years old (came from PO with the boat), at the maintenance dosage. I'm going to get a fresh bottle and up the dosage to "shock" level.

I've also been using Opti-Lube XPD for its lubricity properties. It is not a biocide, although it does have a demulsifier as I mentioned in my prior post.

I used to use Star Brite EZ Stor EZ start detergent additive, but discontinued it when I started using Opti-Lube with the demulsifier because of the old Steven Wright joke:

For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier... I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.
I would like to add the Star Brite Biodiesel to my cocktail, but can't find it. Hence my prior question to @pdqaltair.

An important part of the whole anti-slime question is fuel management - the old "full vs. empty" question. What I have been doing the past few years is to fill up the tank before winter to avoid condensation, then consume as much as I can during the season before filling up completely again. I have never seen a drop of water in my Racor, so that's a good sign. But I am still seeing some bacterial growth which requires me to replace my Racor annually. I'd like to do better than that, so I'm willing to try something different.

Do any of you continuously top off throughout the season to keep your tank full all the time? That would avoid any head space and minimize sloshing around. Would that reduce biological growth? I'm not sure. I do know that since I consume about a tank every year, the back-mixing that results from continually topping off would mean the fuel would have an average age of 2.7 years. That's why I try to run down my tank throughout the sailing season, so I'm not dumping new fuel on top of old fuel.
 

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practical sailor tests fuel treatment products every once in a while with lots of good info. Lots of good info there.
I'm aware of that, and am reviewing the updates they've published on this since 2009. I encourage others to subscribe and get access to that information.

FYI, @pdqaltair is the guy who leads their testing programs.
 

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I just buy Valvtect fuel. Additives already in it. Look up local marinas that dispense it.
 

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I've been using Biobor JF, which could be 10+ years old (came from PO with the boat), at the maintenance dosage. I'm going to get a fresh bottle and up the dosage to "shock" level.

I've also been using Opti-Lube XPD for its lubricity properties. It is not a biocide, although it does have a demulsifier as I mentioned in my prior post.

I used to use Star Brite EZ Stor EZ start detergent additive, but discontinued it when I started using Opti-Lube with the demulsifier because of the old Steven Wright joke:



I would like to add the Star Brite Biodiesel to my cocktail, but can't find it. Hence my prior question to @pdqaltair.

An important part of the whole anti-slime question is fuel management - the old "full vs. empty" question. What I have been doing the past few years is to fill up the tank before winter to avoid condensation, then consume as much as I can during the season before filling up completely again. I have never seen a drop of water in my Racor, so that's a good sign. But I am still seeing some bacterial growth which requires me to replace my Racor annually. I'd like to do better than that, so I'm willing to try something different.

Do any of you continuously top off throughout the season to keep your tank full all the time? That would avoid any head space and minimize sloshing around. Would that reduce biological growth? I'm not sure. I do know that since I consume about a tank every year, the back-mixing that results from continually topping off would mean the fuel would have an average age of 2.7 years. That's why I try to run down my tank throughout the sailing season, so I'm not dumping new fuel on top of old fuel.
If I understand correctly, the age of the fuel is not as much of a concern for diesel as it is for gasoline. I got my tank level lower this season than any of the previous years I have owned the boat, and had a filter clog. I think I will keep it topped up better (and figure out how to clean the tank, and get a filter vacuum gauge).
 

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I use the valvatec additive. Fuel not offered in many places here.

Always filled up during winter storage. Try and keep it over half full. We average 100 gallons a year, but we use our boat a lot. Longer trips sometimes requiring motoring to keep up an average of 5 knots. At 3/4 gallon per hour that averages to approx 135 hrs per heR.

Diesels like to be run. Clean fuel and running the diesel means less worries and less chemical concoctions to keep it stable. I realized that after all the varnish issues I had with a previous 4 stroke outboard. No matter which product I used or which technique, I always wound up with varnish in the carb. Chemicals don’t stop or fully protect.

If I only used on tank a year I might consider installing a second small tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What you need for corrosion is an additive that inhibits corrosion. In fact, that has been studied. Biobor won't help.
https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/37_32/features/Diesel-Additives_11083-1.html But really, nearly all water comes in through the deck fill or vent (really--samples nearly always show salt), and the salt is what makes it aggressive. Just a tiny bit.

Regarding dead microbes, if a biocide is used as a preventative, the number will be so small your filters will easily handle it. If you waited until they were clogging the system, no additive can dissolve that much, and would it be a good thing if it could (they will be going through your injectors)? Face it, you need to clean such a tank.
Reading this over, I will go buy some Star Tron Enzyme. Local WM store carries it, and I have a coupon to apply.
Probably not perfect, but it sounds like a good product to try.

Thanks to all who participated!
:grin
 

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The full/part full argument is always interesting. I've been a chem E in the refining industry, and arguments go both ways (reduced breathing vs. fresh fuel in the spring). It's not worth the fight. A few things I am sure of:

* Silica gel vent filters help. No water breathing. They REALLY help with e10, because they greatly reduce evaporation as well.
* Run your engine more. Fuel is not meant to last for years. I believe most marine engines die from disuse, not hours. If you are racking up the hours, ignore this bullet and move on.
* Copper and zinc are quite damaging to fuel stability. If you read ASTM and diesel manufacture guidance for standby generators they will say NO copper or zinc. If there is any water, at all, these catalyze sludge formation in diesel and gasoline. Don't believe me, Google it. I've studied this, and so have many others. If you cannot minimize these metals (you probably cannot, then use an anti-corrosion additive (no ions, no sludge).

(some of the standards and OEM recommendations are listed here)
http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/2015/06/are-we-cause-of-fuel-breakdown.html

In a glass jar, diesel will last for a decade. Gasoline will last a few years. So consider the reasons they do not last in your tank.
 

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I wonder about the effect of additives on the plastics and rubbers in the fuel system.

This year I put Sta-bil 360 Marine in the dinghy Sceptar gas tank. The bit of clear plastic that holds the top of the fuel pickup tube to the bottom of the fuel gauge and fuel outlet assembly swelled up and the pick up tube fell off into the tank stopping the outboard and causing a long row back to the boat. Scepter in an email said that they do not recommend additives.

Again this year based on the advice of another boat owner, I added some FPPF Marine Diesel Fuel Treatment (butyl cellosolve and 2-ethylhexyl nitrate) to my diesel fuel tank along with my usual Biobor JF. Later the high pressure fuel pump developed a leak at one of the outlet valve holders when the o-ring below it failed. While there was a time correspondence, I obviously don't know a cause and effect.

Anyway, are there unintended consequences to adding a non-hydrocarbon to petroleum fuels?
 
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