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Discussion Starter #1
Simple questions as I am new to boat ownership. Is the diesel fuel I buy at the fuel dock essentially the same I can buy at the gas station? I would like to be able to top off the tank on the boat without having to motor/sail the 5 miles to the nearest fuel dock.

And, is there a recommended stabilizer that should be put in diesel tanks (both on the boat and container at the house/dock)? I do know about the organicide, which I already use.
 

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Telstar 28
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Yes, the fuel is essentially the same, but many marinas will have policies against re-fueling boats via jerry cans of fuel.
 

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Watkins 23
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I agree with SD regarding the fuels being essentially the same. However, it should be noted that the boat diesel is died (red) for "off-road" use. So, while you can put highway diesel in a boat, it can't go the other way legally. The ultra low sulfur diesel sold now is said to have some less lubricity as it also contains less paraffin. My boat is not diesel but my car and truck are. I like to run a lubricity enhancer in my diesels. I like Stanadyne but it can be hard to find in some areas. There are several others also. I know the fuel has to meet certain standards and some will probably argue that it isn't necessary. However, injector pumps and rebuilds are high dollar and always mean down-time. Just my opinion FWIW.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Diesel fuel

SD,
Thanks, the boat is at the dock at the house, so no one will be monitoring how I fuel the boat. Although, what you say suggests that I could not expect to fill up a can at a marine dock, like I can at a gas station.

Richard,
Thanks, I am not sure how I would determine if I need the additive you suggest, but I am only looking to top off the tank with a couple of gallons of fuel in a 25 gallon tank.

I prefer to motor in and out of the creek we are on and I don't use that much fuel per trip. But, we are away from the house and boat for a month or more at a time and I would like to leave the tank topped off and not have to travel the 5 miles, to the nearest fuel dock, just to top it off (I use more fuel in the that trip than I do over the whole week at a time that we are down there!).
 

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Watkins 23
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If you decide to use an additive, you could probably just mix it in your can that you use to top off the boat. It would be a bit like what I do with my outboard powered boat. I have to mix the oil in the gas (yes an old 2 stroke). On a given trip I may burn anywhere from 1/2 gal to 2 gal. I just mix a fuel can ahead of time and use that to top off. (If you're using a biocide, that's probably what you're doing already with it) There are additives that combine lubrication and biocides in one mix. They are available at marinas, marine supply stores and even truck stops.

As far as purchasing fuel in a can at the marina, I know people that do it. It hasn't been a problem for them. It may depend on the State or the Marina, but what can it hurt to ask?

Richard
 

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CapnRon-

The issue isn't whether they'll fill a jerry can at a marine fuel dock, as most will. The real reason most marinas have a no-fueling-the-boat-via-jerry-can policy is liability. If someone spills fuel and it catches fire, a lot of boats could go up. Also, there are fairly massive EPA fines for spilling fuel as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
All,
ok, thanks for the responses. I understand the issues you bring up. I am sensitive to not wanting to spill fuel for many reasons; safety, environmental and the PO of the boat warned me that if I don't stop fueling the minute I see the first bubbles come up in the line I will get fuel in the overflow line and that vents diesel fumes into the aft quaterberth (I believe him, but not sure why since the vent is outside, it makes fueling at those docks that only have high flow systems a challenge). :eek: Anyway, I purchased a jerry can that the fuel exits out a hose so that I can lower the hose into the fuel port on the boat and monitor it carefully.

I did not think there would be an issue buying Diesel in a can at the fuel dock, but the gas station is a shorter drive.
:) :)

Filling the dinghy engine has its own process. I bought a used 2 stroke 4 hp Johnson, for its light weight, it has an external tank and it needs the fuel mixed with oil. So I have another jerry can for that, but this one has one of those new spring controlled spouts that you have to catch on the lip of the tank and push down to start the flow. That took me awhile to figure out. :confused: :confused:
 

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topping off your fuel tank is a bad ideal. One is overfilling and spilling fuel but the other is the age of the fuel. I try not to have more than about 6 months worth of fuel in my tank. That way I use fresh fuel!!!! This means I keep about 1/4 tank. For trips etc I fill up . Condensation is not a problem in a boat's diesel tank. At least I have never had any problems in over 5 years. We are like you and only run the diesel long enough to get out and sail. That means maybe an hour or so a month or a quart-or two of fuel a month. that translates usually to about 5-10 gallons a year for me. With a 25 gallon tank you could end up with diesel that is 5 years old!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Diesel Fuel

MS,
Thanks, I had not thought about it that way, we only bought the boat last spring and sailed it from CT to NC in the early fall. It was a lot of motor sailing as we had limited time and took the ICW below VA. So my experience is to use the fuel up on trips. We have not really developed a pattern of use at the house yet, but intend to take it for long weekend trips, so I suspect our fuel usage will be greater than what you propose. The old salts in the neighborhood (I only qualify as old) suggested I keep the tank full for condensation reasons, but then again thats what the Racor is for, I think.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Question for the diesel fuel brain trust out there.
Isn't home heating oil #2 the same thing as the diesel you use in your engines?
According to wikipedia it is (citation needed of course): Fuel oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here is the relevant quote: "No. 2 is the diesel that trucks and some cars run on, leading to the name "road diesel". It is the same thing as heating oil."
The red dyed "off road" use diesel may contain more sulphur and is not supposed to be used in road vehicles but could be (with a $10,000 fine if caught). The main reason the "off road" fuel is dyed is for taxation purposes as the taxes are higher for diesel intended for "road use" then for heating or other purposes.
That said, if your home is heated with #2 oil you could fill your gerry cans from your home tank. Similarly, you could dump your unused gerry cans from your boat back into your home tank at the end of a season. But put any of this fuel into a road vehicle and you are breaking the law.
Hmmm. I wonder what kind of fuel our home heating oil distributor uses in it's diesel delivery trucks?
 

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No, I don't believe home heating oil is quite the same as diesel #2. I'll ask tonight, since I know someone whose expertise is petroleum products... and get back to you on what the specific differences are.
 

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I found out the hard way this summer, about having too much fuel in the tank. Although I polished it every two months and used all the additives and check for water, It still didn't take care of the junk growing on the sides of my tank, and after we had gone out one weekend and it got pretty ruff, the next day there was so much junk in the fuel having come off the sides of the tank, I couldn't get the motor to run and had to have a tow. (thank goodness for Sea Tow) well worth it. Now I only keep 10 gals in the tank and
since it's a perkins 4-108, it doesn't use very much diesel at all. I'll remove what's in the tank this weekend and that I hope will solve any problems in the future.

Take Care,

Mike & GLinda
s/v Blue Bayou
 

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sailing Dog & Caleb - according to my home heating fuel company, it's the same stuff. I always buy my fuel at a gas station that sees plenty of activity, so I know te fuel hasn't been sitting in their tanks long. When topping off, any extra I may have goes right into my home heating tank.

Now on the subject of topping off, Moon Sailor, the old salts in my area are adamant that condensatio will form over the winter if you don't top off. If that's not so, it would certainly make things easier. I've got an 18 gallon tank and only use about 4 gallons a year. And yes, some of my fuel is 8 years old (never had a problem yet, though). Anyone have a definitive answer on this?
 

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Basically, Diesel fuel and #2 heating oil are the same thing, however the diesel fuel has more additives, like an anti-wear additive, added to it because it is used in an engine rather than just being burned. You could probably burn #2 heating oil in a diesel engine, but it probably wouldn't be as good for your engine as diesel fuel, due to missing additives.

BTW, this info is coming from a guy who was a section chair of SAE and worked for a little company called Standard Oil of New Jersey for a while as one of their chief research engineers.
 

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topping off your fuel tank is a bad ideal. One is overfilling and spilling fuel but the other is the age of the fuel. I try not to have more than about 6 months worth of fuel in my tank. That way I use fresh fuel!!!! This means I keep about 1/4 tank. For trips etc I fill up . Condensation is not a problem in a boat's diesel tank. At least I have never had any problems in over 5 years. We are like you and only run the diesel long enough to get out and sail. That means maybe an hour or so a month or a quart-or two of fuel a month. that translates usually to about 5-10 gallons a year for me. With a 25 gallon tank you could end up with diesel that is 5 years old!!!!!!
Moon...that is just wrong for many boats in many areas of the country. Condensation is a HUGE problem and it is VERY advisable to keep tanks full at all times. 5 year old diesel is less of a problem than watrery diesel in a choppy sea. Use stabilizer to preserve perfromance over time.
Pascoe makes a hobby of going against conventional wisdom. I'll go with the twenty experts that say it DOES make a difference...especially since I have seen the effects of condensation in my own tanks on several different boats. Racors separate the water out...but you have to check them often and bleed AND be able to see the water which you can't do on the canister models on most smaller boats.
 

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Condensation is not a problem in a boat's diesel tank. At least I have never had any problems in over 5 years.
I've never had a problem either, MS, but it is very clear that condensation can be a major problem in a diesel tank, sometimes leading to the growth of clumps of bacteria which eventually choke the filters. My advice would be to keep the tank full if the boat is not liable to be used for a period of time and/or add one of the proprietary additives which deal with this problem.

Apart from the bacteria problem, deterioration of diesel fuel is no as much of a problem as it is with gas. My boat lay for at least four years with a full tank of fuel before I bought it and has run sweetly without any problems.

That's not to say that I would recommend this as a regular practice! :D

Stuart
 

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Well I believe in doing what works and is reasonable. Keeping 1/4 tank sure works for me and assures that my fuel is less than a year old. I think that part of the problem is confusion over what works with gasoline. Gasoline is very volatile and gas fumes expand and contract a lot with temperature changes. Another problem is power boaters. If you own a power baot and use several tanks of fuel per season that keeps your fuel fresh and tanks clean. But physics and reason does not support the ideal of condensation being a problem in sailboat tanks. Especially for a boat in the water. IMHO most of the water crud in fuel comes from the source where the fuel was bought. If not there then from leaking O-rings from the caps. Pascoe's article is actually the same arguments that I had when I looked at the physics of condensation. Condensation is probably a problem with huge storage tanks where large amounts of fuel are transferred daily. But anyway if it works do it. But if you find that you have to "polish" your fuel and are having problems then maybe change your ways and use logic. Knowledge and logic are powerful tools.
 
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