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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody I've had a bad time this summer (in the ol '90 Hunter 27 w/ Yanmar 9hp diesel) with my engine cutting out due to water and sediment in the tank. So I've just siphoned everything out of the tank and am about to back flush the lines in an effort to put all this behind me.

Couple questions...

There are 2 lines that come out of the top of the fuel tank that lead toward the engine. One goes through the fuel filter/ separator (under the rear birth) and the other bypasses it and goes straight to the port side of the engine. It routes to the side of the engine next to the bathroom wall and I can't see where it goes to. What is this second line for and how necessary is it that I get to it to be able to back flush it into the fuel tank?

And second...the label on my fuel separator/filter is broken and missing information. Anybody know based on the pictures what sort of filter I need to order? Tag that came off the filter says Model 110.
 

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Master Mariner
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One line should be engine feed line and the other the return line for fuel not consumed by the engine.
It is way overkill for your engine, but I would recommend a quality fuel filter like a Racor 500. It is a true fuel/water separating filter of the highest quality and it allows you to change filters from the top, so there's no mess, plus it has a clear bowl so you can see any water. You can even get them with a water sensing alarm sender.
Chuck that toy you've got on there now and buy a filter that will protect your engine.
 
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you have a Racor 110 filter which is fine for your engine as a pre filter water separator. replace the element with the 10 micron. do not use the 2 micron element that is available for the 110 which will plug to fast. even the 10 micron is a bit fine for a pre filter, the engine filter is a 20 micron so it won't catch much. pre filters only need to be 30 micron. the return fuel line sends the excess fuel from the fuel injector back to the fuel tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey thanks for all the advice everybody.

Considering all the dark sediment crud that came with the last gallon of diesel that came out of the tank our plan for phase II of the cleanup is to angle a pump up bug sprayer nozzle 90 deg and spray the sides of the tank down a few times with more diesel, then suck it out. Hopefully that'll get everything out of there.
 

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You may need to use more of a solvent type liquid to disolve and clean off the sides and bottom of the tank. I take it you have no inspection port?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Unfortunately I don't believe there's any kind of inspection port. Only access to the tank is through one of the rear seat hatches and it's a bear to get far enough down in there to do anything.

I'm not sure what of solvent would be appropriate. Any suggestion?
 

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I used these folks to clean my tank, which they can do through any opening. They have franchises up and down the East Coast, but I don't know where you are. I believe they used my fuel level sender opening. I was pleased with the outcome.

https://www.usafuelservice.com/

You must still flush your fuel lines, but that's much easier. Even after the cleaning, they recommend changing filters again in 5 hours. If you note any contamination, do it again in another 5 hours. Mine were clean as a whistle the first time.

Water can be tested on that Racor 110 via a plug at the bottom. It will work fine, but the 500 is much easier to source filters for. I have the 110 for my generator and will upgrade it to a 500 (like I have for the main engine) one day.
 
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Heath2 -

A. Beside having the high probability of a severely (fungus/bacteria) contaminated fuel system, your 'problem' is the small size of that filter/separator as illustrated in the first attachment of your first post.

These small filters do not have sufficient filter media 'surface area' (dirt capacity) to be able to handle the thick slimy gel-like deposits when the fuel is contaminated. Once the outer small surface of the filter pleats become 'slimed-over' by the typical fungus/bacteria in fuel oil, these 'soft' contaminates will be drawn 'into' the filter material and that 'draw-in' will quickly clog the internal open flow structure of the filter material; and, when the system is over-contaminated will rapidly stop the flow of fuel --- something like a 'fuse'. These small filters work well as 'filters' only with clean and uncontaminated fuel. The prime intent of the 'small' filters is to quickly shut down the fuel flow when the fuel is contaminated.
I make the recommendation that your first consideration should be to replace this 'small' filter with the 'largest' surface area (Racor, etc. @ 10µM 'nominal' rating) that you can reasonably afford ... a 'spin-on' type or 'filter cartridge in a housing' type. I would recommend the 'spin on' types as when you replace the filter cartride in an emergency, there is less need to take the time to also clean the internals of the filter 'housing'. The benefits of LARGE surface area will be that the deposition of gel-like 'crud' on the surface of the filter pleats will be 'thin'. There is an 'exponential' benefit of reserve flow capability with LARGER filter surface area - longer in-service life and better ability to handle an overwhelming 'particle storm' coming from the tank.

B.
Secondly and if you've had fuel 'shut downs' due to contaminated fuel, your prime goal, unfortunately, is to somehow get inside that tank and remove all the built up and adhering crud that is deposited and is GROWING on the tank walls. Inspection ports 'can' (should be) be added to fuel tanks.

That 'crud', if black, is usually massive colonies of fungus (cladosporium resinae, etc.) that is using the (water wetted) fuel oil (and the metal walls of the tank) as its nutrient source.
The best way to remove such contamination is to chemically 'kill it' and then physically hand scrub the 'colonies' off the tank walls.
Further down in efficacy of contamination removal - but the 'next best', is to hire a commercial fuel service with a high capacity 'recirculation polishing' system ... but without opening up the tank and physically SEEING the tank walls, there will be no guarantee that the sludge will be completely removed from the tank walls. Any living organism not removed will continue to produce spores (most all organisms that contaminate fuel oil are 'spore formers') which will continue to reinfect your fuel system. BUT, will affect 'some' reduction of the continual re-contamination.

So, you have two choices with a tank that has NO inspection ports:
1. Open up or remove the tank and thoroughly clean it out
2. Hire a fuel service that specializes in 'recirculation polishing' ... knowing that such 'recirculation polishing' will only be a temporary solution, at best.
2a. Before ANY filter recirculation polishing, Id strongly recommend to FILL the tank with fuel, add a chemical 'tank cleaner'** (as per mgr. directions) which will cause the 'liquefaction' of a lot (but not all) of the fungal, etc. contamination; also, ADD a 'bacterio-stat' / anti-fungal such as Biobor-JF™*** (add a 'kill' amount); THEN, let the tank sit for a week or two ..... and only then perform the 'filter polishing'.
'Recirculation filter polishing' by outside services is usually quite expensive, as such involves the consumption of a LOT of expensive filter cartridges, as well as a lot of quite expensive man-hours.
** https://www.amazon.com/Star-Tron-Fuel-Cleaner-Concentrate/dp/B005NJ0XPU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508816344&sr=8-1&keywords=tank+cleaner+star
*** https://www.amazon.com/Biobor-JF-Diesel-Fuel-Biocide/dp/B007ILFKS6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1508859638&sr=8-2&keywords=biobor+jf+-+diesel+fuel+biocide

Since the tank is obviously contaminated and even if cleaned to perfection ... from this point on you MUST use a anti-bacterial/anti-fungal — forevermore !!!!!


Suggestion for future:
1. DO NOT continually 'top off' your tank; the less fuel in the tank the least amount of 'growth'. Put in your tank only what you need and which can be used up in short order ... plus some 'reserve'.
2. Prefer to only put 'fresh' (from the refinery!!!!) fuel into the tank .... get your fuel from a 'high turnover' source such as a 'truck stop' or 'busy' fuel depot that caters to the commercial marine industry.
3. EMPTY the fuel tank when storing the boat for long extended periods.
4. ALWAYS use a 'bacterio-stat' / anti-fungal in your fuel - forevermore !!!!!!!!
5. If possible, ADD some hand-hole inspection ports to your tank so you can SEE whats 'developing' inside your tank and if needed a way into the tank so you can SCRUB it when needed.

Other. FWIW - If your use a LOT of fuel per season or do a lot of 'long distance' traveling, consider to install a DIY onboard 'recirculation filter polisher' ... can be home-made (using a simple small '12vdc transfer pump' and industrial depth-type, cheap spun-bonded, filters and filter housing, etc.) and will be relatively inexpensive (in comparison to humongous towing charges). Such a 'recirculation' filter will continuously remove any 'crud' that does break loose from the tank walls, and 'the spores' that ultimately cause the 'growth' inside a fuel tank. Recirculation polishing is a means to KEEP a fuel tank relatively clean; not a means to 'clean' it.
A typical onboard recirculation filter polisher will recirculate about one gallon per MINUTE per 30 gallon tank ... using cheap inexpensive filter cartridges.

ALWAYS use a 'bactio-stat / anti-fungal' in your fuel.


hope this helps in your decision making process.

;-)
 

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The fuel service that I referenced is not a temporary solution. Those that only recirculate and polish are, as the live contamination is still on the walls of the tank.

USA Fuel Service first drains out excess fuel and polishes that separately. Then they add/spray solvents, et al, into the tank to clean it and pump that out. Your polished fuel is then added back.

It was a few hundred dollars to clean my 110 gallon tank. I probably had about 25 gallons of fuel in it at the time. I’m pretty sure the process contaminates and consumes a couple of gallons that become waste.

White glove treatment of the boat, while aboard, too.
 

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Sorry to slightly disagree; but, with recirculation polishing businesses, there is NO way to insure the near-complete removal of bio-contamination and its metabolic 'debris' from a fuel tank. The effect of recirculation polishing is simply a significant reduction (titre reduction) of the (surface) bio-organisms; therefore, only a temporary solution over a long time basis, even with the adjunct usage of 'bio-stats'.

Such 'recirc' treatment does not INSURE the complete removal of bio-deposits (mostly composed of glyco-calyx, a protective covering for such life forms/cells). Such calcyx are biologically 'thick' and most 'chemicals' used in such tank cleaning will not fully penetrate the deposition of calyx (unless very long term applied) leaving 'alive' (spore forming) organisms to eventually re-infect when the local ambient conditions are 'correct'. Hence, the usual recommendation for constant follow-up use of 'bio-stats' to control/retard such growth - and thats entirely OK.

The use of such 'chemical cleaners' and 'solvents' can dissolve these bio-components of cellular metabolism, usually to the µM range that can easily pass through and are not retained/captured by most common 'filters'. These lipid-rich cell fragments and solubulized compounds do not 'burn' to any completeness in the combustion chambers, pass through as liquid aerosols only to 'settle out' on the hot surfaces of the exhaust system to form deposits of 'coke'. The reason for all this is these particular cellular fragments and dissolved components have extraordinary high 'electronic surface charge' and which gives them a high propensity to reform into larger and larger 'particles'.
Think of this the next time you need to prematurely, and on an emergency basis, need to disassemble and clean out your water injection nozzle and other passages in your exhaust system.
 

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al brazzi
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Good opportunity to replace all the fuel lines. If they are not new from recent memory then they are old. Many nagging fuel problem after all the big work has been done with unsuccessful results was cleared up by new lines.

Im not suggesting you don't do everything else detailed here, I consider fuel line replacement as a PM its the first thing I do when buying a new (used) Boat.
 
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