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Old 09-05-2006, 05:29   #1
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Diesel Leak

Hello from Grand Bahama Island,

We are brand new livaboards and are discovering our boat. The previous owner had a diesel leak in the tank under the salon settee which by the time it was discovered had permeated the storage areas. We have washed but cannot get under the tank where there may be some residue. Any suggestions on how to get rid of the smell without pulling the tank out?
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Old 09-05-2006, 05:51   #2
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Flush?

Can you flush it with lots of soapy water (bilge cleaner) and pump it out? One would assume that there is a limber hole from below the offending tank into the bilge.

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Old 09-05-2006, 05:59   #3
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Stinky

As a Newby this will be my first post. Close on the 12th and will join you folks with your stinky boats. More on that later.
Found this on the web regarding fumes. Maybe it will help.
Lars
.................................................. ............................................
The old saying is true: Getting there is half the fun. But your passengers won't have any fun if your rental car, limousine or tour bus stinks. You want them to enjoy a comfortable ride so they'll tell their friends how much they enjoyed their experience, so give them pure air to breathe, despite the enclosed spaces typical to travel. Yet you definitely don't want to expose them to anything dangerous!
With tough transportation odors, airing out isn't enough, and cleaning often doesn't get rid of all the odors. Nor do you want to use chemicals because of the dangerous fumes that those products leave behind. If you use air fresheners, you're just covering up the odors and putting passengers with breathing problems or chemical sensitivities at risk.
Your passengers just want to enjoy the ride

Finally, something will safely get rid of those smells once and for all. It's fast, it's safe, and it really works. It's PureAyre.
PureAyre immediately and permanently gets rid all the odors that are a nuisance to the transportation industry, including:
  • Urine
  • Vomit
  • Flatulence
  • Bathrooms
  • Cigarettes
  • Exhaust
  • Gasoline
  • Diesel
  • Perfume
  • Spilled beer
  • Smelly food
  • Used car smell
  • The musty odors of classic cars
PureAyre is the only product you need to safely and permanently get rid of odors. PureAyre is different from anything else you've seen or heard about. It's advanced enzymatic technology that's tough on odors but easy on lungs. Other enzyme-type odor eliminators contain alcohols and unhealthy surfactants to maintain stability, but not PureAyre. (Just compare their MSDSs to our MSDS for proof.) And it works better and is much safer than citrus products, ozonators and ozium. PureAyre gets rid of odors without jeopardizing the safety and health of your passengers or your maintenance staff.
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Old 09-05-2006, 07:46   #4
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Hii AA, welcome aboard.
Glad ya bought that CSY...Have never met an unhappy CSY owner.
(They may be broke, slow, half crazy, dirty and worn out from the re-fits, but never unhappy.. )

As for the diesel smell: After a good flush and clean, the smell will go away.
I have found Windex to clean off diesel good if ya can get in there with a rag. Whatever smell is left you can mask it with the almond flavored bilge cleaner that has some kind of enzymes in the mix. Forgot the brand name, but if you can find it, it should cure the problem.
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Old 09-05-2006, 10:02   #5
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Caustic soda in solution is one of the most effective ways of cleaning the bilge, but If the tank is metal, I would probably use something else!. Its not for the faint hearted, and you MUST use protective clothing/gogles/gloves + ventilation, but it will do the job.
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Old 09-05-2006, 22:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot
Caustic soda in solution is one of the most effective ways of cleaning the bilge, but If the tank is metal, I would probably use something else!. Its not for the faint hearted, and you MUST use protective clothing/gogles/gloves + ventilation, but it will do the job.
Caustic soda = Lye

Red Devil brand is available in most grocery stores. Be extremely careful with this stuff. The chemical name is Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). This chemical turns oils to soaps. The hotter the soulution the faster it works. Have some mild acids (vinager) available when using in case you get this stuff on your skin and rinse well with water. This strong base solution will remove the protective coat of oxide from aluminum. Used repeatedly on aluminum can cause the metal to disappear.

Always add the small pellets of lye to water and never water to the pellets.

I would first try spray oven cleaner before using lye. Oven cleaner has the lye in it and it is a commercial product that any EMT can obtain data on if you let it get out of control. I use oven cleaners to degrease auto engines. Spray on, let sit for an hour or so then hose off. I bet this stuff would work wonders in bilge areas around the engine.
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Old 09-05-2006, 22:53   #7
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Diesel can be a pervasive problem. Even if some product will break it down, the problem is chasing the diesel into all the places it may have soaked, like into plywood. There's no fast way to get it all out again. Solvent washing with a higher end solvent will help pull some out. A little heat (like a goldenrod) will encourage it to come out. And once you find out what it soaked into, and it is GONE, you can use epoxy paint over those raw surfaces to seal them up.
In the meantime...chasing down the leaks to make sure they are stopped may take time. Some engines way always leak diesel if you need to purge the fuel system. But adding a solar+battery air vent, which gives you nearly constant slow air ventilation out of that engine space, is probably going to be the most effective. By ensuring the diesel smell goes over the transom, you won't have to suffer from it while it is oozing back out of whatever it got into.
If those spaces are absolutely sealed (i.e. all fiberglass no raw wood, no soundproofing foam) then a good cleaning with a steam jenny or pressure washer and detergent might be all you need.
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Old 10-05-2006, 00:21   #8
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Caustic soda attacks aluminium like crazy!
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Old 10-05-2006, 10:12   #9
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Good catch, Chris!
"Caustic soda" commonly called LYE or OVEN CLEANER in the States, also attacks paints, varnishes, rubber and plastic products. Real nasty stuff to get in the wrong places.
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Old 10-05-2006, 17:31   #10
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Lye solutions should not affect plastics (PVC, acrylics). You can keep solution in a milk jug until hell freezes over. Generally speaking, if gasoline will attack the substance, lye will break it down and convert it to a water soluble soap.
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Old 10-05-2006, 18:22   #11
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Perhaps not all common plastics, but lye will also eat into gelcoat and fiberglass finishes. Without knowing if a specific plastic was safe...I wouldn't risk it.
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Old 10-05-2006, 18:34   #12
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I work with caustics daily (brewer) and they will eat some types of plastics and definitely aluminum. If your tanks are stainless there should be no problem with the tanks. I am unsure about gelcoat and fiberglass , please use caution if you go this route.
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