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Old 18-06-2015, 00:58   #76
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Kiwi. View Post
Let's go back to the original problem: dodgy fuel in parts of the world we all love. I have always cleaned/polished the fuel from the dodgy dock before it got anywhere near my tanks, let alone my motor. We're not talking power boats here, that need to take on a couple of thousand gallons; my hundred gallons (400 odd litres in my part of the world) might take me a hour to put on board instead of 15 minutes but I know it's clean because it's gone into my 5 gallon plastic tin that is continuously pumped through a couple of filters (50 and 10) before it goes into the tank. A hose from your polishing system up to the cockpit with a hose fitting into the bottom of a plastic 5 gallon tin is all you need.


As an aside, my wife tells me we're moving to the dark side and buying a catamaran so she can cook and talk to me at the same time

I find it almost unbelievable that all production catamarans run one fuel tank. (Please tell me I'm wrong!)
Think I will adopt the practice in future of taking a glass jar of fuel off the vendor before he starts filling and look at the colour and for water, given that water should come out first.

Welcome to the dark side and yes 1 fuel tank does seem to be the norm on cats unfortunately. BTW if you did the cooking, given that men can't multitask i.e. cook and talk at the same time, would you still need to buy a cat?

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Old 18-06-2015, 02:44   #77
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

I agree with Holmek. I come from a navy and commercial background. I also farmed for several years. I have run ships and boats with old diesel many times. My current vessel sat for 6 years before I bought it. Other than adding a good fuel catalyst and carrying extra filters, had no problems. I also activated a ship from mothballs with 20,000 gallons of Korean War diesel. Other than running the fuel thru a centrifuge, it ran fine. But fuel refined 50 years ago was a better fuel than the crap sold today...
Except for taking fuel from a bad source, I think some of you read too many stories.
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Old 18-06-2015, 03:01   #78
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I agree with Holmek. I come from a navy and commercial background. I also farmed for several years. I have run ships and boats with old diesel many times. My current vessel sat for 6 years before I bought it. Other than adding a good fuel catalyst and carrying extra filters, had no problems. I also activated a ship from mothballs with 20,000 gallons of Korean War diesel. Other than running the fuel thru a centrifuge, it ran fine. But fuel refined 50 years ago was a better fuel than the crap sold today...
Except for taking fuel from a bad source, I think some of you read too many stories.
Or maybe you have just been extraordinarily lucky?

I have experienced both on a good number of occasions: growth in the tank and bad fuel from a bad source. They are pretty common. Catalysts do NOT always work and indeed can cause the sludge to finely emulsify which puts the material through the engine and carbonises the injectors, which is something I have experienced plenty. I do not use catalysts any more for this reason. Polishers are a better way of keeping the tanks clean, particularly if they also have UV filters.

Or do you think the entire global industry of fuel polishing and stabilisation is just hocus pocus? Quick! You should tell the world!
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Old 18-06-2015, 20:12   #79
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Other than running the fuel thru a centrifuge, it ran fine.
Only that a centrifuge is the ultimate in fuel polishing.
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Old 18-06-2015, 20:23   #80
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Kiwi. View Post
I wish that was true, and it is 90% of the time. I spent many years hopping onto racing boats that were going off into big seas for the first time in a year. There's nothing like falling off steep, tide driven, 3 meter (10ft) swells (and I do mean falling) to stir up that stuff. On a race boat that uses it's engine for ten minutes to get off the dock, a hidden layer of the black crap is often sitting there ready to move around in a big sea. Very embarrassing having done well in a hundred mile race to drop the sails in front of the club house and have the motor stop one minute later.
Know what you mean. We did a race across the gulf stream in another boat during some pretty rough weather. Two days later we had to motor back home in a rare flat calm. Had to change filters twice in a 12 hour run.

But sitting at a dock for a few weeks lets the sludge settle to the bottom where it can be removed with a scraper - after pumping out the diesel into jerry cans.
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Old 18-06-2015, 23:29   #81
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I agree with Holmek. I come from a navy and commercial background. I also farmed for several years. I have run ships and boats with old diesel many times. My current vessel sat for 6 years before I bought it. Other than adding a good fuel catalyst and carrying extra filters, had no problems. I also activated a ship from mothballs with 20,000 gallons of Korean War diesel. Other than running the fuel thru a centrifuge, it ran fine. But fuel refined 50 years ago was a better fuel than the crap sold today...
Except for taking fuel from a bad source, I think some of you read too many stories.
Today, we have the added complexity of the petroleum industry being required to add biodiesel to the mix. Here in Europe it's required. I think it's part of the problem as to why the fuel isn't as stable for long periods of time... like the good old days.
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Old 19-06-2015, 01:40   #82
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Today, we have the added complexity of the petroleum industry being required to add biodiesel to the mix. Here in Europe it's required. I think it's part of the problem as to why the fuel isn't as stable for long periods of time... like the good old days.
You can still buy 100% dino juice pretty much all over Northern Europe -- everywhere where you are allowed to use marine fuel in a pleasure boat. Maybe in some places if you have to buy road fuel you might be forced to take some biodiesel.

The bigger problem for us is that bunker fuel has now apparently been banned in the North Sea and Baltic because of sulfur, so we are competing with ships for gasoil (diesel fuel). This has got to drive the price up.

Ken, can you not get mineral gasoil in France? Are they forcing you to use biodiesel, AKA Purina Diesel Bug Chow?
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Old 19-06-2015, 01:43   #83
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
You can still buy 100% dino juice pretty much all over Northern Europe -- everywhere where you are allowed to use marine fuel in a pleasure boat. Maybe in some places if you have to buy road fuel you might be forced to take some biodiesel.

The bigger problem for us is that bunker fuel has now apparently been banned in the North Sea and Baltic because of sulfur, so we are competing with ships for gasoil (diesel fuel). This has got to drive the price up.


Love it!

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Old 19-06-2015, 03:46   #84
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
That thing should never be called a fuel polishing system. You really need to move more fuel than that in order to scrub up any loose stuff that has settled in the tank. And the price is outrageous.
I agree Racor's prices are exorbitant. You can put together your own system for much less cost.

The agitation produced when saling works better than any pump in stirring up the tank so I don't see the need for a high volume pump.

It you want to stir up the tank with a pump alone it needs to be very large one and the pickup and entry points need to moved around to get at all the tank surfaces. This is how the professional fuel polishing systems work, but they have to do this with no natural tank agitation and the fuel needs to be polished in only a few of hours.

A permanent fuel polishing system can take advantage of the tank agitation that occurs sailing. A permanent system can be used for many hours each day.

Our fuel polishing pump is only small but it will still filter the equivent of a typical entire volume of fuel in 10 hours or so (the consensus seems to be that fuel needs to filtered five times to be considered "polished"). We have it on all the time we are sailing. In summer with excess solar power it is also often on all day. At anchor the benefit is probably only small, although water removal from the fuel is best done with minimal tank agitation.
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Old 19-06-2015, 05:21   #85
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
Or do you think the entire global industry of fuel polishing and stabilization is just hocus pocus? Quick! You should tell the world!
(First, these comments are ONLY for the US. I don't know the industry elsewhere. I'd be foolish to comment... just as it is off-topic to bring non-US experiences to the OP's question.)

Yes, That is the general idea. Algae-X is a classic example of boater gullibility. So are UV filters on fuel. Sorry.

I've been doing fuel stability and corrosion tests for many years (over 10) with many additives. There is always a control sample (no additive, not accelerating agents), and guess what; the control can always stand 1-2 years with no aging effects. The ONLY ways the fuel deteriorates more quickly are...
  • If water is added. I do not believe water is common in US pumps or the entire transportation industry would grind to a halt. Instead, I believe that small leaks in fuel caps are very common and is the first place you should check. Atmospheric absorption is another proven minor source, though on applicable to fuel that sits through an off season (a vent filter will solve this, though proper installation seems to be too demanding for many).
  • If there is copper or zinc in the system. A well know problem (check any diesel installation manual--Cat, Cummins, Detroit, Yanmar, DOE, ASTM--they all say this). It can catalyze rapid fuel breakdown. A good metal deactivator can solve this.
  • The fuel becomes infected. However, assuming that this comes from the vendor is a mistake. It is just as simple for the bugs to have entered through the vent or fill pipe. I have cultured diesel bugs from ambient air numerous times. Preventative (not after infection) treatment with a biocide works, as does keeping the fuel dry.
  • Biodiesel. Less stable.
And yes, UV is mostly useless IMHO, since it can only treat the bugs that are suspended in the fuel; most live immobilized on the tank or pipe surfaces. Most of the industry sees it that way, which is why they are rare.


As for trash talking additives...
  • More than 50% are snake oil. Trash talk away.
  • The other 50% ONLY work properly if used BEFORE there is a problem. Every case of trouble caused by a propper additive is a case of dirty tank. That we even believe claims that a chemical can allow dirt to be safely burned points to just how gump we can be. That makes no sense on the face of it.


Is fuel polishing needed? Yes, if you have failed one of the above practices. But if it is not managed by the recirculation stream, you need to look at the causes and not just treat the symptoms. They can be subtle, but that is the right answer. Good storage practices.


I would like to see data supporting that US fuel can go bad in less than 1 year without boater contamination. Put some in a jar, out of the sun, and see if anything important happens. I have not seen it. The few tanks contamination episodes I have experienced in 35 years in the industry were best treated by a good cleaning, not patchwork and recirculation.
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Old 19-06-2015, 07:39   #86
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
(First, these comments are ONLY for the US. I don't know the industry elsewhere. I'd be foolish to comment... just as it is off-topic to bring non-US experiences to the OP's question.)
Well, since the discussion has been for most of its length about the usefulness and uses of polishing systems in general it seems to be just rather pointless "special pleading" to attempt to limit it to the US. I mean, the US is rather, you know, connected to the rest of the world, and specifically by Oceans… and this is a CRUISING forum after all. Or are you wanting to restrict the discussion to US vessels who never actually cruise anywhere other than the coastal USA?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Yes, That is the general idea. Algae-X is a classic example of boater gullibility. So are UV filters on fuel. Sorry.

I've been doing fuel stability and corrosion tests for many years (over 10) with many additives. There is always a control sample (no additive, not accelerating agents), and guess what; the control can always stand 1-2 years with no aging effects. The ONLY ways the fuel deteriorates more quickly are...
  • If water is added. I do not believe water is common in US pumps or the entire transportation industry would grind to a halt. Instead, I believe that small leaks in fuel caps are very common and is the first place you should check. Atmospheric absorption is another proven minor source, though on applicable to fuel that sits through an off season (a vent filter will solve this, though proper installation seems to be too demanding for many).
  • If there is copper or zinc in the system. A well know problem (check any diesel installation manual--Cat, Cummins, Detroit, Yanmar, DOE, ASTM--they all say this). It can catalyze rapid fuel breakdown. A good metal deactivator can solve this.
  • The fuel becomes infected. However, assuming that this comes from the vendor is a mistake. It is just as simple for the bugs to have entered through the vent or fill pipe. I have cultured diesel bugs from ambient air numerous times. Preventative (not after infection) treatment with a biocide works, as does keeping the fuel dry.
  • Biodiesel. Less stable.
And yes, UV is mostly useless IMHO, since it can only treat the bugs that are suspended in the fuel; most live immobilized on the tank or pipe surfaces. Most of the industry sees it that way, which is why they are rare.
Yeah, you see in many places in the world, and I am willing to bet this includes some in the US, the problem actually originates in the storage tank of the fuel deliverer. Sooooo… it is indeed in suspension when it is filled, else how would it get into the recipient tank in the first place? I run polisher+UV filter continuously during and after filling, until tank is cycled several times and before new fuel has time to settle, which cleans it nicely.



Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
As for trash talking additives...
  • More than 50% are snake oil. Trash talk away.
  • The other 50% ONLY work properly if used BEFORE there is a problem. Every case of trouble caused by a propper additive is a case of dirty tank. That we even believe claims that a chemical can allow dirt to be safely burned points to just how gump we can be. That makes no sense on the face of it.
Well with this we perfectly agree as I earlier stated. I do not use emulsifiers or AlgaeX or anything but excellent and powerful biocide, and the even more excellent polisher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Is fuel polishing needed? Yes, if you have failed one of the above practices. But if it is not managed by the recirculation stream, you need to look at the causes and not just treat the symptoms. They can be subtle, but that is the right answer. Good storage practices.
Try sailing in Indonesia for awhile mate. Or even just down the coast in the rest of North America, let alone Central and South. Or is that not allowed for US cruisers these days? You will find that even with *best* practises you will still get gunked from time to time. What prevents this is a good polishing on each fill. This is from direct experience. Pre polisher: problems. Post polisher: bliss even in the dirtiest areas of the 3rd world.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I would like to see data supporting that US fuel can go bad in less than 1 year without boater contamination. Put some in a jar, out of the sun, and see if anything important happens. I have not seen it. The few tanks contamination episodes I have experienced in 35 years in the industry were best treated by a good cleaning, not patchwork and recirculation.
Indeed your thesis does rely entirely on this: that the fuel is clean and reliable in the first place. I understand that you tried to make all the other cases go away by waving a "US only" wand, but I am afraid that such a manuever is pretty odd in a specifically Cruiser's forum. Even more so as the contributors here are global, not just USA, and sail globally, even if US. No?

Anyhow I enjoyed the other aspects of your discussion. Thanks.
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Old 19-06-2015, 08:05   #87
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

Most of the time I only fill my two jerry jugs. Then I transfer the fuel to my tank by siphon and running through a baja filter. More so in the Bahamas than the USA. Its time and labor intensive but gives me a reason why I should lay out the rest of the day in the shady cockpit with a book in one hand and a beer in the other.

Back in the 1980's when algae-x first came out I stopped at their booth at the Miami boat show. Guy explained to me how the magnet separates the biological critters from the fuel. I put one of his magnets on my arm and let go of it. Of course it fell to the ground. I looked at him, he looked at me, and I moved on to the next booth.

Reminds me of a story. When Dr Samuel Johnson was told that a famous Bishop of the RC Church had declared that all things are just illusions, he kicked a rock, hurting his toe, and said "I refute it thus!".
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Old 19-06-2015, 09:14   #88
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

Re Holmek's reply: I too am a plowboy from way back and after 50 years of using my farm diesel tanks the fuel company gave me a new one because of external corrosion I cut the top off the old tank to use as the hulk for a incinerator there was at least 1/4 inch of tar like substance on the bottom of the tank This tank fed my shop furnace and tractors without a problem Had the contents been agitated I believe my problems would be severe. Filters will catch most crud but when they are plugged the silence is deafening. My system consists of two tanks with the polisher intake at the lowest possible point with the return cleaned fuel into a feeder or header tank with an overflow back into the main tank opposite corner and a stand pipe at about 1/2 inch from the bottom to stir things up. I also echo other members to NOT rely on timers etc. If you feel compelled to do it while hauled I would be there to monitor it.
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Old 19-06-2015, 09:55   #89
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
Well, since the discussion has been for most of its length about the usefulness and uses of polishing systems in general it seems to be just rather pointless "special pleading" to attempt to limit it to the US. I mean, the US is rather, you know, connected to the rest of the world, and specifically by Oceans… and this is a CRUISING forum after all. Or are you wanting to restrict the discussion to US vessels who never actually cruise anywhere other than the coastal USA?




Yeah, you see in many places in the world, and I am willing to bet this includes some in the US, the problem actually originates in the storage tank of the fuel deliverer. Sooooo… it is indeed in suspension when it is filled, else how would it get into the recipient tank in the first place? I run polisher+UV filter continuously during and after filling, until tank is cycled several times and before new fuel has time to settle, which cleans it nicely.





Well with this we perfectly agree as I earlier stated. I do not use emulsifiers or AlgaeX or anything but excellent and powerful biocide, and the even more excellent polisher.



Try sailing in Indonesia for awhile mate. Or even just down the coast in the rest of North America, let alone Central and South. Or is that not allowed for US cruisers these days? You will find that even with *best* practises you will still get gunked from time to time. What prevents this is a good polishing on each fill. This is from direct experience. Pre polisher: problems. Post polisher: bliss even in the dirtiest areas of the 3rd world.




Indeed your thesis does rely entirely on this: that the fuel is clean and reliable in the first place. I understand that you tried to make all the other cases go away by waving a "US only" wand, but I am afraid that such a manuever is pretty odd in a specifically Cruiser's forum. Even more so as the contributors here are global, not just USA, and sail globally, even if US. No?

Anyhow I enjoyed the other aspects of your discussion. Thanks.
Yes, everything you said. My US wand was for US sailors; it is a big place and most of us have no interest in leaving and never will. No need.

It is rather like discussing on-board drinking water treatment; it depends.
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Old 19-06-2015, 10:49   #90
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Re: Fuel polishing - how often?

Do biocides go bad? We received a container with the boat when we bought it and its still half full. I have no idea how old the biocide is.
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