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Old 21-12-2011, 15:19   #1
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Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

... and would appreciate advice on what to do next. A full tank of 45 gal capacity now contains about 1/3 fresh water and the rest diesel. Obviously not a bright thing to do but would like to try to be smarter about fixing the problem. The engine has not been started. Can the water be pumped out through the deck fill? Do I need to drain the tank dry (remove all contents), or is it safe just to pump out the water portion and let the Racor water separator take care of any remaining residue?
Thanks!
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:22   #2
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

Pump out the water and polish the rest of the fuel.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:26   #3
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

and consider yourself fortunate that it wasn't the other way around.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:26   #4
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

best bet is to buy a steam engine,and replace the diesel engine,now you got plenty of water to run it on....................

failing that water floats on top of diesel so if you can drainn the tank from the bottom un till pure disele runs thrugh it should be fine
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:27   #5
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

If your tank pick up is accessible and removable take it out and put one in that will reach the bottom of the tank to pump the bulk of the water out, and as suggested above polish the remainder of the fuel.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:27   #6
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
best bet is to buy a steam engine,and replace the diesel engine,now you got plenty of water to run it on....................

failing that water floats on top of diesel so if you can drainn the tank from the bottom un till pure disele runs thrugh it should be fine
Rum check: diesel floats on top of water - the rest of it is OK.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:32   #7
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

Well, definitely don't start the engine!

The water will all be at the bottom of the tank with the fuel floating on top. You could probably disconnect the fuel line at the Racor and let it drain into a container until you see fuel coming out. Then add a bottle or two of diesel water remover to the tank.

Back in the 70's I used to get water in my car's fuel tank every time it rained, and I'd just loosen the attachment at the carb and run the fuel pump until it started pumping gas. Then tighten it back up and she'd fire right up.

Water in diesel is better than diesel in water because you don't have to worry about what it tastes like when you're done getting out.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:33   #8
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

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Water in diesel is better than diesel in water because you don't have to worry about what it tastes like when you're done getting out.
Taste is the only proper way of gauging fuel quality...
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:34   #9
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

I've never seen a sailboat with a drain at the bottom of the fuel tank. I don't know why; it would be a great thing to have for just such cases.

My advice would be to call a professional fuel polisher/tank cleaner. Depending on how much water you got in there, he might be willing to suck it out with his polishing gear, then polish the rest of the fuel. Otherwise, you will probably have to completely drain the tank. In any case, he will know what to do.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:37   #10
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

If you dont have a polishing system with an outlet at the bottom of the tank, get a decent pump and then tape the intake hose to a batten about a 1/4" from the bottom of the batten. Then open an inspection plate and insert the hose/batten till the batten is touching bottom and start sucking. This will keep the hose from sucking onto the bottom of the tank. If you wait a few days on the dock it will seperate out very nicely, you should get a little sludge first followed by straight clean water until you get diesel. Keep going until the diesel is clear and clean and your seperator should be able to handle the rest, but you'll want to really stay on top of it until you've run a few tanks through it. Look at it as a good incentive to polish a tank you might not have otherwise.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:39   #11
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Rum check: diesel floats on top of water - the rest of it is OK.
dysleksia rules "ko",
still think a steam engine would be better once we invade iran........
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:50   #12
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

Don't taste it.

Don't just drain off the water and think you got it all.

Pump out all the water you can and then polish it.

Probably better (as stated above) to have a professional do it for you.

While you are at it, have you cleaned the tank lately? Polishing wont clean a dirty tank, so maybe you want to use this mistake as an opportunity to clean your tank.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:54   #13
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

Drain it/pump it out.

Water does not compress. Running it through your engine is a sure way to blow it apart.

And as the others said, great time to check the condition of the rest of the fuel system, including tank.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:56   #14
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Thanks to all. Any idea how to find a professional fuel polisher in Miami? A quick search didn't turn up such a creature.
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Old 21-12-2011, 15:57   #15
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Re: Accidentally put water in diesel tank ...

google? It worked for me. Try "fuel polishing miami".
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