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Old 07-04-2011, 01:22   #16
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Re: Cleaning diesel tank

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Installing clean out holes is not difficult.
Did I mention 52 of them

Quote:
Religious fuel polishing will not get the crud off the walls of the tank.
For me, brand new tanks, no crud in them
I was under the impression that the crud grew when water was introduced to the tank.
If the fuel is checked for cleanliness as it goes in and it is continually being polished , surely that takes care of the water?
No water no bug?
Quote:
Because the %^$& will hit the fan in a heavy sea and you start fouling filters
Every day there will be the days supply of fuel polished and sent to the day tank, which does have ports on it, so that should take care of crud fouling engines while on transit

Am I wrong?
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:07   #17
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Try a domestic wallpaper stripper that generates steam. This can be plugged into the filler neck and will vent through the breather. After about 4 hrs pump out the water and repeat until clean.

Cheers

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Old 07-04-2011, 11:31   #18
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

Here are some blog entries from the last time I did mine. The one piece of advice that I can really provide is to remember why you're doing it, which is to ensure your engine has a clean supply of fuel. You don't need to eat out of it.

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - cleaned out the diesel tank*today

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - (final?) thoughts on cleaning out the diesel*tank
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:49   #19
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

One might use a five gallon can of mineral spirits a water filter with replaceable elements a pump and a homemade wand of some mallable copper. keep working the wand around to the different compartments and recirculating/adding clean filters. The mineral spirits will dissolve the sludge and keep it in suspension and also mix with and remove any water.
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Old 07-04-2011, 12:05   #20
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

I have two suggestions:

1) Perhaps the easiest is to add a day tank. Make sure that the fuel that goes into the day tank is clean.

2) Can you drill a hole in the baffle so that you can get to the other spots.

The problem is that in rough weather when you might really want the engine to run is when all the crud gets stirred up and can (almost always does) block your filters. I don't know that there is an adequate solution except having clean tanks.
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Old 07-04-2011, 14:07   #21
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

I would get a garden sprayer like one of these:

Hudson, H. D. 66193 Yard And Garden 2-In-1 Poly Sprayer | Deerso

Maybe modify the wand some if need be. Fill it with clean diesel and use it to spray down the walls of the tank as best you can. You should be able to aim it through the holes in the baffles and get a lot of the crud off. Then pump it out of the tank and sponge out as much as you can. Rinse lather repeat.

I would be very leery about putting anything else in the tank besides clean diesel. If its really bad you may try making a cleaning tool with some stiff wire and a scotch brite pad just be careful that the pad doesnt fall off anf get lost in the tank.

Make sure you are using a good fuel filter like a 500 series Racor and carry lots of spare elements. I like to use a 10 micron element in the racor and there is a 2 micron on the engine itself. Rough seas are the best way to finish the cleaning process too...
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Old 07-04-2011, 18:14   #22
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

check out thread called Racor Fuel Polisher

it gets into pressure cleaning of tanks...I am new to diesel engines and was unaware I had to do anything to the tanks or fuel - I ran the engines half an hour once a month the past 6 months...am I looking at water problems? one of the replies here says clean annually!! not sure I even have access!! they seemed to start all right last week but we did not leave the dock...
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Old 07-04-2011, 18:31   #23
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

Tangle, go out and subject your boat to some healthy chop for a while, and then check the bottom of your racor bowl for what looks like black sand or black saw-dust. If you see that, then your tank is contaminated.
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Old 07-04-2011, 19:33   #24
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

If you have a power washer, there are special nozzels for cleaning inside tanks and hoses. That's how the chemical and refinery guys do it, every day. There is a description near the end of this post.

Sail Delmarva: Diesel and Biocides

Not simple, perhaps, but certainly more sensible than cutting holes.
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Old 07-04-2011, 20:36   #25
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

You really need to get that tank clean and dont rely on any type of liquid to do the job and please dont use Gasoline "BANG" use pads tied to wire or soft rod to bend and fit in behind the baffle use same to mop up. If you dont remove the Diesel Bug totally it will regrow fast. The bug grows on any moisture in the tank and uses the oxygen from the moisture to survive.
Once you have cleaned tank use a good diesel conditioner ( you have a great one in the states it is marketed under the brand TLC ) this will emulsify moisture in your tank and kill off the bug, add the conditioner everytime you top up you cant use too much but dont waste it I would double dose for the first few fill ups.

If you go for a new tank make sure you fit a sump in the bottom it can be sucked out from the top of the tank if you cant access the bottom. I have welded to the base of the tank a 4in piece of 2in pipe blocked on the bottom and placed a 1" cap above this on the top of the tank and just insert tube down into the sump and suck out any residue always have a clean tank. Good luck
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Old 07-04-2011, 20:51   #26
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

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Originally Posted by Jacko View Post
You really need to get that tank clean and dont rely on any type of liquid to do the job and please dont use Gasoline "BANG" use pads tied to wire or soft rod to bend and fit in behind the baffle use same to mop up. If you dont remove the Diesel Bug totally it will regrow fast. The bug grows on any moisture in the tank and uses the oxygen from the moisture to survive.
Once you have cleaned tank use a good diesel conditioner ( you have a great one in the states it is marketed under the brand TLC ) this will emulsify moisture in your tank and kill off the bug, add the conditioner everytime you top up you cant use too much but dont waste it I would double dose for the first few fill ups.

If you go for a new tank make sure you fit a sump in the bottom it can be sucked out from the top of the tank if you cant access the bottom. I have welded to the base of the tank a 4in piece of 2in pipe blocked on the bottom and placed a 1" cap above this on the top of the tank and just insert tube down into the sump and suck out any residue always have a clean tank. Good luck
Cleaning the tank alone will not sterilize the fuel system; too many corners ad fittings.

Conditioners don't kill bugs: biocides kill bugs. There are a number of them out there (Bio-bor, Kill-em, others). You can find test results in the post above. TLC does make a lot of claims, but it does not appear to carry a pesticide registration, which is required of pesticides, including diesel biocides.
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Old 07-04-2011, 21:23   #27
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

I wouldn't get too excited about cleaning tanks annually. Ours have not been done for 25 yrs. We use a biocide in our fuel and have two filter systems so that we can switch across if one blocks up. Was in some quite rough water recently and no problems.
We also have a portable day tank that I fill at the local service station.
Regards,
Richard.
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Old 07-04-2011, 21:30   #28
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Wow, so many replies, thanks to all.
I should have mentioned that this is a 110 gallon tank in a 34 foot sailboat, diesel along with a well running Volvo three cylinder MD17, I've got the wrong prop, but that's another story. The tank is black iron and as old as the boat which was built in 1976. I have pumped just about all the old fuel out via the inspection hatch. I was surprised to find little to no rust inside the portion of the tank I can see, plenty of creamy sludge along the lower sides. I have a 12 gallon day tank, so this tank is clearly intended for extended cruising. I am worried by one rust patch on the outside of the tank which of course is on the bottom in a virtually inaccessible place. My intention is to clean up the interior of the tank and coat it with a product from KBS, see www.KBS.com the baffles make it impossible to see or reach more than a third of the tank. These are spot welded so it might be possible, after degassing the tank, to grind a few of the welds off and bend the baffles to get some access to the whole tank. To get to all of the tank from the outside would mean destroying a lot of my lovely teak interior, something which I am not about to do. The post about using a pressure washer is just about the best idea yet, I might be able to use the recommended KBs cleaner.
Any more comments are welcome
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:16   #29
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

My wife's company owns gas stations and they use 2 products to clean up spills. Both are biodegradable one is called Multiclean-pro basically for surface cleaning and the other is CD-12, this is used to penetrate surfaces and lift gas, oil, and diesel out of stuff like concrete.
Another local company that cleans Coast Guard and Navy ships found by using these product they eliminated the need to dispose of the washout as hazmat material.

Email me and i can get you the website on these.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:15   #30
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Re: Cleaning Diesel Tank

Here are a couple of untested ideas. Just what you need, right? There are two basic problems: (1) there are solids or glaze stuck to the walls/bottom, and (2) suspended particles and water emulsion, hard to get to. So, not only do you need some form of agitation to break off and suspend the solids (or "glaze"), but then you need a carrier liquid to remove those components. The carrier liquid could be (a) filtered and recycled, or (b) thrown out, i.e. purged, and replaced with fresh for multiple wash steps.

For agitation, the problem seems to be that you don't have the ports for invasive scrubbing of the surfaces, with a brush or whatever. Maybe a non-invasive technique, like ultrasonic vibration of the tank might work. Ultrasound can cause micro-cavitation in fluids, which may break up and lift the glaze into a suspension. I have no idea where you get a device to do this, but high frequency vibration might work. Obviously, this would only work for rigid tanks, i.e. metal construction.

Second, perhaps you need a really really good solvent to take into solution some of the baddies. Methylene chloride comes to mind (used in dry cleaning, I think), but this is a regulated solvent, due to its effect on the ozone (and perhaps groundwater), and health effects. Need proper protective equipment, a source for the solvent, and a disposal plan worked out in advance. Solvent selection is best done if you know the analysis of the fouling (which I do not), and have done a rigourous safety and environmental consideration before trying it. Do not use on plastic tanks of course. Maybe there is a good garage solvent used for cleaning auto parts or something.

First step might be to fill the tank partially (30%?) with fresh diesel, then suspend the bound material (using ultrasound), then filter the resulting suspension; recycle the diesel through a two-stage filter, 10 micron, then 2 micron. Once the vibration cleaning is done, go with a power solvent, and ultrasound, to take other bad actors into solution (not suspension) then empty or otherwise throw out the rich solvent (in a responsible way). Repeat until clean.

Once cleaned, you may need a few partial fill and empties, to dilution purge any remaining solvent.

Or skip the solvent step, but do the ultrasound step with fresh diesel, filtered and recycled. I dunno. Good luck.
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