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Old 30-09-2014, 03:17   #1
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Clogged Fuel Pickup

Was running engines pretty hard yesterday (motor sailing) when both shut down, right after a large rough storm. Determined my fuel pickup in the tank is clogged. How is best way to clear? Is it ok to blow preasure through the line back into tank?

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Old 30-09-2014, 03:27   #2
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

If the vent is clear...... no problem. If you are not sure about the vent, remove the fill cap fitting. No problem at all.

If your tanks have that much junk in them, you might want to consider a clean/flush.
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Old 30-09-2014, 05:00   #3
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

I went through this on the delivery after I bought my boat. I pulled the dip tube, pretty easy to do and then blew out the clog, on mine I had to do it several times to get all the stuff out of the tank.
Blowing it back into the tank will work, but of course than it's back in the tank waiting to clog your fuel line again.
With two engines, I would have thought you would have two separate dip tubes, if this is the case, you may have quite a bit of growth in your tank and cleaning if possible is the thing to do.
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Old 30-09-2014, 05:30   #4
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

Only one dip tube. The into racor, then to three valves. No vent problem, cannot blow back in tank by mouth. Can not pull tube due to clearance in forward locker. Would have to drain tank then slide forward to clear. Unfortunately we left just yesterday for 2 month cruise. Is there any additive I can add at this point to help after blowing whatever back in tank.

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Old 30-09-2014, 05:33   #5
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

There is only about 25 gal in tank was planning on filling today.

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Old 30-09-2014, 06:11   #6
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

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Only one dip tube. The into racor, then to three valves. No vent problem, cannot blow back in tank by mouth. Can not pull tube due to clearance in forward locker. Would have to drain tank then slide forward to clear. Unfortunately we left just yesterday for 2 month cruise. Is there any additive I can add at this point to help after blowing whatever back in tank.

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Long story short I bought my boat and left to deliver her, got about 5 miles before engine shut down from a substance that looked like putty in the dip tube, removed tube, blew it out and drove on. Got about 10 miles happened again. Probably happened 6 or 7 times total before I got it all out, but since then no issues.
You don't know if you have a golf ball sized piece of biomass, a pea sized or the whole bottom of the tank covered in the stuff. I didn't sleep well, I just knew I had the whole bottom covered and when we hit rough weather it would break up and we would be screwed, but seems my total amount was about maybe a tea spoon full.
Do you have an access cover where you can get into the tank? If so it will be work, but it can be cleaned or at least you can get an idea what your facing. Some services can push a hose down your filler tube and recirculate fuel through a filter to polish it, I doubt this is a perfect answer to your problem though.

I know of no additive that will break this stuff up so that it can go through the hose and be caught in your filter, you do need in my opinion to be using a biocide additive in your fuel as a preventative, but as far as I know it only prevents growth.

If nothing else maybe bumping your problem to the top again will get someone who knows of a fix.

Post your boat type, maybe someone else who has one of the same can help?
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Old 30-09-2014, 07:33   #7
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

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. Is there any additive I can add at this point to help after blowing whatever back in tank.

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At this point nothing that would do you enough good. Like A64 said additives tend to be best at preventing. Would recommend cleaning the tanks to prevent future problems. Then use additives to help keep it clean.
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Old 30-09-2014, 07:40   #8
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

This is a result of crap fuel in exumas, in the states where we buy most of our fuel in Florida has a biocide added. Got complacent and did not add in June, my bad..

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Old 30-09-2014, 07:45   #9
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

For this trip will just blow out and fill tank. Will also get a 5 -6 gal can which is easy for me to drop fuel line in and run from. Fuel tamk is in isolated compartment from the interior of the boat. A 45 ft voyage cat.

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Old 30-09-2014, 07:50   #10
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

It can happen, doesn't matter where you bought your fuel. I think when you drain your tank and have a look at the bottom you will be surprised at how much gunk there is. Depending of course on how old your boat is. This is a very common problem on CF.

There is lots of harmful stuff in diesel fuel. I wouldn't be putting the fuel line in my mouth. I used an adapter line to a dive tank to blow it out but its still best to clean your tank.
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Old 30-09-2014, 07:52   #11
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

Do you have a dive tank on board?
If so most good Scuba shops have a hose that when attached to you second stage will provide about 120 PSI of pressurized air that along with a good "chip blower" with a rubber nozzle would be just the thing to blow out your hose. Just don't use more pressure than needed, the full pressure might be enough to blow the hose off of the fitting. I doubt you will need more than 10 PSI though, and a bicycle pump may even be the ticket.
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Old 30-09-2014, 09:19   #12
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Re: Clogged fuel pickup

I had this happen on my boat. I installed a deck plate over the pick up so I could get to them without pulling the tank. If there is a screen on the pick up, I'd pull it off. I want the dirt to get to my filter where it is easier to deal with.

I knew my tube was blocked but couldn't figure out how to clear it. Finally I figured out that I could unscrew the tube from the elbow at the top. There was a screen at the top of the tube!
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Old 30-09-2014, 12:29   #13
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Re: Clogged Fuel Pickup

Used my AB inflatable pump with tapered end used for filling floats did not take much effort. If the problem persist I have about 6 inches to raise the tube off the bottom until I can get the bottom of the tank clean.

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