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Old 02-05-2012, 07:52   #16
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Re: Dirty tank update

my tank is plastic--was installed by a previous owner and is too small for my range needs--only 80 gal. to check quality of fuel.
i use a turkey baster via the inspection port, under my main saloon sole.....take fuel from bottom of tank to examine....
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:35   #17
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Re: Dirty tank update

The squeeze bulbs that are used on outboard motor gasoline tanks to prime the motor are a great alternative to installing a sump drain on a fuel tank.

Buy an appropriate diameter and length of copper tubing and install it on the intake side of the bulb with a hose clamp. Stick the tube into the sump of your tank, squeeze the bulb a few times, and direct the fuel into a clear plastic jar (like an old mayonnaise jar) and you can see exactly what's lurking at the bottom of your tank. I never found any water in mine, and I bought fuel in some "iffy" places.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:56   #18
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Re: Dirty tank update

All these great ideas, just goes to show that necessity breeds invention in us sailors. All it needs is a regular check, and it helps if the boat is careened while you go of shopping and just take a sample by any off the methods described, or if you have a drain valve just 'crack' ie open it very slightly, and take a sample of fuel.
Good luck guys, happy sailing.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:15   #19
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Re: Dirty tank update

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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
The squeeze bulbs that are used on outboard motor gasoline tanks to prime the motor are a great alternative to installing a sump drain on a fuel tank.

Buy an appropriate diameter and length of copper tubing and install it on the intake side of the bulb with a hose clamp. Stick the tube into the sump of your tank, squeeze the bulb a few times, and direct the fuel into a clear plastic jar (like an old mayonnaise jar) and you can see exactly what's lurking at the bottom of your tank. I never found any water in mine, and I bought fuel in some "iffy" places.

I like to use the cordless drill driven oil removal pumps for this, with clear 1/4 inch hose attached to it. Then I tape the hose to a long stiff skinny object like an electricians fish or a small piece of bamboo about a 1/4" from the end of the rod. This keeps the hose from sucking onto the tank bottom or sides, while allowing you to really get in the corners.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:31   #20
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Re: Dirty tank update

Another way to avoid condensation in diesel tankage is to keep them topped up as well as tight so no water gets in from filler or breather holes. If the tank is full, no walls to condense water on. If your boat is a 'dock queen' or rarely is exposed to rough water, it is a good idea to take her outside the harbor once in a while to shake up any critters in the tank then change the filters. For larger vessels, invest in fuel polishing systems and once every few years, pop off the inspection ports on your tanks and draw samples from the tank bottoms.
Dirty fuel will bite you in the butt at the worst possible time and under the worst possible circumstances. Learned this doing deliveries on boats that owners have sworn they had clean tanks and regularly inspected their fuel. Capt Phil
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Old 03-05-2012, 13:31   #21
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Re: Dirty tank update

Does anybody have any experience with a product called Ajax Diesel Fuel Tank Cleaning System ? Our recently acquired Alberg 35 has a gungy diesel fuel tank and I wonder if this product is as good as it purports to be for cleaning diesel fuel tanks.
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Old 11-05-2012, 16:45   #22
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Re: Dirty tank update

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This is one advantage to plastic tanks. They condense a lot less water than metal tanks because they don't get freezing cold and provide the ideal condensation surface that a metal tank does. This means less opportunity for algae to grow at the water/diesel interface. If you tried to let a steel tank go for that long your whole fuel system would choke up on you. Of course plastic tanks are generally only seen in smaller boats as they are much harder to build baffled than a metal tank.

Thank you for explaining that. I was really wondering. With all that grunge in there I expected that we would find water.

My wonderful friend and I took the boat out the following week and had a GREAT sail, the boat hit 7.5k over ground a couple of times. Then things settled down, the boat settled down and leveled out a lot, and I started hearing a sloshing sound I'd never heard before.

"Oh that's just water turbulence at the transom," he said. I didn't think so. I could hear the turbulence as a different sound. He also thought it was coming from outside the boat while I thought it sounded like it was in the boat.

Well, about 20 minutes later I went down to the galley for something and stepped into water. Salt water.

So my poor friend went back into the hold AGAIN ... and ... oops! He had had a very hard day the day he finished this job up (remember, for free, as a favor) -- and failed to reconnect the scupper to the through hole.

OOOOOPS.

Then we realized the bilge pump wasn't working. Somehow a bearded barnacle had wrapped itself around the pump's impeller. The poor pump burned its motor up trying to deal with all that water! I can't figure out how the barnacle survived as typically (this day wasn't typical!) there's only fresh water in the bilge -- the ice box drains there.

So we had a few kinks to work out, but now the engine performs flawlessly.
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Old 11-05-2012, 18:53   #23
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Re: Dirty tank update

ok--so now you know what THAT sound is-- file it for future use. is important. i learned it with a cal 25--oops-- friend was repairing a thru hull fitting in water and allowed the water to gush into boat--so i would know what that noise was. is a noise one never forgets and forever listens for. glad your boat is good and working well for ye.
\now, back to summerizing my formosa against rain to come ...
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:55   #24
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Re: Dirty tank update

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ok--so now you know what THAT sound is-- file it for future use. is important. i learned it with a cal 25--oops-- friend was repairing a thru hull fitting in water and allowed the water to gush into boat--so i would know what that noise was. is a noise one never forgets and forever listens for. glad your boat is good and working well for ye.
\now, back to summerizing my formosa against rain to come ...

It sounds like exactly what it is. It sounds like water sloshing around in a bucket. There is a partially closed in area in my hold where it was splashing up against the walls. The amount of water in the boat was actually considerably more than just what was in that small part.

Of course that isn't the only place the boat might leak, and not the only place water might gather and make new sounds. It's really important to know what sounds your boat makes so you notice new ones. And I would say that guests on the boat should not be quick to dismiss such concerns about new sounds.

I replaced the 500 water pump with a 750, and it had all the water pumped out within 5 minutes. Made me a big fan of bigger bilge pumps! That's the good news. The bad news is that the float switch on the new bilge pump never worked, so I now have TWO bilge pumps to take back for exchange. I'm going to keep the exchanged old one for a backup. I don't ever want to be without a bilge pump again.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:02   #25
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Re: Dirty tank update

i hate pump failure. is a scary thing. i try to always have spare pumps on board. smooth sailing.
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Old 12-05-2012, 15:35   #26
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Re: Dirty tank update

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i hate pump failure. is a scary thing. i try to always have spare pumps on board. smooth sailing.

There's still something in the back of my mind going "Hmmmmmm..." and that is that this barnacle (a bearded barnacle, according to my friend) somehow survived in my bilge pump long enough to grow. First of all, if only fresh water is going into my bilge, how did the little thing get in there? Second, if it needs a salt water environment, how did it grow? My friend pulled it out with a pair of tweezers and it had a long "beard" on it. It had been there for some time.

I'm going to research those little suckers. Maybe before I got the boat salt water got in and there was enough residue to keep it alive but since I've had the boat 18 months and constantly use the ice chest, the bilge is constantly receiving FRESH water. Something isn't right there. Off to research barnacles.
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