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View Poll Results: how do you clean your tanks
scrub and clean out 19 30.16%
Cant get to it do nothing 6 9.52%
let the filters do their work 32 50.79%
clean from the filling nossel 6 9.52%
Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 28-10-2007, 22:57   #46
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Do Algae-X things really work? I have two installed by the PO and I have always been a bit sceptical about the claims made by this system. So far I have had no fuel related problems I keep the fuel topped up to reduce condensation and use a storage additive, proper filtering system, etc. Last season I only used 100 gals of fuel out of a 225 gal tank. How long can fuel really be kept?
One time a number of years ago oil eating bacteria started clogging my fuel filters. I tried the biocide designed to kill it and it did just that. I added it at every fueling for about a year. (about twice a month typically) and it went away. I have not treated the tank now in a few years but if it comes back I know what to do.

I really don't know how long diesel can last. I use so much of it I don't have that problem.
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Old 29-10-2007, 03:18   #47
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I have had a commercial troller and a variety of other vessels and now a motor sailer that sails fairly well so I don't use as much fuel as I used to. I use storage conditioner which seems to work well. Up till now I have never cleaned tanks or had any fuel problems but I have heard of some real horror stories. I often wonder how many of these stories are promoted by the people that have special products to sell that will take away one's fears. How much is hype and how much is real?
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Old 29-10-2007, 04:07   #48
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One time a number of years ago oil eating bacteria started clogging my fuel filters. I tried the biocide designed to kill it and it did just that. I added it at every fueling for about a year. (about twice a month typically) and it went away. I have not treated the tank now in a few years but if it comes back I know what to do.
So, what happens to all those little dead (bacteria) carcasses?
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Old 29-10-2007, 06:40   #49
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The theory behind the Algae-X things is that they are magically broken down and burnt with the fuel. I sure hope so. Has anyone else had experience with these things? I got them but they came with the boat.
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Old 29-10-2007, 14:42   #50
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The theory behind the Algae-X things is that they are magically broken down and burnt with the fuel.
The only theory is that they help pay the grocery bills of those selling them and give some comfort to those of the ilk likely to be into alternative medicine, conspiracy theories, clairvoyance, etc. In that, much like the devices claimed to reduce fuel consumption if you install them in the fuel lines of your car .

I've spoken to staff at big engine distributorships in USA and Australia about them (prompted by someone who was pushing these magnetic algae/bacteria killing things telling me that they were widely used in USA and Australia on commercial vessels, trucks, etc). None of them had ever known of a customer using one, they all regarded them as a quackery and finally made me the butt of their jokes for asking such a silly question .

I've also spoken with a boating friend who has a PhD in microbiology and has reviewed the claims for them and he also regards those as being a load of rubbish.

It seems though that some swear by them because they use them and haven't had any fuel problems - but there again there are many more who don't use them and have not had fuel problems either.
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Old 29-10-2007, 16:01   #51
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I don't think I would have one of those microbiological magnetic things. However, that is not what the topic of this thread was about. Cleaning your fuel tanks and keeping your fuel clean will help to keep you out of the kind of trouble that I have personally experienced.

The objective is to deliver clean fuel to your engine.
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Old 29-10-2007, 19:25   #52
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However, that is not what the topic of this thread was about.
I suppose, of course, that yer absolutely right as strictly speaking the topic is "DO you clean your fuel tank?" not HOW or WHY you do so.

As yer've pointed out the fault of many of us of drifting off the "DO you..." bit into the "HOW I do so" bit, I have to wonder why you are drifting off into the "WHY you do so" bit .
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Old 29-10-2007, 20:20   #53
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Do you check your fuel tank?

I used one of those anti algal things because the fuel had sat in the teanks for quite a while before and after I brought the boat. It seemed like cheap insurance.

When I got round to setting up the fuel system properly I took one of the inspection plates off each tank so I could have inspection ports welded on (aluminium tanks).

I saw a few metal shavings, probably from when the tank was made. Otherwise it was totally clean. No water, no crud, nutting.

The only way that I can see algae forming is in a transparent plastic tank.

Rusty iron tanks could also give trouble.

Has anyone had any trouble with aluminium tanks?
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Old 29-10-2007, 20:49   #54
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As yer've pointed out the fault of many of us of drifting off the "DO you..." bit into the "HOW I do so" bit, I have to wonder why you are drifting off into the "WHY you do so" bit
MLO, I don't know.
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Old 29-10-2007, 21:03   #55
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Was hoping that you had a sense of humour .

Regards
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Old 29-10-2007, 21:26   #56
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I kind of had the same opinion but since I didn't pay for them and didn't even know they were there until I had to get under the fridge for another problem. The reason I don't have fuel problems may be as Boracay indicated, Aluminum tanks. So is the answer to good fuel, effective filtering, good water removal and aluminum tanks?
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Old 30-10-2007, 23:08   #57
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I have come across cases where there has been corrosion found in the lowest point in the bottom of aluminium diesel tanks on aluminium commercial vessels (tank bottom is then normally the bottom plating of the vessel) which has been put down to water collecting. Perhaps it becomes acidic from the diesel's sulphur content? So aluminium may not be entirely trouble free, but the tanks I am referring to have many thousands of litres of diesel through them a week so chances of a lot of moisture brought in.

We have never cleaned our tank (which is steel, 11 years old, but in the fin keel so temperature is pretty constant) and have never had any water trapped by the primary filter nor found the primary filter much fouled when replaced (I break it open to check it).
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Old 30-10-2007, 23:34   #58
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I have an aluminum day tank for diesel that gets cleaned out yearly - it's easy to do by removing the 6" inspection port plate. The tank drains from the side via a port set 1" above the bottom (it's a gravity feed to the motor), so when I see any water collecting at the bottom of the Racor filterset then I know it's time to go in again.

So far I've always found a little bit of dark grungy film at the bottom of the tank, so I wipe it down with a towel and it's good to go. Given it's a gravity feed out of the tank, it's easy to empty the fuel into jerry jugs, so when I go inspect it there's very little diesel to contend with.

The larger storage tanks are fiberglass, and they get the same treatment, a yearly look-see and wipe down if necessary.

What astounds me is how infrequently folks inspect their tankage and then are surprised when a filter clogs and the motor dies; if the tank is installed with a convenient inspection port then it's easy to do, and if the tank isn't then it's time put in your own port and see what's going on inside. Waiting for filters to clog isn't the best approach, and then you have to inspect them anyway - so might as well bite the bullet early and solve the problem before it is a problem.

- beetle
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Old 31-10-2007, 01:46   #59
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Hi Darryl

I cleaned out my tank on my last boat. I removed the top outlet breather pipe which was above the low point where the outlet exited at the bottom of the tank. I couldn't use the larger sender unit hole as this was at the other end of tank and there were baffles in the way. My tank didn't have inspection plates. I used a thin length of tubing and attached this to a little drill pump (I think Jabsco make them). Then I attached some wire to the tube to give it some stiffness and fed the hose down to the bottom of the tank to vacuum out the crud. Lots of particles and some slimey bug came out (I had a case of bug previously and thought I had it all out!). By moving the hose around a bit I finally got to have clean diesel coming out and never had any problems after that.

Got a drill pump on board if you want to come on over!

Mike
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Old 31-10-2007, 06:15   #60
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Those without access plates in their fuel tanks, should see the SeaBuilt Access Plate System: Seabuilt - Access Plate Systems
The inner plate "folds" to go inside.
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