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Old 26-10-2014, 17:48   #1
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Fuel stability question

I'm researching a liveaboard with a 500 gallon fuel tank. If I were to have fuel in there for a year or more, what happens to the fuel? I suppose one must keep the biocide up, but does the diesel fuel have a "shelf life"?
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Old 26-10-2014, 18:00   #2
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Re: Fuel stability question

It should be perfectly fine after a year (provided it came from a reliable quality source). Try to keep the tank full up and make sure it is 100% clean before you fill it for the first time. We do not add bio but we do polish prior to each escapade. Sure with you size polishing will last some time.

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Old 26-10-2014, 18:10   #3
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Re: Fuel stability question

I would add a fuel stabilizer and a cetane booster. The advice on making sure the tank and the fuel are clean is good advice. A well designed fuel polishing system is top one of my recommendations as well.
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Old 26-10-2014, 18:56   #4
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Re: Fuel stability question

It is not just a matter of the fuel degrading. Diesel fuel is mixed and sold with the next 90 days of weather in mind. "Tropical summer" and "Northern winter" fuel will be different, and tropical fuel may turn to jello during a cold winter. There are additives to deal with that, and biocides to inhibit critter growth. But any moisture in your tank (normal from condensation) becomes a great place for critters to grow, so you'd also want to take steps against moisture buildup.

There are a number of threads online about old fuel, stabilizers, biocides, etc. Also bear in mind that diesel ways ~7 pounds per gallon, so 500 gallons means 3500 pounds of fuel on the boat. That's better be one BIG boat.
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Old 26-10-2014, 19:26   #5
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Re: Fuel stability question

http://www.criticalfuelsystems.com/w...e-print-22.pdf

My injection pump re builder recommends draining the filter by half and filling with Standyne, run the engine. If you are not going to start the engine in the next 90 days.

The new ultra low sulpher diesel gums and varnishes like gasoline...which is bad for the injectors and hp pumps. They recommend not bunkering any fuel that you can't use in less then 6 months, and they recommend using additives for any fuel that will be stored over 90 days.

Lloyd
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Old 26-10-2014, 20:19   #6
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Re: Fuel stability question

Its true that modern diesel fuel is "not our father's diesel fuel". It has changed significantly over the past few years and doesn't store nearly as well as it used to.
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Old 17-07-2015, 11:38   #7
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Re: Fuel stability question

Old thread I know but along this line I have 220 gallons in two tanks. That last a very long time so to keep the tanks full top up periodically. So the fuel is a
Ways a mix of old and a bit on newer diesel.
I add stabilizer each time I add fuel. Based on the aunt of fuel added. But what about "renewing" the old stabilizer? Should I periodically add more stabilizer or is it possible to end up with too much of the stuff in your diesel.
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Old 17-07-2015, 11:39   #8
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Re: Fuel stability question

Should turn off my freeking spell checker...sorry


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Old 17-07-2015, 12:15   #9
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Re: Fuel stability question

As the fuel ages, does the cetane level come down? And would a low cetane level in and of intself result in white smoke from the exhaust?
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Old 17-07-2015, 16:37   #10
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Re: Fuel stability question

Contact the stabilizer maker, the products are all different.


Stabilant (for gasoline) says it is good for up to two years. That would imply replacing any that was more than two years old. Enzyme treatments are biologics and I'd expect them to break down as they age as well.


But if you've got two tanks, you might try filling and sealing one, then just burning through the other, and alternating between them. Best way to keep things fresh.


You run on tank #1, to make sure it is good. Shut and cap. Switch to #2. If it runs...stay on it until it is nearly empty, 1/4 or eight ours, whatever, left in it. Then you shut down #2 and hold it as a reserve while burning #1 again. Refill #2 as soon as you can, but keep burning #1. Alternating the tanks this way helps ensure you don't get stuck on a load of bad fuel, and keeps the fuel in each tank twice as fresh.
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Old 17-07-2015, 19:54   #11
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Re: Fuel stability question

What hellosailor said but when you get near the bottom of one tank is a great time to scrub it out. Very important maintenance item.
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Old 17-07-2015, 20:18   #12
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Re: Fuel stability question

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Contact the stabilizer maker, the products are all different.


Stabilant (for gasoline) says it is good for up to two years. That would imply replacing any that was more than two years old. Enzyme treatments are biologics and I'd expect them to break down as they age as well..
I know it was a stupid thing, but we moved our boat down the coast a couple of years ago and - due to a house rebuild that took priority - left the gasoline in the built in tanks for two years. It had marine Stabil in it, and the motors worked fine every month or two that we used them. And then they didn't. And it was bad. Carb cleanout, then about 30 minutes of run time, then carb cleanout, etc. The gasoline looked like a horrible piss yellow. I have full size 10 micron filters on each tank, plus strainers, and water separators. The gas looked all one phase. After the carbs were cleaned, the motors ran fine. Then started sputtering until cleaned out again. Or if put away still running good, would not run when we came back.

Ok the point is not how stupid I was, but what I did about it. I consulted an outboard mechanic that I have found to be an expert in his field. He recommended draining the tanks. I purchased an electric fuel pump from an auto parts house, some clear hose, and pumped out the gas into plastic gas cans. A friend wanted it and it burned fine in his truck. (So I didn't have to find a place to dispose of 20 gallons) I put a long cord and a cigarette lighter plug on the pump. After that, I purchased ten gallons of ethanol free gas, stabilized it with QuikStor (Mercury product), and added 16 oz can of SeaFoam. Put this into the 15 gallon permanent tank. Changed out the fuel canister filter, then hooked up the electric pump to the system and circulated the mixture thru for about an hour. It was a 35 gph pump, so probably circulated thru twice. The SeaFoam hopefully cleaned the system. Then changed out the canister filter, and cleaned the carb. Did the same for the second tank and motor.

So far have run thru 30 gallons of gas - on a 200 mile run up the ICW - and the motors have performed flawlessly. Outboard mechanic also told me NOT to run the gas out the carbs before putting up/storing the motors, as this still left a small amount of gas in the bottom of the carb that will eventually evaporate and leave residue in the carb.

I should have less problems now as we are no longer running ethanol gas (can get it in Corpus and a few places nearby, as well as I understand it is available in Florida - as there and the Bahamas is where we head next). And its stabilized. And I will be replacing what is left at the end of the year. It's a sailboat with 30 gallons of fuel capacity, and except for ICW trips when offshore is crappy, we only burn about 10 gal per year.
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Old 17-07-2015, 20:21   #13
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Re: Fuel stability question

Yes I agree with the scrubbing and I have not done that yet although I've owned the. Pay for 1.5 yes now. I have installed a transfer pump so I can move fuel easily through the racers from one tank to the other so that'll help facilitate the scrubbing. I'm a bit concerned about being able to reach much of the rank bottom. The tanks are mild steel and were rebuilt about 8 years ago by removing them cutting off the bottom 2" and welding on a new bottom but they are likely in need of a good internal scrubbing
Thanks for the advice


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Old 17-07-2015, 20:22   #14
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Re: Fuel stability question

That is supposed to read "owned the boat" it's that darn spellchecker again!


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