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Old 29-09-2016, 04:14   #1
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Fuel tank cleaning

My fuel tank has a bad fungus problem. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a solution to cleaning the tank where there is no access except through the filler and fuel gauge holes. It cannot be removed without destroying some fine woodwork
I have totally drained it and plan to put some fresh diesel blended with kerosene and an overdose of diesel conditioner and let it slosh around a bit then drain it. Repeat...repeat...repeat

I have also obtained a Racor and 12v fuel pump to loop between the engine feeder outlet and fuel return pipe to run continuously and try and filter out some of the junk.

In the interim I will install a day tank.

Everything I have read says it has to be wiped clean but that is impossible.

So, my question is, does anybody know of a product that will clean the tank and kill the bugs...... preferably available in Oz

Tank is stainless steel

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Old 29-09-2016, 04:28   #2
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Re: Fuel tank cleaning

I have my fuel tank cleaned by professionals who use a high pressure pump and a wand like a pressure washer. They remove all the fuel and circulate it several times through a big filter array, then blast the walls of the tank with the pressure washer thing, using clean fuel.

The service is not cheap, but I think it's pretty effective. Maybe even better than wiping down by hand, which is also impossible with my tank.

Once you get it clean, be sure to inspect it regularly (at least once a year) and dip the bottom of the tank to get any water out of it. Maintenance is key to preventing these problems. I clean my tank every two years although I've never (knock on wood) had a diesel bug problem.

Note also that water in fuel tanks most often comes from faulty o-rings on deck filler caps. I think that flush mounted fuel tank fillers are fundamentally a bad idea, but most boats have them. I suggest watching the o-ring like a hawk, and always being careful to keep the filler cap closed tightly.

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Old 29-09-2016, 05:23   #3
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Re: Fuel tank cleaning

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Old 29-09-2016, 05:44   #4
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Re: Fuel tank cleaning

Had the black fungus in my tank a few years ago, looked like fur in the tank. I used the Biobor Diesel Biocide JF and had very good results. The only thing that will kill microbes in diesel fuel and keep them from spreading is a diesel fuel biocide. First why did it happen. Bet water is getting in the tank, check the deck fill o-ring replace if cracked. The ultra-low sulfur diesel, is missing the bacteria-killing sulfur so that doesn't help.

The fix I used. I used the hole for the tank level sender unit to pick up trash/water from the bottom of you tank with a copper tube, do that first. Add biocide and fill the diesel tank. Recirculate the fuel 30-60 minutes or more for bigger tanks. Let the diesel fuel settle. Do another trash pick up from tank bottom. Change the filters a little more often and you'll be good to go.

Keep using the maintenance dose of the biocide and if fuel is sitting use stabilizers. Polishing the fuel does nothing to fix what caused the problem or in killing the microbes.

I did this and few years later had a guy polish my tank, said it was one of the cleanest tanks he had seen.
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Old 29-09-2016, 05:49   #5
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Re: Fuel tank cleaning

Difficult to do completely without removing the tank, but you do need to use some biocidal compound like Bio-bore to kill the living stuff that makes its home initially in the margins between water and fuel. Be careful and not assume you only have bacterial growth and overlook the possibility of deterioration in your black steel fuel tank itself. Not much to be done there without removing the tank except keep the tank as full as you can and accept the ferro-flaking that is trapped inside. Sounds like you have a good mechanism for removing contamination with your circulation pump. If you are committed to not removing the tank, maybe you could refine a pick up tubing that would reach all the tank after you have shocked it with Bio-bore.

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