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Old 25-07-2013, 14:57   #16
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

I would not quickly discount OutOfControl's thought of a one-way valve in the pick up line. It is likely a one-way ball valve that prevents the fall of the fuel back into the tank. This, of course, is not needed when there is no chance of an air leak. I'd lift the pick up tubes and inspect the free flow through them. Even if you have direct evidence of debris in your fuel such a valve that is stuck can be the ultimate problem. Any attempt to force compressed air into the tube could just reinforce the jam. If you find such a ball valve you can drill it out with success.
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Old 25-07-2013, 15:06   #17
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True, but a one way check isn't an anti siphon.
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Old 25-07-2013, 15:48   #18
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

Alan, I also assumed you've already looked at potential clogs in primary and secondary fuel filters...

And I think I also assumed that removing the tank from your boat might be at best difficult, at worst (aka normal) might mean cutting through the hull and/or deck and removing it that way...

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Old 25-07-2013, 16:30   #19
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

Alan, your Tartan 27 if an early model has the fuel tank mounted aft of the engine close to the transom according to Sailboatdate.com. If you have access from a cockpit locker you should be able to remove the tank and as Vasco mentioned take it to a radiator shop for cleaning and then have them pressure test it. If the tanks test okay and is clean you can then install new fuel and return lines and be sure you will not have the problem again....
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Old 25-07-2013, 18:01   #20
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
True, but a one way check isn't an anti siphon.
Sure, & likely a misnomer, but that's why we're referring to it as a check valve. 'call it as you please, it's an important item to check before you start cutting into a tank or attempting the harder tasks.
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Old 25-07-2013, 18:27   #21
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

"True, but a one way check isn't an anti siphon."

Sailmonkey, some anti-siphon valves are of dual purpose construction. In other words they not only protect from accidental siphoning they also prevent fuel from draining back into the tank. The OP may have a defective valve and it would be a much cheaper repair than some of the more drastic measures mentioned earlier in the thread.
As long as you can access the tank it should be easy to examine and evaluate the valves condition.
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Old 25-07-2013, 18:36   #22
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OutOfControl View Post
"True, but a one way check isn't an anti siphon."

Sailmonkey, some anti-siphon valves are of dual purpose construction. In other words they not only protect from accidental siphoning they also prevent fuel from draining back into the tank. The OP may have a defective valve and it would be a much cheaper repair than some of the more drastic measures mentioned earlier in the thread.
As long as you can access the tank it should be easy to examine and evaluate the valves condition.
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Not all tanks have one but I think you are correct to at least check to see if there is one and if it's working...MANY fuel related issues that people miss including marina mechanics is the simple anti-siphon valve...

Doing all the other labor intensive and crazy stuff suggested until you check for and/or the functioning of a anti-siphon valve is pretty silly.
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Old 25-07-2013, 18:54   #23
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

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Originally Posted by agilmore View Post
My Tartan 27 diesel fuel tank will not feed fuel to my Westerbeke 11A diesel. I tried sucking on the fuel line hose, nothing. This problem started after the engine was sitting for about 7 weeks.

I tried blowing into the hose and some bubbles gurgled for a bit, then stopped and I couldn't get any more air into the tank by blowing.

I removed the vent line, nothing changed.

I suppose the next step is remove the tank and pull the fittings to inspect?

Also, the tank is metal, probably .050 inch. Is there any sort of fitting I can put in the bottom to drain off water and sludge? I am thinking about a fitting that I can just drill a hole and attach without welding. The tank is galvanized.

Thanks,
Alan Gilmore
If I can ask you a couple of questions...
1) Is your draw tube copper?
2)Have you used any additives to the fuel?
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Old 25-07-2013, 18:55   #24
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

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Will grant that a screen on the pickup tube can cause problems but it's there for a reason. The screen makes for a much larger area that has to be obstructed to stop fuel flow. It will also stop a relatively small amount of debris from getting sucked into the tube and clogging it. Series Rovers came with a screen on the pickup tube but this one had been removed. That allowed pieces of rust that were too large to be sucked all the way to the carburetor but large enough to clog the tube when joined with a few of their brethren. A screen provides a much larger area that must be blocked before fuel flow is shut off and impossible for a few pieces to clog the pickup.

The screens on the rovers were copper mesh. Over the years they could have small debris collect in the fine mesh so fuel flow would be restricted. Really easy to clean them up with a tooth brush after 15 or 20 years. Of course the tank in the Rover was way easier to access so cleaning the screen was a simple 1/2 hour operation to remove the fuel pick up and scrub. Doubt that will be the case with the fuel tank in a boat. Have just spent several days pulling the tank from my boat and it was not fun.
On two occasions I've seen pick up tubes with a tiny disk of screen fit inside. A screen such as this only serves to collect small bits of gunk and plug up the pick tube. Happened to me once and resulted in the engine stopping dead at a most inconvenient moment. Unlike a fuel filter, a pickup tube can be a real pain to take out and clean (and furthermore, it's the last thing you will suspect, so you probably will have changed both fuel filters anyway before you get to the pickup tube. On a diesel, unless your pick-up screen has a very large area like Roverhi describes (I have never seen one like that) the screen should be taken out. Let the filter do the job of filtering instead.

Advice to the OP: before you undertake more drastic remedies, take out the pickup tube and check what's trapped on the end.
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Old 25-07-2013, 18:56   #25
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

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Originally Posted by laika View Post
If you find a screen on the tank fitting, get rid of it! It's the job of fuel filters to filter the fuel, not a screen hidden away in the bones of the system.
Exactly.
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:16   #26
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OutOfControl View Post
"True, but a one way check isn't an anti siphon."

Sailmonkey, some anti-siphon valves are of dual purpose construction. In other words they not only protect from accidental siphoning they also prevent fuel from draining back into the tank. The OP may have a defective valve and it would be a much cheaper repair than some of the more drastic measures mentioned earlier in the thread.
As long as you can access the tank it should be easy to examine and evaluate the valves condition.
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Ok, I found the valve that is being discussed. I don't see any reason for this to be on a diesel powered boat........although it may have been added for some strange reason.
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Old 25-07-2013, 21:59   #27
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Re: Fuel tank: Clogged?

I'd go the steam cleaning route. I can only base this on my own experience. Prior to going cruising I had access plates installed on the top of both of my fuel tanks. Then the fuel was sucked out into a large tank and hauled away. I could have sworn that I was pumping out my holding tank! I used paper towels to wipe down the inside of the tank.

If you just blow the crud away from the pickup tube, it'll just return when you stop. The pickup is about an inch off the bottom of the tank, so when it plugs up, you have a heck of a lot of crud in the bottom of the tank.

BTW always keep your fuel tanks full and you'll have less crud gather in the tank.
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Old 27-07-2013, 10:03   #28
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Re: Fuel Tank: Clogged?

The fuel line was not clogged.

There is a one way valve, and it was functional.

I used Stabil (diesel) and Biobor JF during the winter, but nothing since the warm weather set in.

Yesterday I pulled the batteries so I could get to the fuel tank. First I took a sample from the bottom using a long tube and a hand pump: no water or bugs, but a fine black (dark brown?) silt. It's not magnetic, but it is gritty. BTW, I think the tank is aluminum instead of galvanized steel as I first thought. I'll take a magnet with me the next trip to the boat.

I pulled the pickup tube and found the screen at the end was covered with a mixture of the black grit and slime. I pulled the screen out, and as you suggested, I am going to leave it out!

So, now I need to find a primary filter (the engine has a secondary filter). The engine manual suggested the RACOR Model 500 MA, but I think I will look at the 500 MAM with the metal bowl. It will be a tight fit because there is not much room in the engine compartment.

Any suggestions on a smaller diesel filter? The usage rate is .46 gal per hour (I know the flow rate is higher, but the manual does not spec it). Anyone know the typical ratio of flow rate to use rate?

Also, concerning polishing, since the fuel injector returns some fuel to the tank that has gone through the primary and secondary filters, it seems that the fuel will be polished when running the engine. So why should I install a polishing system? I suppose I missed something rather obvious, so feel free to 'set me straight' :-)

Thanks to each of you for the inputs,

Alan
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Old 27-07-2013, 11:40   #29
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Re: Fuel Tank: Clogged?

Hi Alan,

I have a Racor 120 series primary on my Yanmar 3GM30F (24hp) which uses a 30micron filter (R12P is the Racor filter #).

I also installed a fuel polishing system last year with a larger filter using a smaller micron rating and a Wabasto pump that pumps roughly the capacity of the tank each hour (40gallons).

My take on polishing is that if you can keep you tank clean and guarantee you're always putting good diesel in then you probably dont need it.

My tank is a bear to get at though and I dealt with the diesel bug last year and filters clogging at inopportune times, so it just made sense to me. Also, the little Racor filters are expensive and I was going through them fairly regularly.

Polishing with a large filter that is not part of the actual fuel delivery system means you can leave it on while under sail and/or getting kicked around in a seaway (when all the crud is most likely to get kicked up in the tank). It has a larger capacity then the engine filters and is designed to take most of the debris that would otherwise be headed for the engine filters. Ideally, it should also feed from the very bottom of the tank.

In my case, 90% of problems I've run into with diesels have been fuel-related, and the polishing just takes a few variables out of the equation. That being the case, I could probably do just as well without if, as others have said, I had good access to the inside of the tank, always prefiltered fuel, and kept the tank full as often as possible.

-Ryan
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Old 27-07-2013, 12:01   #30
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Re: Fuel Tank: Clogged?

Ryan,

larger filter+smaller micron+feed from the bottom of tank+filter more often=better system . . . I get it. Thanks.

I looked at the Racor 120 and it appears to have a clear plastic bowl. Since I have an inboard, do I need a metal bowl to meet Coast Guard specs?

Alan
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