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Old 13-03-2013, 09:16   #1
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Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

After many years of sailing the Puget Sound and Vancouver Island areas I sold my sailboat and purchased a Trawler 18 months ago. The boat is a model year 2008 that carries a total of 400 gallons of diesel fuel in two tanks. When I fill the tanks I get a moderately dark orange discharge out of each fuel tank vent. This discharge is apparently less dense than diesel fuel since it starts dripping out of the vents prior to the pink diesel fuel. I have not filled the tanks enough to produce any diesel fuel from the vents yet, but the tanks are full according to the sight lines and the fuel gauges on each tank. The fuel water separators on the Racor filters look clean and pink. Anyone have any experience like this? Is this a fuel treatment additive put in the tanks by the previous owner or some kind diesel fuel loving organic discharge? I've poked around the web but have not come across anything similar other than a guy saying his Diesel pickup had orange fuel after filling up at a Walmart. I would welcome any comments. Thanks.
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Old 13-03-2013, 13:45   #2
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

Given the description it sound like rusty condensation water. Are there any steel parts in your fuel tankage system?
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Old 13-03-2013, 14:01   #3
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Thanks for the response, the color seems about right. I am not positive, but other than hose fittings, I don't believe there are any steel or iron components in the fuel tank system. If it were rusty condensate, would it be at the bottom of the tank? This discharge is apparently floating on top of the diesel fuel, as it only appears at the tank vents when the tanks are very nearly full.
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Old 13-03-2013, 14:38   #4
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

Do your vent fixtures have screens on them. The screens sometimes rust.
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Old 13-03-2013, 20:24   #5
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Quote:
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Do your vent fixtures have screens on them. The screens sometimes rust.
I don't know if the vents have screens. It seems like it might be more than rusty screens, but I'll take a look. Thanks.
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Old 18-03-2013, 07:37   #6
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There was a thread on here a while back where the fuel was completely orange and he could not explain it. He literally had a bucket full of orange fuel. Some hypothesized bio-fuel.
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Old 18-03-2013, 08:12   #7
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

The fact that the fuel in the Racors looks nice and the orange is only in the vents indicates that the problem is above the tanks in the vents. It doesn't take much rust to make a lot of orange.
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Old 18-03-2013, 08:24   #8
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

If you are getting than much condensate (any really), you really need one of these:

H2OutŪ AVD3 ~ Product ~ H2Out

I've been testing these independently for a set of magazine articles for Practical Sailor--they really work. We've lab tested them, tested them on gasoline and diesel, and have them on a number of boats. Seemed gimmicky and I wish I could recommend a competing product, but there isn't another at this time and these seem well made and simple.

Perhaps they are not so valuable in all markets, but the NW and NE are damp cold water areas that really benefit. Personally, I think they pay for themselves in any marine setting.

I should caution that good installation is VITAL. If you fill it with diesel or liquid water, it's ruined. Also, gasoline and diesel installation are a bit different.

You will probably need a fuel-air separator:
http://www.boatus.com/foundation/Fin...Findings40.pdf

I would also trying sucking some fuel off the bottom of the tank. You probably have some free water that is not helping. A good corrosion additive (Star Tron is testing VERY well) is a good idea as well.

-------

Sail Delmarva: Gasoline Tank Vent Filters--Better Boat Keeping?

Sail Delmarva: Gasoline and Fuel Tank Vent Filters

Sail Delmarva: Gasoline Filtration... and Vent Filtration Too?
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Old 18-03-2013, 08:29   #9
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

Rather than play the multiple guess game on the Internet, why not simply bring a sample of the material to a local lab and have them analyze it?
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Old 18-03-2013, 09:13   #10
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

The method used by the H2Out filter is widely used and accepted for filtering air supplied to spray painting operations. It's affordable and reliable. On a spray booth that runs all day, M-F, you need to replace about $20.00 of the filtering element 2-3 times a year.
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Old 18-03-2013, 10:15   #11
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

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The method used by the H2Out filter is widely used and accepted for filtering air supplied to spray painting operations. It's affordable and reliable. On a spray booth that runs all day, M-F, you need to replace about $20.00 of the filtering element 2-3 times a year.
Very true. The H2OUT refills are marked-up. We tested AC silica gel and believed it to be equivalent (Delta Adsorbents and Grainger).

We are also finding that they last a long time, typically several years on e-10 gasoline (an equilibrium is established). We don't have good long-term diesel data at this time, but are continuing testing.
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Old 18-03-2013, 10:16   #12
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

How much of this orange liquid do you get?? Is it just coming from the vent tubing itself?It may not even originate in the tanks.
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Old 18-03-2013, 10:32   #13
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

You might have algae or other growth in your vent lines? wierd one for that new a boat. Are there any of those "anti vent" devices in your vent lines to keep from spewing diesel while filling?
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Old 18-03-2013, 10:39   #14
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Re: Orange discharge from fuel tank vents

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How much of this orange liquid do you get?? Is it just coming from the vent tubing itself?It may not even originate in the tanks.
Very true. But if some is dripping out, some is dripping in.

The orange, as many have guessed, is almost certainly rust. Nothing else is probable, though bacteria can certainly hasten the process and they are everywhere. If you think it is possible that it is oil, mix it with some tap water and see if it mixes.
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Old 18-03-2013, 11:23   #15
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Thanks for the comments on this thread. I will look into the fuel air separator and vent line over flow preventer. I have done a little more investigating and I believe this is a case of Diesel Bug. Apparently the bacteria can be orange when alive and black when dead. Even though the Racor Bowls were clean and pink I decided to change the filter currently in use. While the filter was not clogged and not covered with slime it was quite black from microscopic contaminants. I need to look into the preferred biocide treatment. A quick search indicates there are plenty of products out there. Any first hand recommendations are welcome.

The cost of a fuel air separator ($189) and over flow preventer ($110) for each tank will be over $600, ouch.
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