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Old 04-03-2014, 19:33   #1
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Pumping out the Diesel Tank

Hello,

I'm looking for a method to safely pump out our diesel tank so I can clean it. I'm looking fir some guidance on the best and safest method to do so.

Thanks,

Z
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Old 04-03-2014, 19:45   #2
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

I have used a Whale Gulper. The standard diaphragm isn't nitrile so won't last long. But long enough for your job, then replace it.

Or buy one from Nirthern Tool with the nitril diaphragm.

OR, call Whale and get a nitril diaphragm.

Super pump, can be used for all kinds of things. I use one as a fuel transfer pump into my day tank.

Northern Tool - Whale Gulper 220 Diaphragm Pump - 3/4in. Ports, 300 GPH, 12 Volt Motor, Model# HD1552 customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings
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Old 04-03-2014, 20:03   #3
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

Mostly it depends on how big your tank is ! The squeeze bulb ya use for a outboard, will start a siphon for ya and let ya drain your tank if ya have drop! It's a pain in the butt to transfer diesel to small containers, but we have pretty much all done it a time or two !! a small pump is the way to go, ya can always through the old impeller away after you use it to pump the diesel !! By useing a pump you can remove the diesel out to containers on the dock and keep things a little cleaner aboard !!
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Old 04-03-2014, 20:33   #4
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

There are lots of pumps sold for transferring diesel fuel. There is no issue with flammability providing you don't start spraying fuel around as a mist. A friend used his 12v pump designed for sucking waste oil from the engine to pump out his tank. An impeller than can stand up to oil will stand up to diesel fuel
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:45   #5
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

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Originally Posted by gordwedman View Post
There are lots of pumps sold for transferring diesel fuel. There is no issue with flammability providing you don't start spraying fuel around as a mist. A friend used his 12v pump designed for sucking waste oil from the engine to pump out his tank. An impeller than can stand up to oil will stand up to diesel fuel
Those were two of my concerns - what kind of pump and flammability of the fumes.

The second reason I am taking the fuel out is so that I can safely drill a port for the Hart Tank Tender that I am installing.

Any hints on being safe when drilling the fuel port?
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:04   #6
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

Get a small 120v pump with a nitrile impellor. (could use 12v) For diesel it doesnt need to be a "fuel transfer pump" but needs the nitrile impellor. Then you need a drum, one of those 55 gal blue plastic ones is great as it doesnt scar up your boat. Or put the drum on the dock. (haha.. you're likely to get a lot of worriers if you do) The pump should be down near the top of the tank, It will have no problem pushing fuel 20+ feet if needed. Been there done that.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:09   #7
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Those were two of my concerns - what kind of pump and flammability of the fumes.

The second reason I am taking the fuel out is so that I can safely drill a port for the Hart Tank Tender that I am installing.

Any hints on being safe when drilling the fuel port?
Under normal conditions diesel fuel is not very volatile so the fumes should be of little concern.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:12   #8
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

1. If you have an electric fuel pump, just disconnect the line to the engine and pump it out.

2. If you don't, buy a cheap one at an auto parts store anywhere around the world.

3. Try a Super Siphon

4. Get an inexpensive one time use pump you stick into a drill bit.

Lotsa options.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:18   #9
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

A full tank will be better than empty. Less air space. Remember the big jet that exploded out of ny years back. Cause was a hot empty fuel tank. Fill it and drill it. Cooler temps will help ease your mind. As others have said. Diesel fuel has much less volatility than gasoline. Be very cautious around a gasoline tank.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:52   #10
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

Not sure how tough it is to drill the hole you are doing, but consider just holding a tupperware container under there you are drilling by hand (access port?) and leaving the fuel in.
To set your mind at ease, take a coffee can and put some diesel in it. Now start throwing lighted matches into it. .....It will never ignite.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:54   #11
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Re: Pumping out the diesel tank

Still, I'd rather use an air powered drill and drill slowly with a lubricant. Air drill can be cheap, and somebody has to have a compressor around.
Best if your paranoid to fill the tank airspace with C02 or N2 to displace the oxygen before drilling. I agree a full tank is safer than one filled with fumes, liquid Diesel doesn't burn, the fumes do. Light that coffee can and look at the flames, they will be a little above the liquid.
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Old 06-03-2014, 13:14   #12
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Re: Pumping out the Diesel Tank

I've decided that I am just going to take the whole port cover off (it doubles as the dip and fill tubes) and drill it outside. It has to come off anyway to clean the tank.
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Old 06-03-2014, 13:55   #13
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Re: Pumping out the Diesel Tank

there was a story i read about a boat that had a fire in the engine room and the diesel tank ruptured .. releasing the fuel and extinguishing the fire
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Old 06-03-2014, 13:56   #14
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Re: Pumping out the Diesel Tank

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I've decided that I am just going to take the whole port cover off (it doubles as the dip and fill tubes) and drill it outside. It has to come off anyway to clean the tank.
Good !!, the correct way
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Old 06-03-2014, 14:04   #15
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Re: Pumping out the Diesel Tank

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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
there was a story i read about a boat that had a fire in the engine room and the diesel tank ruptured .. releasing the fuel and extinguishing the fire
It does pack some heat though!!!

I remember firefighting school at the academy... The entire ground floor was mocked up like a ship interior... and the deck was grating... Under was a pool of diesel they lit off while you were in there.... Talk about steamy!

I don't think they'd get away with the same method these days...
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