Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-11-2010, 03:33   #1
VVD
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sint Maarten / Saint Martin
Boat: Caliber47LRC - MAKAI
Posts: 78
Took in Bad Fuel

During a stopover in Bermuda I filled the aft tanks at the Shell station in St. George before heading down to the Bahamas. Both tanks filled my filters with slime and lots of water. I suspect I got the bottom of their tank because my main tank was still full and does not have the same problem. I am now waiting for someone to help me pump out the aft tanks and flush my fuel system. I am angry because this caused me big problems, a large bill and I had to sail and later towed into the reefs of George Town, Exuma because my engine was useless. What is the best way to prevent this, is there any recourse to the Shell station? What is the best way to clean this mess and not worry going forward?
__________________

__________________
VVD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 03:56   #2
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,398
Images: 115
If you can prove the transaction, then have the bad fuel analyzed shortly thereafter, I would think you have a case.

To get compensation for towing and filters and other expenses you may have to go to court. (Doubt the gas station will pony up without a judgement)
__________________

__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 06:18   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,373
Prevention

1. Fill through a funnel/filter if you are not certain of the quality of the fuel you are buying. The Baja Filter is one brand but the West Marine brand is rated as good or better for less money.

2. Set up a dual filter system like the Racor 751000FHX. This setup allows you to instantly switch in a fresh filter by turning a valve if one plugs up.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 06:37   #4
Eternal Member
 
capt_douglas's Avatar

Join Date: May 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Boat: Vancouver 36 cutter????
Posts: 620
Send a message via Skype™ to capt_douglas
You can prevent this by only filling one tank (assuming you have the capability to move fuel between tanks); using an external filter (Baja seems to do the trick most of the time); asking for a fuel sample prior to starting the transfer (so you can let the fuel settle while pumping); or having a fuel polishing system.

Other than that, about all you can do is carry a lot of fuel filters, check the Racors often, and/or polish the fuel internally. Having parallel external filters can keep you going while you change the old filter out.

As for recourse, I'd write a letter to the Shell station and Shell documenting your problems (receipts, photos, etc). Address it to the President of Shell. And let us know what happens.
__________________
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/M.I./C.I. 500-ton Oceans
capt_douglas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 06:44   #5
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,735
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Prevention

2. Set up a dual filter system like the Racor 751000FHX. This setup allows you to instantly switch in a fresh filter by turning a valve if one plugs up.

I have a dual Racor system and think it is very valuable.

But it would NOT prevent a problem like the OP's. When the fuel is so dirty that it plugs up one filter after less than a tankful has been run through, the second filter will get plugged up just as fast.

Dual Racors are not a panacea. They are more useful for marginal cases where a filter has gotten clogged not from some disastrously dirty fuel like the OP's case, but when the filter has gotten clogged gradually, and you need to keep the engine running while you change the element in the first filter.

They are also nice because they have a vacuum gauge built in, so you can see the onset of clogging. Part of my daily machinery check is to start up the engine and observe the Racor vacuum gauge (and shine a flashlight through both filter bowls).
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 07:21   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I have a dual Racor system and think it is very valuable.

But it would NOT prevent a problem like the OP's. When the fuel is so dirty that it plugs up one filter after less than a tankful has been run through, the second filter will get plugged up just as fast.

Dual Racors are not a panacea. They are more useful for marginal cases where a filter has gotten clogged not from some disastrously dirty fuel like the OP's case, but when the filter has gotten clogged gradually, and you need to keep the engine running while you change the element in the first filter.

They are also nice because they have a vacuum gauge built in, so you can see the onset of clogging. Part of my daily machinery check is to start up the engine and observe the Racor vacuum gauge (and shine a flashlight through both filter bowls).
No the dual Racors are not a panacea but one part of an overall strategy. Also if you do pick up a load of bad fuel you can have a fresh filter primed in the system which even with the dirtiest fuel should at least get you in a slip if you can get close to the marina under sail.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 07:25   #7
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,735
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
No the dual Racors are not a panacea but one part of an overall strategy. Also if you do pick up a load of bad fuel you can have a fresh filter primed in the system which even with the dirtiest fuel should at least get you in a slip if you can get close to the marina under sail.
And if you have enough filter elements on board, and you have enough crew so that someone is steering while you fiddle in the engine room, you can change them over and over again until you get there. Switch to a fresh one, then change the dirty one. Switch again, change again.

Yes, of course, dual filters are great; that's why the first thing I did when I bought my boat was to install them.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 07:57   #8
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
Nothing went into our tank unless it went through our Baha Filter as Skipmac suggested. It caught lots of some very nasty stuff and alerted us quickly if we were at a location that had bad fuel. In over 15 years of using the filter we never had issues with taking on bad fuel. It is simple, nothing to install or maintain other than cleaning the screens, and easy to deploy at fueling. Chuck
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 08:15   #9
Registered User
 
cfarrar's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Brooklin, Maine U.S.A
Boat: Allures 44
Posts: 734
Images: 2
Like Chuck says. We aways fuel through our West Marine funnel filter. We've never picked up anything of note in our single Racor. (We also clean our tank every few years as part of winterization).

By the way, the most contaminated fuel we purchased in the last few years was in Georgetown, Exuma (winter before last). Our funnel filter picked up lots of slime and dark particulate while fueling our jerry jugs. We showed them the evidence, but in true island fashion they couldn't have cared less. So be careful.
__________________
cfarrar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 08:49   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,132
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
By the way, the most contaminated fuel we purchased in the last few years was in Georgetown, Exuma (winter before last). Our funnel filter picked up lots of slime and dark particulate while fueling our jerry jugs. We showed them the evidence, but in true island fashion they couldn't have cared less. So be careful.

If you're talking about the Shell station, one of the cruisers approached the owner about the crud in the fuel. The owner was very interested and said that the filters were changed often. He was quite responsive and asked to see the crud. I found a little bit of crud when I got a few jugs. That station is always running out of fuel so I guess they're always at the bottom of the tank. I use a Baja filter whenever I re-fuel, anywhere! The worst fuel I ever got was in Myrtle Beach so it's not only the islands.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 08:51   #11
Eternal Member
 
capt_douglas's Avatar

Join Date: May 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Boat: Vancouver 36 cutter????
Posts: 620
Send a message via Skype™ to capt_douglas
More than once I've pulled out the screens from the Baja and showed them to the fuel dock manager or truck driver. Being able to physically show them the grunge, gunk, and water can be very helpful.

As cfarrar comments, most locations don't seem to care. I'm no spring chicken, but I've learned that getting fuel from a station that caters to cars and trucks seems to give me the cleanest fuel; and in many parts of the world, "clean fuel" is open to wide interpretation.
__________________
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/M.I./C.I. 500-ton Oceans
capt_douglas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 09:36   #12
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,762
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
we can all gripe about bad fuel. baja filters help. installing a fuel polishing system in your boat is a good idea--will keep that from happening again. install a 2 fuel pumps and 7 in line filters including water separators nd is good. a friend showed me this when i needed to hire for 300 dollars fuel polishing company to "fix" my "bad" fuel.....IT WORKS. and, yes, you do have space to save your life-- a polishing system CAN save lives....if fouling th e filters occurs in the wrong time and place.
the problem is--bad fuel is , unfortunately, a fact of life. we are not cruising usa-- we are cruising the world. goood luck and dfair winds-- try the polishing system and have a realllly GOOOD cruise!!!!
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 11:39   #13
Eternal Member
 
Chief Engineer's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: North of Baltimore
Boat: Ericson 27 & 18' Herrmann Catboat
Posts: 3,798
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting to get reimbursed by Shell/Bermuda.
__________________
Chief Engineer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-11-2010, 12:10   #14
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK/Portugal
Posts: 20,189
Images: 2
Send a message via Skype™ to boatman61
pirate

I suffered a similar 'screwing' when I topped up my tank in Beaufort NC before a Trans-Atlantic to UK... everything was fine to start with on the short motor out of the anchorage and with a nice N wind I did not run the engine for more than 1/4 hr at most... sails were up before I hit the main channel..
Later in the trip I went through all my spare filters trying to keep the engine going to keep the batteries charged... by the time I was 1/4way to the Azores it was impossible to run the engine any more... ended up sailing into Horta and dropping my hook around 1am... much to the concern of the fleet already there..lol... no nav lights etc..
Met a mate who came on board to look at/fix the engine prob and after a while we both came to the opinion there was so much crap and water in there the only recourse was to drain and flush the tank... my gut feeling is I'd been sold the crap flushed out of the tanks of the sport fishing fleet.. but how does one prove it...
Being in my usual financial state... broke... I decided to postpone this till I reached the UK.. however I did still need the engine..
Solution..? I bought a couple of 25litre cans and filled with fresh clean diesel, a length of tube, in-line car filters and an outboard squeeze pump.. I then disconnected the fuel from the main tank and fitted part of the hose to the engine then an in-line filter, more hose, the pump and the final section of hose through a hole I'd drilled in the cap of the fuel can.. my mate turned over the engine while I squeezed away till clean fuel reached the injectors... which were then tightened and she fired and ran like a dream... the only pain in the but was the can had to be lashed in the main cabin at the foot of the steps... but it was worth it to have motor and elec again... served me well for the rest of the trip and a coupla month after until I found somewhere to tie her up for the winter..
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
fuel

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fuel Leak at the Fuel Pump dubhouse Engines and Propulsion Systems 14 15-05-2010 17:40
Dented Mast- How Bad Is Bad? Zednotzee Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 10 25-01-2010 17:22
Fuel Level and Water in Fuel Sensor Endojoe Engines and Propulsion Systems 0 30-06-2009 08:26
Home Depot Plumbing fittings - just bad or really bad? neelie Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 34 11-11-2008 18:21
One that was not so bad. Slrman The Sailor's Confessional 0 25-03-2005 06:42



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:25.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.