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Old 19-03-2012, 14:55   #1
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What Happened to my Diesel Fuel?

Hi Everyone,

I dedicated this weekend to getting my universal diesel up and running. I installed a new raw water impeller, I removed the old oil (still need to remove the filter before adding new oil), and changed one of my fuel filters (primary). I drained the fuel from the primary and it was relatively clean. When I checked the tank, I discovered something else entirely.

It looks like orange juice!!! I pumped out roughly ten gallons (yes with that small pump and bucket) and got it almost completely drained. There was some liquid the hose could not reach. After I drained the tank, I added half a bottle of biocide and water remover to the tank.

I detailed my work on my blog (Part 3 relates to this post):
Sailing with Soul


I was hoping you guys could double-check my intended course to solve the problem next week. I will do the following:

1. Iíll add 5 gallons of fresh diesel.
2. Rock the boat wildly at the docks to try to get as much gunk as possible off the inside of the tank;
3. Iíll pump all that out.
4. Iíll follow up with more fuel and a second additive shocking.

At that point, the fuel system will be ready for service.

What do you guys think?
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:00   #2
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

eeeewwww...looks like algae-- try adding biocide....
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:02   #3
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

If you have or can borrow an electric fuel pump you would be much better off fashioning a metal tube 'wand' to a hose connected to the pump. Open the fuel inlet and instead of rocking the boat, use the fuel pump to wash the sides and bottom of your tank. This is not to be done in haste as either way (rocking or pumping) you are trying to dislodge crap and get it into your fuel mass. Once you open this bottle the genie doesn't go back to sleep all that easy - all that floating detritus will attracted to the one of two places in the tank it can get out (it can't get Out the fuel Inlet) which means your fuel tank outlet will be at risk of clogging (in terms of getting choked, not the country style of dancing) and shutting down the mill (engine).

If you choose to try the pump/wand way, please plumb in a filter so you can eliminate as much of the floater material as possible (this is called 'polishing' your fuel).
Good luck!

don't do this if your fuel is Gasoline!!
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:14   #4
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

I hope this isn't too much of a thread drift, but I began to be a little concerned when I heard of a new bacteria bred to "eat" petroleum that was dumped in massive quantities in the ocean to help "clean up" oil spills.

It occurred to me that it would be bad if while cruising the worlds oceans some of these guys happened to splash into your fuel tank.
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:20   #5
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
eeeewwww...looks like algae-- try adding biocide....
LOL... I think I have an entirely new form of life in that bucket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetriguy View Post
If you have or can borrow an electric fuel pump you would be much better off fashioning a metal tube 'wand' to a hose connected to the pump. Open the fuel inlet and instead of rocking the boat, use the fuel pump to wash the sides and bottom of your tank. This is not to be done in haste as either way (rocking or pumping) you are trying to dislodge crap and get it into your fuel mass. Once you open this bottle the genie doesn't go back to sleep all that easy - all that floating detritus will attracted to the one of two places in the tank it can get out (it can't get Out the fuel Inlet) which means your fuel tank outlet will be at risk of clogging (in terms of getting choked, not the country style of dancing) and shutting down the mill (engine).

If you choose to try the pump/wand way, please plumb in a filter so you can eliminate as much of the floater material as possible (this is called 'polishing' your fuel).
Good luck!....
Thanks Blue! I managed to pump out and dispose of the old fuel. I'll be working with fresh diesel from now on. I don't plan on keeping the second five gallons I add, as this one will be used to pick up and remaining gunk. Everything will be pumped out the filler tube to not clog the engines fuel line. When I finally add the keeper fuel, should I fill the tank (25 gal) and then give it a good shocking with boicide and water remover or can I just add half a tank (10-15gal)?
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:26   #6
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Not at all Capn bill. All thoughts are welcomed thoughts in my threads.

I would say possible, unless that bacteria had a specific shelf life and could not reproduce beyond a certain point. If it does reproduce and survive, that bears the question whether a cruiser infected by such a strain will be able to sue those ***** oil companies into the ground. sign me up for that class action
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:42   #7
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Are you running Biodiesel by any chance. If biodiesel sits too long or is in subfreezing temps it tends to separate.
But in IMHO it looks like water has been introduced.
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:52   #8
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
I hope this isn't too much of a thread drift, but I began to be a little concerned when I heard of a new bacteria bred to "eat" petroleum that was dumped in massive quantities in the ocean to help "clean up" oil spills.

It occurred to me that it would be bad if while cruising the worlds oceans some of these guys happened to splash into your fuel tank.

Maybe I'm missing something, but ... how would that happen?
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Old 19-03-2012, 15:57   #9
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

I honestly don't know about the biodiesel. I do think water was introduced, and the tank sat there without being stabilized or used. Hopefully, I will be able to flush out the system sufficiently over the coming week.
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Old 19-03-2012, 16:02   #10
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Hire a fuel polisher
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Old 19-03-2012, 16:07   #11
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Use the biocide only as directed. Or less. It seems to precipitate solids if used at high (shock) strengths.

You really need to open the tank and scrub it out by hand. It's not the worst job on a boat, but it's close.
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Old 19-03-2012, 16:54   #12
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

The color sure is odd. All diesel bio-contaminants I have had the displeasure of meeting have been black. Could this be rust? What kind of tanks do you have? Fittings?
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Old 19-03-2012, 17:47   #13
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

Agree with below, it looks like water was introduced to the fuel. Often comes out looking milky.


Quote:
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Are you running Biodiesel by any chance. If biodiesel sits too long or is in subfreezing temps it tends to separate.
But in IMHO it looks like water has been introduced.
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Old 19-03-2012, 18:20   #14
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Quote:
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The color sure is odd. All diesel bio-contaminants I have had the displeasure of meeting have been black. Could this be rust? What kind of tanks do you have? Fittings?
Hi Belize, the tank is metal, either stainless or aluminum. I too thought the color was add. It didn't look like at rust I ever saw. The water intrusion may have led to bacteria that exploded inside the tank. Unfortunately, taking the tank out may require cutting the cockpit. I'll try multiple flushes ill keep a ready supply of Primary fuel filters. Anyone every deal with growth this bad without removing the tank? One can hire a fuel polisher?
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Old 19-03-2012, 18:40   #15
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Re: What happened to my diesel fuel??

How about steam cleaning the inside of the tank?
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