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Old 12-09-2014, 13:01   #1
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Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Im about to make the leap and make an offer on an older 30 footer thats been sitting for a couple of years. Although the seller swears that the engine runs great, and that there are no problems, Id like to eliminate a major possiblity and have what little fuel is still in the tank removed and the tank cleaned.

How much should I expect to pay for this service? Its a 20 gallon tank, so worst case scenario is that there's 20 gallons of old fuel.
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Old 12-09-2014, 13:20   #2
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Can you get to the tank? Depending on access to clean out hole or the ability to remove the tank it could be easy or almost impossible.
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Old 12-09-2014, 13:26   #3
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennismenace111 View Post
Although the seller swears that the engine runs great, and that there are no problems
Are you taking his "word" in lieu of a survey?
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Old 12-09-2014, 13:48   #4
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

ITs almost impossible to get the tank out without removing the engine... If the price is reasonable to have it properly cleaned, Id go that route rather than take a chance.
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Old 12-09-2014, 13:52   #5
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

there was just a discussion about polishing a few days ago.

Fuel Polishing System Installation

what r you thinking? a one time activity or a long term solution.

if you are looking for a 1 time thing, there is really no way anyone can tell you about time / cost without a lot more info.

is the boat in the water or on the hard?
does the fuel line come from the top or bottom of the tank?
can you separate the line from the motor?
is the motor below the tank?


install a new racor and run the motor. agitate the fuel in the tank, replace the filter and run the motor. pump out all the fuel, replace the filter and run the motor then replace the filter, say 4 hail marys and take pay attention.

or... rip up the solve, remove and replace the tank.

or... read the thread i linked to and install a similar system

or... do nothing and see what happens

**shrugs**

-steve
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Old 12-09-2014, 13:58   #6
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Steve thanks... Im thinking just pumping out the fuel in the tank...its at least 2 years old.. and putting some fresh stuff in and having a polishing/tank cleaning guy use that that to clean the sludge out of the tank... Is it a $150 job, a $300 job or a $500 job?
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Old 12-09-2014, 14:06   #7
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

This is no brainer... the tank needs cleaned. Its been sitting for 2 years..Im not taking anyone's word. Im using good judgement and common sense.
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Old 12-09-2014, 15:39   #8
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Some very essential questions.

1. How old is the boat? If more that 10-15 years see #4

2. Was there diesel in the tanks for the 2 years it was sitting? If yes, see #4

3. Are the tanks aluminum? If yes see #4

4. Clean the tank. At the absolute very minimum, very carefully inspect the tank.

I have a 30 year old Pearson. When I bought it and sea trialed it ran fine. Owner always kept biocide in the tanks. First time I got in the ocean the filters clogged. I emptied tanks, flushed the tanks, swabbed them through the inspection plate and still was clogging filters.

The only way to really clean the tanks is solvent or steam. If you can access them you can do it in the boat. Pain in the butt but can be done.

If the tanks are dirty polishing the fuel is like putting a band aid major wound. It might slow the blood flow but it isn't going to fix the underlying problem.

When I started cleaning the old crude and crap out of the bilges I also found diesel leaks. Pulled the tanks and both were full of black slime and were corroded on the bottom where the slime and water collected while the boat sat at the dock. Cut out a large part of the bottom and welded in new Al. Steamed the tanks while I had them cut open. Worth every minute for the peace of mind.

Check this old thread for pictures of the inside of an old tank.

The inside of a fuel tank
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Old 12-09-2014, 16:04   #9
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Appreciate your suggestions.. Im driving up to inspect the boat one more time this weekend and will pay attention to the tank area...maybe take some photos..

Removing the tank to clean it is the best alternative... and probably least expensive in the long run.
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Old 13-09-2014, 18:09   #10
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

You will pay a minimum charge for that small a tank. They usually like to have about 50% in t he tanks to do the cleaning. But with only 20 gallons it likely wont be a problem. A lot of their time is setup as well as filter disposal etc. So you will likely pay as much as a 40 footer would.. maybe..?
It a great feeling to know your tank is clean and see all that gunk come out of it. I bought a boat that had sat for 3-4 years in florida and simply added fresh fuel to the fuel in t he tanks with no issues. I don't think the fuel actually goes bad, but gets contaminated from growth.
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Old 13-09-2014, 18:49   #11
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Fuel polishing is great but it is not an alternative or substitute for cleaning out the tank. If the boat has been sitting for two years, how many years has it been since the tank was cleaned? It is practically guaranteed to have a layer of sludge at the bottom.

I pay about 450 pounds ($700) to have mine cleaned out (every two years), and I have only one tank and relatively easy access. I hire a guy who has a special rig which jet washes the insides of the tank with clean fuel. Then he cleans it out by hand. Every time I do it, he says -- your tank is spotless; you could have skipped this. And every time my answer is -- it wouldn't be spotless if I skipped this.

Part of that is down to much better quality fuel here in the UK. In Florida, I had endless problems with fuel, used biocide, had sludge cleaned out of the tank every year, etc, etc. So a lot also depends on where the boat is. But a boat which has been sitting for a couple of years -- don't even think about not cleaning out that tank.
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Old 15-09-2014, 18:12   #12
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

What ever you decide to do, put in a racor filter. This will grab any and all gunk and water in the tank, allowing you to drain it off anytime, and deliver clean fuel to the engine all the time.

In fact if you first add a Racor and fun a season you might find you don't need to mess around with opening the tank and cleaning it. The deposits in the sediment bowl of the Racor will tell the condition of the tank.


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Old 15-09-2014, 19:01   #13
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn.Brooks View Post
What ever you decide to do, put in a racor filter. This will grab any and all gunk and water in the tank, allowing you to drain it off anytime, and deliver clean fuel to the engine all the time.

In fact if you first add a Racor and fun a season you might find you don't need to mess around with opening the tank and cleaning it. The deposits in the sediment bowl of the Racor will tell the condition of the tank.


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I beg to disagree.

If that tank has 5, or more likely 10 years of crud at the bottom of it, the Racor will only hold about 5 minutes worth of it, if it gets really stirred up. And that will be at the worst possible time -- just when you get an astonishing patch of rough weather, and you're scared, and you really, really need the engine.

Don't go there. Clean the tank!
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Old 15-09-2014, 21:24   #14
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Re: Fuel Polishing/Tank Cleaning

First if you take the boat out in seas that are rocking the boat and you do not plug filters you will be able to get away with using a proper fuel additive to clean the system up. You want to use a dispersant that will pull any bad fuel or sludge back into the fuel as you sail. The more fuel you run through the system the cleaner the system will get.
If you are plugging filters as you sail down the ICB then you should treat the tank first with an additive and then have someone pull from the bottom of the tank or strip the tank.
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