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Old 05-04-2016, 15:58   #1
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How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

I am a bit anal-compulsive about fuel, and up to now I have always had my tank cleaned out every two years, religiously. It costs about $1000.

Now in all these years I've never found a drop of water or a speck of dirt in the tank. I'm careful about where I buy my fuel, and the fuel in Northern Europe is generally of very good quality.

This year it's time again, and I'm thinking it's a waste of $1000 (650 pounds) since I never find anything, and there is nothing to clean.

But I sure as hell am not just going to let it go. So I think about dipping the tank -- pulling up whatever is at the bottom of the tank and having a good look. I just can't quite figure out how to do it, practically. My single tank, holding about 700 liters or 2/3 of a ton of fuel, is very deep, more than a meter. It has a kind of sump, conveniently located just below the large inspection hatch. So I think I need some kind of long tube, maybe a copper one, but how to draw the fuel up into it? Maybe one of those outboard rubber bulb things?

Anyone have any useful experience they could share?


Unrelated topic, but how cool is it, what's happened to the price of fuel? I only buy it approximately twice a year, so I get out of touch. At the Cowes fuel barge, it's now down to 59 pence per litre! (Plus whatever duty you declare). That's only a bit more than half of what it was just a year or two ago. No longer will I have to take out a second mortgage to bunker the boat! Now under $1000 for a whole tank.


I'm hoping to bunker up in Russia again this year -- best fuel I ever bought, and for peanuts (from memory, 25 cents a liter or something like that). It was brought up to me in a tanker truck from St. Petersburg, and I tied up to the ruins of a wharf, bombed out in WWII and never rebuilt, to get close enough to the truck to take on the fuel. THAT was an adventure in itself. In the magical fortress city of Vyborg. Karelia. The fuel was so sweet, with such a high cetane number, that the sound of the engine was noticeably different. It was delivered with a certificate, and with a sample drawn off and sealed -- as if they were selling me fine wine. Coolest fuel buying experience of my cruising life.
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Old 05-04-2016, 16:18   #2
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

I use a small pump on the end of a drill hooked up to a length of garden hose strapped to a bamboo tomato stake. Primitive but it works. I am planning on upgrading one day to a length of copper..

It handles a slightly under 2 metre lift quite happily.

I have never found any water but get a bit of silt off the bottom of the tank
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Old 05-04-2016, 16:22   #3
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Any of these would do it:

Fuel Siphon Pump | eBay

(except the "jiggler" ones)
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Old 05-04-2016, 16:33   #4
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Ideally you filter it and return to the tank, move the wand around like a vacuum, and I'd use a plastic tube.
I use a stick the measure fuel in aircraft tanks, I learned to make sure the stick was too long to accidentally get dropped into the tank. Imagine how I learned that?


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Old 05-04-2016, 16:47   #5
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Do you want to borrow this and bring it back in the Autumn? 12 volt and 100 lph.

I have topped up the tanks so we probably won't need to fill up again this year unless St Peter Port is really cheap.



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Old 05-04-2016, 17:00   #6
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

OUCH! That's a steep price for cleaning your fuel. Though, obviously, having clean fuel is very important.

I should think that what you're looking for, is simply a (fuel or oil) pump with the appropriate lift rating (plus a bit extra). And from there, just plumb the fule through a good set of filters & water seperators. Perhaps even the ones which you use for your day to day "fuel chores".

As it'd only take a little bit of plumbing ingenuity, in order to set them up so that they could be plugged into things, in order to perform said task. And they should be up for it, especially if you're using something like dual Raycor's, with a vacuum gauge. Which have clear bowls that allow you to see any water present in the fuel.

Or, depending on engine size, & your budget, you could go with fully seperate, water seperators.

I should think that any good engine guy/equipment seller, could sketch you out a good system pretty quickly. After taking a look at what you have, & your giving him a budget to work with.
That, plus I know that you have the Dashew's book, & that it has some references on same.
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Old 05-04-2016, 17:08   #7
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Ideally you filter it and return to the tank, move the wand around like a vacuum, and I'd use a plastic tube.
I use a stick the measure fuel in aircraft tanks, I learned to make sure the stick was too long to accidentally get dropped into the tank. Imagine how I learned that?


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But I don't want to polish the tank. I just want to draw off what's in the bottom.
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Old 05-04-2016, 17:11   #8
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Do you want to borrow this and bring it back in the Autumn? 12 volt and 100 lph.

I have topped up the tanks so we probably won't need to fill up again this year unless St Peter Port is really cheap.



Very kind of you, Pete!

But at this point, I only just want to take a sample from the bottom of the tank.

You should not arrive in St. Peter Port with full tanks. A crime against nature. The price is 56p per litre today at Boatworks!!

I love Guernsey -- are you going there this year?
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Old 05-04-2016, 17:13   #9
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

I just replaced my diesel and contaminated fuel had a hand in it. I added a ss tube welded to the bottom of the inspection panel and running to the bottom of the tank. I have a shut off valve attached to a rubber hose with a little squeeze outboard pump with a longer hose that will reach the floor. Every now and then I take samples and so far so good. If you need it I can send you a picture. R
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Old 05-04-2016, 17:31   #10
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

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I just replaced my diesel and contaminated fuel had a hand in it. I added a ss tube welded to the bottom of the inspection panel and running to the bottom of the tank. I have a shut off valve attached to a rubber hose with a little squeeze outboard pump with a longer hose that will reach the floor. Every now and then I take samples and so far so good. If you need it I can send you a picture. R
Please do. The outboard bulb was kind of what I had in mind.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:34   #11
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

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I love Guernsey -- are you going there this year?
Yes, last two weeks of July, current plan is looking like Solent - Alderney - Guernsey - Dartmouth - Weymouth - home.

BTW, the price of Diesel in the UK is creeping back up again

'good times' at an end as cost of petrol rises | Daily Mail Online
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:47   #12
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

If you are just drawing a sample, the outboard fuel tank bulb will do the job. If you just want to test for water a dab of Kolor Kut on the sounding stick will tell you if you have water contamination.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:39   #13
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

the tool of choice for your stated objective, which is used commonly used in biotech and chemistry, is called a pipette.

there are a couple styles with the simplest being a long tube open at both ends. insert into liquid you wish to sample, cap open end with thumb, withdraw, voila!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipette
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:42   #14
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
If you are just drawing a sample, the outboard fuel tank bulb will do the job. If you just want to test for water a dab of Kolor Kut on the sounding stick will tell you if you have water contamination.
Oh, thanks! Hot tip!
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:43   #15
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Re: How Do You Dip Your Tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
the tool of choice for your stated objective, which is used commonly used in biotech and chemistry, is called a pipette.

there are a couple styles with the simplest being a long tube open at both ends. insert into liquid you wish to sample, cap open end with thumb, withdraw, voila!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipette
Yes, but my tank is more than a meter deep! I need to get at the very bottom of it.
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