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Old 15-08-2017, 07:47   #1
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Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

I bought a Cal 27 earlier this year. I've been slowly cleaning it up and repairing and replacing various items around the boat.

The boat sat on the hard for a year or more before I bought it. The boat has a Yanmar 1GM10 engine that runs pretty good. I've ordered new oil and fuel filters. But I was wondering if anything else is recommended for normal operations.

Does anyone recommend any fuel additives to clean up the injectors or stabilize the fuel since it's over a year old?
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Old 15-08-2017, 08:43   #2
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

I'm sure you'll get many opinions on this, so I guess I'll offer mine.

I have used Valvtect Bioguard Plus 6 for the last 4 years. I usually dose it at end of season with pressed tanks and then maintenance shots when I fill the tanks according to their instructions. My Racor is always clean and the filters I feel wasteful for changing every year because they don't appear dark at all. I guess I do them out of habit. I run about 100 hours a season in the Northeast and on the hard for the winter.

Starting last year I installed a polishing system I designed and made. That made my already clean Racor bowl, almost comically clean, and anything that could have possibly been in my fuel now gets stopped at the first polisher filter and the pickup is the absolute lowest point in the tank.

When I had my injectors rebuilt by Boston Injection this spring, he told me that I did not need any biocide since I polish so much. He said the only stuff he recommends is Howe's Diesel Treat and he has no affiliation with them. Much of his injector work is for very large marine customers.

I guess to me it feels like a sugar pill but in some sense I do feel that adding back lost lubricity from ULSD is a good thing. Whether or not it actually helps I can't say.

In your situation you have old diesel that's been sitting, quite the opposite of my situation. If that were mine, I'd be inclined to filter that fuel quite a bit since you probably don't have a very big tank. This can easily be done by utilizing your existing fuel hoses most likely and rigging up a 12v pump to circulate it and simply swap Racors when clogged.

Depending on how bad your fuel is, treating it will just kill anything growing. That dead algae now heads to the filters. Personally, I'd rather supervise a mass algae extermination on my own terms than at sea when I depended on my engine. I cherish clean fuel and fuel tanks so I feel my efforts are worth it. Will most likely start the Diesel Treat regimen starting at haul out this year.
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Old 15-08-2017, 09:16   #3
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

Save your money. Fresh diesel fuel has all the additives needed for any marine engine. Remove the old fuel which is aged and likely has growth in it as well as reduced cetane rating and recycle it. Clean the tank walls where most growth happens or you will only recontaminate the fresh fuel.

Additives are essentially placebos for those who don't keep water out of their tank.

I've been involved in the petroleum terminal industry and we never put anything in our storage tanks (except a water bottom in the gas tanks)
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Old 16-08-2017, 00:39   #4
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

Think enough has been said about fuel requirements but if been sitting for long periods suggest you take the time to look into the following

1) Change out raw water pump rubber impeller
2) Would also change out the thermo-stat
3) Would remove the exhaust riser and clean/check or better to replace if any doubt
4) Flush out engine with Salt a Way and do it regularly
4) Check rubber exhaust hoses for cracks and fan belts on engine

Finally remember if your engine dosent start up right away close the raw water intake valve until it fires up, this will prevent you flooding the engine with salt water (for engines below or marginally on the water line)

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Old 16-08-2017, 07:26   #5
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captsteve53 View Post
Think enough has been said about fuel requirements but if been sitting for long periods suggest you take the time to look into the following

1) Change out raw water pump rubber impeller
2) Would also change out the thermo-stat
3) Would remove the exhaust riser and clean/check or better to replace if any doubt
4) Flush out engine with Salt a Way and do it regularly
4) Check rubber exhaust hoses for cracks and fan belts on engine

Finally remember if your engine dosent start up right away close the raw water intake valve until it fires up, this will prevent you flooding the engine with salt water (for engines below or marginally on the water line)

Salt-Away Home Page

Cheers Steve
Thanks.

My boat is in fresh water, but most of those things are still good ideas. My engine is in immaculate condition, otherwise. Old fuel and lube oil are my main concerns at the moment.

I've ordered oil and fuel filters and will perform an oil change soon.

The fuel tank was full when I bought the boat. I've since added a quarter tank of new fuel and the engine is already running smoother. When I see the old fuel filter, i'll decide whether it's worth pumping out all the old fuel.
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Old 16-08-2017, 07:37   #6
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

What can sometimes be found in Diesel is bacteria and not algae. Algae uses photosynthesis to get its energy.
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Old 16-08-2017, 07:57   #7
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

I too spend many years in the terminally and refining industry. I've sepnt years developing ASTM diesel, gasoline, and antifreeze tests. If the additives were placebos, they would not be needed at all. In fact they are, but the refinery dose is only for storage in large volumes and for relatively short periods. storage in a boat (high humidity, greater air contact, brass fittings) is a different matter entirely. A a direct comparisons risks being false, since the conditions are very different.

Stored in an air-tight bottle, treated diesel lasts decades.

Infection is a severe problem in a boat. Even the dissolved water can support growth. Thus, a biocide is always smart.

Corrosion is increased by water. A corrosion inhibiting additive is smart. See Practical Sailor.

Brass. Copper and zinc catalyze the breakdown of diesel and gasoline. They are forbidden by all manufacturers (Google large diesel gen set installation instructions) and ASTM guidance, but they remain common in boats. Brass and galvanized are forbidden in service station and terminal installations.

So there are good reasons for supplemental additives in boats. Biobor, Valvtect, and Startron have all tested well. There is also some snake oil out there.
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Old 16-08-2017, 08:16   #8
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

No additives are required.

Clean tanks, filters and removal of moisture is all that is needed to maintain a diesel fuel system.

You are better off disposing of stale diesel, physically cleaning your tanks and replacing filters then filling with fresh diesel.

Contaminated diesel is better off out of the boat.

We polish our diesel regularly by switching a diverter between tanks. Tanks are spotless and we have a 3 stage filtration system. 4 year old diesel is still fine.

We also procure diesel from bowsers with high turnover. We always fill from jerry jugs and filter. We never fill direct from the pump.

I spent a decade in motorsport when we made our own fuel blends. Lots of alchemy and propellor hat chemistry here but unnecessary for our recreational vessels.
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Old 16-08-2017, 08:28   #9
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

No they are not needed but it doesn't hurt to add something to the mix to control bacteria.

We have used Fuel Set religiously every time we fill up the tank and (touch wood) have not had any issues with fuel. That said the diesel we fill up with is the same as automotive diesel rather than agricultural or red diesel but I'm not sure that really makes much difference.

Also I have 1225litres of diesel heating oil siting in an open to atmosphere tank in the garden in one of the wettest parts of Britain and no one worries about contamination up here. Although this is being burnt in a furnace rather than an infernal combustion engine.

Add it or leave it at the end of the day it is your choice. Personally I'll stick it in every time.
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Old 16-08-2017, 09:06   #10
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

I'm no diesel guru - keep that in mind as I share my experience. Mostly I run other people's boats, and don't get involved in long term maintenance of their machinery. Clean fuel, regular oil changes.
On the other hand, I've driven a diesel engine car for years. A couple of years ago, the fuel pump came apart, spreading bits of metal throughout the fuel system - about an $8K repair, which thankfully VW stepped up to the plate to repair on their nickel, as it was a known defect. After it was fixed I talked to their service manager about it, asking why it happened, and what to do about it. He explained that with the national and international switch to low sulfer diesel fuel, problems with lubricity developed, since sulfer is actually a lubricant in diesel fuel. Good for the environment, not so good for machinery. What he suggested was an additive to add lubricity. Several out there, but the one he recommended was Stanadyne. I started using it, and while I can't give numbers on how much less friction was generated, indirect evidence showed up in a change in the mileage I had been getting, which went from about 42 mpg on the highway to about 44 mpg, with no change in driving habits. FWIW.
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Old 16-08-2017, 09:16   #11
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

We had our fuel polished ~10 years ago in Grenada. Down there and up the island chain much of the fuel comes from Venezuela and tends to be dirty. In the past, we usually had problems on a passage where the fuel gets stirred up and the dirt in the tank then circulates and clogs the filters.
The guy who polished the fuel recommended the Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement which contains cetane. In our case, one reason he gave was that our 82 Perkins diesel heats the fuel during circulation. He claimed that when the warm fuel goes back into the cooler tank, the higher molecular weight fractions crystallize out of solution forming black particles in the fuel. The supplement apparently solvates these fractions and prevents the crystallization. He did not recommend using bio-additives.
We have used the Supplement since, but I have also added Biobor. Our 10 micron Racors are surprisingly clean, so much that I've lost the habit of checking them often.
Our engine mounted fuel filter has become clogged after a rough passage.
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Old 16-08-2017, 09:48   #12
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

Great time to take some of the "old" oil in the engine before changing it out and send it off to Blackstone for analysis. You will get a baseline of the condition of your engine.

Then every so many hours of operation (100, 200, 500, you decide) send a new sample of oil off for analysis to see what is happening to the engine.

or, not.
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Old 16-08-2017, 11:29   #13
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

I hope this isn't too far off thread, but can anyone recommend a good pump for extracting the engine oil from the oil sump on a Yanmar 3GM30? I have a Jabsco hand pump and a small diameter pickup tube as the old oil must be extracted through the dip stick hole. There is no oil drain plug on the bottom of the oil pan.

The Jabsco pickup tube just can't seem to reach into the aft end of the oil pan and I wind up not being able to remove ALL the engine oil.

Not the end of the world, but I would be interested in a better solution.
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Old 16-08-2017, 11:37   #14
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

There's another thread right now about this topic
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Old 16-08-2017, 12:55   #15
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Re: Are fuel additives needed for diesel engines

I use biobor jr in my tank, might be over kill, but I do not burn that much fuel and do not have a polisher in my fuel system.
saw what can grow in a fuel tank on other boats
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