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Old 19-07-2020, 04:18   #1
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dirty fuel question

hi guys,

am without internet w a limited data plan so have not scoured the available resources here... on my phone

am helping owner deliver boat in med, with two big fuel tanks, 400 litres each. the boat sat due to covid following season. owner did top off tanks to prevent condensation when he left the boat end august 2019

situation symptoms include a bit of white smoke, engine cut off (upon which we changed the three fuel filters - all came out murky creme colored w nasty bowl lots of water). also, variations in revs as we sped up (we thought it was due to the gear cable, but now think due to water in fuel)

we have used a bilge pump to pump out 5 litres from the bottom of each tank

each is very cloudy, each has a whitish thickness (growth-looking) line that separates two shades of murkiness

yes, he did add a preventative biocide when packing up last august and yes, he added more after we changed all three fuel filters

the bugs are probably at their beginnings due to the darkness on the low part if the pumped out bottled fuel, but no black line

ok, so we do not know yet if we can get the equipment we need in this little spanish marina (fuel filtering funnel) and are considering two things:

- pump out a max of water from the bottom of each (or one tank - they are huge) - then compliment w jerryrigging jerry cans

- and/or run the fuel through the two off-engine fuel filters and then running it into the tank again, changing and washing the micron filters as we go

any suggestions?
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Old 19-07-2020, 04:23   #2
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Re: dirty fuel question

further info

we could stop sooner (in barcelona - get fuel pumped out and tanks cleaned - maybe i will learn to do this ) than destination planned (marseille) if required but prefer to jerry rig and hobble if there is no danger to engine

forecast is light winds (too light for this old gal to sail) that would mean we would motor

thank you!!!

wolfie
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Old 19-07-2020, 04:32   #3
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Re: dirty fuel question

I'm not sure you have a growth problem. Maybe (you can buy dip slide test kits). But you do have a deck leak where water is getting in the fuel.
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Old 19-07-2020, 04:34   #4
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Re: dirty fuel question

i had this problem on a delivery,i ended up building a see through fiberglass day tank for the engine where i could easily drain off any water in the tank,and used a fuel pump through a large domestic water filter to clean the fuel as it was pumped up from the keel tank that had bilge water leaking into it.
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Old 19-07-2020, 04:39   #5
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Re: dirty fuel question

thinwater, thank you

yes he says that he added a cap to one of the two deck inputs... with the idea that there could have been a leak

and must have to figure now why this has't solved since it predates this situation

thanks again!
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Old 19-07-2020, 04:55   #6
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Re: dirty fuel question

hey Atoll!

yes, got it. you are giving us ideas

now going to poke around in the town to see what kinds of shops we can find, discuss our options, run our ideas

before making a huge mess

thanks

wolfie
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Old 19-07-2020, 05:10   #7
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Re: dirty fuel question

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgal View Post
hey Atoll!

yes, got it. you are giving us ideas

now going to poke around in the town to see what kinds of shops we can find, discuss our options, run our ideas

before making a huge mess

thanks

wolfie
if you need to in an emergency you can just use a plastic container and a simple 12v fuel pump and some lengths of fuel hose till you get somewhere that you can get your fuel polished by a tanker.

just use the 12v pump on the feed pipe from the tank and pump direct into a plastic container. use an inline fuel filter as well,and buy plenty of spares they are cheap
discard the first lot of dirty/watery fuel.
then run a hose to the plastic container from the engine filters and run the engine from the fuel in the container whilst monitoring any water build up and drain off as needed.

any auto parts store should be able to supply you with a small pump ,fuel hose,hose clips,inline fuel filter etc
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Old 19-07-2020, 05:16   #8
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Re: dirty fuel question

Would it make sense to draw from the top portion of existing tanks first? Wouldn't the better fuel 'float' on water or sludge? PS Bon Voyage W!
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Old 19-07-2020, 06:46   #9
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Re: dirty fuel question

thanks Atoll and Spot

@Atoll. owner really likes your daytime tank solution, is thinking on this as a ling-term solution. plenty of storage space in the tank area for this

thanks too for the make-shift solution. good info. gonna check shops in morning

thinking too of abandoning marseille and barcelona altogether, opting for a yard not too far north of here, so to be on safe side. will see

thank you

@Spot hi! yes, we have sampled the fuel at the very top and have rerouted the fuel line in such a way as to be easily fed from jerry cans as well as the top of one of the fuel tanks...

if push comes to shove, we can draw from the top while keeping an eye on the filters

we have pumped out 5 litres from the bottom of each so far and will pump another five (as we have to walk to the dumping facility and back before doing it again). our idea is to get a max of water out so that it will not be there to slosh in with the rest while we are underway

thanks!!!

just curious to know if anyone attempted this: dran from the top of the tank
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Old 19-07-2020, 09:20   #10
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Re: dirty fuel question

Maybe try a board as a float with a little bit of weight and a pick-up tube a couple centimeters below the surface:
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Old 19-07-2020, 09:46   #11
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Re: dirty fuel question

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Maybe try a board as a float with a little bit of weight and a pick-up tube a couple centimeters below the surface:
fantastic idea!!! will let this rattle around in my brain a bit so to find the needed stuff

i just had a bit of heavy-duty luck:

happened on someone here (a frenchman who appreciated that im fluent!!!) who very willingly sold me 4, 25-litre transparent containers!! AND curiously enough all four fit in the floor between the tanks at the bottom of the companionway and are in easy distance to the pick-up and return lines (kinda feeling LUCKY here

we've put a hole just big enough for the pick up line in one of the tops, so can switch over easily

got a smaller container for the return line (once we get clean stuff returning)

and have another 43 litre containers to compliment

looks like we will get it all together to head out tomorrow morning after all (gotto get in the galley and prepare some meals, and need a shower...)

thanks so much to everyone who helped out here!

much appreciated

oh yes, now to find marinas where we can refuel that are not closed due to c-19, heard barcelona is completely closed....

huge, huge thanks!
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Old 20-07-2020, 07:33   #12
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Re: dirty fuel question

So glad you have found people and parts to help with the problem!
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:24   #13
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Re: dirty fuel question

just to do a follow-up

we got dirty fuel AGAIN in Camargues (the place has 4000 berths and is a madhouse in july!).

we got in there, fueled up and left even though we had had a long day and wanted to stop for a night. it was so hectic in there: it gave me the feeling of having lice in my hair!

anyway, we decided to head for a small marina two hours beyond (Saint Marie des Mers is exquisite for those who are in the area), motorsailing again as not enough wind to move the big old gal. and once again, the engine sputtered and stopped. we had just remarked how it was likely that the fuel was good as the Camargues marina is such a hotspot, but no! the fuel was MOSTLY water!


and this is the thing: because we had 4 transparent tanks and had filled three there, we could easily see the water in the fuel and switch over to the remaining good fuel tank that had not been contaminated when we filled up.

so we were able to transfer the line into this tank, get the water out of the filters, and bleed the engine and get going again in a very short period of time. it was amazing!

from there we decided that it is best to pump a litre of fuel at any fuel station into a plastic bottle and look at it before filling the containers.

having a filter at Input is a definite too

we also decided that it is best to keep the four, separate, transparent container system so to manage fuel as needed (especially since, at least in europe, it is said that good fuel now has a lifetime of six months). having carry-able fuel tanks (even i can carry the 25 litre one) is great if one is faced with getting rid of a lot of bad fuel.




thanks again to everyone here and to those who helped with the fan belt burn-up question!!!!



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