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Old 30-12-2019, 23:12   #46
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
When I identified an asphaltene problem in my tanks I put together a polishing rig that has at the heart of it a high volume fuel transfer pump as used by onsite equipment refuelers, it has an output similar to a fuel bowser, and sucks through a 25 mm tube via a water separator/30 micron filter. Tanks have a simple filler fitting directly above the lowest point and the fuel is recycled from the pickup to the filler, creating a lot of movement within the tank, removing any crap. Works well and is used on an annual basis as preventative maintenance.
That sounds great, but I think even better would be to rig with a spray wand like the pros use, so you can direct the jet of fuel to every little corner of your tank.
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Old 30-12-2019, 23:14   #47
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I'm thinking that finishing the pickup tube's end as a sharp "V" shape would help to some degree to avoid blocking by a bit of plastic or cardboard as described by the OP. The somewhat rigid cap liner could get sucked up, but would lie only against one side of the V, leaving the other open to flow. No screen involved.

Not foolproof, but a better chance than the typical flat cutoff tube end.

Jim
Perhaps, but still not a substitute for getting known debris out of the tank.
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Old 30-12-2019, 23:35   #48
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Perhaps, but still not a substitute for getting known debris out of the tank.
Why, of course this is true... IF getting known debris out is a viable prospect for a given boat. Some have fuel tanks that are simply not accessible without major destruction of the fitout, and frankly, not many folks are willing to go to such lengths to mitigate an uncertain hazard.

And actually, I wasn't so concerned with KNOWN debris where I agree that retrieval is the best option, but rather with UNKNOWN debris. Like in the extant case, if the OP hadn't noticed that the seal fell into the fill pipe... then having a pickup design that minimizes the chance of blockage seems a good deal.

Finally, the pro polisher is a good option if one can afford them and if one is located near such a service. Plenty of yachts live where no such pros are available for hire. And plenty of yotties for whom the fee for polishing would be a major hit to the budget. I expect that some will make the common retort that "if ya can't afford the maintenance, don't buy the yacht". Such advice has seldom stopped a dreamer or an addict from buying as we so often see here on CF. And sadly, it is just these sorts of low budget buyers whose boats would most benefit from polishing. Dang!

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Old 31-12-2019, 00:04   #49
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

You said you think itís in the inside of the fill hose? I personally would start by removing that and seeing if itís there.
When I first bought my boat a Rather long thin piece of cardboard dropped into my tank while I was servicing the gauge. I did put an identical piece in a jar of desiel to see what would happen..... the cardboard sunk and did not dissolve after a week. So I borrowed a friends pump and vacuum the bottom. Had it a couple of times but it was not working (but I did clean a bunch of funk off the bottom). Finally I fashioned a harpoon and sat playing for about an hour.... fortunately tank sloped towards pickup/fuel gauge where I had access. Finally found and stabbed it. I was lucky because it would have clogged the pick up.

Good luck!
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Old 31-12-2019, 02:53   #50
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Why, of course this is true... IF getting known debris out is a viable prospect for a given boat. Some have fuel tanks that are simply not accessible without major destruction of the fitout, and frankly, not many folks are willing to go to such lengths to mitigate an uncertain hazard. . . .

Your life and the lives of your loved ones may depend on your diesel running when you need it. I would never in a million years buy a boat with inaccessible fuel tanks, and would never in a million years go to sea knowing that there is some crap floating around in my tank. Being sure your fuel tank is clean and free of debris is absolutely fundamental in my opinion, and you cannot do this without access. If I were king, I would pass a law banning the use of boats with inaccessible fuel tanks. I'm not joking -- this is fundamental seamanship. How major can the destruction be? Good lord, cut a hole if necessary.
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:07   #51
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Your life and the lives of your loved ones may depend on your diesel running when you need it. I would never in a million years buy a boat with inaccessible fuel tanks, and would never in a million years go to sea knowing that there is some crap floating around in my tank. Being sure your fuel tank is clean and free of debris is absolutely fundamental in my opinion, and you cannot do this without access. If I were king, I would pass a law banning the use of boats with inaccessible fuel tanks. I'm not joking -- this is fundamental seamanship. How major can the destruction be? Good lord, cut a hole if necessary.
Look, if Iíve told you once Iíve told you a million times, stop exaggerating. ;-)

Lots of boats have crossed oceans successfully with tanks that have never been cleaned in 40 years.

Best practice? Certainly not, but letís not get too ridiculous.
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:23   #52
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

I can only think of maybe once or twice in the last five years where I’ve been in a situation that if the engine quit it would be any more than an annoyance.

I can’t think of a single time where my life depended on the little Diesel, and if your ever in such a situation with any kind of regularity, your foolish to be doing it in a single engine boat.
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:36   #53
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

On the delivery when I bought my boat, the pickup tube clogged at least half a dozen times. What was clogging it looked like tofu. Light brown in color and a little like cottage cheese or something.
Awfully sure it was dead “bugs”, really had me worried as I imagined the while bottom of the tank had a layer of this tofu and rough water would break it up and then we would have a mess.
But it didn’t. When the clog would occur it was almost always in the 90 degree fitting at the top of the tube, I’d remove the tube and blow it out. I got so I could remove and clean the tube in a couple of minutes.

Of course just to add insult to injury all three of my tank vents were clogged with dirt dobber nests.
To fill the fuel tank I would remove the unused generator plug in the tank and let it be the vent and watch fuel level and shout when to stop filling.

These were annoyances, but never a safety issue.

Even driving an automobile, never put yourself in the situation where if the engine quits you’ll be hit by other traffic.
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:38   #54
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Do not put screens on pickup tubes. Not a single reputable designer does this, whether or not it is forbidden or discouraged or allowed or whatever.
Not true. Lots of boats have screens on the pick-up tube, straight from the factory.

If you buy a tank, it wonít likely have one.

If you by a pick-up tube, it may not have one.

They are usually purchased separately, like bindings on skis.

If one doesnít know to buy and install the screen, they will go without.

It wonít be the end of the world.

Any debris in the tank will hopefully stay in the bottom, and if not get drawn to the water separator and trapped there, or in the secondary filter.

But from an engineering viewpoint, there is a risk of debris getting caught at the end of the pick-up tube, and fuel pump suction holding it there, or the debris getting into the pick-up tube, and then lodged somewhere, between the end of the tube and the water separator.

I donít doubt that some, who have had a screen plug, and had a helluva time finding the issue (perhaps cause they didnít really know how to troubleshoot) or because they hadnít removed the pick-up tube before and realized how easy it is to do.

Removing the pick-up tube is completed by removing the fuel hose, putting a wrench on the hex nut fitting, and turning it ccw. About the same effort as removing a filter.

Additionally, there should be a shutoff valve either on the pickup tube (outside end) so one can shut this off, to avoid spilling fuel and emptying lines, making the job even easier.

Installed properly, the screen can be removed as easily and quickly as a fuel filter.
(A temp plug will need to be used if doing it in rock and roll conditions for the open pick-up tube tank fitting. Good practice to tie one to the tank for this purpose.) If one buys a hardwood plug package for through hulls, they will likely have several smaller ones left over, perfect for this application.

The screen should be much larger mesh than the first fuel filter in the line.
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Old 31-12-2019, 07:40   #55
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

Every time I go sailing I leave my harbor that has a rock jetty surrounding the inlet....... good sailing at 10 to 15 knot winds would quickly deliver you up on the rocks if your engine were to fail on the way in or out. Then there is the ferry traffic and again stone jetties in the harbor to the west of me were we go often to overnight.... Of course that's why we have an anchor and sails.... but things do happen very quickly. I like to have as many cards in my favor as possible and could not sleep if I knew something was in there.... Just my opinion though.
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Old 31-12-2019, 08:34   #56
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Originally Posted by NYSail View Post
Every time I go sailing I leave my harbor that has a rock jetty surrounding the inlet....... good sailing at 10 to 15 knot winds would quickly deliver you up on the rocks if your engine were to fail on the way in or out. Then there is the ferry traffic and again stone jetties in the harbor to the west of me were we go often to overnight.... Of course that's why we have an anchor and sails.... but things do happen very quickly. I like to have as many cards in my favor as possible and could not sleep if I knew something was in there.... Just my opinion though.
Anchor(s) should be ready to deploy in an instant, in the event of any engine failure.

IMHO, it is unreasonable to inspect the inside of the tank prior to every outing, (like one does the engine and transmission fluids, correct?)

Cleaning a tank out now and again, (if one suspects debris) is good practice. Frequency is normally dependant on historical experience. Perhaps start annually and then decrease frequency as history dictates.

In northern climates, bio accumulation is pretty much a non issue, so I suspect many tanks are never cleaned during the life of the vessel.
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Old 31-12-2019, 08:44   #57
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I'm thinking that finishing the pickup tube's end as a sharp "V" shape would help to some degree to avoid blocking by a bit of plastic or cardboard as described by the OP. The somewhat rigid cap liner could get sucked up, but would lie only against one side of the V, leaving the other open to flow. No screen involved.

Not foolproof, but a better chance than the typical flat cutoff tube end.

Jim
Love this idea, maybe enough to pull my dip tube and implement it.
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Old 31-12-2019, 08:45   #58
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

Of course nobody is going to check their tank every time they go sailing..... but if they dropped something in there that can clog the fuel line it sure does give you reason to get it out so you have one less thing to worry about.....
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Old 31-12-2019, 08:54   #59
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Your life and the lives of your loved ones may depend on your diesel running when you need it. I would never in a million years buy a boat with inaccessible fuel tanks, and would never in a million years go to sea knowing that there is some crap floating around in my tank. Being sure your fuel tank is clean and free of debris is absolutely fundamental in my opinion, and you cannot do this without access. If I were king, I would pass a law banning the use of boats with inaccessible fuel tanks. I'm not joking -- this is fundamental seamanship. How major can the destruction be? Good lord, cut a hole if necessary.
To me it is clear that Jimís suggestion is a simple, practical bit of mitigation for the times when pristine tank idealism fail you.

Obviously you should aim to keep your tank clean. Obviously it is not impossible something might sneak past your watchful eye, perhaps while something else is going wrong demanding more of your attention. It is the effect of one thing gone wrong leading to another that makes me happy to wear both a belt and suspenders.
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Old 31-12-2019, 08:56   #60
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Re: Item dropped into fuel fill stem

Having had fuel quality issues, and a tank with no access to polish I did the best I could.

I added a small day tank and an electric pump with a manual timer switch and a second fuel filter.

Before leaving a where I top up the day tank. The day tank is accessible and I can SEE how much fuel I have. The engine fuel return goes to the day tank so the that fuel is filtered multiple times. The fuel tank is pretty high and almost gravity feed.

Now if I have a problem with my main fuel supply it will not come as a surprise, it will happen when filling the day tank.

Actually I was so happy with it on our big boat I also added one to the small boat.

If fuel supply is really that big a deal then a day tank is very cheap insurance.
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