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Old 13-06-2021, 14:01   #1
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Question Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Hi

I've just done something really stupid, not only did I top up my diesel tank with water I also added enough water purification tablets to purify a 250l water tank

The amount of water was fairly small as the tank was full so just enough to back up the pipe

I've seen a fair bit on potential ways to maybe remove the the water from the tap at the bottom of the tank but only just remembered the purification tablets, does this mean the tank will need to be fully drained and the fuel replaced or might I have to take other actions?
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Old 13-06-2021, 14:10   #2
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Most likely yes. You might be able to salvage the diesel by separating to from the water. But I guess you earned yourself one diesel tank cleaning session.
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Old 13-06-2021, 14:37   #3
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

It's not worth losing an engine over.

You might try calling a diesel polisher, and discussing the situation with them. I don't know what was in your "purification tablets", so you really have multiple sources of diesel contamination involved. It would take a chemist to figure out the effects (if any) of bromine or iodine in diesel. It'll be interesting to see what information comes out here.

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Old 13-06-2021, 14:39   #4
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

What are the water purification tablets? If you drop another one in a jar of diesel and shake it around does it dissolve/disappear? Or does it generally remain as a tablet? If it dissolves in diesel then you’ll really need to consider the compound and what it might do in your fuel. If it doesn’t dissolve in diesel then most likely you just need to get the water out of the tank, the purification chemicals will come out with it, and away you go?

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Old 15-06-2021, 12:48   #5
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Do you have a 2001 Catalina 36 ? They placed the fuel fill right next to the port aft water tank and they both look exactly alike. My ** was putting a few gallons of diesel in the water compartment.
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Old 15-06-2021, 13:53   #6
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
It's not worth losing an engine over.
I doubt a couple water purification tablets would do anything to an engine. Would really need to know what is in the tablets and percentage. I was going to try do a rough calculation, but you didn't provide enough info.

But in end what is cost of a tank of diesel in the big picture compared to an engine?
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Old 15-06-2021, 14:29   #7
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomlisasail View Post
Do you have a 2001 Catalina 36 ? They placed the fuel fill right next to the port aft water tank and they both look exactly alike. My ** was putting a few gallons of diesel in the water compartment.
On our 2002 Catalina 36 the previous owner topped off the diesel tank with water (like the OP). I don't know which is worse but it's easy to do on our boats.

In his case he returned home several hundred miles using jerry jugs to/from as fuel tanks then polished the main tank at home.

Don't have a clue regarding the water purification tablets. That said, seeing if the tablets dissolve in diesel is a good first step.
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Old 15-06-2021, 15:06   #8
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Every time I go to the Water, Waste, and Diesel caps I stare at them for a minute and force myself to read the label and make sure I at the right place. I noted that immediately when we were looking at buying the Catalina, thinking how easy it would be to fill the waste tank with water by accident, or the extra diesel tank with water.



I would employ the services of someone who can use equipment to suck all that out right away.
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Old 25-06-2021, 07:49   #9
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Get the water out which likely has the chlorine tabs in solution.

Since water is heavier than diesel this means draining the tank.

A problem not mentioned is even small amounts of water lying under the fuel, often from a bad o-ring on the filler cap, can combine with the traces of sulphur in the fuel and eat pinholes in aluminum tanks.

Sorry, but fuel is very cheap compared to replacing a tank or damaging your engine.
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Old 25-06-2021, 14:46   #10
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Yeah, water in diesel is a common and relatively easy problem to solve, but I dont think I would take the risk on the water purificafion tablets for the cost of a tank of fuel.
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Old 25-06-2021, 15:15   #11
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Re: Water & purification tablets in the fuel tank! :(

Drain and re-fill.

If it was pure water, I’d say you could try to separate. But now you have halides in solution, and those are known to react with hydrocarbons under the right conditions.

Not worth it.
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