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Cat 3208TA running problem

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Marty Kaufman, Jul 7, 2017.

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  1. Marty Kaufman

    Marty Kaufman New Member

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    I have a Cat 3208TA in my Cabo 35. It has run great for over 100 hrs since I bought the boat.
    The port engine quit early in the week on a fishing trip and I limped in on 1 engine.
    We completely tore down the Racors and rebuilt them.Replaced the filers, pressurized them and started with up. On sea trial the port engine died when I went over 1,000 RPM. It restarts once pressurized and when we got back to the dock and stopped we restarted the engines like normal and both started.
    Any suggestions?
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    How about the secondary? Was that replaced ? Vacuum gauge on the racors? What does it show?
  3. Marty Kaufman

    Marty Kaufman New Member

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    Replaced all of the filters ad filled with good fuel and pressurized. vacuum gauge showed it went into the red when it died and we reset it each time. It runs fine at under 1000 rpm
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    If the vaccuum gauge went into the red and the filters are all new when it died you have a fuel restriction. The supply hose is probably either collapsing or kinking.
  5. Marty Kaufman

    Marty Kaufman New Member

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    Thanks! Going to check that out in the morning.
  6. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    I always prefer to polish the fuel tanks on a purchase of a used boat just to set the baseline for good clean fuel and piece of mind.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Polishing fuel is a waste of time in most cases from what I've seen, unless the fuel is so bad you can't run 2 hours on it. You need to get rid of the source of where the moisture in the fuel is coming from to begin with. Polishing only removes about 90% of the algae and they only polish down to 2 microns. What happens is, if you don't then burn through all of that old fuel and add fresh fuel and a good chemical like diesel kleen, the algae grows right back to where you started from in a month or two, just like a ficus hedge you trimmed in the rainy season.
  8. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    J, I have had great success on polishing the tanks of two used boats out West that ultimately had contaminated fuel. We removed buckets full of black algae from the previous owners neglect and resolved the algae issue, and with additives never had it come back.Boroscoped the tanks showed them to be clean to our satisfaction and it was the best money spent for our issue.
    Have no idea what polishing means out East but your advice would have been way off the mark in our case. We were not experiencing an engine shut down issue but where noticing a drop in performance and increase in filter contamination as the fuel burned off. For a well used boat, especially a Cabo vet, I would do it as standard practice .
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    West coast IS a totally different animal. To grow algae in diesel you need 3 components: Heat, air, and moisture. The air and water temp where you are is A LOT colder than in Florida. You always have air (via the vent). Here in Florida you always have Heat, it's 93F outside right this minute. The moisture is the only variable one can control here.....Without moisture the boats don't get algae, BUT algae is pretty prevalent here to some degree. The older high sulfur offroad diesel will grow algae probably 5x as much as the newer lower sulfur offroad. All of the older boats over here 5 years ago and prior.....man, you'd run them for a day at cruise and you'd be in the engine room changing all of the racors because they'd be packed with black algae. I don't see this hardly at all anymore since the switch to the lower sulfur several years back.

    What I have noticed is when everyone switched to the lower sulfur offroad diesel, it would actually start knocking the algae off of the tank sides and breaking it up to a degree and would end up in secondaries and clog them and pass right through the 30 micron racors that EVERYONE over here used. I've switched to 10 micron racors on all of the yachts I manage, and even then don't seem to have any algae issues. I have one owner that has single racor 1000's, he goes through on average 1700 gallons of fuel per month, 25 GPH per engine hour per motor and singe racor, and all of the fuel filters go 200 hours and 5000 gallons of fuel and the filters all look like new.



    Boats shipped over from the West Coast, no matter how long they've been sitting, I've never, ever seen algae in the fuel between the cold air and water temps.
  10. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    So our experiences on West coast boats are complete polar opposites.
    Leads me to believe that heat is not so important as you stated., as there are more factors to consider, especially the sources and storage of fuel, including those in more remote places.
  11. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    My understanding from the petroleum engineers I met with in my factory car days, is that microbial growth is promoted by cooler temperatures and that refiners stabilize winter fuel stocks with additives for that reason. Air is also not required as the microbial growth occurs at the fuel and water interface. Air is the vehicle for the moisture. The Northeast has the same issues with home heating oils. In any event, I've had the kind of experiences PacBlue describes too many times on vessel deliveries to San Francisco and Seattle. On one occasion, we took a Burger that had arrived from Florida on it's own bottom from San Diego to Seattle, and made it as far as Monterey because the black slime plugged the filters. Had a partial fuel polish done in Monterey and limped to Sausalito, where the job was finished. No problems after that to Seattle. Besides the slime, there can be other artifacts in fuel tanks. One brand-new 78' Azimut we were delivering from Oakland to San Diego suddenly wouldn't run over 1200 rpm on the starboard engine. Limped it to San Diego and found a giant silicone glue snot ball rolling around inside the tank that was plugging the pick-up. Another boat, another occasion, we had restriction issues and broke down the supply piping to the racors in Humboldt and found chunks of epoxy tank liner coating from built in glass tanks clogging the line to the racors. Fuel polishing is de rigueur, on the West Coast
  12. bayoubud

    bayoubud Member

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    CaptJ, are most of the problem tanks metal?
  13. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    I don't think it's heat at high temps, but the sudden and drastic temperature changes.
    I remember waking up in San Diego with frost on the car windows, then a real nice & warm day.
    These rather large temperature swings (but not hot) is more than enough to form condensation in fuel tanks. Where there is condensation, there will be water, then lots of water no mater what the fuel is.
    In un-treated water, thingies form and grow. It started a bo-zillion years ago, and restarts every day in any un-treated water puddle or tank bottom.

    Full tanks help but I can't afford to keep1350 gallons sitting static. I've learned the hard way not to pour snake oil into my diesel tanks again.
    Big Racors, Spares, built in mini fuel polishing pumps help me a lot.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    No I've seen plenty of Algae issues in Fiberglass tanks too.

    Like I said though. I'm seeing MUCH less algae issues now with the lower sulfur fuel. I have always gotten fuel in my management yachts from a truck, that got it directly from the Port that morning at least 80% of the time.

    I don't know if the issues you see on the West coast are with fuel that sits and sits in the fuel sellers tanks OR they use a lot of above ground tanks (much more algae issues with above ground storage tanks versus in ground).
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Rcrapps, do you have a way in your boat to transfer all of the fuel you have into one tank and keep the other tanks empty?
  16. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    Rcrapps is right about the temperature differentials. If the tanks aren't kept full, the air in the tanks expands and contracts, effectively breathing moisture laden air in and out of the vent. The moist air can condense water onto the cooled sides of the tanks, and then run down the sides or be rinsed down with diesel underway. Full tanks is one method of prevention. If the tanks are in the bilge, there is virtually no respiration as the sea temp doesn't vary much during the day. Very likely the worst scenario could be a tank sharing the outside hull, above the waterline, on a dark-hulled boat moored east to west.
    Something else that gets overlooked a lot is the tank fill "O" rings. I've seen them missing and damaged. When fueling for a delivery, I try to remember to check them and grease them up real good with Super Lube. It's surprising how few chandleries stock fuel fill "O" rings. Packing the filler gap alone with grease will keep the water out, though. Then, there's always 3M blue tape! That is always on a delivery with me. Handles the broken cabinet latch issues.
    While we're on the subject, it should be mentioned that some additives (Biobor, e.g.) kill microbes and cause a gooey thick, filter clogging mess to settle out in the bottom of the tank and then get picked up in a rough seaway
  17. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    Yep, That's the snake oil lesson I learned.
    Turned the water and goo into a snot and did suspend water in the diesel fuel making it look like tomato soup.
    Sadly, No.
    Only two tanks.
    If you remember my issues from 2 years ago, forward tank has always been clear. Just lately, the after tank is finally clearing up.
    My 4th July StAug off shore runs, I was able to burn more of the aft tank (tomato soup) and finally, started picking up water, proving the snake oil nightmare issue is over and I can now capture the last of the water in the Racors.
  18. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    There was one dock in Jax that had above ground tanks. I have picked up water from them many years ago.
  19. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    Just fueled in Long Beach, CA, Santa Barbara, CA, and Monterey, CA last week and this week. All below ground tanks, including the three fuel docks in San Diego. They all have really big spin-on filters on each hose reel, I think just about all of them stick their tanks with that magic water tell-tale silly putty. Despite the foregoing; if I see a product tanker delivering fuel, I'll ask if it affects the tank I'll be drawing from. I've left the fuel dock without fueling in La Paz because they started a delivery. The only time I had bad fuel was from Puerto Vallarta. All the way from Fort Lauderdale to Puerto Vallarta and no problems. Two hours out of PV crossing the 250 miles to Cabo, and I'm collecting buckets full of fouled racors.

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