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Old fuel problem updated. Still no Joy

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Capt Ralph, May 25, 2015.

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  1. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    If you kids remember a post a couple of years ago talking about fuel problems on a gen-set. A few of us got carried away and I injected my problems.

    http://www.yachtforums.com/threads/generator-question.19857/page-4#post-167061

    This last fall we were still having the diesel fuel snot problem in the aft tank.
    I hate snake oils. Tried a few with no results. Last ditch try was Valvetech Micro-Biocide from West Marine. A overdose of a shock treatment and the snot went away. However, when the bow comes up, instead of snot, I get water. I assume the snot was water based.
    Remember; forward end of tank lower than the aft end. Fuel pickups in the aft of tank. Forward end of tank under bath tub. last forward tank access is the fill adapters, fore & aft from here are internal baffles.

    My built in fuel polishers use the existing pickups & returns. They work great but can't get to the low end.

    The original GM primary fuel filter cartridge system was replaced with a Donaldson spin-on with plastic water bowel. Fuel system is now; Dual Racor mud filters 1000s @ 30mic, spin-on primary with water bowel @ 16mic, spin-on secondary/final somewhere between 5 & 10 mic. Trials last Thursday night found some water in the Racors, new secondary bowl had water also.
    20150525_184030 a.JPG

    I built my own fuel filter assembly and tried again to reach the water with a copper tube wand. I was able to reach around some of the corner openings in the baffle but all I got was dissolved snot and dirt (more dirt than the $400 fuel polish gut got 2 years ago).

    What I have learned;

    Racor 1000s (30 & 10mic) will pass water.
    Those big white, tan & brown snot blobs were water based.
    Fiberglass tanks are intact.
    Bertram 37 year old fuel tank design for service sucks.

    Looking for a pair of lift bags to set under the bow.

    Have a nice filter to rent out in the Jax area.

    Pictures on next post.
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    20150525_122649.jpg 20150525_122700.jpg 20150525_122948.jpg 20150525_123001.jpg 20150525_122712.jpg

    For rent in the Jax area.
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I was serious about the lift bags. Raise the bow safely, send the water to the after fuel pickups and filter out with my built-in fuel polishers.
    Anybody around Jax with a pair of 2 to 4k lbs lifting bags?

    Not many sand bars left around for a controlled grounding.
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You need to figure out where/how the water is getting into the tank. To grow Algae/snot....you need water, heat, and air....
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Diesel Bug will grow quite happily between the water and F.O. Interface. it does not require to be kept warm or have access to air.
  6. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    I have the same problem with fuel.
    Firstly from the boat as I purchased it, then from a bad fuel supplier on the Gold Coast.
    Spent a great deal of time and money to try to remedy this. There is NO quick fix. Tried a few different treatments that fill the filters with the culprit, but do not cure the problem.
    View it like rust. You can treat it but never stop it.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I think if you can drain the tank completely and get it dry for a week or so, it will completely kill it. On some boats you can transfer it to another tank and burn through it, and do it that way. Other boats, it's easier said than done. I've had fuel polished in yachts and if you don't burn through it all within a month and put a good biocide with fresh fuel, then it just grows right back to where you started. Solving the water issue is the biggie.....I've seen fill cap o-rings be the main culprit and mis-placed vents as the other leading culprit.
  8. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Slack tanks and warm fuel after a run lead to condensation forming on the uncovered surfaces in the tank, this runs down the sides as water and the whole process begins.

    A vent line needs to allow air ( heavy, humid stuff straight from the atmosphere) into the tank as the tank empties or you would soon stop through fuel starvation.

    DD's and others with a PT Injector where large amounts of fuel are used to cool the Injector are the worst culprits for this.
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    It started over 3 years ago at a local marina. Taking on fuel in the aft tank, we drained the marinas above ground diesel tank. The next day white snot was plaguing the Racors.

    Been fighting it since.

    We ran the tank low and had it cleaned / polished with disappointing results.
    Yesterday I tried (cleaning) again.

    Talked today with our yard. They agreed to some sling time lifting the bow during lunch and letting my polishing pumps do the water filtering.

    So, I hope to have good news by weeks end.
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    The forward end of the tank is the headache. It's lower than the pick-ups. I can not transfer the fuel out and pump the water out. When the bow comes up, the water travels to the lowest point,,, Aft,,, then the pickups...

    No lift bags available here in south Georgia (N/E FL). Travel lift next best plan.
  11. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    With two 3/4" water line, looped copper vents per tank,,,,

    Been thinking about the condensing idea. It could be a contributor; The tank is under our stateroom sole. If there is a place for condensation to occur, it could be here (running A/C & heat in our full beam master stateroom).. We live on board year-round. Funny for it to show up rite after taking on fuel from that place when we have already been on board for 9 years prior (or it took 9 years for the water to come up that high?).
    AND, were not rich & famous, can not keep the tanks full.

    Bow up during lunch Thursday or Friday. Updates quickly after then.
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Old Bertrams use threaded caps over above threaded deck pipes. Not the typical flush deck fill. Deck water usually does not travel up 2 inches to get into tanks fills from there.

    Thx all for your thoughts. Hopefully good news by weeks end.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The only other idea is to access it at the tank through a sender or whatever you can, drain it, leaving about 30 gallons of fuel, and just keep polishing that and stirring up the water at the bottom......the fuel polisher I used, had a wand on the end of his return and could move it around the tank quite a bit......

    It probably all started at your marina......BUT, a marina's pickup is always in the same spot about 2" above the bottom of the tank, water also always stays at the bottom of their tanks......unless they take on fuel from a truck while they're fueling you, they had to have a heck of a lot of water in their tank.
  14. TeKeela

    TeKeela Member

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    Try a flexible tube instead of hard copper to get all the way fwd and down.
  15. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    We tried hose, plastic & ole poly tube but it did not help. We were able to form the copper tubing as it passed thru the small baffle opening and on withdrawing it, some pressure here & there it form form back for withdraw. Thx for your thoughts.

    More;
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    What did you get out? I'd leave the tank empty for a while and then put fresh fuel in that tank with a biocide and move the old filtered fuel elsewhere. How many tanks does your boat have?
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Good news

    Never knowing how much water was in the tank, I could just assume lots by the quickness the water was filling the Racor bowels.

    During lunch today, we did pick up the ships bow in the slings a lil beyond running angle, just picked up a couple of drops after an hour. Pretty depressed that my idea was not working, the bow was lifted a good bit more. 30 minutes later picked up just a fat pint & a half of water. Running the pumps, not a drop more while slowly dropping the bow back down.

    Near panic, that not that much water was picked up, we resolved to go back in the river and tag-team the dual Racor filters.

    Well,, never got another drop.

    Not knowing, it seems we already got most of the water out already.



    We deploy to the Dry Tortugas Monday morning.
  18. Airstreamer67

    Airstreamer67 New Member

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    Every time I fill my diesel tank I use a clear one-gallon glass bottle to eyeball exactly what is coming from the supplier. Poor fuel clarity and water bubbles are what I'm looking to avoid.

    I initially run maybe one-third of a gallon into the bottle and let it sit for a minute. If it fails the test, I move on to better prospects and let the supplier pump his troubles into someone else's life.

    If the sample passes this initial test, about half way through the fill I usually run another sample into the jar just to make sure it's still acceptable after the pump has stirred-up things a bit. This whole paranoid process takes very little time and trouble compared with the potential benefits.

    It's interesting you found water bypassing the Racors. It just shows that multiple filtration is helpful. I use it myself. Thanks for the followup report.
  19. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    What you have described above is a rudimentary equivalent to a representative drip sample that is required these days for larger vessels.

    This samples the fuel over the whole bunker process and then it can be decanted into sample bottles with one for the supplier, ship and FOBAS.

    Water finding paste is also used when unsure of a supplier especially if it is in drums.

    We also test the flash point pre bunkering and see how it compares to what's on the BDN.
  20. TeKeela

    TeKeela Member

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    Is there a centrifuge in the 10-15k range that can spin the fuel as fast as it is being pumped?