Algae in fuel tanks

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Algae in fuel tanks

Postby Jblumfl » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:11 pm

Does anyone have experience cleaning the bottom of the fuel tanks? Have a problem with algae, have had the fuel polished but there is residual algae that is clogging my generator intake .
Any help would be appreciated,
Thanks,
Jeff
Jblumfl
 
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby ms » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:37 pm

I found it necessary to remove the tank and have it professionally cleaned. Goop gets stuck not only on the bottom of the tank but also on the baffles. No amount of fuel polishing and filtering will get this off because it is like a slime on the inside of the tank.

If you can get to your your tank and have inspection panels which gives you good access it would seem likely that you could tackle the job yourself. Time consuming and messy I would have thought.
martin
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby superheat6k » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:34 pm

I have my own fuel polishing rig with take offs from the base of each tank with the return at a 3 way tee valve in place if the original spill cross connect valve. The rig is simply a Baldwin sep filter with 10 micron element and a 12v circulating pump. I have added instantaneous drip less connectors to the drains and spill return, with additional conns just upstream of the main Racor 900 style separator filters. These perform two tasks - for priming the seps, and back flushing the pickups should any crud get picked up.

I can also transfer from either tank to either tank. As part of an overall fuel system upgrade I also installed magnetic conditioners by Pure Fuels at the separator inlets.

I had noticed the genny lost fuel pickup below 1/4 tank, so I have moved this to a tee from the stbd engine feed pipe. I have read this is not correct, but cannot find any sensible reason why not, and it would be rare I would have the genny on at sea, and certainly not at higher planing speeds, so if engine fuel starvation were the reason this just won't happen.

I run the filter rig for around 1 hour per tank per month, normally after a run when the muck has been disturbed. So far so good, with only a light build up of gunge appearing on the separator centrifugal dishes after 24 run hours, and no noticeable water picked up, nor solids deposited in the bottom of the filter bowl.

Getting old gloop out may be quite a challenge, but a one off polishing session may not be sufficient.

There are quite a few additives available, so I would try emptying the tank out, via a filter, the adding some cleaned fuel back in with a heavy dose of one recommended for heavy contamination. I would then keep re-circulating this again and again.

Details of my fuel system improvements are here ...

http://turbo36.wordpress.com/improvements/
Failed Yachtie !!!
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby ms » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:53 pm

I suspect that you can polish ad-nauseum, but if there is goop stuck on the baffles you will not get it off.

Dip tubes for generators and diesel heaters usually have their own take off which does not reach the bottom of the fuel tank so that you cannot end up using all your fuel and unable to start engines.

Having changed fuel supply arrangements, you might never do this ... but the next owner might ..

I personally believe in adopting what has become 'the norm' in such matters.
martin
ms
 
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby superheat6k » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:27 pm

Well yes the next owner might, but the system and how it works are documented. Just as I cannot account for how a subsequent owner may steer and moor the boat, I cannot also account for how he monitors his fuel usage.

The original pickup remains in place simply capped off, I got fed up with no genny at 1/4,tank ( plus reserve), as I do not believe it necessary to carry full or even part full tanks unless on a longer run.

The polishing system works for me and with fuel bug I certainly believe prevention far better than cure.

The solution of removing a tank on my T36 is simply a non starter, so the idea of removal for cleaning is equally a non starter.
Failed Yachtie !!!
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby ms » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:58 pm

so it would sound like you don't need any help to solve the problem as you thankfully already have a solution.
martin
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby Bob Peters » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:19 pm

Hi, when I purchased my boat I had fuel problems with water & "the bug", I used a chemical treatment & by using my PELA to take black muck off the bottom of the tanks every couple of months this has solved the problem. I still check them at the start of each season & draw off some diesel (and any muck) from the bottom of the tanks and I have had no re-occurrence of fuel problems....
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Re: Algae in fuel tanks

Postby eloyex » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:53 am

Hello

New in this forum ....
I am about to buy a 2003 fairline phantom and I am very excited .... a 50' model.

I live in miami , usa and my english is quite poor ...... sorry for my mistakes.

I am new on fairlines but NOT about yachts .... if you have a bad fuel infestation with the algae, let me tell you that poljshing and chemicals will NOT solve this .... I had in my previous yacht a BAD problem and we solved with high pressure water cleaning , degreaser and lot of elbow grease .... you have to empty your tanks and let sit for a while till it is as dry as possible, and them .... the show start .... the pressure jet will remove most of this cancer and you can vacum out of out of he boat or drain if the tanks allows that ...

The stuff I got out of the tanks was just .... amazing ...!!!!
Slimy greasy compact , mushroom texture style stuff ......I think in have pictures ....


If you have that degree of disease you will dk nothing with a clumsy filter and a small pump ....
I am in a humid and hot place, so if you are Lucky dont have that level of trouble, but in my case only mechanical means were able to end this predicament ......

I think you can do that without take the tanks out .... but I dont know your boat ... so dont believe me too much ...

Water pressure jets noozles very flexible and requires not much space .... some imagination is requiere ....
After that, a polishing systen would be a great preventive idea ......
My last boat had great access to the tanks, so was not difficult ....

Sorry my poor and broken english ...
Eloy fernandez, miami
More .... more ocean ....
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