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Old 12-03-2015, 04:15 AM   #21
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Unfortunately I no longer have the magazine but I base my evaluation and opinion of the Algae-X on an extensive set of tests that were conducted in the UK, the results of which were written up in Land Rover Magazine to which I was a subscriber at the time. The tests were conducted on three types of fuel: gasoline, diesel, and Jet-A. This was long before we acquired our first cruising boat. Algae-X heavily promoted itself in automotive magazines at the time, hence my awareness of the product.

These were not anectotal experience tests but lab tests. The conclusion, supported by the lab test results, was that the magnetic aspect of the Algae-X is totally non-existent. The magnetic influence had zero effect on the fuel or anything in the fuel including bacteria and other organic substances.

I do not find the comments on this thread about having clean fuel filters over long periods of time to be particularly remarkable. We have gone as long as three years between changing the filter elements of the Racor 500s in our fuel system and regardless of the time interval the elements coming out look exactly like the elements going in other than the dark color of the old ones from the dye in the fuel.

I attribute this to the good quslity of the fuel sold at our harbor's fuel dock, the high turnover of the fuel in the dealer's tanks due to it being the only fuel dock in our 2,000-boat harbor, the design of the tanks in our boat that does not permit any fuel to remain in an empty tank and our fuel management scheme. From what I hear from other boating friends and acquaintences in the area our experience is the norm, not the exception.

One comment in the conclusion of the magazine article about the Algae-X tests was that if one has puchased and installed an Algae-X on their vehicle (or in this thread, boat), while there is absolutely no benefit there is no way it can hurt anything, either. As far as the fuel going to one's engine is concerned, the Algae-X isn't even there.

So other than the money spent there is no potential downside to installing one if one has become persuaded by the manufacturer's claims that the magnetic properties have a beneficial effect.
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Old 12-03-2015, 05:47 AM   #22
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"We have gone as long as three years between changing the filter elements of the Racor 500s in our fuel system and regardless of the time interval the elements coming out look exactly like the elements going in other than the dark color of the old ones from the dye in the fuel."

Yes but,,, if any bio fuel was taken aboard the glycerin in the fuel reduces the filters water catching ability , which would not be visible to inspection.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:58 AM   #23
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So, just to summarize...one party who has actually used the product and found it efficacious, and a majority who have not used the product who have concluded it not to be efficacious.

Very, uh, illuminating.
Not exactly, I had De-Bugs on a boat back in the day. Can't say I could see where they were doing anything.

And is it any surprise that once someone has spent their money, bought them and installed them they then think they are working? Even with no quantifiable evidence that they do work. And even when there is strong evidence to the contrary.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:08 AM   #24
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I know of no major manufacturer that requires, installs or recommends the use of Algae X, Sea Foam, Marvel Mystery Oil or any of the thousands of magic, pseudo science, one off inventions, or latest development that the manufacturer or Big Oil does not want you to know about. disclaimer: All this is my humble opinion of course, So my flame suit is on. There may be some that recommend stuff my ignorance does not know. In that case share please. But do it with facts please.
After 48+ years of smelling diesel, inhaling gas fumes, washing my eyes with brake fluid and seeing all sorts of these and other devices, elixirs, snake oil and actual manufacture recommended stuff. Most are added to correct a problem unsolved. 50 years ago GM sold a top oil that everyone got poured in the carb of the Buick, Cad or Chev for a valve cleaner. If you drove fast enough you never needed it. It looked, smelled and acted like MMO, or ATF depending on who you asked. The place I worked at would use ATF& H2O if we ran out of Top Oil. A few years ago I had pleasure of crewing on a 48 Hat fishing boat. It had twin Cats and Algae x on both engines. They stopped up one day 50 miles out. I took them apart. Full of tiny ferrous metal shavings. They had never been opened since install in late 70s. The Racors on the engines were always normal dirty or clean at regular change intervals. That boat burned a lot of fuel and went WOT on return trip always. Back at the dock we cleaned everything during a custom fuel polish. The Alga X was an open channel around a magnet with no filter on or in the unit. The owner had never opened them since purchase in late 80s. I would recommend that anyone contemplating one of these invest in a dual set of Racors or fuel polishing system instead. Buying clean fuel is the way to go but you may have no control (and I could tell you why most all fuel is dirty). Starting with a clean tank is another Must! Any time a customer wanted to add something to the engine of their car truck or boat I gave them my opinion and stepped back, I never interfere with another Man's religion. You like a particular brand of filter? Go for it. I can cut your filter and the better filters open and show you where the one I have is better. A person has done this already online and posted results of a scientific study. Few refuse to change because that's the filter Dad used! Good clean diesel is the best thing for your engine, burn it regularly and often. Most of us will never live long enough to wear out a well maintained diesel. Hope this helps!
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:08 AM   #25
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One thing to tout a product that works for you that there is some science behind it...another to think something is working for them but can't prove one way or another why their routine/product works.


Marin's point of internal filtration with Algae-X without the hoopla has merit...I can't say for sure because from the very beginning, all the science I read said magnets and bacteria in fuel probably won't do a thing...and I did say probably.


What I can say is that people who tout certain additives for fuel or oil that have no issues fall into the same category as people given a placebo in a blind test. While they have no problems....nothing substantiates their actual results.


The absolute verification of this to me is towing. I don't tow people who use nothing in their fuel, and those that use additives. I do tow people who do and don't use additives. Probably the bottom line is something else instead of the additive. So if you use one and believe in it...great....but the guy who jst filled up before or after you didn't and enjoyed boating without a tow just as much.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:14 AM   #26
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I have a friend, she is an an otherwise intelligent professor at a major university. Curiously she believes in voodoo and practices that "art ?". Her belief does not make it so.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:55 AM   #27
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...There you go! Believes are not based in Scientific research, other wise, the world would not have to worry about highly educated bomb men coming from extremist organizations.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:17 AM   #28
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A friend of mine, owner of a marine supply store at the time, was having a lot of trouble with his fuel system, so put in Algae-X. That was some 20 yrs ago. Since doing so he had his tanks "polished" and has tried other chemical additives. He has now sold the boat. Despite his struggles to get clean fuel to the engine, he never succeeded. For various reasons, his annual hours on the engine never amounted to much.
By contrast, in the same time frame, I have consistently put 150 hr a year on mine. The last time I changed filters in the Racor 500 primaries, my log told me it had been 4 years. At the same time, I changed secondaries, and my log told me it had been 12 years. I didn't buy the Algae-X.
Also, in the same time period, US EPA rules for fuel have mandated Low Sulphur diesel, so the quality of filtering before the fuel gets to the fuel barge has improved significantly. Add to that, in Vancouver we have lost 4 of the 5 fuel barges that lined the shore of Stanley park, so the Chevron barge now supplies most of the commercial craft in the city. Seaspan alone pumps millions of litres of diesel through that one barge annually, so there is no danger of fuel stagnating.
To find any effect of Algae-X in this environment without rigorous scientific testing would be impossible. OTOH, the quality of fuel has improved so much since A-X was introduced that its need has disappeared completely.
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Old 12-03-2015, 12:33 PM   #29
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So, just to summarize...one party who has actually used the product and found it efficacious, and a majority who have not used the product who have concluded it not to be efficacious.

Very, uh, illuminating.

Not really... I had one on our previous boat and saw no measurable increase in fuel filter clogging when I removed it. I just neglected to mention it in my first post.

That said... These things have been around long enough that there should be SOMEONE that has done some kind of published study about their real effectiveness. Maybe I missed a link in a previous post. Still, I am in the camp that if they were really worth the savings, manufactures would be lining up to install them on their machinery. But that too, is not very scientific either.
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Old 12-03-2015, 12:54 PM   #30
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I have these on my boat as well courtesy of the last owner. The question is not whether they work, it is how well they work and in our application I'm afraid to say, not well at all. Having spent a lifetime in the field of Microbiological and Biomedical Sciences, I can safely say in a generalized context that magnetic fields "can" kill microorganisms, or more specifically bacteria as is the use in this particular application. The trouble is that the survival rate directly correlates to the species of bacteria as well as the frequency and intensity of the magnetic field. Magnetic sterilization or reduction of microbial life while used in various commercial applications under highly controlled conditions, such as food processors, is still not well understood and is largely ineffectual compared to other methods. Bottom line is yes, magnetic fields can kill/reduce bacteria but in our application the effect, if any at all, would not justify the expense.

If you could run the fuel through constantly as in polishing, and you could identify what you wanted to kill and adjust the magnetic frequency and intensity accordingly, it could perhaps accomplish something measurable but filtering and a biocide would still be more effective and less costly.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:39 PM   #31
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Not exactly, I had De-Bugs on a boat back in the day. Can't say I could see where they were doing anything.

And is it any surprise that once someone has spent their money, bought them and installed them they then think they are working? Even with no quantifiable evidence that they do work. And even when there is strong evidence to the contrary.
As I said, and as you perhaps missed, my experience and opinion is based on the clearing on a previous vessel of a fairly significant level of bacterial contamination. The only change was the addition of the De-bug unit. And your first hand experience of contamination not being cleaned would be....?

I gather your opinion is based on the fact that you had the units and had no contamination, therefore they were doing nothing. Got it.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:53 PM   #32
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Apparently the Coast Guard has reached a different opinion on this particular technology. Whether it is better than alternatives or worth the money is probably a separate question, but the assertion that there is no objective evidence of efficacy is an opinion not supported by the data.

http://www.de-bug.co.nz/Clippings%20...st%20Guard.pdf

"De-Bug TM units have been used successfully in a wide range of sizes and in various applications. De-Bug TM users include: military forces of several nations; marine interests; other transportation sectors; police and fire services; and commercial/industrial sector clients. The largest unit in use to date is a Model L-50,000 (with a design flow rate of 13,225 gallons per hour) installed, with ABS approval, on the 267 meter M/V Cossack Pioneer."

Apparently a lot of dupes out there...
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:38 PM   #33
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Apparently the Coast Guard has reached a different opinion on this particular technology. Whether it is better than alternatives or worth the money is probably a separate question, but the assertion that there is no objective evidence of efficacy is an opinion not supported by the data.

http://www.de-bug.co.nz/Clippings%20...st%20Guard.pdf

"De-Bug TM units have been used successfully in a wide range of sizes and in various applications. De-Bug TM users include: military forces of several nations; marine interests; other transportation sectors; police and fire services; and commercial/industrial sector clients. The largest unit in use to date is a Model L-50,000 (with a design flow rate of 13,225 gallons per hour) installed, with ABS approval, on the 267 meter M/V Cossack Pioneer."

Apparently a lot of dupes out there...
Apparently there are a lot of dupes out there ....
The publication you are referring to states " The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent official Coast Guard policy".

This USCG publication is provided as a forum for maritime discussion and anyone can submit an article such as this one which by the way once again offers nothing but unsupported anecdotes.

I think its curious that the only reference online for the author is in relation to this article.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:39 PM   #34
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I read the stuff on the De-Bug TM site and here is what I see is the major flaw with this and other similar systems like Algae-X. Let's say for the moment that the weak magnetic fields set up by these systems actually do what the De-Bug TM people claim, and kill the bacteria by tearing them apart.

So what?

The units are installed in the fuel lines between the tank(s) and the engine(s). At least that's how they've been illustrated in all the literature I've seen about them over the years. So the tiny dead bodies get fed to the engines. Again, so what? It's not like the engine's going to stop.

And before one says, well, the filters will catch the dead bodies before they get to the engine, why won't the same filters catch the live bodies?

It's always been my understanding that the real problem with bacterial and micro-organism growth in fuel is in the tanks where the fuel sits. Over time this contributes to the crud accumulating in the tank which can eventually find its way into the filters and clog them. So it would seem that if one wants to use magnetic fields to kill bugs the place to do it is in the tank, not in the fuel line on the way to the engine.

A co-worker in our department in the early 80s was sucker for quasi-scientific miracle cures. One day he saw a magazine ad for a magnetic device that was guaranteed to increase the mileage of a car by at least 15 or 20 percent. The device was mail order and it cost $50.

He ordered one, and what he got for his $50 was a small carboard box containing two small cylindrical magnets with rounded ends, a small roll of electrical tape, and a sheet of instructions. He had recently purchased a new car, a Buick as I recall, and like most cars in the early 80s it had a carburetor.

The instructions said to tape the two magnets to the fuel line just before it entered the carburetor. It was "very important" that the magnetic poles were aligned in a specific way.

The theory, backed up with a bunch of scientific blather in the ad and on the instructions, was that as the fuel passed between the magnets the magnetic field would align the molecules in such a way to make them burn more efficiently.

So this fellow dutifully installed the magnets and began keeping meticulous records of his fuel usage.

But..... our video engineer, quite the practical joker, immediately began adding gas to the fellow's car when he was at the cafeteria for lunch. This was in the days before locking gas caps were common, so it was easy to do.

The Buick had been getting about 15 mpg or so on this fellow's daily commute. When his mileage rocketed up into the mid 20s he was ecstatic and he lost no opportunity to preach the wonders of the effect of magnetic fields on fuel molecules to all of us and urge us to buy and install the same kit.

Our engineer kept this up for about a month. And then one day he stopped putting fuel in the car at lunchtime. The Buick's mileage immediately went back to 15 mpg.

Our co-worker was frantic. He remounted the magnets. He realigned their positions. When nothing worked, he even ordered another $50 kit. He tried to contact the company that sold the kit but could never get through.

Through all this he maintained his steadfast belief that the magnetic field theory of fuel economy was totally valid and miraculous. He'd experienced it, right?

I asked him one day if it had ever occurred to him that even if the magnetic field did "align" the fuel molecules, the fuel was then dumping into the float bowl where it was going to get shook up and heated up and then sucked through the jets and through the manifolds and valves and into the cylinders and how would fuel molecules remain "aligned" through all of that even if by some miracle they had been back at the magnets, but he refused to accept any of that.

He left our organization a few months later for another position in the company. When I saw him again a couple of years after that I asked him if he was still running the magnets on his fuel line. He said yes, and he was convinced that if he kept monkeying with them he'd get his mid-20s mileage back again.

BTW, our engineer told me what the magnets in the kit were. They were cow magnets which could be purchased at farm stores for 25 cents apiece or something like that. They are round and smooth because their purpose is to be "fed" to a cow where it ends up in the first stomach and captures bits of wire and fence nails and other metal bits that cows can pick up while grazing and prevents them from moving farther through the digestive system.

Sometimes the most scientific-sounding "explanation" just can't trump basic logic and common sense.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:53 PM   #35
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As I said, and as you perhaps missed, my experience and opinion is based on the clearing on a previous vessel of a fairly significant level of bacterial contamination. The only change was the addition of the De-bug unit. And your first hand experience of contamination not being cleaned would be....?

I gather your opinion is based on the fact that you had the units and had no contamination, therefore they were doing nothing. Got it.
No you don't got it. But you did get taken.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:58 PM   #36
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I read the stuff on the De-Bug TM site and here is what I see is the major flaw with this and other similar systems like Algae-X. Let's say for the moment that the weak magnetic fields set up by these systems actually do what the De-Bug TM people claim, and kill the bacteria by tearing them apart.

So what?

The units are installed in the fuel lines between the tank(s) and the engine(s). At least that's how they've been illustrated in all the literature I've seen about them over the years. So the tiny dead bodies get fed to the engines. Again, so what? It's not like the engine's going to stop.

And before one says, well, the filters will catch the dead bodies before they get to the engine, why won't the same filters catch the live bodies?

It's always been my understanding that the real problem with bacterial and micro-organism growth in fuel is in the tanks where the fuel sits. Over time this contributes to the crud accumulating in the tank which can eventually find its way into the filters and clog them. So it would seem that if one wants to use magnetic fields to kill bugs the place to do it is in the tank, not in the fuel line on the way to the engine.

A co-worker in our department in the early 80s was sucker for quasi-scientific miracle cures. One day he saw a magazine ad for a magnetic device that was guaranteed to increase the mileage of a car by at least 15 or 20 percent. The device was mail order and it cost $50.

He ordered one, and what he got for his $50 was a small carboard box containing two small cylindrical magnets with rounded ends, a small roll of electrical tape, and a sheet of instructions. He had recently purchased a new car, a Buick as I recall, and like most cars in the early 80s it had a carburetor.

The instructions said to tape the two magnets to the fuel line just before it entered the carburetor. It was "very important" that the magnetic poles were aligned in a specific way.

The theory, backed up with a bunch of scientific blather in the ad and on the instructions, was that as the fuel passed between the magnets the magnetic field would align the molecules in such a way to make them burn more efficiently.

So this fellow dutifully installed the magnets and began keeping meticulous records of his fuel usage.

But..... our video engineer, quite the practical joker, immediately began adding gas to the fellow's car when he was at the cafeteria for lunch. This was in the days before locking gas caps were common, so it was easy to do.

The Buick had been getting about 15 mpg or so on this fellow's daily commute. When his mileage rocketed up into the mid 20s he was ecstatic and he lost no opportunity to preach the wonders of the effect of magnetic fields on fuel molecules to all of us and urge us to buy and install the same kit.

Our engineer kept this up for about a month. And then one day he stopped putting fuel in the car at lunchtime. The Buick's mileage immediately went back to 15 mpg.

Our co-worker was frantic. He remounted the magnets. He realigned their positions. When nothing worked, he even ordered another $50 kit. He tried to contact the company that sold the kit but could never get through.

Through all this he maintained his steadfast belief that the magnetic field theory of fuel economy was totally valid and miraculous. He'd experienced it, right?

I asked him one day if it had ever occurred to him that even if the magnetic field did "align" the fuel molecules, the fuel was then dumping into the float bowl where it was going to get shook up and heated up and then sucked through the jets and through the manifolds and valves and into the cylinders and how would fuel molecules remain "aligned" through all of that even if by some miracle they had been back at the magnets, but he refused to accept any of that.

He left our organization a few months later for another position in the company. When I saw him again a couple of years after that I asked him if he was still running the magnets on his fuel line. He said yes, and he was convinced that if he kept monkeying with them he'd get his mid-20s mileage back again.

BTW, our engineer told me what the magnets in the kit were. They were cow magnets which could be purchased at farm stores for 25 cents apiece or something like that. They are round and smooth because their purpose is to be "fed" to a cow where it ends up in the first stomach and captures bits of wire and fence nails and other metal bits that cows can pick up while grazing and prevents them from moving farther through the digestive system.

Sometimes the most scientific-sounding "explanation" just can't trump basic logic and common sense.
Marin, just FYI, but they are not cow magnets. Be that as it may, these units are in government and commercial vessels worldwide. Had I not had a contamination problem that was cleaned up by one of these units, no doubt I would also be skeptical. However, I have the specific experience of having to change filters every month or so, and then not at all after installing one. Reaching the conclusion that something doesn't work on the basis that you can't observe it solving a problem you don't have is pretty moronic.

To the OP's question, yes, there is evidence they work and a lot of people who assert they don't because they can't see them clearing up a problem they aren't experiencing, or who have no experience whatsoever.

Like a certain bodily orifice, everyone has an opinion. Cheers.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:06 PM   #37
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Marin, just FYI, but they are not cow magnets
I worked on a farm as a kid .... we did feed this type of magnets to cows.
If you have scientific evidence, let's see it instead of unsubstantiated magazine articles of dubious origins.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:08 PM   #38
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That story reminds me of the one about the guy who bought a VW bug when the first came out. His neighbor got so tire of hearing how great the mileage was for the bug that he started adding has to the bug at night. His neighbor raved even more about the milage, then after a couple months the guy started siphoning out fuel. Drove the bug owner buggy to the point he took it back to the dealer demanding that they find the fault in the engine that was causing it to lose mileage.

Also reminds me of the time my friend found out he had the same TV as his friend and next door neighbor. So he would sneek over and and change the channels and settings on his neighbors TV set through the window. But only when the man of the house was alone in the room. Everytime anyone else came in the room and the man tried to show them how the TV was misbehaving my friend outside the window would stop messing with the TV. He finally had to stop doing it and fess up to his neighbor because the guys family was beginning to think he was going nuts.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:12 PM   #39
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Reaching the conclusion that something doesn't work on the basis that you can't observe it solving a problem you don't have is pretty moronic.
I don't disagree with this at all. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on one's point of view, I'm not basing my assessment on something not solving a problem I don't have but on the UK laboratory tests I mentioned in an earlier post that pretty definitively proved that the Algae-X does nothing whatsoever with regards to its magnetic properties having any effect on fuel or things in it.

I have seen references to other tests over the years that demonstrated the same thing, but the one I mentioned is the only one I've actually read.

These tests were conducted with the Algae-X. I had never heard of or seen reference to the De Bug TM system before this thread so I have no idea how the two systems are similar or different.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:29 PM   #40
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I worked on a farm as a kid .... we did feed this type of magnets to cows.
If you have scientific evidence, let's see it instead of unsubstantiated magazine articles of dubious origins.
Perhaps I should have been clearer. When I said that they are not cow magnets, I was referring to the topic at hand. The Debug unit does not use cow magnets, unless ceramic coated, donut magnets are what you fed to your cows, which I doubt. Marin's posting of cow magnets was much appreciated, if irrelevant.

Regarding scientific evidence, you can find the same objections to using a product like Debug that you can to polishing fuel or bypass filters. You don't need to polish your fuel, at least based on those with 200 gallon tanks and there is no scientific evidence proving you do, just the experience of users. And you don't need a bypass filter, since they don't come standard on diesel engines, even though they are commonplace in the commercial fleet. And you don't need a Debug unit when you don't have the problem they are designed to solve. Now if you did, you might find them efficacious, as I did. In the which case your opinion would be based on personal experience, but then again, perhaps just opinion is good enough.
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