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Old 06-27-2018, 11:44 AM   #1
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Anyone opened an inspection cover for a fuel tank?

We are under contract with a 1987 Marine Trader 47 with original tanks. The boat hasnít left the slip in a couple of years. Right now the owner is having it brought back to sea worthy condition. The mechanic took it for a sea trial but clogged the injectors because they ran it before polishing the fuel. Those are being sent out for cleaning.

So the fuel guy will be polishing the fuel hopefully this week. This boat has two 300 gallon tanks with large inspection ports with a dozen bolts each. Not only do I want the fuel polished but I want someone to open those ports and look inside to make sure in the inside of the tanks are clean. Iíve heard stories of fuel being cleaned but it still leaves all the crap that was growing on the sides of the tank.

The problem is this isnít my boat yet and the owners are paying for repairs so far. Is there any risk of opening those ports?

Just wanted to ask for opinions here first.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:58 AM   #2
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Certainly would want to pump the fuel out before opening the ports.

Unlikely the injectors were clogged. Should be atleast 2 filters before them. Probably a clogged filter.

Ted
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:00 PM   #3
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Yes, step 1 would definitely be to make sure the fuel level is below the ports.

The report I heard is they were blowing a lot of black smoke and wouldn’t make rated RPM
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:01 PM   #4
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We had 2-350 gallon tanks on Hobo with similar inspection ports. No problem opening them up. I did replace the gaskets not wanting to trust 25 plus year old compressed ones.

I think you’d be smart to have them opened up. Hobo’s fuel had been “polished” previously before this picture this picture was taken.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:35 PM   #5
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Yes, step 1 would definitely be to make sure the fuel level is below the ports.

The report I heard is they were blowing a lot of black smoke and wouldnít make rated RPM
I could be wrong, but didn't think black smoke was from a fuel restriction. Is the bottom and running gear (props etc) clean. Fouled props, plenty of fuel and lack of air from lost rpm might generate black smoke. You would be amazed at how little growth it takes on props to lose rated rpm.

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Old 06-27-2018, 12:37 PM   #6
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On a 30 year old boat you're almost guaranteed to find a layer of muck on the bottom of the tanks. It would be worth opening and cleaning. One warning though. When I cleaned mine it started leaking. The heavy layer of gunk was all that was sealing the corroded bottom of the tank.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:55 PM   #7
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Good thing the owners are paying. Smells like an Easter egg hunt. Make sure they donít leak before you accept. Meaning full tanks on closing. You may have to pay for the fillup. Changing the in service Racor should have told the story. Any diesel mechanic would know that before condemning the fuel tanks.
Bottom growth needs to be ruled out.
Black smoke is usually air restrictions or overload.
You are having a survey correct?
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:55 PM   #8
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On a 30 year old boat you're almost guaranteed to find a layer of muck on the bottom of the tanks. It would be worth opening and cleaning. One warning though. When I cleaned mine it started leaking. The heavy layer of gunk was all that was sealing the corroded bottom of the tank.
Well thatís another thing that Iím worried about. Kinda want to figure that out before itís mine, but I feel the owners arenít going to allow cleaning for that reason
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:59 PM   #9
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Black smoke can also be injectors. Gunk in the tank shouldn't get there through the filters, but an old boat sitting for 4 years, cleaning the injectors probably should be done, black smoke or not.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:49 PM   #10
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Not running for 4 years? Better get it at a darn good price.

I just noticed that the overflow tank should be mounted higher than the reservoir to avoid air in the line. Just by that picture alone, unless you are planning to do a lot of the work yourself in the next year or so, run away.
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Old 06-27-2018, 01:54 PM   #11
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It’s been used as a floating condo for about 2 years. We are under contract for $80k but the owners have to get it to sea worthy condition, which they are. Engines have no blow by, turbos have normal amount of shaft play. The fuel tanks are my biggest concern. Had a guy on the docks tell me their beautiful 46 Jeff sat as well. They had the fuel polished and a few hours up the river it started clogging fuel filters. 6 months of changing fuel filters every few hours and it’s finally clean. I’m not doing that.
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:53 PM   #12
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What make / model engines?

Ted
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:21 PM   #13
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Certainly would want to pump the fuel out before opening the ports.

Unlikely the injectors were clogged. Should be atleast 2 filters before them. Probably a clogged filter.

Ted


That was my thought as well. If there is a clogged injector, then the filtering system is inadequate.
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:27 PM   #14
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Does it make sense to drop a small flexible camera down the filler tube to look around the tank?
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:44 PM   #15
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Does it make sense to drop a small flexible camera down the filler tube to look around the tank?
Borescopes are inexpensive these days. Should be part of any tool box.
Put a stick down the filler tube to make sure there are no baffles in the way.
You may also be able to unscrew the fitting for the return line. Should be big enough dia for borescope.
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:39 PM   #16
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Does it make sense to drop a small flexible camera down the filler tube to look around the tank?
Waterproof cable camera.


https://www.amazon.com/Depstech-Semi...HGL&ref=plSrch

Ted
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:53 PM   #17
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Engines are Lehman’s. 190 hp I believe. Turbo diesels.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:12 AM   #18
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Here’s the response from the broker when I asked about cleaning the tanks.

I feel much better about it.


Hi Steve,
Yes that is the plan. No point in cleaning the fuel without cleaning the tanks..
The guy who cleans the tanks has a wand the shoots pressurized fuel into the tanks through the inspection ports...
He should be able to reach most of the inside of the tanks, then he puts an additive in the fuel that cleans anything that might be remaining.
I think the additive is called Technol. I’ve been using it for years.. seems to be a good product..
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:49 AM   #19
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Hereís the response from the broker when I asked about cleaning the tanks.

I feel much better about it.


Hi Steve,
Yes that is the plan. No point in cleaning the fuel without cleaning the tanks..
The guy who cleans the tanks has a wand the shoots pressurized fuel into the tanks through the inspection ports...
He should be able to reach most of the inside of the tanks, then he puts an additive in the fuel that cleans anything that might be remaining.
I think the additive is called Technol. Iíve been using it for years.. seems to be a good product..
That sounds very good! I would ask about looking in the tanks while they were open.

I would want to know what the additive is and what exactly it's supposed to do. This isn't magic where the chemical bonds, turns the remaining stuff to a gas that goes out the tank vent. Clearly whatever it does will go out through your fuel system. Should you be expecting to do a number of filter changes in the near future?

Ted
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:54 PM   #20
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That sounds very good! I would ask about looking in the tanks while they were open.

I would want to know what the additive is and what exactly it's supposed to do. This isn't magic where the chemical bonds, turns the remaining stuff to a gas that goes out the tank vent. Clearly whatever it does will go out through your fuel system. Should you be expecting to do a number of filter changes in the near future?

Ted
No I think he cleans the inside of the tanks then filters all the junk out using an external system. But Iím sure there will still be some junk that makes it to the filters for a while.
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