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Old 10-06-2015, 10:15 AM   #21
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I do NOT polish. I installed a multi-stage filtration system and it seems to be working so far after 8 seasons.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:29 AM   #22
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My old boat had a fuel polisher but I seldom used it.

The new boat (to me) returns about 60 gals/hr to the tanks, already filtered.
I think it was Bill Parlitore (Passagemaker Magazine) that started that whole craze. I was one who fell for it.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:34 AM   #23
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Greetings,
OK. Here's the question for those that DO have a system and use it to polish fuel. Is there any sign of contamination of the filters after a polish? How bad?
Asphaltene precipitates out of diesel fuel and the introduction of ULSD has increased that issue. We polish fuel at 30 microns when it is transferred from tank to tank for trim, randomly when the thought occurs to me, or when filling the day tanks at 10 microns, as well as when the tanks are low and the fuel is sloshing around stirring up whatever is in the tank. The filters, after a year, show a fair amount of particulates that have been picked up, so get replaced annually. Our fuel comes direct from the refinery a couple of miles away, but refined fuel is only filtered to 30 microns so even when as fresh as it gets there is stuff than can be removed. Asphaltene starts forming within hours of refining, especially when heated up during recirculation.

We have sump drains, but I have never detected anything to drain because the tanks stay clean, nor have I ever seen a drop of moisture or crud in the sediment bowls. I finally replaced the Racor 500 2 micron filters on the main engine that have been there since 2012. They were black, but no back pressure yet.

Not sure I will ever understand the argument against cleaner rather than dirtier fuel.

Asphaltenes and Fuel Filter Plugging
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:49 AM   #24
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Nope. Equipped with Detroit Diesel 2 cycle engines, the fuel is cycled in volume through the filter system. Try to buy fresh fuel from high turnover docks, and use the boat, that's my motto.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:58 AM   #25
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" Try to buy fresh fuel from high turnover docks, and use the boat, that's my motto." . Keep it simple.

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Old 10-06-2015, 11:32 AM   #26
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Greetings,
OK. Here's the question for those that DO have a system and use it to polish fuel. Is there any sign of contamination of the filters after a polish? How bad?
Obviously after 25 posts with no "best invention ever" comments, that was going to be my next question.

These systems seem to be relative newborns. I wonder if they really do much and how work boats managed for a century without them.
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:39 AM   #27
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Just changed out the 30u primary fuel filters after 18 months and about 1500 gallons each of net fuel burn. Filters were surprisingly clean with some sediment in the bowl.

Carl, I'm certainly in favor of clean fuel. Each vessel is different in design and capacity of tanks, age of same, yearly fuel burn and filter system. The OPs question was what do we have, so I duly reported.

BTW, I'd have guessed today's ULS fuels to have less asphaltenes than a few decades ago fuel's. My tanks never have seen high sulfur fuels, could this be a benefit?

I've recently been on some vessels with Alfalaval centrifuges. The gunk they pick up is astounding. But with old tanks and fuel burn measured in tens of thousands of gallons per year, ALs seem prudent
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:13 PM   #28
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Have a way to keep water out of the tank, either by a proper sump or a pickup right at the bottom, and tanks will stay clean. My pickups are right at the bottom and when I look in the fill cap, the bottom of the tank is still shiny aluminum. No need to polish.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:53 PM   #29
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Don't keep the fuel long enough to polish. With a twelve month boatin' season the stuff gets used up before it can deteriorate. I do drain the Racors every couple of months.
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Old 10-06-2015, 12:59 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delfin View Post
Asphaltene precipitates out of diesel fuel and the introduction of ULSD has increased that issue. We polish fuel at 30 microns when it is transferred from tank to tank for trim, randomly when the thought occurs to me,
Here's a filter with 5 years and 300 hours on it. The boat still ran like a champ....Read up on Filtration and most will recommend a high capacity fleetguard (or equivalent) upstream. After discovering this on the (new to me at the time) boat, I plumbed in a Walbro and a 3 way so I could move fuel around and Clean/polish at the same time. I also treated for Asphaltines. I doubt this situation will be repeated, but I feel a lot better about my fuel system now. I have a 30 Micron Fleetguard, 10 Micron Racor, and 2 micron Volvo filter between my tanks and my engine. Unfiltered fuel problems are now far down on my list of worries...

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Old 10-06-2015, 01:02 PM   #31
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The PO of our boat went through the angst of replacing the fuel tanks. I guess he thought "never again" and put the polishing system in at the same time. I would never make the case that it's necessary, particularly with new fuel tanks, etc. I have it and I use it, but I'd never install one.


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Old 10-06-2015, 01:09 PM   #32
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No. It's a waste of time and money in most cases.

It's a marketing scheme to sell boaters things they don't really need. If your buying clean fuel and you're maintaining the orings on the deck fills to keep water out your normal primary and secondary filters do the job without need for a polishing system. Then change your filters on a schedule or use vacuum gauges. If you're in a 3rd world country and the quality of fuel is suspect then the investment may be worth it, the large majority of TFers are not cruising in areas where contaminated fuel is a problem, save your money for something worthwhile.


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Old 10-06-2015, 01:10 PM   #33
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I have it and I use it, but I'd never install one.
That's the kind of experienced feedback that makes more sense than anything. I gather polishing the fuel is just an excuse to take a cold beer into the ER after the clock and barometer are done.
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Old 10-06-2015, 01:25 PM   #34
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Obviously after 25 posts with no "best invention ever" comments, that was going to be my next question.

These systems seem to be relative newborns. I wonder if they really do much and how work boats managed for a century without them.
There is nothing new about these systems.

And real boats use Afla Laval's.
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Old 10-06-2015, 04:52 PM   #35
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Yes we fuel polish with a Gulf Coast system. Yes the filter when changed is dirty with ashfaltum and the filter element has picked up any tank condensation that gets into the fuel. The Volvo TMD 31A thankfully doesn't burn a lot of fuel per hour so going thru the 280 gallons of fuel in the tank is lengthy, that's when the organic nature of diesel fuel has problems. If you have a high usage engine and you cycle thru a lot of fuel you probable don't need to polish.
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Old 10-06-2015, 04:58 PM   #36
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I would much rather have a tank cleanout port than a fuel polishing set up. Regularly serviced tanks with good filtration gives peace of mind.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:06 PM   #37
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My peace of mind is changing the Racor annually not because it's dirty, because the paper filter element is only good for so long.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:33 PM   #38
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I talked to two long time GB owners recently who have never polished their fuel.

Do you?
If so, how and when?
The previous owner had a fuel polishing system of sorts included in the complete re-tanking and re-plumbing (fuel) of the boat the year before we bought it. So this was in 1997. We have never used the polishing system and have had no need to. We have never gotten any water in the bottom of the Racor bowls and the filter elements coming out look just like the filter elements going in other than the old ones are dyed red from the fuel.

I attribute this to our harbor's fuel supplier having clean tanks and a very high fuel turnover, that we use the boat year round and manage our tanks so fuel does not sit very long in any of them, and the fact that our entire five-tank fuel system drains via gravity from the lowest point in each tank. No pickup tubes and no pumps other than the mechanical lift pump on each FL120. So when a tank is empty, it's totally empty.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:35 PM   #39
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Just changed out the 30u primary fuel filters after 18 months and about 1500 gallons each of net fuel burn. Filters were surprisingly clean with some sediment in the bowl.

Carl, I'm certainly in favor of clean fuel. Each vessel is different in design and capacity of tanks, age of same, yearly fuel burn and filter system. The OPs question was what do we have, so I duly reported.

BTW, I'd have guessed today's ULS fuels to have less asphaltenes than a few decades ago fuel's. My tanks never have seen high sulfur fuels, could this be a benefit?

I've recently been on some vessels with Alfalaval centrifuges. The gunk they pick up is astounding. But with old tanks and fuel burn measured in tens of thousands of gallons per year, ALs seem prudent
Not sure about the chemistry, but ULS fuels produce more, not less precipitants. Worse when the fuel is heated, as it is when run through the return line.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:40 PM   #40
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Guess I should add that when I bought the boat, there was a fuel transfer system in place to trim the boat between the two 350 gallon tanks. Converting the transfer system to a fuel polisher essentially cost $300 for a Racor 1000 filter and a few fittings. For all the frivolous stuff we spend money on for our boats, don't see how anyone can argue with $300 to convert it to a fuel polisher. How much I use it remains to be seen, but certainly nice to have if I ever get some dirty fuel.

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