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Old 06-06-2016, 09:46 PM   #21
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The system on Pairadice, simple and easy to use.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:22 PM   #22
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Fuel Polishing onboard

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There, that looks better. Unless Pairadice relocated from the PNW to NSW
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:30 AM   #23
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Thank you Sir!
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Old 06-07-2016, 01:29 AM   #24
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I installed a Reverso unit. I normally run from a pair of Day tanks, 385 liters each, and the only way to get fuel into them is via the polisher. Well, I could open the tank interconnects at the bottom but they are normally closed.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:27 AM   #25
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My set up is home built so it's bulky. I, like OC, use it for transfer and polish.

Basically, the manifold on the upper right lets me pull from any of my four tanks, and the manifold on the lower left distributes to any of the four tanks ( there is also a port to pump into an external tank ). Mine is AC powered, and all the fuel goes through a flow meter as this is how I keep track of how much fuel we have.

In case the pump fails or no AC power and have to transfer in an emergency, I have a by pass set up with a manual pump.

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Old 06-07-2016, 06:59 AM   #26
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Just because a system has an extra filter and a pump doesn't make it an effective polishing system. Some key features that do help are:

- fuel pickup from the very bottom of the tank. This is where water and other guck will settle, and if you system can't pick it up then it's doing no good. Dip tube pickups are typically designed to have exactly the opposite characteristics and intentionally pick up from a point above the guck. Most of the Nordhavn I have seen work this was and as such are advertised as transfer systems, not polishing systems.

- a fuel return location and fuel flow rate that will actually cause some agitation in the tank. This will stir up settled gunk so it can be sucked through the polishing filter. Most builtin polishers do not accomplish this as all since they use the normal top of tank return port. But this capability is really only important to rectify a long accumulation of gunk, and if you have such a situation, a polishing service should have the necessary equipment with return hoses that can be directed to different areas in the tank.

Because of all this, I seriously doubt that most boat polishing systems provide any real benefit that is not also provided by your main filters and the engine constantly circulating fuel. That will remove suspended impurities just as well as a polisher using the same pickup and return ports on the tank.

I think the best defense against bad fuel is to have some sort of fuel segregation policy where possible given the boats tankage. Purchased fuel goes in one place, and fuel to burn goes someplace else, and never the two shall mix - except via transfer through a filter and water separator. You can call it a day tank, but I think there are other ways to accomplish the same thing without a specific day tank. But it's all highly dependent on your boats configuration.

But segregating purchased fuel and burn fuel doesn't absolve you of the need to monitor and keep the purchased fuel tank clean, and so brings us right back where we started. But al least bit keeps the crap away from the engine, which I think is priority one!
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:12 AM   #27
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Thank you Peter. Valid points. I'd add to your list chemical treatment via additives, lubricity enhancers and cetane modifiers - seldom if ever done on recreational vessels.

THD posted an article (#20) that states some details suggesting polishing is more than filtration. Thus far in this thread there are descriptions and pictures of some very nice fuel transfer setups that filter the fuel as it is moved from tank to tank.

Lost in the shuffle is the reality of fuel return via on engine filtering that can amount to a very large continuous flow. Excepting Lehmans of course that recirculate little and can run just fine with paper towels as filters.

So here is the question - is a setup of off engine filters, valves, vacuum gauges and in some cases manufacturer decals really polishing or just good marketing?
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:41 AM   #28
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Our Nordhavn is.

Mine does too



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Old 06-07-2016, 07:43 AM   #29
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I think it's probably all useful for main filtration and fuel transfer. I can't think of anything in my system that I would remove if doing it again, and I have a few things on my list to add. But calling them polishing systems I think is a stretch unless they minimally pick up from the very bottom of the tanks, which some surely do.
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:43 AM   #30
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"Because of all this, I seriously doubt that most boat polishing systems provide any real benefit that is not also provided by your main filters and the engine constantly circulating fuel. That will remove suspended impurities just as well as a polisher using the same pickup and return ports on the tank. "



If you run your auxiliary filter system while underway in rough weather when to fuel may be stirred up you should get some benefit. Especially if you have an engine that returns little fuel to the tank. But other than that I fully agree with your statement.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:05 AM   #31
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Man these are some nice clean setups you guys are posting pictures of .
I ain't gonna be posting any pics of mine
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:20 AM   #32
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Because of all this, I seriously doubt that most boat polishing systems provide any real benefit that is not also provided by your main filters and the engine constantly circulating fuel. That will remove suspended impurities just as well as a polisher using the same pickup and return ports on the tank.
Having bought into Bill Parlitore's (Passagemaker) crusade years ago on the virtues of "fuel Polishing, I have had two systems on two different boats. The last one was set up exactly as Twistedtree has outlined. The fuel was picked up on the bottom of the tank (actually in a little pocket below the bottom) & the flow rate was sufficient to scour the bottom of the tank. In the 10 years since that last polishing system & with a considerable effort to investigate said polishing systems, I have arrived & completely agree with the comment made by twistedtree. At best, most polishing systems I've looked at (not all) are no more than and extra layer of filters and a fuel transfer system. In my case, my Yanmars (440s) return fuel to the tank at a sufficient rate to guarantee that the fuel in the tank is turning over (being filtered again) more often than one would imagine. (Not polished, just filtered again.) There was quite a bit of dialogue on BoatDiesel about this very subject last year.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:35 AM   #33
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While by strictest definition mine may not be a fuel polisher, I'm really more after cleaning the lowest corner of the tank where the water and impurities settle out to. My tanks slope from outboard to inboard and from stern to bow. All but the last few ounces can be drained from the port where the polisher is connected. IMO, keeping the bottom of the tanks clean and being particular about where you buy your fuel, is 99% of the clean fuel battle.

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Old 06-07-2016, 10:01 AM   #34
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keeping the bottom of the tanks clean and being particular about where you buy your fuel, is 99% of the clean fuel battle.
Thank you for finally making this point. Certainly, dirty fuel can be cleaned, but if your tanks are dirty, what difference will it make? Keep you tanks clean. Then, keeping your fuel clean (or as the case may be, regular cycling thru a filter system... call it polishing if you like) won't be needed. Your regular filters will do their job.

*I acknowledge the fact that not everyone has the access to their tanks to have them professionally cleaned. Therefore in this case, something is better than nothing.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:06 AM   #35
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Sunchaser alluded to the fact that the additive package that is in the fuel can be degraded over time, is there someway to test this, and to restore the additives when needed?
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:23 AM   #36
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Sunchaser alluded to the fact that the additive package that is in the fuel can be degraded over time, is there someway to test this, and to restore the additives when needed?
There is a simpler approach, use the boat. Nothing good comes from letting fuel sit for years. Use the boat and strive to consume the fuel in the tank a couple of times a year. If the capacity of the tank is more fuel than you would use in a year, don't fill it all the way.

During my refit, the fuel in my tanks sat for 2 years. Some impurities settled out of the fuel and were filtered out through my polisher, but there wasn't any problem with the fuel. Going forward, the fuel will turned over several times a year and lublicity etc. just won't be an issue.

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Old 06-07-2016, 10:29 AM   #37
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Sunchaser alluded to the fact that the additive package that is in the fuel can be degraded over time, is there someway to test this, and to restore the additives when needed?
I actually kinda doubt it. The diesel expert (non-active member here) has repeatedly presses the idea to me (he is my tank cleaning guy too in North Carolina) that using additives is not a good idea, considering you never know what all the previous storage and handling companies have added upstream. The bestlyest<!> way to keep fuel and tanks clean is to only buy what you will use in any given 30-60 day period. And buy from a source that is A) busy and B) has a regular tank cleaning schedule.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:50 AM   #38
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Whether a polishing system will help is, IMO, dependent on your engine types. Some engines will return several times more fuel to the tank than is burned.


That filter the fuel all the time. If you buy a used boat with uncertain history then a commercial service might be a good idea, once. From then on simply run the fuel low from time to time because when fuel is low it is circulated much more frequently through the filters. A day sloshing around with low fuel in a few foot waves will stir up the bottom of the tank.


The clear filter bowls are great for judging the cleanliness of the fuel.
So start by understanding your engine fuel system before spending unnecessary money.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:04 AM   #39
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Forgetting for a moment the overhyped boat store additives like stabil, startron or valvtec the only industrial additives I'm aware of are well upstream of the end user guys like us. In one case I know of badly fouled tanks on a larger vessel needed fuel supplier and refinery assistance for proper use of industrial biocides during external fuel polishing.

The large fuel farms I've been involved with routinely check incoming fuel for cetane, water, dirt, sulfur, density and flashpoint. These are contractual arrangements made by buyer with refiner and shipper.

OCD and others have nailed it - buy boat diesel from the right seller, use it and keep your filter changes up to date. BTW, buying from the back end of Joe's clapped out delivery truck introduces a few new questions.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:30 AM   #40
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Great post by Twisted. Makes a lot of sense to me.

I have a fuel transfer line that connects to the side of each tank right at the bottom. It has a transfer pump connected to it. I have been considering adding a filter/water separator to that line so that when the fuel is transferred, it gets filtered in the process. Definitely not a polishing system, but a chance to catch and filter out any water or crud that may be hanging out on the bottom of the tank. The pros are that it would be relatively cheap and easy to do. The cons are that it wouldn't be terribly effective.

I do need to install a timer on my fuel transfer switch somewhere. I have a spring loaded toggle on the console that drives the transfer pump. Hold it to port to transfer to the port tank, hold it to starboard to transfer to the other tank. It is a pain to hold that switch long enough to transfer a significant % of a 200 gal tank. I am thinking of replacing it with a non-sprung but lit toggle and then put a timer in the ER near the pump. I have to open up the valves in the ER anyway to transfer the fuel.
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