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Old 10-05-2016, 05:40 AM   #1
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What would you do about fuel in exhaust?

I've read through some old threads on the subject here but would appreciate a selection of the usual wildly divergent opinions to be found on a forum so I can sort through the reasoning to figure out what to do in my particular situation.

We've just completed bringing the 1975 Gulf Star 43 trawler "Gypsy Star" we just purchased from Detroit to Albany. It was an utterly bizarre purchase process followed by one of the best boat trips of my 30,000 nm (or thereabouts) of cruising. This was mostly due to the people involved but the Erie Canal is a wonderful cruising ground and the kind of thing we primarily bought this boat for. However, I'll report on all that later.

The immediate issue:

This boat has twin Perkins 6.354 naturally aspirated engines of mid 70's vintage with only about 2600 hours due to the short seasons in the Great Lakes. She was always a fresh water boat.

The transom around the exhausts is the cleanest I have ever seen. I ran my fingers around the inside of the exhaust pipes at haul out inspection and they came out almost clean. The engines start almost instantly. We have a weak battery that needs to be replaced and, trying to start with that battery, the alarm light was barely glowing and the starter could just kick the engine over about one cylinder stroke but it started right up. We get the usual light grey smoke at fast cruise but never any black. Still no sign of sooting around the outlets after the several hundred miles from Detroit to Albany. Less smoke in general than I have ever seen on a boat.

However, I have several times seen a sheen of fuel oil around the exhausts. Yesterday, we did the Waterford flight of locks which meant a couple hours of idling followed by an hour of cruise at about 1800 rpm to the dock where I dropped off delivery crew. It was embarrassing. The person who picked up our lines at the marina touch and go looked down and said, "You have a lot of fuel coming out of your exhaust." We did. We were making a sheen several feet in diameter and he was obviously not pleased about it. I left hastily.

Reading through other threads, the message that stands out seems to be, "They are Perkins. Get over it." Long idling down through the locks seems like a perfect set up for this scenario. One of my crew who has a lot of diesel experience said he thought he heard the offending engine missing on the run down the river but was not sure. It sounded good to me but I noticed that it seemed harder than usual to get the engines in sync.

We are under a lot of pressure to get this boat moved south as soon as the weather clears up. I'm also reluctant to have the boat disabled at a dock in case one of these storms should come up the Hudson River.

So, the question: Should I just watch and monitor this until we can get south or should I add having a mechanic check it out and probably pull the injectors to the daunting list of things that need to be done before we move on?
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:51 AM   #2
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I have the same engine ""Get over it"" . We had the injectors reconditioned and still get the pretty rainbow at idle as I see it the injector pump runs rich at start up and idle and remember it's old old school technology .
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:55 AM   #3
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When I had a Perkins there was always fuel in the exhaust stream. Shut the engines down in the locks.
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:22 AM   #4
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https://www.uscg.mil/d1/prevention/n...protection.pdf

Question is such a sheen a punishable violation of the clean water act?

Quote:
OIL POLLUTION COMPLIANCE WITH THE
FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION ACT
The Federal Water Pollution Act prohibits discharges of
harmful quantities of oil into U. S. navigable waters or
adjoining shorelines. Further, the person in charge of a vessel
or facility that discharges oil in violation of the Act is required
to notify the Coast Guard's National Response Center at (800)
424-8802 as soon as he or she has knowledge of the spill.
The penalty for illegal discharges is a civil penalty of up to
$125,000 against the owner, operator, or person in charge of
the source. Failure to notify the Coast Guard of a discharge is
punishable by a criminal penalty of fines or up to 5 years
imprisonment or both, against the person in charge of the source

The owner or operator of the source of a discharge is also
liable for all removal costs, as well as claims of loss or injury by
third parties.

Harmful quantities of oil have been defined by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as those that violate
applicable water quality standards or cause a film or sheen on
the surface of the water
, or cause a sludge or emulsion to be
deposited beneath the surface of the water or on adjoining
shorelines.
Discharge of oil placards must be at least 5" x 8" and fixed in a
conspicuous place in each machinery space, or at the bilge and
ballast pump control station. Placards must be printed in the
language or languages understood by the crew. A sample
discharge of oil placard is at the end of this section.
A strict observance of that law makes me think so.
Anyone seen a USCG officer ignore a sheen on the water related to it's size?
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:29 AM   #5
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One of my better friend's husband was a USCG officer, and I asked him once, what If I as a pleasure boater am running the boat and an engine blows and burps out some oil making a sheen on the water.
His friendly response was, get away from the area ASAP, or they will drag you over the coals if they catch you, significant fines he had seen imposed. This thing about oil on the water has always been one of my personal concerns, not about others spills, but my own potential liability. Because I think they have gone off the deep end on this law.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:20 AM   #6
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I wonder if a bar of bath soap shoved in a strainer basket might help?

Old diesels can have "sloppy" injection, some fuel goes by unburned and it condenses in the wet tailpipes and mufflers.

Worse in the canals where you can't power up to blow it out/clean it up.

If engine runs smooth, sounds smooth, and does not smoke idling, it probably is nature of the beast.

If you have twins, compare the sheen from each. If one is make a lot more than the other, that is a hint something is wrong.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I wonder if a bar of bath soap shoved in a strainer basket might help?

Old diesels can have "sloppy" injection, some fuel goes by unburned and it condenses in the wet tailpipes and mufflers.

Worse in the canals where you can't power up to blow it out/clean it up.

If engine runs smooth, sounds smooth, and does not smoke idling, it probably is nature of the beast.

If you have twins, compare the sheen from each. If one is make a lot more than the other, that is a hint something is wrong.
Interesting idea, wonder how long it would last.
My idea is how about an idle soap injector. A tiny drop of soap cause a sheen to completely disappear fast.

But of course the USCG outlaws soaps for dispersing oil, they will fine you for using soap to cleanup oil if they catch you.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:52 AM   #8
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But of course the USCG outlaws soaps for dispersing oil, they will fine you for using soap to cleanup oil if they catch you.
True, but Ski's ingenuity is impressive.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:00 AM   #9
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Noticed a similar small sheen from our 6.354's, too.

I'll bet the bar of soap would dissolve pretty quickly. Need soap injection!

Funny how BP and the rest of the big offenders can use dispersants. At least diesel evaporates relatively quickly.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:44 AM   #10
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Maybe a piece of pvc pipe with end caps shoved on it, a couple tiny holes in the cap. Fill with Dawn and then put that in strainer. Dawn would weep out of the holes at a certain rate, depending on size and number.

I don't think bar soap is too good emulsifying diesel.

How about alcohol? I know it emulsifies gasoline?? Or is the water just mixing with the alcohol? How would it act with diesel??
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:07 AM   #11
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Liquid dish soap, a few drops will disperse an oil or gas sheen of 10 to 20 feet. It spreads at an amazing rate across the water surface like magic.

Sometimes at my slip, the currents will bring in a small sheen, I always wonder if some law enforcement visitor to the marina will walk by and blame my boat.

And we have these old creosoted wood pilings. In the hot summer days, a tiny sheen will weep out of one of them right next to my boat.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
Liquid dish soap, a few drops will disperse an oil or gas sheen of 10 to 20 feet. It spreads at an amazing rate across the water surface like magic.

.
While it does work like magic, it is illegal to do.

Just saying.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:17 PM   #13
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Why is there a bubble machine on the stern of that boat but never any kids?
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:20 PM   #14
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Why do I carry a case of Dawn?
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:25 PM   #15
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Have a bucket and soap and brush handy and start washing the hull when your leaking out a sheen and a LEO is around.
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Old 10-05-2016, 02:11 PM   #16
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I get a sheen at start-up but not after engines reach temp. Same hrs/vintage.
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Old 10-05-2016, 02:24 PM   #17
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None of those old diesels burn all of their fuel at idle. The solution is to throw them away and get a modern engine. Right.
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:43 PM   #18
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I ran a dozen miles down the river to a new marina today with a few minutes of maximum power running. Never saw a hint of oil.

It was all the idling in the locks. I learned a lot about twin screw handling and gave my crew a rest but I'll shut down and hang onto the ropes the next time I am doing a long flight.

Lesson learned. I'm glad it was before I called in a mechanic.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:01 PM   #19
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Horsepuckey....

I have been involved with hundreds of oil spills while in the USCG and Assistance towing, including dozens of others where over fueled boats put out a sheen from dozens of gallons of diesel fuel.

While they could have prompted fines, Not one ever did. Not just from fuel spills, exhaust sheens, sunken small vessels, etc...etc...

If the spill was containable or liable to disappate before USCG intervention, and was reported as required, I never heard of a citation issued.

Not saying they arent a possible fine, but I don't think it's the ugly side of the USCG that they are headhunting....they just don't drop the hammer every time.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
While it does work like magic, it is illegal to do.

Just saying.
hiding a spill may get you the fine where just reporting a small one probably won't.

Better to throw some absorbent pads or pugs down rather than soaping it.
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