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Old 12-07-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
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cleaning fuel tanks

bought a couple of 2nd hand stainless*diesel tanks. after any suggestions to clean out small amount of crud on bottom , one had a few litres in it but the other was bone dry and the crud has set*.

cheers and thanks dan
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:13 PM   #2
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Can you get in there and physically clean it out? Lacquer thinner is a mix of solvents that is very powerful and you could use that. If you need to install ports, you can use these: http://www.seabuilt.com/.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:50 PM   #3
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Yesterday, had a call from a sailboat from Texas here in the Tampa Bay area that needed his tank cleaned (had real heartaches coming across the Gulf).

We cut in two 6" Seabuilts and found globs of micro-bio growth in his tank. By the way, he had his tank cleaned in Texas in early November. They pulled the fuel sender and pulled the fuel from there and returned in the deck fill. They were happy that their*system could separate cream from milk.

FWIW, Startron makes a very good tank cleaner.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:04 PM   #4
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Would it be advisable, if possible, to install a drain tap for sediment and water, located below the pick up point, for when the tanks are refitted?

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Old 12-10-2011, 01:45 AM   #5
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

looking at seabuilt access but with 2 baffles might have 2 cutaway some baffle to gain acess . at the moment they are soaking ,* bottom covered*with an inch diesel.* was planning on fitting drainpoint hard to bottom and cracking it regular
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:32 AM   #6
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Tanks that are out cam easily be cleaned with 5gal of ZEP industrial cleaner , shaking (or an air hose) and time.


Adding a drainable sump would be a great first step in adding reliability to the fuel system
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:51 AM   #7
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
FF wrote:
Adding a drainable sump would be a great first step in adding reliability to the fuel system

Yes it would but for some reason, I've never seen or heard of one on a boat.* I remember some cars in the 1950s had rhem.
*
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:07 AM   #8
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cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
Keith wrote:
Lacquer thinner is a mix of solvents that is very powerful and you could use that.
It amazes me that so many people are frightened out of their shorts by the idea of having propane on a boat but suggest things like this.

Leaving aside all the health issues related to breathing the fumes of this chemical cocktail, the flash point is 20*F and the Lower Explosive Limit is 1 percent, that is less than half the LEL of propane.

Lacquer thinner fumes are twice as heavy as air, propane is only 1.5 times as heavy. Propane gas is less likely to explode and is more easily dissipated with ventilation than lacquer thinner fumes.

Would anyone here be happy to spray the sides of their fuel tanks with propane if the stuff cleaned off crud? No? Why not? Propane is a very effective solvent. It is used in the refining industry to remove asphaltenes (the black crud you find in the bottom of diesel fuel tanks) from lube oil feed stocks.

Think about what products you use on your boat and be very very careful about some of the advice you get here.


-- Edited by RickB on Sunday 11th of December 2011 07:11:13 AM
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:52 AM   #9
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
RickB wrote:
Think about what products you use on your boat and be very very careful about some of the advice you get here.

__________________________________________________ ______

I wrote about this subject a few years ago and it still scares me today! Don't get me wrong...I am not a boat maintenance expert by any means. I am a yachtsman (Moonstruck's definition.) and hire my work out. I am, however, always at the boat when the pros are working on it and, by osmosis, have gleaned quite a bit of information. Be really careful of some of the advise you get here. Check it out with a few knowledgeable sources. It's all well intended but very wrong in a lot of cases.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:45 PM   #10
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
rwidman wrote:FF wrote:
Adding a drainable sump would be a great first step in adding reliability to the fuel system

Yes it would but for some reason, I've never seen or heard of one on a boat.
*

*My tanks have a screw in plug at the bottom (plus side access plate with set screws); if I unscrew the plug without emptying the tank the flow is uncontrolled so a drain valve makes sense. Author Nigel Calder says they`re a must. Could gumming up be a reason not to fit one, otherwise why not?
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:24 PM   #11
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Our boat's tanks have sumps with valves on which the outlets are capped. Simply unscrew a cap, crack open a valve, drain a bit into a clear container for inspection. That's one thing at least the builder did correctly. On the other hand, the tanks have plastic sight tubes with no valves on them which scares me.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:29 PM   #12
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

dwhatty beat me to it. The only things I would consider adding is use a locking ball valve and the fittings should be 316 SS in aluminum tanks since there could be water in contact with the tank body and the fittings. Hope no water but protect the tank
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:52 AM   #13
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

SS tanks are usually not recommended for fuel tanks as they do not like stagnant fluids.* SS are mostly used for water tanks.**
*

If the tanks have baffles inside cleaning cut inspection holes to clean/reach the entire tank.* I would use something that is water salable/non flammable, then wet vac out, and the blow air into the tank to evaporate the moisture. **I clean/repair one of our 400 gallon tanks by cutting a 18 X 18 hole and climbed inside to clean/weld/paint the inside.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:43 PM   #14
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Slightly off topic but may be helpful, I removed some water and sludge from the bottom of a tank using plastic tube tied to a length of dowel inserted via the filler to the tank base,pumping out with a hand pump (one for draining oil via the dipstick hole)until the stuff coming up looked like diesel.

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Old 12-14-2011, 05:11 AM   #15
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

I did something very similar using an outboard engine squeezeball rig after "listing" the boat to get the water into an accessable corner of the tank.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:54 PM   #16
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

If you going to do it, do it!
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:24 AM   #17
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

We recently cut in two 6" Seabuilt's for a customer at his request. While his tank was professionally polished 15 day prior, his crossing of the Gulf from Texas was a bit taxing with filter changes.

What we removed from his tank was enough to chock a horse. Again the difference in fuel polishing and tank cleaning.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:36 AM   #18
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
El Sea wrote:*his tank was professionally polished
*Now there is an oxymoron!
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:02 AM   #19
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

CCC you are too funny!!

Do you rent your friend out? Just wonderin'
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:08 PM   #20
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RE: cleaning fuel tanks

Quote:
charles wrote:
that is RANDOLPH inside the tank.

*
*Judged by his nose, it looks more like Rudolf.

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