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Old 01-26-2016, 08:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
Yuk. That would clog a filter of two. Would not want to be changing filters while crossing the Columbia River bar or entering Juan De Fuca...
If seen tanks at least that bad that caused no clogging issues. Go figure?
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:20 PM   #22
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Potential clogging of the filters is one issue, the other is pit corrosion on the bottom of the tank (s) from the sludge/moisture sitting there. It may not clog the filters but it can be one of the causes of tanks leaking from the inside out.
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:10 AM   #23
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I would get them cleaned. The issue is gunk that has settled in the tank and will remain there with no visible issue until...... you get out in rough seas and things start to get stirred up. If it's bad you could be changing filters hourly. This is what you want to avoid, and maintaining clean tanks is the only way to do it.

Polishing won't help because the gunk is settled on the bottom and won't get picked up unless agitated. A true cleaning will essentially pressure wash the tank bottom until clean. The key is to be sure all the crud gets loosened up so it can get filtered out. After 20 years I'd be surprised if there isn't some degree of accumulation.
Makes sense to me but what do you folks make of my situation. The boat is a 1983 Defever 44. I have no idea of whether the tanks have ever been cleaned. We bought her two years ago in Palm Coast, Florida and drove her home to the Annapolis area in February, 2014. While transiting St. Andrews Sound we were rocked mightily on the beam (several 30 degree rolls). On the approach we encountered 5-foot waves on the bow so I am confident that the fuel in the tanks received quite a good thrashing. The Racor filters were 2-microns. They did not plug up. Nor, when I changed them upon reaching home was there any evidence that they were particularly dirty. In fact, I think I could have continued to use them but, of course, did not. So, do I have sludge on the bottom that should be cleaned out? I think probably not. Opinions?

As a side note, when we had the aft tank removed, when the top was cut off, 6 inches of sludge was found. The bottom of the tank was rusted out.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:24 AM   #24
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Hi, CJ. I think the only way to know is to pull the inspection covers and look. As you know, we bought our '87 Defever 44 from Palm Coast to the Chesapeake shortly after you did (I still appreciate your heads up on St. Andrews Sound) and we had no problem with clogged filters on the first leg. On the second half of the trip, however, one of the filters started to clog near Albermarle, where it was pretty rough over an extended time. Once we got to the Chessie, I had a tank cleaning firm check things out and he removed a couple of 5-gallon buckets of compacted sludge from the saddle tanks. Fortunately, the metal was not pitted. (The aft tank was pristine and the guy wondered if it had ever been used; I plan to run it as a day tank.) The inspection and cleaning cost me about 1 boat unit, but I think I know enough now to do the job myself next time . . . and it is very reassuring to know the true condition of the tanks.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:32 AM   #25
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...The inspection and cleaning cost me about 1 boat unit, but I think I know enough now to do the job myself next time . . . and it is very reassuring to know the true condition of the tanks.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:34 AM   #26
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"The boat is a 1983 Defever 44. I have no idea of whether the tanks have ever been cleaned."

"I think the only way to know is to pull the inspection covers and look"

If there are NO inspection or cleaning ports there is no way the tanks have ever been cleaned.

There are a large number of dock flys that will "clean" your tank with a suction and pressure hose and a bunch of filters <BUT there ia no way to clean behind the baffles that are built into any real fuel tank.

If you worry , simply install large after market ports and get a long wooden scraper and have fun!
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:48 AM   #27
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If there are NO inspection or cleaning ports there is no way the tanks have ever been cleaned.

There are a large number of dock flys that will "clean" your tank with a suction and pressure hose and a bunch of filters <BUT there ia no way to clean behind the baffles that are built into any real fuel tank.

If you worry , simply install large after market ports and get a long wooden scraper and have fun!
Fortunately, most Defevers have large inspection ports. The baffles have large holes in them and the tank cleaner had wands and extensions that allowed him to see in to and reach all of the chambers with pressure.
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Old 01-27-2016, 11:08 AM   #28
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Fortunately, most Defevers have large inspection ports. The baffles have large holes in them and the tank cleaner had wands and extensions that allowed him to see in to and reach all of the chambers with pressure.
Art spent a lot of time in Mexico in the old days. He knew first hand what bad fuel is and designed his tanks for cleaning accordingly.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:58 PM   #29
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I would get them cleaned. The issue is gunk that has settled in the tank and will remain there with no visible issue until...... you get out in rough seas and things start to get stirred up. If it's bad you could be changing filters hourly. This is what you want to avoid, and maintaining clean tanks is the only way to do it.

Polishing won't help because the gunk is settled on the bottom and won't get picked up unless agitated. A true cleaning will essentially pressure wash the tank bottom until clean. The key is to be sure all the crud gets loosened up so it can get filtered out. After 20 years I'd be surprised if there isn't some degree of accumulation.

Thanks, I agree with the filth in the tanks. I did finally speak to a polishing / cleaning guy here and he says that when they do it, they create enough turbulence in the tank that it will lift any debris in the tank and mix with fuel to be filtered. FB
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:13 PM   #30
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Thanks, I agree with the filth in the tanks. I did finally speak to a polishing / cleaning guy here and he says that when they do it, they create enough turbulence in the tank that it will lift any debris in the tank and mix with fuel to be filtered. FB
I'm not sure I agree with the polishing/cleaning guy. Our tanks, each 350 gallons, has 3 baffles or 4 chambers. The fuel fill is at the high end, first chamber and the fuel outlet is at the low end, fourth chamber where the sludge/crap accumulates. I'm curious how they would create the type of turbulence required to get the sludge/crap at the other end of the tank past the 3 baffles?
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:20 PM   #31
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I'm not sure I agree with the polishing/cleaning guy. Our tanks, each 350 gallons, has 3 baffles or 4 chambers. The fuel fill is at the high end, first chamber and the fuel outlet is at the low end, fourth chamber where the sludge/crap accumulates. I'm curious how they would create the type of turbulence required to get the sludge/crap at the other end of the tank past the 3 baffles?

You have a point ! I will ask him to explain, bear in mind that baffles do not go all way to the bottom. There could even be a sump at one end as was the case in my sailboat and that would have to be vacced, I think. In any event, ALL you guys got me thinking and I appreciate that ... TX.
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:47 PM   #32
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They generally use the pump output to stir up the fuel and sludge. The one I watched, the operator used a stiff but flexible line to fish it around the tank. He would thump into the baffle until he found a vent and go through. It was scary to see what lived in the bottom of the tank. I would have figured it was clean but he proved me wrong.
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Old 01-27-2016, 05:38 PM   #33
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Here are 2 pictures of the baffles from inside of one of our tanks looking from the front inspection port toward the back on the port side. In the second one you can see the channel that the fuel flows from section to section. The curved section is against the hull.

We had tanks built for a previous boat. The baffle location was determined over coffee one morning. I have never seen 2 tanks built the same. KK4s's tanks around the same vintage, some had 2 baffles ours have 3. If you have seen the inside of one fuel tank, you have seen the inside of one fuel tank.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:16 PM   #34
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Be very careful. Do you have inspection ports? Nothing beats a good diaper cleaning. Nothing. He might be able to stir some stuff up, but he will never get anywhere near it all. Moreover, there is no way to tell what percentage he can remove. You will also (assuming you do have a lot of goop on the bottom) have clogged fuel filters soon after he is done. If he doesn't get 100% of it, the stuff that is left will still be floating around. Some will settle back to the tank floor, some will clog up your filter system. SO be ready.

And it will need it again later.

By far the best thing, if you have assess, is to get a professional tank cleaning. Then you have the peace of mind you need for a few years of safe boating.

YMMV
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:39 PM   #35
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I guess you could use one of the USB boroscopes to drop into the fuel tank and see what is down there. I doubt you'd get it clean again, but $20 is cheap for what you'd get back.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:40 PM   #36
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Here are 2 pictures of the baffles from inside of one of our tanks looking from the front inspection port toward the back on the port side. In the second one you can see the channel that the fuel flows from section to section. The curved section is against the hull.

We had tanks built for a previous boat. The baffle location was determined over coffee one morning. I have never seen 2 tanks built the same. KK4s's tanks around the same vintage, some had 2 baffles ours have 3. If you have seen the inside of one fuel tank, you have seen the inside of one fuel tank.
Wow! That's some free hand cutting on a production boat...

One would have thought there might have been a pattern to cut from?
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:33 AM   #37
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"Thanks, I agree with the filth in the tanks. I did finally speak to a polishing / cleaning guy here and he says that when they do it, they create enough turbulence in the tank that it will lift any debris in the tank and mix with fuel"

Does he represent the folks in Brooklyn with a fine old bridge for sale?
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