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Old 09-12-2014, 02:05 PM   #1
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Fuel polishing question

I have 2 tanks on my newly acquired trawler that are in need of polishing.

My options are to:

1. Have them cleaned professionally, quoted $1,000 to $1,200 (The tanks have access panels)
2. Clean them myself (What to do with the 200 gallons in the tanks?)
3. Install a dedicated polishing system ($800 to &1,600?)

My Questions to the group are these: If I install a quality fuel polishing system, will it clean up the existing fuel? And if so, than could it be a better investment in the long run versus having them professionally cleaned?

Thanks for your input!
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_nickens1 View Post
I have 2 tanks on my newly acquired trawler that are in need of polishing.

My options are to:

1. Have them cleaned professionally, quoted $1,000 to $1,200 (The tanks have access panels)
2. Clean them myself (What to do with the 200 gallons in the tanks?)
3. Install a dedicated polishing system ($800 to &1,600?)

My Questions to the group are these: If I install a quality fuel polishing system, will it clean up the existing fuel? And if so, than could it be a better investment in the long run versus having them professionally cleaned?

Thanks for your input!
First thing I did on this boat was to have a FP system installed.
Didn't cost that much, but great value.

If money matters, I would do that and polish what you have. My FP also added the ability to transfer fuel from tank to tank. now i do that all the time, both as a way to check how much fuel I have, but also to keep new fuel from old until polished.

If you can do that, then open the inspection ports, and suck the remainder out with a shop vac. I did this last week dreading it and it took less than an hour.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:54 PM   #3
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Why does it need polishing???

If you run on low tanks most diesels recirculate fuel fast enough to "polish " it free.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:57 PM   #4
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When we got our trawler I wanted to polish the fuel also. The guy came and ran the fuel though the filters and got a lot of trash and tar type stuff out of the tanks. Filled the tanks and off we go to the keys. Come back the next weekend and find fuel in the bilge. The pressure from the polishing jetting into the tank broke loose a rust deposit and started leaking .Gave away the fuel ,got the tank repaired, then the other tank leaked in a area that could not be repaired. Ended up replacing both tanks my self and that's another story .Old Chinese stainless tanks from 1988.So be careful what you wish for. I would run the tanks to emply ,then look in side and see what's on the walls and bottom.The filters should catch most of bad stuff.
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
If you can do that, then open the inspection ports, and suck the remainder out with a shop vac. I did this last week dreading it and it tool less than an hour.

Scares me that anyone would use a shop vac to vacuum up diesel. Lucy you didn't burn yourself up.
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:37 PM   #6
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Step one is to clean your tanks. Bottom line... You can scrub forever. And while you will have clean fuel, it will just get dirty if you don't clean your tanks.

Here was my experience that only cost $500:

Skinny Dippin's Tank Cleaning: A Trip Report

After that, if you feel the need is still there, you can build your own fuel polishing rig. It's a little fidgety, but not that hard if you do your homework... And ask a lot of questions here ;-)

http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s...e-ii-3761.html
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:53 PM   #7
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We had a company do ours and they installed inspection plates on the fuel tanks. Not sure where Forked River is, but the company that did ares is:

CSSI Fuel Filtration
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:53 PM   #8
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You didn't say what your boat was...

Pay to have your fuel polished. Think, if this is the first time it's been done in the last few decades since new, why put in a polisher when the tanks won't need doing again for as long as you own the boat?

Make sure you have 2 primary fuel filters that you can easily switch while running. For each engine ( you didn't say anything about that either).
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:08 PM   #9
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So many questions, so many answers, so little initial information. Your answers are here but we need to know tank material, tank (boat) age and so forth. Mild steel, rusting through no amount of polishing will work. Aluminum tanks maybe hope and on and on and so forth...

You need not throw good money after bad...DIRTFT dirt foot. Do it right the first time Dirt foot. is always the most inexpensive but not the cheapest initially. The story earlier where the polisher speeded up a leak it was well on its way before. He replaced those dead tanks, not before spending to save.

I do not know where you are but that quote seemed VERY high to me. I had my 2 150 tanks done, 50 in each tank....$400. I had a long running relationship with him, but still...

I have cleaned and repaired my aluminum tanks, no welding necessary, in fact do not do it on aluminum, steel, they go to the dumpster. Call Marine Connection, Fort Pierce if u replace first, he has an inventory. Good luck.

After all you can, fill 50 gallon barrels using hose and pump, no problem.. Btw, MC has a few shelves of racors filtering systems..way cheaper than retail.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:40 PM   #10
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Mule, What's "Dirt foot?" And "DIRTFT dirt foot?"

If that's a typo, please read your stuff over before hitting send? That will save me from pulling out what's left of my hair....
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:46 PM   #11
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It is an acronym...DIRTFT. Dirt foot..Do It Right The First Time..... Always the best value.... Kindda like I live with dogs and kids. Never take crap off anything you feed... I am a simple man.

Re read, it was in the body, but sorry, I did not capitalize thereby making it harder to understand the message...will work on that..
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:05 PM   #12
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My tanks were Chinese metal ,and after cutting them up to remove them they were still had gunk and tarred up at the v at the bottom and where the baffle stopped the cleaning process. So I spent $$$$$.$$ to polish the fuel, filling with fuel, giving that fuel away for labor, degassing the tank ,the repair ,before the other tank leaked and said that enough and had two tanks made for$ 5,000.00 .Again I say look inside and decide what you can afford and who will do the work with estimate s in hand.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:11 PM   #13
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Stick a borescope down there and see if there is gunk. Modern technology has made them inexpensive.

It will give you some emperical data to make your decision on.

My observation is that Spy's 33 year old aluminum tanks look better on the inside than they do the outside.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:58 PM   #14
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Mule, I learn something new every day. Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:05 PM   #15
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When looking for a professional to replace my tanks ,I was a gassed by the crazy estimates and time and material will see how it goes. From cutting the sides of the hull to access the tanks to removing both engines from the boat to get to the tanks. I was not to be held hostage on the hard while they figured how to do it.I took measurements and found a tank maker and had them in two weeks. Put an A-frame in the saloon lifted engine ,cut tank up, removed, installed new tank reset engine.Did same with the other tank. Two weekends and help from my bubbas who I had given fuel to for their pickups.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:46 PM   #16
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First, buy some more separator elements. If you can draw fuel from one tank and return to the other through the engine, pump one tank almost dry and then open the access panel and clean as necessary. Then reverse the process and draw from the other and return to the one you cleaned. Then clean the second tank. Remember the fuel you are transferring is clean as it has gone through the seperator and most likely a 2 micron filter. You may have to change the seperator element a couple of times in the process.

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Old 09-13-2014, 05:08 AM   #17
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Had a fuel polishing system on Bay Pelican for ten years before I had to cut the tanks up for leaks. Tanks were basically clean. Fuel polishing system was inexpensive, just a Walbro pump and a Gulf Coast paper towel filter that took fuel out of the tank and sent it back to the tank using Bay Pelican's normal fuel lines.

Could tell by both the dirt in the paper towel filters and the amount of water drained out that the filter was catching a good amount of both.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:04 AM   #18
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>If I install a quality fuel polishing system, will it clean up the existing fuel?<

Sure , but it will not clean the gunk from the usual box of fuel.

Its the gunk breaking loose that stops the engine.

If all the fuel cant be put in one tank to clean the other , some 50G drums will do the job.

Use a wooden scraper when cleaning inside the tank.

The PRO service is usually useless at cleaning the tank , just the fuel in it, save your money.

If you decide to replace the tank, purchase a designed fuel TANK, not just a box for fuel.

And with minor effort you will never need to polish or clean again.
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:59 AM   #19
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The guy that has done mine circulated the fuel sending it back at high pressure to churn the crud. The stuff left behind, in theory should not break loose in heavy seas. Nothing beats hand scrubbing, I used stiff brush, scotch bright, citrus cleaner and lotsa water.
That was on the Mainship, on my Present, no access so I used the polisher. Lotta stuff came out, I do wish the tanks had been scoped B4 and after though.
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Old 10-05-2014, 02:04 PM   #20
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Mike, we used a Mueller extraction pump with an extension on the suction hose. I fitted a instrument cleaning brush to the end of a piece of copper tubing and clear vinyl hose so you can see when your sucking up black contaminets, trick is you have to sweep across the bottom of the tank in a pattern. We cleaned the bottom of our s/s 280 gallon tank in four hours . Pulled out maybe thirty gallons of black gunk. I then installed a Gulf Coast filter which uses Bounty paper towel rolls as a filter same as Bay Pelican described. We had racors plugging regularly before cleaning, now I change the Racor annually only because the filter paper only last so long. The black goo on the bottom of the tank is ashphalteum a natural occorence in diesel fuel, so yes definitely fuel polishing is well worth installing.
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