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Old 01-13-2013, 09:55 PM   #1
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Fuel Tank Cleaning & cleaners

Seeking members advise.. Our trawler has 2x140 gal stainless diesel tanks port and starboard. Appreciate advise/experience on best way to clean tanks, how frequently? Also, how effective are liquid cleaners poured in the tanks vs cleaning? Any recommendations on which product is most effective?

Thanks
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:39 AM   #2
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"Also, how effective are liquid cleaners poured in the tanks vs cleaning?"

An access hatch and a hand job are the only known way to actually clean a tank.

The rest are all prayers , although they make a lot of money for their high priests ,

the polish forever religion,

the dock guy with the big filters religion,

the magnets kill and squish religion ,

And as always the my goop is better in the tank than your goop religion.

Want a clean tank? clean it.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:02 AM   #3
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The "best" way to clean the tanks is to call in a professional, someone who does this for a living. They will have the training, experience, and equipment to do the job.

Get them clean and I can't see a reason you would have to do it again unless you take on some contaminated fuel.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Curt R View Post
Seeking members advise.. Our trawler has 2x140 gal stainless diesel tanks port and starboard. Appreciate advise/experience on best way to clean tanks, how frequently? Also, how effective are liquid cleaners poured in the tanks vs cleaning? Any recommendations on which product is most effective?

Thanks
What issues are you having that makes you think have to clean out your tanks. Describe your filter system.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
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"Also, how effective are liquid cleaners poured in the tanks vs cleaning?"

An access hatch and a hand job are the only known way to actually clean a tank.

The rest are all prayers , although they make a lot of money for their high priests ,

the polish forever religion,

the dock guy with the big filters religion,

the magnets kill and squish religion ,

And as always the my goop is better in the tank than your goop religion.

Want a clean tank? clean it.
Agree, Had my tanks cleaned in FL once by a "professional" (truck, big filters, high speed pumps) and here is what he did: pumped out most of the fuel, added a gallon of cleaner to the remaining fuel in each tank, circulated the fuel at high rate for 90 min. in each tank through filters while blasting ocassionally with a compressed air wand. (He also spilled fuel all over the yard and stole one drum of fuel but that is another story)
At any rate, as soon as I got in a seaway, my filters started to plug up with small chunks of black/brown crud which he had loosened but not filtered out. If I had been in the water when he spilled the fuel, I'd still be in jail.
I don't think any filter rig can clean beyond the first baffle so most of your tank remains bad. This for neglected tanks with a "mat" on the bottom. For tanks with some loose dirt and water, it could work. Handholes in every section are the answer.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:17 PM   #6
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Well, I must be very religious! Hell aula praise the Lord!

Unless you are going to open the tanks so all surfaces an be sprayed/clean and/or a person can actually climb into the tank and scrub it. I opened our middle tank as we seldom/don’t use it, and it had a leak. I cut a 18” X 18” hole which was big enough for me to climb in. the tank as is great shape but the weld cracked which was easy to see in the pitch dark tank.

Based on the tank, I religiously polish/clean the fuel and added Emergency diesel additive that absorb water back into the fuel at least 40+ hours a year, and try to turn the fuel ever year or two. I also installed the vacuum gauges on top of the Racor. The first couple of years the gauges show in the yellow, but there after in the white and hardly moved.

Now I know somebody is going to say, since we are a dock queen, hardly leaving the dock the filters should be clean. Well, you might have a point for still 40+ hours of polishing cleaning for the last 15 years there is no sign of dirt or water. In fact last year had a tiny air leak in the fuel line to, so installed a small in line filter and ran that all year with no signs of dirt or water either. About 400 gallons pass though that small in line filter.

Anyway, I would install vacuum gauges, and keep an eye on the filters and gauges, before spending the money to have the tanks cleaned. If there are signs then have the tank open up and cleaned properly. As a ½ ass job can cause more probable than leaving the tank alone. The Eagle tanks are 24 years old, and we have tank in the plant that are well over 70 years old. A used tanks is a happy tank!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:10 PM   #7
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Curt,

You asked two very good questions. Being in the business of cleaning fuel tank I can share with you what we find.

Virtually ever diesel powered vessel we service, we usually find a partially filled bottle of one of the well known bio-cides. When we come across a vessel with saddle type tanks we find one tank with more water than the other. The tank that sees the greatest temperature change will have a larger amount of water from condensation. The rumors of algae hanging from the walls and baffles are drastically exaggerated. When we cut open a tank or install a Sea Built access plate on a mobile unit the walls are clean. A stationary unit will be fouled from top to bottom.
I would recommend first to monitor your filters and if you must use a fuel additive, look for Sentry Diesel Plus. This product eliminates the water that rests atvthe bottom of your tank. Water is the food source for what 'grows down there'.
The latest concern regarding ULSD is corrosion that had been getting worst since around 2007. Lab reports from various locations is linking ethanol to this. The corrosion is found in the water portion (below the fuel), in the fuel, and in the ullage area (the air space) in the systems.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #8
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There's no ethanol in diesel... yet.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:08 AM   #9
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The corrosion is found in the water portion (below the fuel), in the fuel, and in the ullage area (the air space) in the systems.
The same places it has been found since the invention of liquid fuel.

ULSD is not responsible for corrosion, bad breath, global warming, high taxes, gun control mania, or political corruption.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:28 AM   #10
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I just had ours done in the summer. Here is the write-up I did in another thread:

http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s...port-6551.html

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:33 AM   #11
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There's no ethanol in diesel... yet.
The last report we received dated September 5 by the Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance and American Petroleum Institue was 146 pages where the ethanol is being introducted either by the trucks that bring the fuel or the common vent pipes from the underground tanks.

Ethanol has been tested in diesel but has been resisted by the engine manufacturers. The government is very driven to promote ethanol for what ever reason.

You will see more cng being blended with diesel in the near future and of course bio-diesel will become available.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:27 AM   #12
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You will see more cng being blended with diesel in the near future and of course bio-diesel will become available.
How do you blend compressed natural gas with diesel fuel oil?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:30 AM   #13
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Greetings,
I wondered that as well. I suspect VERY carefully and with GREAT difficulty...
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:40 AM   #14
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What? You guys don't fart in your engine room?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:44 AM   #15
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Yeah but despite the origin, that could be considered an un-natural gas!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:44 AM   #16
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Curt R

I ask again, what makes you think you have to clean your tanks?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:46 AM   #17
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Maybe they smell bad
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:00 PM   #18
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How do you blend compressed natural gas with diesel fuel oil?
You don't but there are a number of systems that allow cng and lpg to be utilized along with the diesel.

Using propane injection on diesel engines | American Diesel System

I drove one yesterday that injects lpg into the air intake when the throttle is advanced. It does noticeably increase performance as I was able to turn the system on and off under a load. Engine was in in-line 6cyl Cat. 3126 I believe.

Not something I would want on a boat.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:04 PM   #19
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This product eliminates the water that rests at the bottom of your tank. Water is the food source for what 'grows down there'.

There are emulsifiers and DE emulsifiers.

The emulsifier will mix the water in with your fuel, perhaps for the filters to catch.
If attempting this "cure" it is best if the fuel is sucked thru the filter bank, as any pump would mix the water even better with your fuel supply.

Filters are cheaper by the case , usually where the big fish boats buy marine stuff.

The DE emulsifier will drop the water to the bottom of your fuel tank, where it might be pumped out.

Of course the best solution is a good fuel tank that is easy to maintain.

Ask the boats first purchaser why he didnt demand a real fuel tank, instead of a box of fuel..

*****

"How do you blend compressed natural gas with diesel fuel oil?

The same technique that has been in use for 75 years or more,

  1. FischerTropsch process - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FischerTropsch_process
    The FischerTropsch process, or FischerTropsch synthesis, is a collection of chemical reactions that converts a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into ...
    Process chemistry - Gasification - History - Commercialization


  2. Fischer-Tropsch Archive

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    There is a large body of documents from the 1920's through the present day which are important for researching and understanding the history and development ...
  3. Fischer tropsch synthesis - an introduction - YouTube


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    Feb 17, 2012 - Uploaded by bitte102
    Fischer Tropsch synthesis is crucial in the preparation of fuels and chemicals from gas, coal or biomass. This ...
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  5. [PDF] Fischer-Tropsch - Alternative Fuels Data Center

    www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/epa_fischer.pdf
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
    Fischer-Tropsch. One in a series of fact sheets. United States. Environmental Protection. Agency. EPA420-F-00-036. March 2002 www.epa.gov. Transportation ...


  6. Fischer-Tropsch - Oxford Catalysts Group

    www.oxfordcatalysts.com/ocge03.php
    The Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process was developed in Germany in the early part of the last century as a way to produce liquid fuels, such as diesel, from coal.


  7. [PDF] Fischer-Tropsch Fuels - National Energy Technology Laboratory

    www.netl.doe.gov/publications/factsheets/rd/R&D089.pdf
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
    Background. The Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) reaction converts a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide—derived from coal, methane or biomass—to liquid fuels.


Of course the best solution is a good fuel tank that is easy to maintain.
Ask the boats first purchaser why he didnt ask for a real fuel tank, instead of a box of fuel..
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #20
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Every spring when the tanks are at their lowest, I think about opening the two side tanks just for peace of mind. However, if I see any signs or concerns I would open the tanks as I would much rather repair them than have to replace them.

Been using ULSD for the last 10 years as it burns cleaner in the Webasto, no soot, and/or fumes. It is my understand the biggest negative for ULSD is its short self/storage live, and separating out, which is the reason for turning/using ULSD yearly and/or additives that absorb water back into the fuel. As stated before I have seen no sign of water/dirt/rust in the filters after 400 gallon used per year and another 1,000 gallon polished/cleared.

On a plus side, my understanding is there is less sulfur and/or water so there is less acid to damage/corrode the tank. So I see ULSD is a plus over LSD sold in most marines. However, ULSD may be in the marinas is some locations already. I am not aware of Ethenol presently in diesel. However, they are adding 5% BioDiesel, which I been trying to avoid but that might be in marinas soon also. No sure about BioDeisel yet?

The Eagle old tanks are a big concern, the reason I religiously take preventative steps and looking for information.
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