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Old 04-22-2015, 04:46 PM   #21
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I picked up 150 gallons of diesel in the bahamas. A few days later I noticed the fuel in the racor looked black. I drained out a quart and after two weeks the fuel is still exceptionally dark although I can see through it if I hold it up to sunlight. There is nothing on the bottom of the jar. Engine runs fine.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:05 PM   #22
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Now I'm overwhelmed but Northern Spy hints of some good action I may take.

We always fill both tanks at the same time.

Where do you suppose I can get some Kolor-Kut? Now I think I need to do that. Visible "free water" is not apparent. But if there's water there will probably be bugs as well re what Cafesport presented. I'd say he's our bug man from here on.

I think I'll check for water as NS has suggested. Then extract the fuel and replace it w new including StaBill and BioBore. Then run changing the filters often and then less often depending on the contents of the extracted filters.

Ray thanks for the heads up and I was thinking similar.

meridian,
We must have different problems .. mine has a color mostly like farmer type apple juice. Amber. Nothing like black. I'm fine w a thread highjack to sort out Terry's black plague. I yeild the floor .. or tank .. or whatever.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:19 PM   #23
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I got my Kolor Kut at the bulk fuel station in town. Any good farm store would likely have it. A tube will last a lifetime. Unless you get it wet...
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:28 PM   #24
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Cloudy fuel is usually water. 100 ppm is allowable by the ASTM standard. 200ppm will show as cloudy. anything more than that will generally precipitate out and you'll find free water at the bottom
Spy--- Are you saying that it's possible for water to become and remain suspended in fuel that is just sitting there for long periods of time, as opposed to the particles going to the bottom and combining to form the clear, slippery "blobs" I'm used to seeing when checking airplane tanks for water?

I'm not arguing that you're wrong. I'm just curious if my own assumption has been.

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Old 04-22-2015, 06:45 PM   #25
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It usually takes some form of mixing. Don't think gasoline will go cloudy, just the lower grades. I'm not at work right now do I don't have access to API or ASTM standards. I only have diesel grades of my reference material at home.

Diesel has what is know as a cloud point, but that is for the paraffin waxes precipitating at really cold temperatures.
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:48 PM   #26
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Spy--- Are you saying that it's possible for water to become and remain suspended in fuel that is just sitting there for long periods of time, as opposed to the particles going to the bottom and combining to form the clear, slippery "blobs" I'm used to seeing when checking airplane tanks for water?

I'm not arguing that you're wrong. I'm just curious if my own assumption has been.

Thanks,
There are two types of water in diesel, Water in Solution and Free Water. The water in solution typically drops. Due to the difference in chemical composition it dissolves. However, free water will turn the diesel to the hazy color. Something is holding the water in suspension.

Note also diesel fuel holds more water than gas because of it's nature.

Here's a good discussion of water in diesel, having nothing to do with boating but from Equipment Today.

Water in Diesel Fuel Can Wreak Havoc in Engines
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:54 PM   #27
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When I had a water ingress problem, I stored it in containers until I could find a place to dispose if it. Most of it settled out, but the fuel remained cloudy.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:09 PM   #28
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When I had a water ingress problem, I stored it in containers until I could find a place to dispose if it. Most of it settled out, but the fuel remained cloudy.
So this leads to a question regarding Eric's situation. If each tank has its own fill cap, is it possible that the one with the cloudy fuel has a cap leak or bad seal or something that allowed rainwater to seep into the tank over all this time?

Of course, if the boat was under cover then it's not a valid possibility.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:28 PM   #29
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So this leads to a question regarding Eric's situation. If each tank has its own fill cap, is it possible that the one with the cloudy fuel has a cap leak or bad seal or something that allowed rainwater to seep into the tank over all this time?

Of course, if the boat was under cover then it's not a valid possibility.
I think a lot of things are possible and until it's too early to eliminate possibilities. There really are two choices. One is have someone come remove the fuel and clean the tank and move on, hoping it doesn't recur. The other is to try to figure out what it is, then how it happened, to correct whatever the underlying cause is. Testing for water is certainly a start toward that.

I know it seems like a lot of time and potentially money over a small amount and low value of fuel. But my concern would be the issue recurring and leaving him in a bad situation some time. Honestly, I don't know which route I'd take. Probably for me, pursuing the underlying cause. However, many times in my life I've come across problems that were fixed and no one figured out the cause. I was never comfortable but many went years and no problem cropped up again.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:48 PM   #30
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Well, I'm a big fan of finding out the cause of a problem. In medical cases it's get a picture (MRI) instead of speculating about what the cause of a back, nerve, etc. problem might be.

In this case of cloudy fuel I would have already called the lab Ray spoke of and made arrangements to get the cloudy fuel analyzed. Only when one knows exactly what they're dealing with can a cure be devised.

If the analysis shows it's water suspended in the fuel, then you know the problem to solve: how'd the water get into the fuel in that tank and not the other one?

If it's bugs, how'd they get into the tank and why are they doing what they're doing?

If it's an additive gelling up or whatever, well, you know not to use that additive or not to let it sit in fuel for that amount of time.

And so on.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:49 PM   #31
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Marin wrote;
"So this leads to a question regarding Eric's situation. If each tank has its own fill cap, is it possible that the one with the cloudy fuel has a cap leak or bad seal or something that allowed rainwater to seep into the tank over all this time?"
Indeed it is. There is an undesirable situation that puddes water right over the fuel fill ports. And it's worse on the port side. I very carefully grease the "O" rings and frequently replace same. I thought if I couldn't see water in my samples pumped out of the bottom corner I was home free re water. Not so?

Marin that was very perceptive even if I've kept water out.
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:43 PM   #32
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Al FlyWright! You need to post your account of the time water leaked into one of your fuel tanks resulting in one engine's failure. I recall casually assisting you in Ayala Cove when you drained the fuel into containers and letting the fuel and water separate. Unfortunately, FlyWright isn't in the photo:


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Old 04-23-2015, 06:29 AM   #33
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With stuff growing in a tank this might be the one time "polishing" might be an option.

If it removes the existing garden , And its water supply it should be worth the effort.

Practical Sailor suggests using different bug killers in series as one poison doesnt get them all.

The thought that a single O ring can water some fuel tanks is scary.

There are other better ways to fill a fuel tank than an at risk on deck fill.

Black in fuel can simply be old fuel that sat in the tank too long.

Diesel clumps (asphaltene ) as it attempts to return to tar.

  1. Showing results for diesel fuel asphaltene
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    Search Results

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    <li class="g">Asphaltenes and Fuel Filter Plugging. Asphaltenes in diesel fuels are becoming a much larger problem since the introduction of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) ...


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    Asphaltene Production in ULSD Fuels ... Diesel engines recirculate fuel to lubricate and cool the fuel system and engine components, In the past fairly large ...


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Old 04-23-2015, 08:59 AM   #34
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I think we are almost all saying the same things in different ways. Let me sum up as I understand it:

Black stuff = dead bio stuff (if you put a biocide in tank it will do this. which is why they tell you not to do so much)

Apple juice = water treatment was added for diesel, which emulsifies the water, allowing your engine to burn it. Pretty much the same as the water dryer agents we use in our cars.

Water in Suspension = will settle out and as being heavier will sink to the bottom. Once this happens your fuel will probably not be clear, as there is still the emulsifier (which many times is even added by the distributer of the fuel)

Water in suspension is the most dangerous, as if the boat is underway, it will pick up water and what isn't removed my the fuel filters will get to the injectors and score them, since there is no lubrication.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #35
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Eric
I've following along trying to learn as much as I can - have little experience or direct knowledge to contribute.

I did read through FF's references re: Alsphaltine which raised a question that I don't recall being addressed before...

Does the cloudy tank relate at all to your fuel return location?
The references indicate that repeated Hi Pressure / Temps can contribute to Asphaltine production and wondered if that was the case and your return was to the cloudy tank... could there be a connection?
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:51 AM   #36
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Since all my diesel purchases for the boat are dyed red, was wondering the source of the OP's fuel, inland based, heating fuel company?
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:30 AM   #37
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My fuel "manifold" plumbing returns the fuel to the tank that it came from. Otherwise I could flood my decks w fuel.

Marlinmike,
100% from marine services (dock or float) directly into the boat tanks.

Wxx3 wrote;
"Apple juice = water treatment was added for diesel, which emulsifies the water, allowing your engine to burn it. Pretty much the same as the water dryer agents we use in our cars." ......
I wondered about that. In away that was the whole reason for my thread. Wondering if people in-the -know just burn it in their engines and consider it harmless. I'm pretty focused on pumping it out now.

FF,
Yup ... despite how great "O" rings work having water on the decks over my fuel fills is still disturbing to me. Don't see any reasonable fix though. The idiots that installed my new fuel tanks didn't get it right .. the position of the inlet on top of the tank and the deck fitting. So I have a dogleg in the fill pipe. And the idiots that designed the boat made the deck sloping fwd so water puddles just in front of the steps where the fuel fillers are. I should fix the dogleg but living w it always seems easier than fixing. Too many other things to fix/do.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:55 PM   #38
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Eric-- A friend who is a specialist in the marine propulsion and generator systems field and has been working internationally in the super-yacht industry for many years now commented on your post in an e-mail yesterday:

--------------
"It could also be that his aluminum tanks were made with the wrong alloy and are oxidizing. Since aluminum oxide is nearly as hard as diamond it can cause serious damage to a diesel's fuel pump and injectors.

If there is enough water to detect with a water paste it will settle out in a clear glass container left to sit someplace warm for a while. Water pastes are used to find the interface and determine the depth of free water in a tank bottom. It takes a lot of suspended water to show on a paste and even then it will only show as very small spots.

If the cloudy fuel sits as described above for a while and a clear layer forms at the top, it has suspended water or dissolved water. If the water is saline the fuel should be dumped. If it is fresh water then let it settle, push it through a water absorbing filter element or dump it."
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Old 04-23-2015, 01:31 PM   #39
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Eric, how big is the tank? Why not take your boat out and burn off all the fuel in that tank and refill it with fresh fuel? I imagine your mechanical system has enough filtering capability to protect your engine.
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Old 04-23-2015, 01:36 PM   #40
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Filling the tanks dilutes the contaminants and it will take forever to get rid of it. Just run on low fuel level to cycle the fuel and only add enough for the next trip. Change the filters as needed. Don't add anything. Chemicals rarely fix problems just burn and filter it.
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