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Old 02-11-2011, 06:14 PM   #1
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Fuel polishing during layup periods.

I have a simple fuel transfer system that can draw fuel thru my racor and return it to my tanks.* I can turn over my fuel in about* 4hours.* Timed it by pumping from one tank to the other.* Anyway the boat is sitting idle now since Nov.*How often should I turn over my fuel (polish it).

Been doing it about once per month.

Is that too much or not enough?

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Old 02-11-2011, 06:34 PM   #2
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Does it clog up the filter every month? If it does, then it's working and needs it. If not, I'd say it was too much.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #3
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Surely it isn't doing any harm.* I'd say do it as often as it makes you confident of the fuel.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Any filtration is good, however repeatedly Polishing the fuel will only cleanse the fuel near the fuel pickup, thus leaving the condensation and microbial growth resting on the bottom.

We normally recommend that the tanks be:
1.*near full or absolutely empty for long layup periods
2. avoid mixing ethanol & non-ethanol blend (if gasoline)
3. avoid mixing bio-diesel & regular diesel
4. treat the full by the size of the tank
5. carry a six-pack (of fuel filters) when boating

When we come across saddle tanks (one port, one stb'd) we find a very different quailty in the fuels. This is due to the contaminated tank being exposed to a greater temperature change while at dockside, on a trailer, in a field (as in farm & construction equipment), parked in a driveway, etc.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:49 AM   #5
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Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Constant "fuel polishing' might keep the fuel clean , but it wont help a dirty tank to GET clean.

What has stuck to the side walls needs force , a wooden scraper, to exit.

-- Edited by FF on Monday 14th of February 2011 05:50:09 AM
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:44 AM   #6
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
FF wrote:

What has stuck to the side walls needs force , a wooden scraper, to exit.
That's what I was afraid of.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
FF wrote:

Constant "fuel polishing' might keep the fuel clean , but it wont help a dirty tank to GET clean.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Will polishing fuel on a regular basis keep a clean tank from getting dirty?


Does the chemical process that causes diesel to degrade happen because the fuel is sitting stagnant?* Will moving it keep it fresher?


-- Edited by FF on Monday 14th of February 2011 05:50:09 AM
*


-- Edited by JohnP on Monday 14th of February 2011 10:07:58 AM
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:13 AM   #8
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

"Does the chemical process that causes diesel to degrade happen because the fuel is sitting stagnant?* Will moving it keep it fresher?"

No, letting it splash back into the tank from the fuel return lines above the fuel level will just add oxygen and hasten the oxidation process.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:18 AM   #9
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
RickB wrote:

"Does the chemical process that causes diesel to degrade happen because the fuel is sitting stagnant?* Will moving it keep it fresher?"

No, letting it splash back into the tank from the fuel return lines above the fuel level will just add oxygen and hasten the oxidation process.

Interesting point.** Looks like doing nothing is better- I can do that!* JohnP
*
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:53 AM   #10
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

As seen on this and related threads, fuel polishing issues can make one paranoid. One very large charter company in the PNW steam cleans their "single manufacturer vessels" fuel tanks every 1000 hours. The cost and hassle of doing this they view as far less problematic and cheaper than fuel polishing setups*that may not do any good in the long run.

The mantra on boatdiesel.com is use a big spin on filter as*your primary and change it out as needed.*In this case, don't*worry about polishing, if*crud buildup does occur, filter it at the critical point - before the engines.

Even though I have been involved with the purchase and use of*tens of millions of gallons of diesel for off the road use, I never heard of fuel polishing until I started reading these types of boating forums. Am I believer of fuel polishing - not unless I were a serious blue water cruiser buying fuel off some pretty iffy docks. But, today's serious cruisers usually have enough tankage such that iffy fuel purchases can be avoided.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:47 AM   #11
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
sunchaser wrote:unless I were a serious blue water cruiser buying fuel off some pretty iffy docks. But, today's serious cruisers usually have enough tankage such that iffy fuel purchases can be avoided.
And if it is a "serious blue water" cruising boat it would most likely have a centrifuge between the storage tanks and day tanks so fuel contamination issues are much less likely.

In addition, those boats tend to purchase large loads of fuel from reputable commercial suppliers who tend to cycle through huge quantities of fuel on a regular and rapid basis. They also sell to folks who require documentation of fuel specs and take samples for retention on board so there are few chances of fuel surprises.

*
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:22 PM   #12
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Wait... What?!?!?! Am I wasting my time?
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:34 PM   #13
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

In my 20 + years of boating with diesels I have only polished fuel once and it was a waste of time in my opinion as the filters didn't really get dirty.
I changed to multi stage filtering and never had an issue since.
Happy polishing.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:42 PM   #14
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Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:Wait... What?!?!?! Am I wasting my time?
Well, you need to look at it from a couple of different angles. If you are enjoying the process and learning something about your boat and its systems and how to work with stuff that is new to you and learning how and why one way might perhaps offer more than another, then no, you are not wasting your time.

If at the end of the job you feel like you have gained more "ownership" of your boat and confidence in your abilities to work on it, then the project returned far more than it cost.

If you believe you need to "polish" your fuel to have a more enjoyable or reliable boating experience, yes, you are wasting your time.

Except for a few issues related to the*health and safety of yourself and the passengers who rely on you for their own well being, all of this stuff is for recreation. It's a hobby, a sometimes very rewarding and often frustrating and expensive hobby but most folks do it for fun, not to save time or money.

*


-- Edited by RickB on Monday 14th of February 2011 01:44:52 PM
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:52 PM   #15
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Great! And here I thought I was doing something awesome, when all the time I was doing something... meh.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:05 PM   #16
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Fuel polishing during layup periods.

You started out in version I by saying "I am going to reconfigure Skinny Dippin's entire filter rig to be a multi-stage filtration and add a simple fuel polishing circuit."

No one can judge your right or reasons for doing it. I don't believe anyone even questioned it, quite a few people provided a lot of support and helpful ideas.

If you had asked if it was "worth it" you might have had a variety of answers. I know what mine would have been. But you decided to start the project and seemed to be enjoying it. That made it worthwhile in my eyes, for that reason alone.

I think that at this stage the only question that is valid is "does this do anything positive for the fuel and is it worth continuing?" Even that one has two answers. *

I don't think it does anything particularly good for the fuel but it doesn't hurt it all that much either. It does provide you with a very nice filtering and transfer capability (even though I would not choose to use the fuel return lines for that purpose) and you have had a great learning experience so far. It's a bit like the credit card ad isn't it?

Edit: * Duh, well I guess there are two answers, there are two questions ...

-- Edited by RickB on Monday 14th of February 2011 03:28:12 PM
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:19 PM   #17
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Gonzo - Months ago when you had a fuel filtering issue, Jay Leonard, me and others said*put your filters in a multi stage setup. You followed that advice (soon) it would seem, and then went a step further and added (soon) a polishing loop. As RickB says, that is fun and OK. I do all sorts of*fun and OK stuff on my vessel and it sure beats gardening. Keep us informed, you are to be commended on your persistence and nice dining room floor.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:51 PM   #18
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

I guess you are right... I have learned a great deal about my boat including systems that are not directly related to this "upgrade". And,in a frustrating way, it's been "fun". But, the original $500 budget has now ballooned to more than twice that. I suppose that in the end, it might add a certain appeal to a potential buyer (should that day ever come). Until then... I guess I'm in it up to my neck, my boat doesn't run while the fuel rig is on the dining room floor, I already have all the parts, and I am closer to finished than started, so I must press on and finish this thing.

I just really figured that fuel polishing was a service that every boat yard provides. It made sense that it's an important thing to do. So if I can do it onboard, I'd save money in the end. I didn't realize there were two schools of thought on this. Anyway, I don't want to hijack THIS polishing thread too as I have with the others.

Tom-
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:46 PM   #19
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RE: Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:

I just really figured that fuel polishing was a service that every boat yard provides. It made sense that it's an important thing to do. So if I can do it onboard, I'd save money in the end. I didn't realize there were two schools of thought on this. Anyway, I don't want to hijack THIS polishing thread too as I have with the others.

Tom-
Tom, I don't want to beat you up on this issue any more then you have been, but:*

*1)* My fuel is polished when the engine runs, and based on*vacuum gauges, filter changes occur every*4-6 years;

2)** I drain the sumps every 4 weeks or so; and

3)** There is a three filter system which*provides sufficient capacity to*generally overcome a batch of bad fuel (which I have not seen in more than 25 years, including a previous boat).

By keeping water from sitting in the tank bottoms, I have no need for additives (Although every couple of years, I*seem to end up getting some diesel from a marina that*carries the Valvtech*additive fuel oil, but I only buy it because it is the cheapest fuel at the time).

The above three items (if you can get all three) essentially preclude the need for fuel polishing services, but not tank cleaning services.

My tanks are 37 years old, I think the previous owner had the tanks cleaned around 1995, but based on what comes out of the sumps, they're not ready for cleaning again.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:05 PM   #20
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Fuel polishing during layup periods.

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:

It made sense that it's an important thing to do.
It's not important unless your fuel needs polishing.* And it doesn't need polishing unless it's dirty or contaminated.*

If you use your boat regularly (by which I mean it doesn't just sit for half a year or more) and you buy your fuel from a reputable supplier with good tanks and plumbing to the fill nozzles, and their* fuel doesn't sit for months and months in their tanks, and they buy it from a reputable distributor, your fuel should never need polishing.* We have certainly had no need to polish our fuel in the twelve-plus years we've had our boat.

If your tanks are crudded up this can contaminate your fuel but while polishing the fuel will clean it, it will just get dirty again from the crudded up tanks it goes back into.* You'll be attacking the symptom, not the problem.

We have a polishing system of sorts on our boat installed as part of the new fuel system the previous owner had fabricated for the boat the year before we bought it.* We've had no occasion to use it.

-- Edited by Marin on Monday 14th of February 2011 07:22:17 PM
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