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Old 09-22-2019, 03:08 AM   #1
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Water in Fuel Tank

Uh oh.
Someone, not me, put water in a fuel tank today. Not much,reproducing the short time and hose volume between start and "Oh Shit",we estimate about 300ml of water, a small coffee cup,went into a 550L tank currently holding around 400L of diesel.
After my initial reaction,I`m thinking, let the Racor filter deal with it. We`ve pulled more water than that from the bottom of a tank once, and the engine was still running. Or should I be having the tank contents polished?
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:59 AM   #2
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Bruce,

Let the racors handle it is my suggestion - very small % in the scheme of things. I must admit I live in fear of doing this, esp on the port side where there are two water and one fuel fillers (one for the fwd water tank, one for the port tank in the ER and of course the port ER fuel tank.) I used white out in the embossed lettering to make it clear. So far so good.

If you have put a valve on the tank drain plug right at the bottom of the tank - maybe tapping that to get fuel into 2L milk containers and let it sit and settle to see whether you get any water.

George
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:55 AM   #3
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Slide a plastic tubing down and see if a hand pump can get it.


Its common hassles like this that should cause new build folks to demand a sump in their fuel tanks.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:13 AM   #4
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I'd agree w George. Racors should handle that w/o a problem. Just keep an eye on them. You may need to run it hard to raise bow or make some turns depending on where you pick up is located in the tank.
I did the ultimate dumb a$$ move and put 5 gal or more in my tank once. I disconnected fuel line and return and drained into a bucket as long as I got some water. Let it settle, decanted and used oil pad to get the last bit of fuel so I could dispose of water.
I then used a 12V diesel fuel pump & off line water separating filter returning into the deck fill until I got no water. Then reconnected and ran it monitoring and draining the Racor bowl.
If you don't have a petcock and hose on the Racor bowl it might be worth adding one... it made draining very EZ and I could do mine with eng running at idle and mate at the helm.
If alum tank I've seen caution against using copper tubing to pump water due to Cu/Al corrosion... suggestion was to at least add rubber hose to the end to avoid even minor deposits of Cu.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:13 AM   #5
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Three suggestions
-- Flog the offender
-- Change out your Racor prematurely a few times
-- We place a strip of red duct tape over the 4 fuel fills which are too close to water fills for comfort

B T W, look up the accepted moisture level for your brand of diesel fuel. It is amazing how much water is allowable to meet spec.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:55 AM   #6
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While I would let the Racor take care of it, I would consider a plan B it doesn't start collecting water in the bowl. The issue is whether the dip tubes go low enough to pick up the water. My concern would be a new home for algae to start growing.

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Old 09-22-2019, 09:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Slide a plastic tubing down and see if a hand pump can get it.
This is what I would do first. Use an outboard engine squeezeball rig.
Good luck
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:55 AM   #8
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If the intake on the tank is not at the very lowest point or in a sump, it's unlikely the water will be drawn out. If it's not, it will sit in there and allow "bugs" to grow and can also contribute to tank corrosion. That said, I wouldn't freak out about it, but at the next reasonable opportunity I would want to get it all out.

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Old 09-22-2019, 10:55 AM   #9
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Bruce I would do simply DO NOTHING FOR 48 HOURS, let the water sink to the bottom of your tank.
Then open the drain tap at the bottom of your tank and drain off any water until pure diesel runs.
If you have no drain tap get one of those small 12v oil changing pumps used for changing the oil on car engines through the dipstick tube, make sure the suction tube is straight and then place it into the bottom of your tank and take out the water.
Job Done.
Now a bit of blackmail on the offender might get some pleasurable results
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:05 PM   #10
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After you deal with the water you might add some obvious labels by the fills. I was worried that I would do what you did so I had color coded labels made, yellow for diesel, blue for water and black for waste. I took some photos but they wonít upload right now. I will try later to upload them.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:18 PM   #11
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Here are the photos. I was trying to upload both of them and it would not go. I finally tried uploading one at a time and they went.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:22 PM   #12
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https://www.iboats.com/shop/media/ca...54-3570181.jpg
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:23 PM   #13
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Those caps are neat, I had not seen them before.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:34 PM   #14
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One of the extremely nice things about my boat's design is that the water fills are in the bow area, fuel fills are on the stern cabin bulkhead, and waste pump out on the stern deck. There are no side deck walkways between the fuel and the water fills.

Ted
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:14 PM   #15
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Those caps are neat, I had not seen them before.

Those are by Sea Dog but there are a number of similar types of caps available. Those are inexpensive as well. I was considering them for my sailboat before I sold it.
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:17 PM   #16
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One of the extremely nice things about my boat's design is that the water fills are in the bow area, fuel fills are on the stern cabin bulkhead, and waste pump out on the stern deck. There are no side deck walkways between the fuel and the water fills.

Ted

Yes. My fuel fills are in the aft cockpit in the starboard and port foreword corners. They are about a foot above the deck. Nicely protected and out of the weather. Water tanks are on either side on the side stairs leading up to the boat deck. Finally, the waste tank pumpout is foreword on the starboard side deck. None of them are anywhere near each other.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:33 PM   #17
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Thanks all. We`ve had the boat 10 years, we know which filler is which, it was just momentary inattention. The water hose has a trigger nozzle, so shut off was quick. Like the day I put a squirt of gas in the fuel tank of my diesel car, got away with that ok. I do use a fuel additive which among other miracles supposedly merges any water into the fuel to get burnt off, but in the past have found water in the Lehman on engine final filters, but not usually the Racor bowls, which I usually check/drain every outing.

There is no valve at the bottom of the tank, though there is a screw in plug, which Brisboy wisely changed to a valve, but I didn`t. I could try putting a plastic tube zip tied to a dowel down the tank filler, I`ve done that before,though I know one side the filler has angles and insertion is difficult.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:00 PM   #18
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I would water paste test before I did anything. See how much water your dealing with. You need a baseline to determine if your fix works or not.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:46 PM   #19
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Sailor of Fortune beat me to it. Water finding paste is very handy in situations like this.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:48 AM   #20
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Thanks all. We`ve had the boat 10 years, we know which filler is which, it was just momentary inattention. The water hose has a trigger nozzle, so shut off was quick. Like the day I put a squirt of gas in the fuel tank of my diesel car, got away with that ok. I do use a fuel additive which among other miracles supposedly merges any water into the fuel to get burnt off, but in the past have found water in the Lehman on engine final filters, but not usually the Racor bowls, which I usually check/drain every outing.

There is no valve at the bottom of the tank, though there is a screw in plug, which Brisboy wisely changed to a valve, but I didn`t. I could try putting a plastic tube zip tied to a dowel down the tank filler, I`ve done that before,though I know one side the filler has angles and insertion is difficult.
I'm big on procedures to avoid such situations. Before filling, we look at the hose and any pump it's coming from and confirm outloud to ourselves "Diesel" or "Water" or "Gas" and we look at the fill, all of which are marked, and do the same. It seems silly but picked it up from some long time captains. If there are two of you to verify with each other, even better. I've seen it come in handy like being handed a hose and walking to the pump and seeing it was gas, not diesel.

I'd put some additive in too and hope my racors get it, which I would think you'll never know you did it.
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