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Old 06-22-2018, 05:57 AM   #21
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I think I will open one of the tanks and have a look inside.

Jim
Sounds like a sensible plan. I would think that a quick inspection would show whether further action is required.

Interestingly I was looking at a boat with a broadly comparable system yesterday. The owner made the sensible case that crud could accumulate and not come through the fuel lines until you're one day into a nasty passage and the vigorous agitation has released it in quantities to start clogging filters.

Good discussion and comments.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:19 AM   #22
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I cleaned my starboard tank last year. Even with baffles I could see the entire bottom of it. There was maybe a 1/16 of an inch of sediment on the bottom that I wiped up with paper towels. The insides were shiny with just tiny areas showing any rust. Black tank steel on a 1977 Taiwanese trawler. Not bad at all. My inspection ports have a rubber gasket and the bolts are simply threaded into the tank steel. Just transfer all fuel to a different tank. I used a spare lift pump to get the residual fuel into a 5 gallon can and then cleaned it. Overall very happy no big problem at all.
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:51 AM   #23
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Sounds like a sensible plan. I would think that a quick inspection would show whether further action is required.

Interestingly I was looking at a boat with a broadly comparable system yesterday. The owner made the sensible case that crud could accumulate and not come through the fuel lines until you're one day into a nasty passage and the vigorous agitation has released it in quantities to start clogging filters.

Good discussion and comments.
If you have flat and level bottoms on your fuel tanks, don’t turn over much fuel and buy from iffy vendors then an inspection every few years likely is warranted. A good check for those of us with fuel fills that go straight into the tanks from the deck is to use a dip tube to see what may lurk, if anything, in the tank bottoms.

Diesel tanks that were routinely filled decades ago with high sulfur fuels are prime targets for crud. Newer boats who have seen low sulfur fuels not so much. The first clue as to tank crud is an unusual vacuum increase on your primaries.

IMHO if you’re the 3rd + owner of an older boat a tank cleaning and/or inspection is a good idea, plugged filters or not, makes sense
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Old 06-22-2018, 01:32 PM   #24
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Cleaning fuel tanks.

Based on how quickly the fuel in the sight gauges decreases as the fuel in the tank reaches the bottom, Iím certain the tanks are tapered towards the bottom and the tank is tapered forward as that is where the pickup is for the fuel polishing system.

Iím going to start with the port aft tank. I donít typically draw or return fuel from the aft tanks for/from the main engine or genny, so the fuel isnít scrubbed by the primary or secondary filters. Therefore the aft tanks should have the most asphaltenes present. My goal is to have the fuel polish system switched over to the Inverter side of the panel, which would enable me to polish while running in rougher sea states. Itís not particularly useful or efficient to polish fuel if there is no agitation in the tank.

My biggest concern right now (aside from the possible mess) is over torquing the bolts on reassembly and stripping threads on the aluminum tank surface, assuming thatís how itís threaded.
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Old 06-22-2018, 02:21 PM   #25
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Cleaning fuel tanks.

Hereís the update. Forward inspection port opened in the port aft tank. Tank is mostly clean. Minor accumulation of perhaps a couple of tablespoons forward near the bottom and not showing on the photos. Using a mirror, I found the tank bottom at the pickup tube is free of any asphaltenes.
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Some evidence of slight corrosion on the face of the tank where the gasket is seated. The port of the tank is reinforced with a ring of aluminum where the bolts thread. The PO used lots of pipe joint compound on the threads. Not sure how effective that is.

Iím going to button it all back together and leave the other port on this tank as well as the other tanks alone. Sure glad I did this myself rather than higher an expensive tank cleaner.

Jim

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