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Old 04-02-2021, 01:12 PM   #1
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Old diesel fuel?

In mid-October 2019, we put our Greenline 33 into storage at a Marine facility in Gruissan, France. We did this expecting to return to Gruissan after the winter to continue our travels. It looks like this departure date will now be something like March/April 2022 due to the pandemic.

The boat was laid up with the diesel tanks full along with some biocide additive. Since then, some more biocide has been added, but due to the fact that the tanks are connected at the bottom and that the fill pipe goes only into ONE tank, I suspect the added biocide did not mix very well with all of the fuel.

We have never had a “bio” problem before, but are worried that this extended layup may result in one. While there is a double Vetus glass-bowl primary filter in the line (designed for “hot swap”), we are reluctant to experiment with old fuel. We are leaning toward having the fuel pumped out and disposed of.

Opinions???
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Old 04-02-2021, 01:35 PM   #2
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Personally, I wouldn't worry about 2-year old diesel (or even older). Diesel is fairly stable. Unless you have water in your tanks, there is no place for organisms to live. A good fuel stabilizer is a better option for long term storage - I use Stanadyne, a product made by an injection pump manufacturer. Not sure it's available in the EU, but there's likely a similar product.

You may find pumping out and disposing old fuel is very expensive. I had 12-15 year old diesel aboard my boat in San Francisco. It was dark and smelled more like linseed oil than diesel, though my ancient Perkins 4.236 seemed to run fine with it. I was tempted to get rid of it anyway.....until I discovered the disposal fees due to California regulations categorizing it as toxic waste would mean over $3500 to get rid of a couple hundred gallons. I ended up running 500 nms on that fuel without a burp. If I had a modern common rail engine, my decision would have been different.

You have good filtration. If you don't see junk, and no water, and the fuel is clear and smells like diesel, don't worry. Have a good time - get back on the water.

Here are a couple articles from Steve D'Antonio on the topic

https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/d...itives-part-i/
https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/d...tives-part-ii/

Good luck

Peter
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:28 PM   #3
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You can pump it into my boat!
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Old 04-02-2021, 05:45 PM   #4
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In 1994, when boat shopping, I looked at a boat that had experienced a similar long layup here in BC.
When I didn't buy that boat and bought one that hadn't had any layup, I had to change my filters at least twice a year due to the amount of crud that accumulated in normal running of 200 hours per year.
In recent years, with the mandated low sulfur fuel and now extra low sulfur fuel, the fuel is much, much cleaner. My primary filter changes are now once every 4 years, or 1/8 as often.

Back to the laid up boat, for its haulout and survey, I had to run it 25 miles to and then 25 miles back, so in preparation for that I added Biobor to the tank, then fired up and ran. I had no problems whatsoever with the fuel. It failed for other reasons.

My takeaway from this is that you likely have no contamination at this time, and likely will not acquire any in another year, but even if you do, a little Biobor will take care of it.
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Old 04-02-2021, 06:13 PM   #5
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Most likely the fuel will be just fine. As suggested add some stabilizer as best you can.

If really concerned then run it through a filter to remove any buildup of ashphaltene which a natural byproduct of aging fuel. Doesn't mean it cannot still be used though.
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Old 04-02-2021, 06:33 PM   #6
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If you are really concerned then have it polished.
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Old 04-03-2021, 06:29 AM   #7
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If there is no water in the fuel , so no bugs , old fuel simply attempts to revert to crude oil.

"asphaltene" is what the clumps that form are called.

Since there large they are easy to filter out to clean the fuel.
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Old 04-03-2021, 08:21 AM   #8
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Two or even three years is no cause for concern if the fuel was good when it went in.

Just cary a couple extra filters, you probably won't even need them.

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Old 04-03-2021, 11:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
Personally, I wouldn't worry about 2-year old diesel (or even older). Diesel is fairly stable. Unless you have water in your tanks, there is no place for organisms to live. A good fuel stabilizer is a better option for long term storage - I use Stanadyne, a product made by an injection pump manufacturer. Not sure it's available in the EU, but there's likely a similar product.

You may find pumping out and disposing old fuel is very expensive. I had 12-15 year old diesel aboard my boat in San Francisco. It was dark and smelled more like linseed oil than diesel, though my ancient Perkins 4.236 seemed to run fine with it. I was tempted to get rid of it anyway.....until I discovered the disposal fees due to California regulations categorizing it as toxic waste would mean over $3500 to get rid of a couple hundred gallons. I ended up running 500 nms on that fuel without a burp. If I had a modern common rail engine, my decision would have been different.

You have good filtration. If you don't see junk, and no water, and the fuel is clear and smells like diesel, don't worry. Have a good time - get back on the water.

Here are a couple articles from Steve D'Antonio on the topic

https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/d...itives-part-i/
https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/d...tives-part-ii/

Good luck

Peter

Thank you very much for the feedback on this, Peter!
I have good filters. Never seen junk. Never seen water (thus far, anyway). But the VW 165hp engine is a common rail. Turbo. You make a good point about environmental fees for disposals of this type. I suspect such fees exist in France and are likely as high as California's.
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:23 AM   #10
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Put some Stanadyne in there and go easy on the biocide. Much of the crud seen in filters is not "bugs" so much as asphaltines precipitating out and collecting in the bottom of the tank. Run a 2 micron filter and watch your vacuum gauge carefully when you get going again. You will be fine.
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:52 AM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for your much-appreciated thoughts on this topic! Based on the above input, I plan to have a go at using the old diesel fuel. I will carry more extra filters than usual for this experiment, however.


I will try to remember to bump this thread in 2022 to let you all know how it worked out.
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