Diesel tank cleaning

Engines, Drive trains, Propellers, Steering, Ground Tackle and other mechanical system

Diesel tank cleaning

Postby mike cunningham » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:56 pm

Hi all, I had a great trip back from Hawaii to SF a couple of weeks ago. Quite and adventure. The trip involved a lot of motoring, I think I put 180 + hours on my 2GM20F. She ran like a top for the duration although I did snang rope or some kind of debris on two occasions. This basically slowed the engine to a near stop. I immediately stopped the boat and was able to back down sucessfully. In both cases, whatever it was was cleared and off I went...thank goodness. I was not looking forward to going for a swim, that is for sure.

Anyway, I am now home and am going to open my tank inspection port for a look see. I did this prior to departure from Hawaii and saw a small amount of liquid, I assume water, at the very bottom of the tank near the uptake tube. My current technique for gettong this out with fuel in the tank is to put a 1/4 inch flexible tube into the area and basically suck the fluid into the tube for deposit in a waste container. I am basically using the tube as a straw. Now, this works OK but if I overdo the suction, I wind up with a moth full of diesel fuel. Even if that does not happen, my tube gets diesel on it and the residue winds up in my mouth...yuk! I wonder if anyone has an idea how I could do this without the mouthful of diesel? Maybe a big syringe type thing - but what to buy and where to buy one??

Of course the other thing I need to do is stop the water getting in there. I seem to have made good progress on that front. During the 2650 NM passage back to the mainland I was meticulous about carefully refueling from the 18 each 5 gal jugs I went through. I chose times when the weather deck was dry or at least not taking water. After each refuel I would apply a coating of silicone grease to the gap around the perko fuel fill port when the cap was screwed down. The grease simply filled the very narrow gap around the cap which, in theory, is sealed by an o ring. It sounds like a hassle but the sealing process took about 30 seconds. Apply the grease with a finger pressing it into the gap, wipe the excess with a paper towel and go. I plan to do this at every refuelling from now on. Very easy and quick to accomplish. The Perko O ring is in good shape so the grease is secondary protection but it does seem to ensure that no moisture gets past that cap.

The other thing I noticed isthe engine actually started bettter - first crank - after a lot of motoring. It was kind of amazing. I wonder if that motoring somehow cleaned the carbon out of the engine or ??? The engine now has about 1450 hours on it. The boat abd engine are now 32 years old. At this rate it should last for the rest of my life and some...

I wrote a report on the trip if anyone is interested. Find it here

http://sfbaysss.org/forum/showthread.ph ... Jacqueline
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby RonR » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:40 pm

One solution to the mouthful of diesel problem would be to use one of the primer bulbs that are commonly sold for outboards. Clamp this to the hose you are using and you can avoid the oral method. I doubt it matters for occasional use, but you can get them rated for diesel. My boat has one installed permanently inline ahead of the primary filter, it makes bleeding easier. I always give it a few squeezes before starting the engine.
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby Goose13 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:15 pm

Go Electric!!! We should do another Freedom get together this fall in the Bay Area.
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby Camino » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:00 pm

Yes for rendezvous! I have a broken marelon valve that I scheduled a haul out at Kkmi for late October. Could manage a get together September also - as long as don't use the head!

Mike - you should write a book! Great read! You are a natural writer.... I sailed over to see you guys at Horseshoe....but ran into Cliff on his way back in the pm ( I did not leave Emeryville until 2:30 pm). Cliff said you had left already in the a.m. and I turned about and followed Cliff back to Emeryville.... I then saw you on AIS and you were up into the Delta
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby mike cunningham » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:56 pm

RonR wrote:One solution to the mouthful of diesel problem would be to use one of the primer bulbs that are commonly sold for outboards. Clamp this to the hose you are using and you can avoid the oral method. I doubt it matters for occasional use, but you can get them rated for diesel. My boat has one installed permanently inline ahead of the primary filter, it makes bleeding easier. I always give it a few squeezes before starting the engine.


I like it. I know exactly the thing you are talking about

https://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Transfer- ... ueeze+bulb

good for diesel too apparently. buying one now.
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby mike cunningham » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:23 pm

Goose13 wrote:Go Electric!!! We should do another Freedom get together this fall in the Bay Area.



I would love electic other than I would need to tow a nuclear power plant to steam the 500 miles I steamed during the return trip :mrgreen:
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby Goose13 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:27 pm

Was it sunny out, it also regenerates above 4 knts
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby mike cunningham » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:22 am

Goose13 wrote:Was it sunny out, it also regenerates above 4 knts


Yes, it was sunny our about 70% of the time but to make a sustained 5 to 6 Kts for 48 hours would require a huge amount of electrical energy. Much more than SAs could provide on a boat my size. I say this as an advocate who leased an electric car during my commuter days.

Having said the above, I was suprised at the torque the propeller would create when under sail and moving at 5 to 6 Kts. It could well have charged a good sized battery bank. The problem is that the energy density of batteries is so low that the biggest bank my boat could reasonably carry would only allow me to power at speed for a couple of hours. Certainly fine for short motoring duty but not adequate to handle the long distances I motored during the return.

One of the returning sailors had only an outboard and had to sail almost the entire return. He was sailing a performance boat though which did quite well in light air. I could not duplicate his performance in my boat. He also had to sail an additional several hundred miles to stay out of the high. An admirable feat to be sure but I am not a purist and just wanted to get home as quickly as I could. I took a shortcut through the high.
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Re: Diesel tank cleaning

Postby mike cunningham » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:35 pm

mike cunningham wrote:
RonR wrote:One solution to the mouthful of diesel problem would be to use one of the primer bulbs that are commonly sold for outboards. Clamp this to the hose you are using and you can avoid the oral method. I doubt it matters for occasional use, but you can get them rated for diesel. My boat has one installed permanently inline ahead of the primary filter, it makes bleeding easier. I always give it a few squeezes before starting the engine.


I like it. I know exactly the thing you are talking about

https://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Transfer- ... ueeze+bulb

good for diesel too apparently. buying one now.



Got my squeeze pump yesterday and opened up the tank to inspect and get water out. Worked perfectly!! Took 30 seconds to remove 2 oz of water and crud. I feel like an idiot for not asking for advice on this sooner, great suggestion! I was suprised at how much you can pump in short order. This will be very useful to empty the tank next time I need to do an interior cleaning.

I am going to buy a second one to use on the bilge where I currently have to sop out the last 3/4 inch of water with a sponge cause the bilge pump wont pump the last bit.
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