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Thread: Cleaning Diesel Fuel/Tanks

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    Default Cleaning Diesel Fuel/Tanks

    After 4 days on the PWS, it has become clear I need to clean my fuel and/or tank. 2 new Racor filters and 2 new engine fuel filters and we are still cruising along at 10 mph (the boat does around 30 when the engine gets into the turbo) The fuel in the Racor bowl was yellowish. I topped off at 55 gallons in Anchorage before the trip, and filled it with 110 gallons at the dock after. The tank is 170 gallons, so we had it as low as 60 before the refill. Will lots of use and new fuel (and filters) eventually clean things? If not, is there someone who "polishes" fuel in Whittier? Mercruiser 270 Diesel from 1994, algae-x and Racor 500 before the engine filter. I'd like to go faster than 10 mph all summer...(assuming there isn't some other issue slowing me down)

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Did it winter with fuel? If so how much and was there an additive?
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    All the fuel shut offs open? Props ok? don't have a spun hub ?? fuel tank vents open? If you had dirt or water in the filter you could see it in the bowl, i think you have another problem. Did you check the turbo to see if the blades spin freely ? a stuck tubo will make it seem like you have no power.

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    I had the same problem once. I had a small piece of driftwood caught between the outdrive and the hull. It caused a cavetation that kept me at 10mph.

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    We were too cheap to top it off in September, so it had 120 or so gallons in the tank. We put an additive in at Freddies when we did, but it was not a biocide type.

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    Thanks Steve - it had the 10 mph issue last year, but changing the Racor filter solved that, so I am assuming fuel. I changed it before I went out this year, and there was sandy, cruddy nastiness in the bottom - wiped it out and replaced the engine filter too. It went up on step right out of Whittier, but after we stopped to drop pots, it never got up to speed again - I am guessing we stirred the tanks up. The fuel in the Racor bowl is murky, but the 55 gals of heating oil I put in in ANC was clear. (I am assuming the fuel choice wouldn't matter - it was $1 cheaper than at the docks, so I'm likely to use it again) To answer your other questions... I'll have to check the vent. There is a small exhaust leak near the turbo - probably my 2nd suspect, hoping it is just a fuel issue. The turbo seems to work just fine when we are not under load - 3K rpms, no issue (it only hits 1900 under load) I had the props and outdrive (Bravo 3) serviced in Wasilla last month. In other news - your pots did awesomely, and we've eaten shrimp in some form every day this week.

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    It does sound like more than just poor fuel to me,...

    but Polishing your own fuel is pretty easy to do, set up a way to pump the fuel out of your Tank Outlet, and through another filter
    (most fuel docks will have a set-up of twin Racors on a little cart with a pump, that you can wheel down to your boat,...(for a fee tho)

    but you can rig this up yourself fairly easily using a 500 size Racor, or even a heating fuel filter (inexpensive way to do it) even riggin a way to run it all through your existing Racor on board, with an auxiliary pump,...

    run it through a few times, and at least you'll know you don't have water or excessive sediments in there

    another issue I've seen guys run into is using too much Biocide, it's real clear on the instructions with those, to use just the right amount
    as too much will peel all the growth off the bottom of the tank at once, and is a filter clogger for sure

    Check all those others that Potbldr mentions tho,...that's too much RPM loss for just Old Fuel, in my opinion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archipelago View Post
    Thanks Steve - it had the 10 mph issue last year, but changing the Racor filter solved that, so I am assuming fuel. I changed it before I went out this year, and there was sandy, cruddy nastiness in the bottom - wiped it out and replaced the engine filter too. It went up on step right out of Whittier, but after we stopped to drop pots, it never got up to speed again - I am guessing we stirred the tanks up. The fuel in the Racor bowl is murky, but the 55 gals of heating oil I put in in ANC was clear. (I am assuming the fuel choice wouldn't matter - it was $1 cheaper than at the docks, so I'm likely to use it again) To answer your other questions... I'll have to check the vent. There is a small exhaust leak near the turbo - probably my 2nd suspect, hoping it is just a fuel issue. The turbo seems to work just fine when we are not under load - 3K rpms, no issue (it only hits 1900 under load) I had the props and outdrive (Bravo 3) serviced in Wasilla last month. In other news - your pots did awesomely, and we've eaten shrimp in some form every day this week.
    Thanks for the report on the pots and glad they fished good for ya. Now on to your problem, did you reach into the turbo and feel how the blades spin ?? should be very easy to spin by hand, check for play on the turbo shaft. Does the engine have a aftercooler ? if it does check for any air or water leaks there also. Maybe you have a old rag or something floating around in the tank and it blocks the pickup tube. If you can try and look into the tank, try taking the pickup tube off and look into the tank.
    No loading rpms doesn't count, i had a bad turbo that let the engine run up to 36 no load but the boat wouldn't run over 2000 under load. Drain the bad fuel and let it settle out and try to figure out what it is, fresh water, saltwater. I'm thinking you have something floating around in your tank and blocking the pickup tube or maybe a rotten/bad fuel line with a flap of rubber on the inside blocking the feed. Try running the engine (under load) off a 5 gal pail of fuel to bypass all the plumbing.

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    Another thought for you, have you checked your Air Intake filter ??

    sorry if that seems obvious, but your issue does sound suspiciously like an engine starving for air ( worth checking anyway)

    and as an aside, Heating Fuel, #1 Diesel is considerably different than #2 for your engine,
    it burns a lot hotter than #2 in my heating stove,
    so I imagine it might be worth talking with a mechanic about the effects on your fuel pump calibration, of using Heating Fuel
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Thanks again. I will try 5 gals of diesel tubed straight to the engine, hopefully ruling out mechanical issues. I'm intimidated by turbos, but I guess its time to learn... It will be a week or two until I get to it - hoping for the best.

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    Great thoughts - love it. I just learned a ton about diesel fuel - I didn't know #1 had less power. Possibly a contributing factor. I will replace the air filter too. Hopeful...

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    Look up seaboard marine sbmar.com and read up on diesel fuel filtration. They advocate putting a high capacity 20 micron fleetguard junk collector ahead of your racor or other 10 micron unit.

    if you manage to clog up the junk collector, well the you've done something...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archipelago View Post
    Thanks again. I will try 5 gals of diesel tubed straight to the engine, hopefully ruling out mechanical issues. I'm intimidated by turbos, but I guess its time to learn... It will be a week or two until I get to it - hoping for the best.

    with the engine shut off, not running !!! pull the air filter off and reach in and see if the blades spin freely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archipelago View Post
    Great thoughts - love it. I just learned a ton about diesel fuel - I didn't know #1 had less power. Possibly a contributing factor. I will replace the air filter too. Hopeful...
    Its the opposite, #1 has more cetane and therefore you get more power from it. More bang for your buck sorta speak
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    Its the opposite, #1 has more cetane and therefore you get more power from it. More bang for your buck sorta speak
    Ummm, nope.

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    Just the opposite, 2 is better than 1. One is winter fuel and I loose 2 mpg in my diesel trucks.

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    Ha HA sorry guys, I am wrong... I had it backwards. Just don't tell my wife I admitted to being wrong
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  18. #18

    Smile Fuel

    Are you making oil? Do you have a inspection plate on your fuel tank? In the big trucks When it was real cold and we ran straight #1 we lost 1to2gears on major hills ( less power) Do yourself a HUGE favor and call your engine manufacture and ask what additive they recommend? From what you say I believe useing #1 fuel ( less power) and I suspect you have dirty fuel and growth in your tank. Good luck!!

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    Turbo has oil in it. Looking into a replacement. Thanks for all the help.

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