Diesel bug rife

boatingdave

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I know this has been done to death but my symptoms aren't quite the same as I've read in MB&Y although still have to receive March edition which had the article I've been waiting for. Symptoms, fuel full of sludge, engine smokes WHITE smoke and coughs and lacks power. Pre filter full of sludge after an hour (new filter). Fuel taken from filter in to jar and allowed to settle. stays black and the sludge partially separates.
Fuel has been treated (stupidly can't remember if biocides or enzyme, bought from local motor store starting with H and ending in alfords) so I assume the bug is dead. Fuel maybe still has water in it? Looking at the fixes in April MB&Y it was a little inconclusive or I have vital parts of the jigsaw missing. Don't know if I should have the fuel polished or just run it until nearly empty and then fill it up with decent fuel and put preventative treatment in. Unfortunately the cost of the fuel polish (about 100 gallons left in each tank) will buy me a reasonable amount of clean fresh diesel. I suspect the answer will be the polish and then save up the couple of grand to fill the two tanks but hoping there may be a better answer.
Have spoken to two marine engineers, one recommends fuel polish (and funnily enough he can do it for me) and the other reckons a waste of time (and he can't do it). Thoughts?
 

kashurst

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cleaning your fuel and system

I had fuel bug last summer. I bought a fuel transfer pump and a big 10micron filter with 6 filter cartridges on the internet for @ £150. My tanks were @ half full at the time. I bought some industrial fuel treatment from Miller Oils in Brighouse (very helpful on the phone and recommended by other boat owner). I transfered all fuel into one tank so it was completely full, with the biocide added during mixing. Left it all for a week then pumped it all through a 10 micron filter into the other tank and left for another week, as recommended by Millers. Stripped and cleaned primary filters. Finally pumped all fuel to and fro 6 times through 10 micron filters. First two filters started to bung up but 3rd stayed clean on runs 3,4,5,6. My fuel tanks have pump out points on them that sucks right from the bottom of the tank so hopefully I have given every thing a good stir up (fuel transfer pump is pretty fast - faster than a normal filling pump on the dock). Fingers crossed last week all seemed clear. Got 3 sets of spare primary filters so I will see how I get on.....

Might be worth a try for you as it was a relatively cheap solution to break the back of the problem and get the worst out. Industrial filters were @ £6 each rather than the £25 SEPAR jobbies.
 
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Bilgediver

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I know this has been done to death but my symptoms aren't quite the same as I've read in MB&Y although still have to receive March edition which had the article I've been waiting for. Symptoms, fuel full of sludge, engine smokes WHITE smoke and coughs and lacks power. Pre filter full of sludge after an hour (new filter). Fuel taken from filter in to jar and allowed to settle. stays black and the sludge partially separates.
Fuel has been treated (stupidly can't remember if biocides or enzyme, bought from local motor store starting with H and ending in alfords) so I assume the bug is dead. Fuel maybe still has water in it? Looking at the fixes in April MB&Y it was a little inconclusive or I have vital parts of the jigsaw missing. Don't know if I should have the fuel polished or just run it until nearly empty and then fill it up with decent fuel and put preventative treatment in. Unfortunately the cost of the fuel polish (about 100 gallons left in each tank) will buy me a reasonable amount of clean fresh diesel. I suspect the answer will be the polish and then save up the couple of grand to fill the two tanks but hoping there may be a better answer.
Have spoken to two marine engineers, one recommends fuel polish (and funnily enough he can do it for me) and the other reckons a waste of time (and he can't do it). Thoughts?


Pity you didn t announce this a while back or you could have provided all the horror pictures for the magazine articles.

Firstly drain out the water. Bit like closing the stable door but there should be a way of doing this somehow .

If the sludge is as bad as you indicate then I suspect you are beyond the point of just polishing with filters and need to consider the process used by the other poster of transferring fuel from one tank to another but then you must remove the dead detrius from the empty tank. polishing will not remove this completely.

Once the tank is clean then you could consider polishing the fuel in the other tank back in but with a zap dose of biocide. The suppliers will advise you on this but this dose will be a lot more than the normal dose. I would only put a small amount of dosed fuel in to start in order to zapp through the fuel lines and filters to the pumps from the refilled tank. The lines and filters should have been cleaned. Then polish the rest of the fuel back to the clean tank before cleaning the second tank.

There seems to be an ever increasing need for onboard polishing equipment on boats like yours and there is kit on the market which can be easily fitted and then run as required. A search of the forums and previous posts will bring up details.

It is possible the acidic residue has affected the polished surfaces of your fuel injectors and pumps so would suggest all injectors go for servicing. Having run the engines and zapped the system then polish the bad fuel within the dirty tank before polishing it back to the clean tank. Then clean the second tank.

If talking to biodcide and enzyme suppliers make sure they are aware of the colour and consistency of your problem.


If the engines are is still not running smoothly after all this then you might have to bite the bullet and get the pumps inspected and calibrated.
 

boatingdave

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Thanks all for the replies. I would also be interested in knowing where to get the parts to make the filtration unit. I also have a balancing pipe at the base of the tanks so could rig it up to take the fuel from one tank to the other.
I had convinced myself today to bite the bullet and have the fuel polished but based on the response I may use the funds to build the filtration unit instead. I still have time to think about it and either cancel or use it as a pre clean before I start the filtration.
I am absolutely amazed at the severity of the problem, always think that stories are exaggerated. I'd still like to understand more about what causes it to make sure it doesn't happen again and of course if I build the permanent bypass between the two tanks then I could polish the fuel as a matter of course periodically although one of the prevention remedies apparently is to keep the tanks full and topped up with biocides each time the tank is filled!
Anyway, thanks again, especially bilgediver for the guidance and kashurst for the suggestion of the rig, as mentioned I think it would prove beneficial for many of the forumites to have the option to build a built in unit!
Thanks again all, I may well post something on here on the outcome. Just got to face my boating buddies who are all fed up with the woes of my pride and joy (well she used to be anyway, not sure if I can ever trust her now). :-(
 

kashurst

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Hi Dave
sorry been at boat fettling -
I bought the diesel pump and filters from www.northerntooluk.com
filter part number 5021E £50.39
filters 10micron £5020E £9.59 (gone up a bit)
transfer pump 160012E £88 - bad news there they don't seem to be showing it on their web site - might be worth a call to them or try ebay et al.

the hoses connectors etc I bought from ASAP supplies
good luck
 

kashurst

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just found the pump on ebay - available from A1 Plant Sales, model number ME/P030 £66.99 as a buy it now phone 01633 676800
also my problem according to Miller Oils was a fungus rather than a bacteria - and the fungus doesn't need water present for it to develop!
 
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Bilgediver

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Kashurst, thank you. Looks as if I might be busy this weekend doing some 'research' ;-)

It seems you might have the good old fashioned bug which loves a tank with a wet bottom. It is important to remove as much water from the tank and not to rely on just the water separator which is too late in the process as the water could be in the tank for many weeks waiting to be removed and all the while the bugs are loving the environment in the oil water interface and breeding like out of control rabbits:D

If the tank is devoid of water then these bugs find it difficult to multiply. Minor attacks can be treated with certain products and claims are made that the detrius will be burnt. However serious contamination results in sludge which finds its way into the fuel lines. SOme gets stopped by the filters however some finds its way right through to the injectors. Unfortunately it can be highly acidic and doesn t do the injector polished surfaces any good. This is why I suggest you get the injectors serviced. You may be lucky but you could have damaged injectors.

Another more recent problem is that due to the addition of Bio products in fuel. This seems to be causing big problems and also causing some fuels now to have a shelf life after which the fuel can become seriously contaminated.
This contamination ihas a different appearance to that you describe and is usually a darker colour. You will note there is a distinct aroma to your sludge, remember it :D:D

Many of the lest costly fuel pumps on EBAY are In Tank pumps. Beware these if not fitting in a tank. They use the surrounding fuel as a cooling medium.

The Holley Pump looks as if it is an external pump and is available in the UK from Agents in Aldershot amongst other places so a phone call might ensure it is OK. It is relatively simple to pipe up a polishing system using a Racor filter or similar that can be run from time to time. Systems are available off the shelf for several hundreds of pounds. (Separ).

The first priority is to work oout how to remove water that collects at the bottom of the tanks. Unfortunately boat builders have yet to realise the importance of fitting drain cocks so the water usually has to be drawn out through the top using a dipper tube.

Make sure you have good protection if going tank diving as those bugs aren't good for you and can produce dermatitus on the most hardy of sailors:D:D. In fact it was only when investigating excessive dermatitis by Cardiff University back in the 60s due to contaminated cutting oils that these bugs and associated problems were first discovered. They can also grow in lubricating oil however that usually only happens in ocean going ships which have large quantities of oil which is cleaned by steam/water washing.
 

boatingdave

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I am fortunate that there is a gate valve and balancing pipe at the base of the tanks. The valves were open but are now shut (horse, stable door) but it does mean that I can connect straight to the bottom of the tanks! Just need someone slim enough to crawl down there for me. :)
All the best
Dave
 

Bilgediver

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:D
I am fortunate that there is a gate valve and balancing pipe at the base of the tanks. The valves were open but are now shut (horse, stable door) but it does mean that I can connect straight to the bottom of the tanks! Just need someone slim enough to crawl down there for me. :)
All the best
Dave

That will be a big help. :D
 
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